Have you seen the “DIY Block Design” e-book yet? My good friend, Alyce, of Blossom Heart Quilts has published an e-book which makes designing your own quilt blocks so easy! Here is my honest to goodness review of the book:
Alyce Blyth has created a gem with “DIY Block Design”. The clean, easy to navigate layout and clear, conversational writing make this book a must-have for any budding or seasoned quilt designer. Presented in workbook format, “DIY Block Design” has beautiful illustrations, graphically appealing and accurate charts, and handy formulas so you can be designing your own quilt today, no matter what your skill level. As an experienced quilt designer, I love having all the calculations done for me in an easy to reference, consolidated guide. I know I will be referring back to the charts and formulas again and again. For beginning designers, the step-by-step workbook format is straight-forward and concisely presented. I will definitely be suggesting (or insisting!) that my quilt students purchase this book.
Alyce is doing a month long blog hop with guest posts from new designers attempting their first block design and experienced designers sharing their favorite tips. You can find the full schedule at the bottom of this post.
When Alyce asked me to share my design process, I wasn’t really sure where to start! Each block and quilt I design has a unique process, depending on my inspiration, and how traditional or modern the design is. I do get asked quite a bit about the tools and computer programs I use when I design a pattern, so I thought I would go over each one briefly. If you have any questions, please ask!
Disclaimer: When you design a block, you really don’t NEED anything other than graph paper, a pencil and, of course, “DIY Block Design”! This list will come in handy if you want to take it a step further, or design patterns for other people to use.
Tools I Use For Quilt Design:
A Sketchbook: I like to carry around a small sketchbook and pencil, so I can draw anytime I have a free moment. I prefer to use plain paper rather than graph paper when I am first brainstorming, so that I am not limited by a grid. I figure out how to make my design work as a quilt later.
A Camera Phone: Whenever I see inspiration, I take a photo. I like to keep these on my desktop in a folder, so I can look through it when I want to be inspired.
EQ7: EQ7 (Electric Quilt) is quilt design software. I tend to use this for more traditional block-based designs. I love being able to design a quilt or block in EQ7, because I can easily play with various fabrics and see exactly what the finished product will look like. EQ7 will also give you templates, cutting measurements and fabric yardage, but you still need to do the math and check everything. I find that EQ7’s calculations are often inaccurate (This is not a fault of the program. It’s just that not all blocks will fit standard computer calculations).
Adobe Illustrator: I still need to learn all the ins and outs of Illustrator, but I love that I can design a quilt in EQ7 and then pull the blocks apart in Illustrator to create construction diagrams.
These blocks were designed in EQ7 for my Spring Bouquet Quilt, and then “pulled apart” in Illustrator so I could show other quilters how to construct the blocks.
Adobe Photoshop: I think most quilt designers prefer to use Illustrator over Photoshop, but it is what I learned to use in grad school, so I stick with it! I love that I can draw up a quilt without being constrained by a grid, so it comes in handy for a non-traditional design. I can also load an inspiration photo into Photoshop and draw a design right over the photo. You can do this in EQ7 also, but it needs to work within a grid.
For Example: I wanted to design a block based on a Viewmaster Reel. I uploaded a photo of a reel into photoshop and drew my design lines on top of the photo. I used this computer sketch to develop my templates for the Viewmaster Block.
Adobe inDesign: I use inDesign to write up the actual pattern and layout the illustrations. I learned how to use inDesign myself after watching a few of Adobe’s instruction videos. I find the program to be very intuitive and I don’t know what I did without it!
Money-saving Tip: I get all my Adobe products through a monthly subscription. If you are a student or teacher, or know a student or teacher, you can get a subscription for $19.99/month. You are allowed to download the products to two computers, so you can each have access to the products.
Thanks for stopping by! I’m in the middle of a move right now, so please check back. I’ll be blogging more once I am settled in from moving!
Here is the rest of the blog hop schedule:
October 1 – Let the games begin!
Week 1: Inspiration
Week 2: Sketches
Week 3: Making
Week 4: Finishes
October 30 – Linky opens!