March 4, 2013

Using Microsoft Word (software you probably already have) to plan quilts

I have not been quilting long enough to justify buying software to help visualize and design quilts I’d like to make, so I decided to use Microsoft Word, software that’s installed on most personal computers these days and which I use every day at work.

I wasn’t sure if it would work at first, but actually, I am happy with the results. I started by creating a basic table with 10 cells across and 10 cells down and with borders turned on. Then I just started applying color to the different table cells to build a design. The pixelated flower design was the first one I attempted and was total freeform—as I had no care how the size or design turned out—I was literally just playing around seeing if the software would suffice for my design needs.

The other project I am planning are a couple jungle themed baby quilts. I have some really great fabric with bright colors and snakes, lions, monkeys, etc that I want to emphasize with some kind of square block design. For weeks I’ve been visualizing wanting to design a really colorful, solid border, so after creating the pixelated flower in Word software, I decided to use the same process for getting the jungle quilt out of my head and on paper, and voilà, it worked great. The results match almost exactly what I’ve been dreaming up in my head, plus the process of using the software helped add ideas I hadn’t thought of—such as the yellow squares in the corners.

Very excited to feel like I don’t have to buy specialized software to do detailed planning. At some point I plan to write up more about the process of using software you probably already have on your computer to design quilts. But for now, I’ve got some quilts to work on!

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