Wait until you see this! I have just received for review the Dear Jane add-on to EQ8 by The Electric Quilt Co. and I am having so much fun with this quilt design software! So, here are 4 cool ways to create a masterpiece quilt, whether you decide to recreate the original quilt or make it your own by changing things around.
As soon as I downloaded the Dear Jane Add-On, a Read First PDF popped up. It is objective, just long enough to show you how to use it, and walks you step-by-step through all the things you can do with it.
Yes, you need to have EQ8 and The Electric Quilting Co. has a promotion going on if you haven’t yet had the time to upgrade: use the Promo code EQ8DJ20 to get 20% off EQ8. This promotion expires on April 30, 2020.
This is not an affiliate plug for you to get the software. I mention it because I design all my quilts using EQ8. In fact, this is THE best version of the quilt design software since its inception: it is user-friendly, highly intuitive, and the customer support is first-rate and quick (when I am in the middle of a project and get stuck, I just need to send them an email and voila’! They email or call me back in no time at all to help).
Inspired by Brenda Manges Papadakis’ book Dear Jane: The Two Hundred Twenty-Five Patterns from the 1863 Jane A. Stickle Quilt, this add-on for EQ8 software gives you all 225 blocks and the full quilt layout designed by Jane A. Stickle during the American Civil War.
The Dear Jane add-on installs five project files into your existing EQ8 Projects directory to be used as the other projects that come with EQ8: as-is or with the changes you make. As you open the first project file, you see the entire quilt in all its glory and, for the first time, can customize it on the screen before you even begin to choose fabrics!
There are 5 EQ block libraries that can be accessed by opening the Block Library. The 225 blocks are divided into center blocks (and by rows) and border blocks. You also have a project file with block variations (seriously, you could spend hours playing with this!). The blocks are 4-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ and you can use all the regular EQ8 features with each one: print the templates, foundation templates, or rotary-cutting instructions, the yardage requirements, or a photo of the block.
Who prints a photo of the block? I do! Often, I use the same block design on a quilt and vary the colorways. So, I print the rotary cutting or foundation piecing instructions for one block and print all the other colorways as a photo to ensure I do not forget any of the block’s versions. This way, I save paper…
As you make the blocks, you can take photographs of each one and upload them to the second project file which has a Progress Chart. You can print this chart as you go along to show your progress to friends or blog followers. How cool is that?
The last two project files are for viewing and printing quilting motifs for every block. Beth Lewis, a long-time friend of Brenda Papadakis, allowed EQ to include the quilting motifs that she found in Jane Stickle’s original quilt after analyzing each block.
Now, as I promised, here are 4 cool ways to create a masterpiece Dear Jane quilt:
Move around or edit out the blocks you do not want to use
Let’s say I do not care for the third block on row A, the first block on row B, and the fourth block on row C (these spots are erased on the screenshot above). Just like that, they are gone and I can repeat the blocks I do like to fill in those spots. Remember, these are 4-1/2″ blocks, and cheating by removing the more time-consuming blocks is allowed!
The same is true for the border blocks. How would this quilt look if I repeated only a few blocks on the border instead of using all of them?
Resize the blocks
As I said, the center blocks in the Dear Jane quilt are all 4-1/2″. Suppose you would prefer to work with 6″ blocks? The original quilt finishes at 81″ and yours will be larger (think king-size bed with plenty of room for the drops). Regardless of the final dimensions of the quilt, the change in block size may make the quilt more approachable to many of us.
I remember trying the Farmer’s Wife quilt sampler blocks as a beginner quilter a long time ago and the tiny block size made me lose interest after the first two blocks.
Choose your favorite blocks for a new design
I love this quilt design from the Quilt Variations file! The border blocks are in the center and the center blocks are on the border! The opportunities for new designs are endless, particularly because of the triangular shape of the border blocks. This is why I love this quilt design software.
The block library also includes 125 additional blocks that could go well with the original Dear Jane ones. However, just by perusing the 225 blocks that Jane Stickler used, you can create a cool masterpiece quilt. Here are two new quilts I created using the Dear Jane add-on:
Nope, they have nothing to do with the Dear Jane quilt except I used some of my favorite blocks to create this bright design (fabrics are from the Maui Batiks collection by Moda Fabrics). This ‘Dear Denise 1’ design measures 40″ x 40″ with no change in block size.
How about the ‘Dear Denise 2’ design? I chose only one of the blocks and used awesome prints (from the Regent Street Lawns collection by Moda Fabrics). Oh… I need to make this quilt! It measures 45-1/2″ x 54-1/2″ and, guess what? The blocks are 9″. Just saying…
Audition the fabrics before cutting them
Should I go with the blue…
… or the red fabric (both are from the Best of Morris collection by Moda Fabrics)? You can upload to EQ8 photos of the fabrics you are considering, or you can use solid fabrics instead to decide on the overall colorway for the quilt. This is really how I work most of the time and having the blocks in your computer saves so much time!
Like most of us, I began designing quilts in my studio by selecting the fabrics I wanted to work with and making the blocks I liked. Then, I moved on to drawing the layout with the blocks first, then choosing the fabrics. Finally, I decided to try a quilt design software, chose EQ, and never looked back! From Camping Fun to Flights of Whimsy, I begin working with the software and then move on to my studio.
Are you ready? With the Dear Jane add-on for EQ8 and these 4 cool ways to create a masterpiece quilt, you will be entertained for a very long time! For the entire month of April, The Electric Quilt Company is offering a special introductory price for this add-on – 35% off! So, if that is how you roll… get it before the end of the month.
Have a fantastic day!