CAD Quilting- An Overview

My husband was the CEO of a civil engineering firm. There were only two jobs at the firm that I thought even sounded interesting- one was graphic designer to put together proposals and the other was CAD tech. I actually did a few proposals for the company with my freelance graphic design skills but the whole notion of Computer Assisted Design has always intrigued me. Only recently did I think about the fact that I have been doing CAD Quilting for YEARS!!!!

One of my favorite quilt design tools is called Electric Quilt 8. I was teetering on the edge of buying EQ7 and when EQ8 came out I bought it right away. EQ8 has a HUGE library of blocks and “fabrics” that you can use to design quilt blocks, traditional block based quilts and even more modern quilts. Although I hardly ever use manuals, I did purchase the manuals for EQ8 and I went through them pretty religiously at the beginning which has helped me immensely over the years. If you are interested in designing your own quilts or in playing with color more, this is the program for you. It is available for $239.95 from the Electric Quilt Company.

RIGHT NOW (Through July 8 at 11:59pm) you can get EQ8, other software, add-ons, books and printables by using the code WOW25 at checkout!

(These are affiliate links. It does not cost you any more to use these links, but I will receive a small percentage of the sale which helps keep this blog online!)

I know some of you have EQ8 already but aren’t sure how to use it. . . I just started working on putting together a class for you that will include how I combine my images from EQ8 with Pro-Stitcher Designer to plan out my quilting! Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter so that you don’t miss hearing about the class!

Another tool that I use more and more often- and especially with my more modern quilt designs- is Adobe Illustrator. The Adobe products are available as a subscription based on how many of their products you use. Most Quilt Designers are using Illustrator only, but I also use InDesign to write my patterns and PhotoShop when the need arises. I have been a PhotoShop user for so many years (20+) that sometimes I just revert to doing things there.

I am a longarm quilter and my Handi Quilter machine is set up with a wonderful computerized quilting system called Pro-Stitcher. This program allows me to set up the area of my quilt, fill it with a design, crop the designs so that they fit my area exactly and stitch on the quilt. Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve, but anyone who really wants to learn is capable of mastering these techniques. As a Handi Quilter National Educator, I travel the country teaching people how to use Pro-Stitcher and you can always book a class with me!

Pro-Stitcher also offers another program called Pro-Stitcher Designer that allows you to edit digital designs and to make your own digital designs to be used with Pro-Stitcher. It blows my mind that I can create a design while sitting on my couch, load it onto a thumb drive, put it on my Pro-Stitcher tablet and be quilting away in just a matter of minutes. It is a lot of fun!

I know a lot of people are using Canva to make quilt patterns, but I haven’t “gone pro” because I already had the Adobe Suite which is kind of the gold standard of design programs. I do use the FREE version of Canva quite a bit for posting on Social Media.

Those are the CAD Quilting programs that I use EVERY SINGLE WEEK. I am sure that there are some more programs out there. Let me know in the comments!

Would you like more in depth descriptions of how I use these programs? Let me know!

What are your thoughts?

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