Friday, August 17, 2012

New time sink

I found something to occupy me while the sewing machine is in the shop.  My lovely husband bought me Quilt Pro 6 design software.  I have been spending some quality time with it in the evenings (ahem, some daytime hours too) to really figure out what I can and can’t do with it.  Since it came with a 30 day trial period, I really need to figure everything out now in case it won’t do what I’m looking for, in which case I can get a full refund.  Don’t tell the family I’ve pretty much already decided to keep it, or I’ll lose my excuse for spending way more time playing than I should be when there are plenty of chores waiting!

Here’s a sample of what I’ve been up to.

Blue Kyoto Garden

I wanted different borders than the pattern for my Kyoto Gardens quilt call for but had trouble visualizing how my border ideas fit with the quilt.  This pattern has unusual block sizes  (10.25”, 4.25”) so it wasn’t a thrill to draw it out to scale on a single page of graph paper.  This was a perfect task to put the software through its paces.

I drafted the block and sashing units once, clicked to fill them in with fabrics, then filled in all the quilt layout with the drafted bits with a few clicks of the mouse. The next night I learned how to daft pieced borders and played around with a few ideas before settling on this one.

Tonight I figured out how to export the files in a format that I can share here. OK, I also played with a few quilt layouts that I’ll never actually get around to sewing…all in the name of testing the software of course!

Twisted autumn leaf

What I want from design software is pretty basic:

* the ability to see how changing colours or colour placement will affect the look of a block or quilt

* move blocks around easily to try new combinations and orientations

* draw block construction diagrams

* audition border ideas without having to actually cut into precious fabric

This program gives me all that, plus a few extras, like the ability to scan my own fabric so I can audition it in the quilt layout (I haven’t actually tried it yet – that’s tomorrow’s play plan).  There’s a large block library to work with, plus the ability to draft my own.  I can draft paper piecing foundations. The program will also take my layout and figure out fabric requirements and strip cutting charts, though I’ll be careful with those because there doesn’t seem to be a feature that lets me specify what methods I’m using to construct things and that can affect yardage requirements.  That’s OK, I can do math.  I’ve been doing it for all the quilts I’ve designed on graph paper!

Frienship star on pointI’ve been hearing and reading a lot about EQ7, but that software is out of my price range.  Earlier this week I stumbled across a mention of Quit-Pro and followed a link to their  home page. By the description on the site it seemed to have the features I was looking for.  It was also on sale, and the sale brought it down to almost half the price of EQ7. The risk-free trial gave me the last little nudge to try it out. From a bit of research I’ve learned that EQ7 has more embroidery and photo editing capabilities, but those aren’t things I was going to use anyway.  I may be missing out on other EQ features I’m not aware of, but I couldn’t afford it anyway! Since I’ve never used EQ I can’t say how the two compare, but in a price range I could afford Quit-Pro is a pretty good fit for me.  I’m not sure why I haven’t heard of it before.  Maybe EQ just has a better marketing team!

I’m off to bed now.  I have to be well rested tomorrow to play with seriously test more features of this software.

4 comments:

  1. Good for you! I'm happy you are enjoying checking it out, and I hope it does all you want from the program; sounds good to me! After you've tried it all, maybe I'll get brave and try it. Sounds like it would be a big help. Have fun playing with it tomorrow! ---"Love"

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  2. Your play looks like loads of fun! I have Quilt Pro 3 and when it came out (in 1999) it was ahead of the EQ software. It sounds like they've changed by leaps and bounds for what you have now! I can't wait to see what you come up with tomorrow!

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  3. From the look of it, I'd say you were getting the hang of that software. Love what you did so far!

    Liri

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  4. Oh, this is a good time sink! I have EQ6 which I love for trying out patterns and colors. I don't think I use half the capable features of it though, just the basics you mentioned before. Wish I had known about Quilt Pro and saved myself some money. Oh well, it has certainly paid itself off in saved fabric usage. Have fun and I can't wait to see what you come up with now!

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