The last blog gave a brief introduction to EQ8. As EQ8 is software produced for quilters it is capable of a lot more than drawing blocks. 

When you open the software, it gives you options under 3 headings, when you click on the heading it will then give you further options.

Design quilts

Design a quilt from scratch. This gives you a completely blank canvas to work on.

Start with a quick quilt project. This allows you to open and work with a predesigned project. Once the project is open you can either use it as it is or you can edit it if there are elements you don’t like.

Open an existing project. Here you can open a project you have previously worked on. The software will show you the list of projects stored on your computer.

Draw blocks

Design a block from scratch. You can design pieced, applique or combination blocks. I use mainly pieced but that is just person choice as I don’t do a lot of applique work.

Search for block patterns. There is a library of pre drawn blocks, which you can print, design with, or edit to make your own.

Work with fabrics

As with blocks there is an extensive library of pre-loaded fabrics to use in your projects.

Import and edit fabric images. You can either scan or use photographs of your own fabrics and import it into EQ8 to use in your quilt design. I have only used this function once as I decided with the wide range of fabrics available in the fabric library it wasn’t worth the time and effort. I used either the colour palette (you just choose a colour instead of a fabric or a similar fabric to mine from the library.

 Using EQ8 to design a simple quilt from scratch

The starting point is to open the quilt worktable and click on layout. This gives options about the style and layouts available, I decided to use the horizontal layout.

If you have really good eyesight you can see that the default settings are a 4 by 4 grid of 9” blocks. It is easy to change these by using the arrows and sliders in the worktable, but we will work with the default layout. You can also add borders from here. I used the default option and added 2” borders.

Once you have decided on the layout the next step is to design your quilt. Click on the design tab and you will open the design worktable. The sketchbook blocks panel opens with the default blocks. You can use a selection from here, you can open the library and use blocks from there or you can draw your own but  to make a quick and easy design I will use one of the blocks from here.  For the quilt on the left, I used the block straight from the block worktable but I was not happy with the colours one of the functions of the software is that once you have designed your quilt it is easy to change colours and fabrics. This enables you to audition colour and fabric combinations to give an image of how the finished quilt will look. I use this tool a lot as the colour and fabrics used, and the placement, can totally change the appearance of a quilt.               

I hope I have shown you how accessible the software is and how easy it to create a simple quilt of course this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what EQ8 is capable of.     

Where do you go from here?

At this point we do not have enough information to start making the quilt. We do know from the layout table that the interior measurement of the quilt is 36″ x 36″, and the border is 2″ all round, thus the exterior measurement is 40″ square. (all measurements are finished ones). We also know the blocks are 9″ square so 16 in total.

(It is worth noting that the software will not convert imperial measurements to metric. There is an option to use metric but if we changed our quilt to metric the block would be 9 cm it would not convert it to the equivalent metric size.)

A further function of EQ8 is that it can print the fabric yardage required, blocks, motifs and stencils, templates and rotary cutting charts.

One function that I use a lot is printing foundation patterns but I will focus on this in the next blog. I just want to show you the printouts for the quilt we have created. (If I can manage to get them into here from EQ)

The image of the quilts above were copied from the print function.

This is the yardage requirement printout.

This one is the rotary cutting printing chart and this combined with the yardage requirement helps you work out how many of each patch, the fabric and the size to cut.  E.G. for patch A the fabric is the grey  quilters linen you need to cut a strip 2 3/4″ wide then cut 2 3/4″ squares from the strip. 4 patches for each block and a total of 64 blocks.

You can also do the same for the border blocks but if they are plain, like the ones on our quilt, I don’t usually bother as the are fairly straight forward.

The printouts are A4 size so much easier to read than the formatted copy on here. You will notice (again, if you have good eye sight) that the cutting size for block B is 5 11/16 EQ8 has settings for rounding, I would usually set the rounding to the nearest 1/8th do instead of the  5 11/16 it would be given as 5 3/4.

One of the things that the software will not do is to tell you how to construct your quilt, therefore, you need to be confident to assemble your quilt from the information given on the above printouts. With a one block quilt  like this one, even for a novice quilt maker that shouldn’t prove too difficult but with some of the more complex designs I have had to admit defeat. 

You can also print templates and foundation papers ( this is the feature I use most) which I will look at in the next blog as well as some of the more complex blocks you can use. Just 

EQ8 has an in depth manual and there are classes on the website, there is also a blog and lots of other features on the website, so there is plenty of projects, guidance and support as well as the manual. Just a quick view of some of the resources available. I am now going to play with serendipity.

If you want to own your own copy of EQ8 and start designing then the website has been given a copy for you to win.   Just click here and follow the instructions

Good Luck!