Hello friends! SO, the last Sugar Block pattern of the year is out, and now it’s time to get your quilt put together (unless you’re waiting to add even more blocks to your sampler, which is an excellent idea too!). I don’t know about you, but for me, when it comes time to stitch together sampler blocks, sometimes I find my creative juices are just drained. To sash or not to sash? Should I add borders? What color? How wide? And this one is so common…..I only have 12 blocks but I want my quilt to be big!
Aaaahh, yes, been there, done that. Admittedly, my mind always seems to go somewhere like this…
Ummmmmmm BORING! Snap out of it, Amy! There is more to life than 3 X 4 white sashed layouts! Alas, I imagine you probably stumble into the same rut from time to time. You’ve got yummy blocks that you really want to get stitched together into a totally awesome quilt you’ll love, but you feel like it looks the same every time…
That’s exactly why I decided to write this post! Ever since I started playing with EQ7 (quilt design software by The Electric Quilt Company), it’s like a whole new world opened up for me. All of the sudden, I had the ability to not only design blocks, but also to experiment with layouts beyond what I ever thought possible.
Let me show you what I mean.
So let’s just start simply, shall we? Hmmm, ok, if the plain sashing is too bland, we could add cornerstones… A little predictable, but lovely nonetheless.
Hmmm, forget the sashing for now. What if we turn our blocks on point? Maybe alternate with plain blocks? Perhaps a couple of borders?
Hmm, interesting. How about we scrap the alternating plain blocks and just add some plain sashing instead? This layout uses 13 blocks so I’ve thrown in an extra.
What if we use a contrasting color for the sashing? Totally different look.
Let’s see here….what else could we do? Say I want to make a much larger quilt. What can I do, other than add a big fat border? First, let’s try adding some alternating plain blocks. Again, this one has an extra 13th block added in.
Ok, ok, I’m liking it, but maybe the plain blocks are toooo plain. I could add in some ridiculously awesome quilting in those spots, or some embroidery, but maybe I’m not in the mood for that. How can I keep this cool alternating layout, that helps make my quilt much bigger, but without all that huge gaping empty spaces?
Iiiiiiiinteresting, but not exactly what I had in mind. Maybe too busy? The blocks kinda get lost in all that crazy movement. How do I give my precious sampler blocks more definition? How do I draw more attention to them?
Oooooh, yes! This makes the chain a little bit smaller and gives them room to breathe, dontcha think? In faaaaaaact (shhhh, spoiler alert), if you like where this layout is going, you miiiiiiiiiight just hang tight until my new Craftsy class launches in about a month. Maaaaaaybe I threw something similar to this in. Maaaaaaaybe I sized it to fit your Sugar Blocks perfectly. I’m not saying that’s a fact. I’m just saying it miiiiiight be something that could maybe possibly sorta kinda perhaps be included. :)
Now what if I just want to throw all of this business out the window and go crazy? Do I have permission to go crazy? Let’s get CRAAAAAAZY….
I totally envision some raging cool quilting motif in the middle and corners of this one…or more piecing…or embroidery…or the moon.
Can someone please tell me why my blocks must be in a standard symmetrical grid pattern? Of course they don’t have to! Lean in close and let me whisper a secret in your ear….there are no quilt police. We think there are. Sometimes we can almost feel them sneaking into our sewing rooms and threatening to write us tickets when we feel tempted to get a little craaaazy. Nope. They don’t exist. Crazy isn’t crazy. It’s unique, inspired, expressive, fun, unexpected, interesting, dynamic. Crazy = awesome.
Feeling a little inspired??? Isn’t this layout stuff fun? I know!!!
Let me take you through a few simple steps on EQ7 that will allow you to play more freely with your layouts, and then stick around til the end of the post because guess what? The Electric Quilt Company is giving away an EQ7 software package to one lucky reader!!!! Seriously, you guys, this is $189 software! Worth every penny (priceless when you use it every day like I do!). Thank you EQ! SUCH an exciting giveaway!
So, let’s start on the main screen of our quilt worktable. Right now I’ve got a quilt on the screen that I’ve been playing with, perhaps I’m not loving it….wanting to try something else…
- First thing I’m going to do is click on the Layout tab at the top, and then click on Layout Library.
- This will pull up a very extensive library of layout options. You can browse by style, by size…there hundreds to choose from. For this project, I especially love the section specifically for 12″ blocks. Once you’ve browsed the library and selected a layout you want to play with, click it (you’ll see a blue box around it once you do), then go down to the bottom and click Add to Sketchbook. You can add as many layouts to your sketchbook as you like. Once you’re happy with your selection, click Close in the bottom right of the window.
- Now, that window is gone and we’re back to our main quilt worktable. Click on the View Sketchbook button near the top…it looks like a cute pair of glasses.
- My sketchbook will pop up, and I want to make sure I’m on the quilts tab (the dark orange one on top), which I think is the default every time you open your sketchbook. Use the scroll bar to look through all of the layouts that you added when you were browsing the library (note that all of the quilts you’ve designed in this project will appear here, in addition to the blank layouts you selected).
- Double click on the layout that you want to play with, and it will open up in your main quilt worktable.
- Ok, so now your new layout has popped up, so it’s time to add the blocks. Click on the Set Block icon on the righthand toolbar. It’s near the top and looks like a block with a little arrow popping off of it. When this button is depressed, you can add blocks to your layout by simply clicking on the block you want from the sketchbook blocks window (to highlight it), then clicking in the spot you want to put it in in your quilt.
- Add and arrange your blocks to your heart’s content, and then if you want to play with colors (recoloring any portion of the quilt, including the patches in the blocks, and also any sashing or borders, etc, simply click the Paintbrush icon on the right toolbar. Your color/fabric palette will pop up, so you can click the color or fabric you want to use, then click on the patch you want to color.
- When you want to add/remove borders or sashing, or adjust their size, look to the bottom of the page and click on the Borders tab. You can tweek them to your heart’s content in the border window that will pop up on the right of the screen. Then when you’re finished with borders/sashing, click on Layer 1 again to go back to the main quilt worktable.
Doesn’t this look like fun?? It is! It’s like coloring for grown-ups! Not even just grown ups…my kids are on my like white on rice to let them play with a quilt design on EQ7. So you wanna win it? Use the giveaway box below to enter!
Good luck everyone, and thank you, Electric Quilt Company, for such a fantastic giveaway! I hope you all have fun deciding on a layout for your Sugar Block quilt, or whatever quilt you’re working on! And don’t forget to upload a photo of it in the Flickr group!