January 6, 2016

Quilt 52: Sawtooth Star Poppies - Quilt Design Wizard software's cutting instructions

Way back in September, my friend and neighbor Anna asked me to make 3 more quilts for her: one for her granddaughter, one for her grandson, and one for herself.  The grandkids visited here in October, so I got those 2 done lickety-split.

(Here's my post about the granddaughter's quilt and here's one one about the grandson's.)

For the grandkids' quilts, we went into the fabric store with designs and yardage notes in-hand. For her quilt, however, well, that's a different story.  Anna wasn't sure she wanted another quilt until after she saw the poppy prints (below).  She was especially wild about the one on the right. 

(click the picture above to see a larger image)

So she bought some of that poppy print we picked up the coordinating solids for the top.  The poppy print in the upper left is for the backing.  I had a design idea at the time - but, well, every time I got the fabric out and started thinking about doing it, I just lost my enthusiasm for that design and my confidence that the quilt would turn out well.

But last week I pulled the fabric out once again, and sat down with my quilting software to come up with a design that I thought would do justice to the fabric.  And YAY!  I found a block design that will work beautifully:  "Sawtooth Star".

Do you love it?!?!  Me, TOO!

I've often mentioned Quilt Design Wizard - the software I use to design most of my quilts.  I love this tool - it's not perfect (watch out for the yardage calculator if you are doing on-point designs), but oh, it's so much fun to work with, does a decent job of calculating the required yardage, and gives great rotary cutting instructions.  As a matter of fact - I thought you might like to see what the rotary cutting instructions look like - so here you go:

This is the summary page, showing each of the 3 fabrics, and the different patches that need to be cut out:

(as always, click the images to see larger versions)

I'm aiming for the finished blocks to be 10" square (which means 10.5" square to allow for a 1/4" seam allowance).  The overall pattern (upper left of the above photo) labels each of the different patches according to their dimensions:

The "A" patches (on the corners) are just 3" squares, and you have to cut 4 of them.
"B" patches (triangles on the sides) now - started with cutting a 6/14 square and then slicing diagonally, which will give you 4 patches:
 And "C" - the center square, which is just a 5 1/2" patch:
 And then the "D" patches, made from squares cut at 3 3/8" and then diagonally sliced.

Pretty cool, eh?  I love how each of the detailed cutting guidelines are accompanied by a little sample of the fabric/colour from the quilt design.  And you can see from the diagram exactly how the block is put together with the various patches.  It makes it pretty easy, really.

The software vendor ("The Electric Quilt Company") offers 2 versions of their product:
The "...Wizard" version is the one I've been using.  It's a "reduced version" of Electric Quilt (has fewer features) and costs significantly less.  GREAT value for the money, and a good place to start if you aren't familiar with tools like this.  It's got a fairly easy-to-understand user interface, and comes with short tutorial videos which give you a great start learning the different features. I've had my copy for several years now and have loved it.

 These days I've been toying with getting the more expensive but fancier Electric Quilt. The main reason for this is that it comes with 5,000 fabric prints embedded (Wizard has 3,000) AND it allows you to scan and add your own prints to the digital library.  The scan/add feature would have come in really handy for several of the projects I did last year.  So maybe... maybe.. in 2016?

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