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With My DIY Block Design starting next week, I know some people are starting to wonder how to best go about designing their quilts, so allow me to be of assistance by sharing the pros and cons about these various quilt design tool options. Using graph or grid paper is the best option if you’re going for the manual option, as it will help you draw your designs much more accurately. The main con of this method is that it can mean a lot of mental acrobatics working out the fabric requirements for larger projects beyond a few quilt blocks!
I’ve previously shared about Pattern Jam on here before, and it’s just kept on getting better with age! The Premium version offers the full block library, the ability to rotate your blocks, unlimited fabric print uploads, and so much more! If you’re happy using the blocks available on Pattern Jam, this is definitely the best free option!
I’ve had a look at it on the App store, and it does look very impressive Photograph your own stash, over 180 block templates, yardage calculator, and more. But it’s price tag is a big one, and it is definitely something to only consider if you want to really make a go of designing your own quilts. All images, text, and content on this site are the sole property of Alyce Blyth and may not be reproduced, copied, derived, displayed, sold, republished, or transmitted without my permission. In addition to providing blog sponsorship and paid advertising, I may also occasionally include an affiliate link or a product review withing blog posts.
To create as accurate a repeat as I could, I first drew it out on graph paper, and then traced it onto the tracing paper to transfer to the block.
The last is the stripe, inspired by a chevron-like sashiko pattern (you can see it in the very first photo on my inspiration papers). Really lovely (and I know I’ve said this before on your blog but I LOVE the circles so so much)! I joined the Quilt Design A Day group on Facebook in February, having been inspired to design just for the sake of designing and creating (and building up my EQ7 muscles!). I was really looking forward to this week, but I found that it was quite a challenge at first.
On day 4, I changed the previous borders to add more negative space by removing every second chevron, and minimising the four-patch blocks. Stephanie incorporates vivid flower subjects with  architectural elements to set her work apart.
Sue Patten one of the most artistic, naturally talented and world renowned long arm quilters has teamed up with Frond Design Studios to knock your socks off! Frond Design Studios and Stephanie Brandenburg are featured frequently in Quilt Trends and Quilt magazines.
It’s great to jot down your ideas and draw out some rough sketches quickly without having to think about quilt math and accuracy. It will also help you work out the quilt math if you draw it to scale, where 1 square represents a certain amount of inches, ie.

But using this method is perfect for designing quilt blocks, as it easy to see the proportions of your block, and thus work out the quilt math for your block. But you do need to be able to interpret for yourself the fabric cutting measurements provided for each block and how to construct the block. This is the king of all quilt design options, as it includes all the options you need as a quilt designer.
It can be used for standard quilt designs, foundation paper piecing designs (and templates), curves and applique, and more. At times I may receive compensation for these, but I promise you will always get my honest opinion, for better or worse! We were all a little tired but it was a perfect finale to the conference – spend the day in a (relatively) quiet room, creating and making! Valori had already pre-mixed the colours for us to use, so we were able to just get straight into it. Seeing your designs come to life on the block, seeing the fabric design appear after each print of the block. I started printing it on this linen-type fabric first to test it out, but I liked the effect, so I kept going. These balloons are then filled with a bit of water and a long rubber band attached to the closed neck. I swapped the pink one I got for this neutral, which provided the perfect background for my own “dots”!
I was also inspired by Gemma’s latest design to do the one-quarter-greys, using a mid- and dark grey to keep the contrast. On day 5, you can see that I minimised the previous day’s border too from rectangles to squares! She has brought together artists that show quilters how to see their art in a whole new light. The amazing hand inked collection from Melissa Marie Collins (entitled INK) grabs you and pulls you in! And it could be that you would rather construct the block in a different method than the cutting measurements suggest, so that is something to remember when looking at the pattern. It is only available for iPads though, which would be a problem if you don’t have one! While the learning curve can be a little steep at first due to all the different things it can do, it is definitely worth pushing through, plus it’s available for both PC and Mac! It will also provide the fabric yardage requirements for each fabric you use in your quilt!
I started using that first actually, but got frustrated at not being able to do everything I wanted, so upgraded to EQ7. I decided that when I next went to QuiltCon, I was going to do less lectures so I could socialise more, and do a fabric printing class.

The day was structured really well, with Valori sharing about each step of the process before giving us time to do it. Get a good coverage of ink onto the brayer (the roller), cover the block with ink, and press. Yes, this method is different from lino printing – I did some of that in uni and loved that too! Everyone else then uses the shapes in the photo to inspire a quilt design, and the colours to, well, colour it! I found the alternating colours in the centre too distracting, so I swapped it out for the background grey.
Learning to identify what aspects we like or dislike, practicing how to change that which we don’t like.
You can find plenty of printable options around the web, or pick up a cheap notebook next time you’re near a store that sells office supplies! Here’s Country Picnic, a quick quilt design I made up using mostly Pie Making Day by Brenda Ratliff.
For example, here’s what the block I drew out on plain paper looks like in EQ7, with the quilt view and fabric yardage needed for the quilt. Thankfully when I registered (late) for QuiltCon 2016, there was still space in Valori Wells’ block printing class! We started with 45 minutes to draw out designs, sketching on tracing paper ready to transfer to the blocks.
First one is my favourite – you made perfect shape to use it or alone or to repeat and fill all the fabric. Last week was Medallion Quilt Design Week – for 7 days, we built up a medallion-style quilt, or for some, a row-by-row quilt. It was also scary not knowing what was coming next design or colour wise, so I did play it safe and decided early on to keep to the same colours, occasionally introducing a darker or lighter shade, and to also stick with simple geometric shapes. You can add your own color with Melissa's unique color technique, or enjoy the intricate black and white! And I only went to one lecture (mostly because a lot of them were repeat topics from last year, though!).
Vigorously rolling the ink out, keeping it moving and spreading it out, quickly pressing and re-inking, giving the tools and blocks a good scrubbing in between… And all on the final day of QuiltCon! If I was to change one thing overall, I think I’d have started my borders on a smaller scale.
Having the first border be a thicker one restricted my further borders to be thinner so that it didn’t look like a chunky mess.

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Simple flower pictures to color