Quilt-Pro is a quilt design program for your computer. It works in similar way to EQ8 but there are a few differences particularly in the drawing functions. Both have pre-loaded blocks and fabrics and both offer further blocks and fabrics via their websites or blogs. Both have excellent technical support – you can email them with the most idiotic of questions (and trust me – I’ve done it) and they come back within a sensible answer in a timely fashion – considering they are the other side of the Atlantic. Quilt-Pro has fewer blocks and fabrics to start with than EQ but is also about a third cheaper. You can find an excellent comparison and appraisal of both programs from Marilyn of KKs Quilts Studio on You Tube.

Jude Charlesworth has previously posted a series of articles here on designing with Electric Quilt (which I have used since it first came out), but I also have Quilt-Pro and recently upgraded my version 5 to 6 (although version 6 actually came out in about 2014). So I thought I would have a look at this newer version, play with it, get used to it and at the same time I could share my experience with you here.

So let’s get started with designing a quilt. When you first open Quilt-Pro the welcome screen asks what you want to do – design a quilt, or a block, or open any of the libraries. (pic) Although we will be designing a quilt the easiest thing to do first, I have found, is to go to the block drawing board. Here you can choose a block for your quilt from the library and colour it in. Only then can you make your quilt as the block you choose may dictate the size of the blocks and layout in the quilt design.

Click on the Block Library icon in the toolbar to choose a block. If you have previously made a block it will be in a folder called ‘My Library’ which you can access through the drop-down menu. I’ve chosen to use a simple 4-patch block called Old Maid’s Puzzle from the library. Clicking on it puts it on the block worktable. I can now select the fabric library from the toolbar to recolour it.

The fabrics are arranged by colour as a default but you can also have them arranged by theme or manufacturer among others. Solid colours are arranged along the bottom of the worktable. You use the ‘slider’ to scroll along the colours to see the fabrics pictured. Click on the paintbrush to colour in the various patches in your chosen fabrics or colours. Once you are happy with the colours you can save your block by clicking on the save icon or using the shortcut keys (CTRL S).

Now you can make your quilt. Click on the Quilt Wizard icon to open the dialogue box. Here you set the basic quilt design – straight set, on-point, medallion, hexagon etc – the number and size of the blocks, the types of border(s) sashing and even binding.

Once you have filled all those in you can click on FINISH to go the quilt worktable. Having chosen ‘single block’ in the Wizard I find my quilt is automatically filled with the block I just coloured. All I have to do now is choose colours for the borders.

I can click on the ‘dropper’ icon in the toolbar and then click on a fabric in the quilt to use it to colour in the borders.

There are also tools to turn or to flip the blocks and you can choose to apply this to all the blocks or to do it to individual blocks. I can change my mind several times before choosing which design I wish to save. Unlike EQ, which gives you a Project folder with a sketchbook in which to save all the blocks and quilts for a particular design, Quilt-Pro saves each quilt and block as a separate file.

Now I have decided on my design and fabrics and have saved my quilt I can print out the cutting instructions. (pic – print centre)This is where I think Quilt-Pro really wins over EQ as it will give you the instructions for the whole quilt not just one block so it saves you doing a lot of hard sums. So my print out tells me how many strips of which width I need to cut from each fabric and how many squares or triangles I need to cut from those strips.

I need to print out the yardage requirements too, but the other brilliant thing Quilt-Pro does is, if you click on the ‘cutting layout’ button, it will show you how best to cut those strips and shapes from your fabric to make the most of it. Not only that but it will also work out how much backing and binding fabric you need to buy. You can even build in a ‘fudge factor’ so you can add in an extra quarter yard (or more) to allow for errors or changes of idea part way through.

You can download all the cutting charts, yardages and quilt information I saved if you wish to have to a go at making this quilt. No need to stick with my colour/fabric choices, just choose your own and go with those – write them onto your print-outs in place of mine – I’ve included a blank quilt for you to colour.

I’ll have a look at the block drawing part of the program next time