I’ve been doing a lot of quilt designing lately, which means I’m spending a lot of time on the computer. “Stack o’ Bubbles” – a new quilt pattern – was released on Monday, and I have two more patterns that I’m currently working on writing.

Stack o' Bubbles finished quilt

Stack o’ Bubbles

With all this going on, I thought it would be a good time to share a couple of tips for working with the Electric Quilt software I use.

In the spring, I was fortunate to be able to purchase a copy of EQ7 at the AQS quilt show in Lancaster, PA. Since then I have been playing and experimenting with the software and learning what I can by trial and error. In addition to the patterns I’m writing, it seems I have a gazillion practice pieces I’m using in EQ7.

I recently watched a recorded webinar that Amy Ellis held for the Modern Quilt Guild a few months ago. Her webinar focused on using EQ7, so I was extremely interested to hear what she had to say. I learned a few tips in using the fabric library that have changed the way I work with this software, so I thought I would share them with you. BTW, if you are a member of the MQG, you can access the webinar through their website on the Resources page.

My favorite feature of this software is being able to import fabric swatches. It is so much easier to design a quilt with the actual fabric and gives me a real feel for how the quilt will look once I piece it.

Before I bought EQ7 I used Excel to draw my quilts. I could import fabric swatches there, but it was an extremely time consuming task. EQ makes it so much easier and saves me a ton of time.

One of the tips Amy gives is this: When starting a new project, import the fabric you want to work with and delete the default fabrics that are in the sketchbook. Even though I knew I could import fabrics, I did not realize I could delete the default fabrics. It keeps my sketchbook so much cleaner and eliminates the clutter of fabrics that won’t be used.

EQ7 Sketchbook screenshotIn the screenshot above, you can see there are a total of 40 fabrics. These are all from Basic Grey’s Saturday Morning line that was recently released. Normally, there are 80 default fabrics showing here and when I import any new ones, they go to the end of the list. I found myself constantly scrolling to the end to get to the fabrics I actually wanted to use. This one tip alone has saved me a huge amount of time.

So, where do you find images of the fabrics? Moda, Robert Kaufman, and Andover show all their fabric lines on their websites and they are available for download at no cost. I love this feature!! I don’t know about other manufacturer’s yet – I’m still exploring.

You can also purchase fabric packages from Electric Quilt. I have not done that  so I can’t speak to the fabrics that are included. Amy did state in her webinar that Electric Quilt works to keep the fabrics current so they are always fresh and new.

The second tip I learned is that I can rotate fabrics. This is especially helpful when using directional prints. The icon shown below (two green squares with an arrow) wasn’t one of the default buttons on my toolbar, so I didn’t realize it was there. I simply added it to the toolbar; now rotating fabrics is an option!

rotate fabric icon eq7

These are two very simple tips that have helped me in using this software. I hope they help you as well. If you have any tips that you would like to share please do so in the comments. I have barely scratched the surface with what this software can do, but it has already made a huge difference in how I move an idea from a paper drawing to an actual quilt.

P.S. Don’t forget to visit this week’s MCM post and yesterday’s Giveaway post for the opportunity to win a PDF copy of one of three new patterns. One of mine and two from Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs.

Linking to Lorna for Let’s Bee Social and Kelly for Needle & Thread Thursday