You don’t really need expensive sophisticated programs to design a simple quilt – although they do help – as hidden in Word are a set of drawing tools. I’ve still got an older version of Word so my screen may look a little different to yours, but search and you will find the drawing tools, which will look very similar to mine.
Don’t be afraid to explore all the buttons and tabs as it is very hard to break anything. Remember you have an ‘undo’ button (the backward facing curly arrow) if things don’t turn out as you hoped.
In my version the drawing tools are hidden behind the INSET tab and labelled ‘Shapes’. See if you can find that and when you click on the arrow to expand it you will find a whole series of useful shapes you can draw.
Let’s start with a simple square. Select the square from the shapes and move your cursor to where you want to draw, then drag it to create your shape. Experiment for a while if you like. You can draw rectangles with this as well, but the best way to get a square is to hold the Shift key as you drag the cursor and a square, rather than a rectangle, will magically appear. While your square is ‘selected’ (it has dots around it) you should have the Drawing Tools tab show up. Here you can do all sorts of things – including resizing your square to an exact size and I’m going to change mine to 0.5 inches.
You also have a Shape Fill button in your Drawing Tools which allows you to change the colour of your shape – it is usually white by default. Play with this as there are a lot of possibilities hidden in there. I’m just going to choose a plain blue for now.
And this is where the fun can start. Select your square, if it isn’t already selected, by clicking on it with the mouse. Press the Control button and the c button at the same time (CTRL + c) to copy your square. Now press Control and v at the same time (CTRL + v) which will paste that copy. You can press ctrl + v as many times as you like to make multiple squares on your page.
As you paste each one highlight it and move it (drag it with the cursor) across the page. I made a row of three squares and then selected all of them (press the Shift button as you select) and copied all three at once. And eventually made a 9-patch of my blue squares.
But that’s a bit boring so we need to change the colour of some squares. I selected four squares (they have dots around them) holding the shift key down while I clicked on all four. Once they were selected I went back to Drawing Tab and the colours, this time choosing yellow.
I want these nine squares to now be a patchwork block – one unit instead of nine. Select all nine squares (holding the shift key, remember) and, once they are all selected, place the cursor in the middle (don’t click yet or you get rid of your selection) then right click the mouse. You will get a little menu up and one of the options is Group. Choose this and your nine squares become a single block.
You can now copy and paste this block. But if you want to make a quilt you will perhaps want to change a few colours. Again select the squares you want to recolour, holding the Shift key, – this time the dots will be grey. Choose your new colour and all the selected squares will change to that colour.
Once you have the second block recoloured you can copy and paste both blocks and move them around the page. Often when moving your drawings you will see just a dotted outline shuffling across but it will become a coloured block when you stop moving it.
You can shuffle your new blocks together to make a quilt. Dragging them with the cursor can be a bit hit and miss but you can use the arrow keys to nudge them this way and that so they line up a little better.
Congratulations – you’ve made a nine-patch quilt with nine 9-patch blocks.
Why not experiment with more squares and rectangles and colours to see what else you can make and next time we will play with triangles.