Monday, June 16, 2008

Computer software and quilting

You obviously have a computer, or you would not be reading this blog. You may have found my blog because you are also interested in quilting. Well today I want to talk a little about both of these......Computers and Quilting.

In todays technical world the two are definitely merging. Quilting used to be done out of necessity to keep warm. But today we make quilts as works of art for not only our beds but our tables, and walls too. We even where our quilts! There have been many fashion shows for these quilted garments.

With all this talent we had to move into the next phase. Which is to use our computers to aide us in design and construction. But how do we use our computers? That is the real question. I know of a quilter who simply wanted to see how a block looked repeated, for a quilt she wanted to make. So she drew the block, colored it, and then scanned it into her computer. Then she simply made a "tiled" wallpaper from her block. It gave her an idea of how it looked without sewing a stitch. The next step she took was cutting out fabric and gluing them to paper to make a mock block. Then scanned that into the computer and did the same thing. She now was able to see her design in fabric. Still not sewing a stitch. Pretty creative, I thought.

That is just one simple use for the computer with quilting there are so many others. We can now print on fabric right from the computer. So you can draw and design your own one of a kind fabric! You can print your favorite photos on fabric. And don't forget about your children's drawings. Talk about preserving the moment and making them feel like they are really special. After printing these works of art, you can frame them or make a quilt that they can show off to their friends. Pretty impressive right? What grandma or grandpa wouldn't cherish a home made gift like that.

There are even computer software programs available today. These programs can give you total freedom from the old fashioned graph paper and colored pencils. You can design your blocks, sashing and borders. Letting you see the finished quilt and allowing you to make changes as needed. Try out different colors, or fabrics (some programs come with their own fabric libraries). You can play with different borders, and block layout. Printing out fabric requirements or cutting instructions eliminates some of the stress in buying fabric or assembly. If you like to paper piece many of these programs even give you an options to print out your foundation blocks in any size you need.

When it comes to design, the sky is the limit. You can use traditional blocks from their library, modify them or design your own. All with out ever touching the sewing machine. Now that is modern quilting at its best. Of course if all you want to do is design, then you will be in heaven and may never leave your computer. But if you want to actually sew the quilt, you may find you will have to turn off the computer and turn on your sewing machine.

If you are one of the lucky ones to have found a great computer use for quilting, why not share it with us by leaving a comment here. I would love to how you use your computer to better you quilting.

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