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Creating Your Own Designs

Posted on: January 7th, 2014 by Lorna McMahon
Today’s post is all about creating your own quilt designs!
When I was young, I used to spend a lot of time drawing.
Animals were always my favourite subject.

And of all that past practice must have been a strong influence on my creative self because I have been designing my own quilts since I started quilting.  I wanted to make a quilt for my daughter and I found inspiration in the things that she liked.  Erin loves her cat, Fluffy.  She loves to read books.  I showed her the plan for her quilt and asked for her input concerning the colour scheme.  Erin added the little mouse to the top of the bookshelf.

Following the making of Erin’s Krazy Katz quilt, I did a lot of applique work.
And then I decided to experiment more with piecing.

After purchasing a flannel backed table cloth, and tacking that up as a design wall, I was inspired to create an improv quilt.

It started out less about drawing and more about playing.  Or so I thought.
I gathered up some colourful scraps and pieced together some random sized blocks.  It was fun.  But then I had to figure out how to piece them into a quilt.  Figuring out the size of the background pieces was not as easy as it looks either.  Quilt math has been known to be fatal.

I drew plans all this summer while my kids were swimming at the pool.
Maybe all that water soaked my brain.  Is that where the fish came from?
Graph paper is a great tool for designing quilts.

It is difficult for me to imagine just how a quilt will look in fabric though.  I knew that using design software would allow for the use of downloaded fabric swatches that could be placed into the drawings.  So I broke down and ordered EQ7.  I am still new at it, but catching on.

It amazes me to see the difference changing one element of the colourway can make!

This post is my entry for part 6 of the Sewing With Certainty Series, hosted by my friend Jessica of Quilty Habit.  Why don’t you join me over at her place and check out all the others who have linked up?!!  While you’re at it, if you haven’t been following along, click on the pretty picture to visit Jessica.  From her page you can click on all the past weeks’ link ups!

Keep On Quilting On!

30 Responses

  1. Anne says:

    All three quilts are beautiful, Lorna. Great job! :o)

  2. mtnquiltr says:

    Very interesting post, thank you! I've been hesitating about buying EQ7, whether I will find it useful or not. I'd really like to try things out in different colourways though.

  3. good morning-you have a wonderful gift! Love the kitty quiltKathy

  4. Jayne says:

    What an adorable Cat Quilt! I'm sure you made your daughter very happy! I have been wanting to put my designs on paper, so to speak, for a while now. I really need EQ7 but for a Mac!! For the time being I will muddle along with what I have!

  5. Jessica says:

    I can totally see why EQ7 is so awesome. Thanks for putting it into perspective. 🙂 it's also really neat to see your drawings come to fruition! Thanks for participating!

  6. It's really fun (and interesting!) to see your drawing concepts and then see the final result! I'm excited to see more of what you create with that software.

  7. Lindsey says:

    Your drawings are really great! It's fun to see your design translate into a quilt! That's been my favorite part of the design process! It's much more fulfilling to me to make my own designs and see them turn into quilts! I use mostly Adobe Illustrator to design my quilts, but sometimes I will hand sketch an idea that comes to mind on paper–you are a very good artist..I am not so great a drawing on paper! 🙂 Thanks for sharing Lorna!

  8. Oh, see? I tell Alyssa I'm not quite sold on E7 yet, and then you post another reason I should be! lol Love seeing your process 🙂

  9. Vicki says:

    You make it all sound so easy. I absolutely love your work. You are a definite positive influence to us all.

  10. Susan says:

    Love the cat quilt! And keep playing with EQ7–it's an awesome program!

  11. Great post, Lorna! It's so fun to see the sketches and then the actual finished pieces!

  12. Quilt math has been known to be fatal! Ha ha no kidding. 🙂

  13. Glinda ♥ says:

    I'm still a graph paper and pencil girl but you are tempting me with the EQ7 – is it really that easy to use? You certainly make it look that way but then that is your gift, my friend 🙂

  14. Mara says:

    I've always wondered how people do that computer generated quilt thing, I just draw mine out too, maybe I should keep my papers, I love seeing yours.

  15. sherry says:

    nice quilts…i love the old way of design work where we use our pencils, graph paper and imagination

  16. Krazy Kats quilt is just way too cute! Awesome that you have taken your talent for drawing to designing quilts!

  17. So cool! I love process nearly as much as I love finishes! You're a much better designer than I. I get an idea and just kind of \”do\”. I always regret it because when I'm finished I don't have anything to go back and share! I need to stay more focused! 🙂

  18. Sharon says:

    Those are such fun quilts. Very cool how you took the cat drawing and turned it into a quilt!

  19. HollyM says:

    I love them all. It's so nice to see the sketches too. I like that you used your time at the pool to create.

  20. Becca says:

    I purchased EQ 6 a few years ago. I upgraded to EQ7 about a year ago. I don't use it as much as I should, but when I need some quick numbers, or to find out what this idea might look like in color it is my first stop. I love how easy it is to manipulate and color the blocks. The quilt math doesn't hurt, but I think EQ7 often over-estimates what you need. Thank you for sharing your process!

  21. Sue Daurio says:

    I love the kitty quilt 🙂 Yep couldn't live without EQ7. I've made so many more virtual quilts that real quilts!

  22. The cat one is great – it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland.

  23. Great quilts! Also love your drawings on the graph paper. Very fun.

  24. Your Krazy Kat quilt is just awesome…I love the cats 🙂

  25. Anonymous says:

    The way you design your own quilts is amazing! I wish that I could do that. Your quilts are so fun! Nice work!

  26. I'm a pencil/paper person too, but seeing it in fabric makes all the difference in the world.

  27. Lorna you are so creative and your kitty quilt is adorable!! You will enjoy EQ7 and I can just imagine the great things you'll be making! Thanks for sharing.Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

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  29. Cool quilts! I don't use EQ. I tried version 5 years ago and I just didn't like it. Good old graph paper did it for a while till I realized I was an engineer, and I had some of the best designing software at my fingertips! LOL So I now have 18 patterns in my Craftsy shop, and all my graphics and diagrams were done with…AutoCAD! haha I'm not an engineer anymore, but I still use AutoCAD all the time for new patterns.Fixed the \”no reply blogger\” issue, thanks for the heads up!

  30. Elise Lea says:

    You always have such fun designs Lorna! I totally know about the quilt math being fatal though…I also have found not double checking measurements to be fatal as well lol. Thanks for sharing about your process!