EQ asked if I would consider being an EQ Ambassador for 2017 and I was happy to agree! I purchased EQ7 at the beginning of 2012, five years ago now! Just a few months prior, I had joined a the Cocorico Bee, a paper pieced bee. I began designing blocks for the bee using paper and pencil and quickly realized that it would be in my best interest to look into a software program where I could make changes to my designs quickly and easily. I started by using what I had, Photoshop. My first paper pieced block pattern that I released for sale was my iceskate. I drew it by hand and scanned it. Then I drew over the lines in Photoshop. Then came the truly difficult and tedious part, breaking apart the sections of the pattern to print separately.
At the end of that design experience, once again, I found myself looking for something different. Perhaps Photoshop could have worked for me but it is a complicated program and, at the time, I knew very little about how to use it. I know that I lot of designers use Illustrator but it is costly and, again, a complicated program. So I decided to try EQ7 hoping that it would be easier for me to learn since it was tailor made for quilting.
Within a couple of months, I released by second pattern, this vintage skier, using EQ7 to draft it.
I taught myself how to use EQ7, just referring to the manual and by Googling questions and looking for answers online. I find the program fairly intuitive. Tech support at EQ is excellent too and they were able to help with me a few problems that I encountered. That said, if you have an opportunity to take an EQ class, I would certainly recommend it because it will help you to jump right in without frustration and to learn those little tricks that I have only discovered over time with use.
I continued to work on my paper pieced design skills by challenging myself to create a garden themed quilt with 16 original block designs. By the end of this project, I felt that I understood the basics of paper pieced design in EQ pretty well. My design skills had improved and my ability to use the program had also!
I really like using EQ7 for paper pieced block design. It allows me to upload scanned images that I have sketched, photographs, or other inspirational images, and use them as a reference as I overlay my block divisions.
Then I can color the image using solids, as I did here for my spring chicken, or fabrics that are provided by EQ or those that I choose to scan in and add to my Fabric Library. I export these images to use as the block diagrams for my patterns. Then I create the pdf foundation pieces by grouping and numbering my pieces and then choosing to print the foundation pattern.
This, right here, makes EQ worth every penny to me. My sections are broken apart for me (in the groupings that I chose and numbered) and then I have the ability to move them around on the page prior to saving them as a pdf.
I use EQ7 for nearly all of my designs and honestly think that it is a great product. I have added the EQ7 class that I will be teaching at QuiltCon to my workshop offerings if you are interested. I would really love to share the step by step instructions with you to help you create your own designs. Of course, I do not use the program for only pictorial paper pieced blocks but also traditionally pieced quilts and paper pieced quilts. In my gallery of completed quilts, you can see lots of examples of my work, nearly all of which were designed in EQ.
Congratulations to Christa Watson, the other EQ Ambassador for 2017! Have you seen Christa’s new Craftsy class? If not, check it out here.
I look forward to sharing all my EQ creations with you this year.