Until now, I've used Adobe Illustrator to design my quilts. Illustrator is a design powerhouse that I've relied on for more than 12 years professionally, but using it to design quilts is like using a sledgehammer on a thumbtack. What I wanted for quilting was a program that would easily create quilt-specific shapes, efficiently fill those shapes with fabric swatches, provide a better grid to work from, and would calculate fabric requirements for me. Being on a Mac, Electric Quilt wasn't an option for me, nor does EQ come with many pre-loaded modern fabric swatches.
Enter the Threadbias Quilt Design Tool. It's a web-based program that has all the features I've been wanting and it's 100% accessible to me and my Mac. Even better, you pay a monthly subscription price to access the tool, so there's no big up-front investment. I couldn't sign up fast enough.
So now that it's been rolled out, what do I think of it? I've played around with it quite a bit now, and it pretty much does exactly what I want it to do. There is no question that I can design blocks and quilts exponentially faster than I do with Illustrator. It took me all of 10 minutes to design this block:
And another 15 minutes to come up with the resulting quilt design and export it as a JPG. (I like this design so much, I've already started cutting the fabric to make it!)
One more click and I had my fabric requirements. No more quilty math? I think that's worth the Design Tool's subscription fee right there. : )
Some other features I love:
• You can "color swap"—for example, you can make every green section purple instead, in just one click.
• You can export simple shapes to use as cutting templates.
• You can automatically make "composed shapes", such as half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles, or hexagons made up of equilateral triangles.
So I love the Threadbias Quilt Design Tool! Here are some tips for getting the most out of it:
• Watch the tutorial videos. I admit, I'm one of those people who likes to skip the instructions and just jump right into something like this. I can't tell you the number of times that attitude has tripped me up (usually while assembling Ikea furniture). It didn't work out any better for me with the Quilt Design Tool. So after fumbling around for a bit, I spent 7 minutes watching the introductory video on the design tool's main page. That was time very well-spent! Seven minutes was was all it took, and suddenly the user interface made perfect sense to me. You can also find a YouTube playlist with 20 short videos that explore the tool in more depth.
As long as you follow those three tips, I think you'll have a great experience with the Design Tool and you'll be as in love with it as I am. : ) Click here to sign up for the design tool—subscriptions are $10 per month. (That's less than the price of a yard of fabric!)
To convince you to try it out, Threadbias is offering a free one-month pass to the Design Tool, or a one-month credit on your existing subscription. Just leave any comment on this post to enter the giveaway. Be sure to leave your email address if you're a no-reply blogger, so I can contact you if you win. And please note that if you do win, you must sign up for a free account on Threadbias in order to use the design tool.
Don't forget to follow along with the rest of the blog hop for more chances to win. And thank you, Threadbias, for giving me a better quilt-designing option!
Monday, March 25 - Freshly Pieced
Tuesday, March 26 - Don't Call Me Betsy
Wednesday, March 27 - Generation Q Magazine
Thursday, March 28 - The Sometimes Crafter
Friday, March 29 - Diary of a Quilter
Monday, April 1 - Swim, Bike, Quilt
Tuesday, April 2 - Fresh Lemons
Wednesday, April 3 - West Coast Crafty
Thursday, April 4 - Sew, Mama, Sew!
Friday, April 5 - Alison Glass
Saturday, April 6 - Pink Castle Fabrics
Sunday, April 7 - Ellison Lane Quilts