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FAQ: Quilt Software and Computer Quilting
Page 1 of 3

Answered by Sharla Hicks about quilting software.

Find answers like what is the best software, when is a graphic program best, can I export and import blocks into quilt software, can I scan fabric or blocks into quilting software? Also check out our 10-20% off discounts on popular quilt software titles in our store and our quilt software reviews by Sharla Hicks.

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Questions about Computer Quilting and Quilt Software Selection

1.  FAQ: What is the Best Program?

2.  FAQ: The Program manuals are long, do you have anything to help?

3.  FAQ: Why would I need a Quilt Program when I have a Graphic Program that I can create a quilt in?

4.  FAQ: When is a Paint/Draw program better than a Quilt Program?

5.  FAQ: Can I export a block or quilt to another "quilting program".

6.  FAQ: Can I export a block or quilt to another Paint/Draw program (Corel Draw, Illustrator) or Desktop Publishing program (Word, Word Perfect, Claris).

7.  FAQ: Can I "scan" in my block and use with my "quilt program"?

8.  FAQ: Can I "scan" my fabric into my Quilt Program?

9.  FAQ: Where can I find information on Printing Fabric using the my Computer, Scanner and my Printer?

The Following is answered by Penny McMorris from Electric Quilt Company

10. FAQ: I am having trouble with printing from Electric Quilt 3, can you help?

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1.  FAQ: What is the Best Program?

This is the most often asked question I get whether a person is new to quilting or computers OR a veteran quilter or a computer techie.  It is a difficult one to answer.  Each program has positives and negatives.  Each is organized in a different way and appeals to each user in ways I can never predict. One of the reason I created my Web Site and wrote my book called Computer Quilting Made Easy, Quick Reference Guide to 7 PC Quilting Programs was to enable the consumer to find details about a program without having to buy the program first.  Unfortunately many of the programs have upgraded and the book is now outdated. But the latest inform I can offer is the quilt software reviews you will find on this website.
  • As you review the information, consider questions like:
    • What type of quilter you are (traditional, innovative, contemporary).
    • How much flexibility are you looking for.
    • How much do you want to spend?  Do not discount a program based on price alone as the less expensive programs often slim down only in a few areas (usually in the fabric area) but are excellent overall programs.
    • Have a list of questions of what features you want (if you know).  Or develop a list as you review the information about each program.
  • HINT:  If at all possible, find a way to get hands-on experience before you actually purchase a program to be sure you are making the correct choice.  Try more than one program for a better comparison.
  • Sorry I can not be more specific, but it has been my experience that most people after reviewing the Software Review Pages are able to uncover the information they are looking for and make a decision that meets their needs.  Bottom line--all the Quilting Software Programs have something to offer and that is the reason I carry the majority of them on my Website.  I have the largest selection available on the Web.

2.  FAQ: Do you have anything to help with learning the programs?

  • Electric Quilt has provided supplement books, EQ Simplified, Draw, Color and a block reference book to give you boost in the learning curve arena. You can find out more information about their books by clicking here.
  • The manuals for the current set of quilt software programs are mostly tutorial in nature or come on CD and are not in book form. In reviewing the manuals, I have found them to be very helpful to get you through the programs but often lack in-depth reference topics. This type of detail is found in the Help Files that come with the program and can be accessed when you are using the program. This is limiting so my suggestion to you is to print out the help files and create your own reference guide. I have written an article on how to print out the help files quickly and efficiently. You can find the article by clicking here.
  • My book, Quick Start Guide to Quilt-Pro 2 for the Mac, is good for help with for MAC version of Quilt-Pro.
  • For additional information about helpful books on computer quilting, go to the Book Center.

  • 3.  FAQ: Why would I need a Quilt Program when I have a graphic program that I can create a quilt in?
  • Good question, one that over time I finally have been able to formulate an answer for.  The real difference is time and ease! This answer best applies to the traditional or innovative quilts based on traditional quilts.  For alternate type of quilts refer to next question, when is a Paint/Draw program better than a Quilt Program.
  • The major differences between the quilt programs and the graphic programs are what they specialize in. See the comparison table below.

Quilt Programs

 Graphic Programs 

Paint/Draw Programs

 End Goal of Target Consumer Determines How the Program is Designed

 Quilt programs are geared toward one thing--developing or selecting already created block(s) to be colored and placed in an easy-to-create-quilt. Most of the program developers are quilters themselves or have wives who are quilter.  This helps the quilter ease built into the programs! Graphic programs do not have the built-in features geared for quilting that quilt programs do and are developed for a wide audience of designers doing all types of graphic art (from commercial to personal). This adds to versatility for the quilter looking for more flexibility than a traditional quilt format offers.

 Quilt Layout

Each Quilt program has an automatic quilt layout that address block, sash and border needs of the quilt. There is no comparison or equal type of component in a graphic program.   Graphic Programs sometimes have a tiling feature, but this is not good control for a specific sized quilt layout.  Graphic Programs use copy and paste to build a repetitive block quilt layout.

 Blocks, Borders and Sashes

 The Quilt Programs have ALREADY created  Libraries of blocks, borders and sashes (my favorite time saving feature of any quilt program).   Graphics Programs do NOT have built in Block, Border and Sash Libraries. You must draw all blocks, borders and sashes (time consuming).

Grids & Guides (Graph paper to draw on) 

 Quilt Programs have a Draw screen or area that are geared specifically for drawing the Quilt Block. The Draw screens have ALREADY created grids geared toward the quilters needs, i.e. 9-patch, 7-patch. Some even specialize in circle grids (mariners compass, fans) or eight point stars grids. Go to Software Reviews for additional details.Graphic program do NOT have patch specific grids and any grid developed often needs to be built. Developing the Grids/Graph paper that you need as  guides to draw a block or quilt can be extremely time consuming!  There are exception and some programs can easily create Grids.

Draw and Edit Tools 

  Most of the Quilt Programs have added drawing and edit tools for the type of patches that the quilter need and use to draw blocks--again with the built-in quilter ease. Some Quilting programs do this better than others, therefore I suggest going to Software Reviews for additional details.

 I have used many different graphics programs and found that most of them are very limited in drawing tools and that they usually have a limited number of patch type tools. 

Often the Graphic Programs have much stronger editing tools for distortion of patches and blocks.


For more FAQ's answered by Sharla Hicks go to:
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