Claudia Wade writes about how she is using Creative Impulse and Repligator
and Electric Quilt designs to create innovative new quilts. She has
included great examples!
WITH QUILT DESIGN TOYS
By Claudia Wade
This picture was made using Windows Paint, Repligator, and Paint
What quilting activity does not diminish my fabric stash in any
way and yet improves my quilt designs? The answer to that question
is computer-aided quilt design. It is also more fun than I ever
thought possible. Computer programs specifically for quilt design
have been around for years now. My
favorite quilt-specific program is called Electric Quilt. Version
4 of Electric Quilt, a significant upgrade, has recently been released.
It makes designing traditional or innovative quilts easy and fun.
It even encourages experimentation and 'What if?' discoveries. Recently,
I have found two less-well-known computer programs that have put
a whole new spin on my quilt designs. These two programs are called
Creative Impulse and
Repligator 4. They
help me generate ideas for quilts by applying creative effects to
a basic design.
Some of the designs I've made using these two programs are wild
and wonderful in my opinion. Many of them would be challenging and
fun to translate to actual fabric. Lots of them never even get saved
because it is so easy to create more. I feel that using these programs
is like exercising my designing muscles. A further advantage of
any computer quilt design program is that it gets the not-very-good
designs for ho-hum quilts out of my system, into virtual reality,
so that I can develop my critical eye and go on to design much better
Creative Impulse is
the first non-traditional quilt program I encountered. With Creative
Design one creates and manipulates designs using 'tiles'. Think
of tiles as quilt blocks, although many of them don't resemble traditional
quilt blocks. Dozens of tiles are included in the program and you
can also draw and color your own.
When I open Creative Design, I usually choose 2 or 3 tiles at random
and tell Creative Design to make me a design using those tiles.
The program makes the designs according to various Methods involving
rotations, mirrorings, or random placements of the basic tiles.
One can control these design Methods and also change the color and
size of the tiles. Rectangular blocks are possible. There is a Make
Design button on the tool bar that changes the design, within the
pre-selected design parameters, every time one pushes it. It's sort
of like doodling to keep clicking on the Make Design button and
watch the design change. The design below, Figure 1, was quickly
made in Creative Impulse by choosing two tiles and clicking on the
Make Design button:
So far, it doesn't look that special---this design could easily be
created in any of the quilt design programs. I can stop creating new
designs at this point and start manipulating this design further,
or I can keep clicking the Make Design button until I find a basic
design I like better as a design starting point. Let's say
I like this design well enough to want to manipulate it further. That
is when the fun really begins. To see the full potential of my design
in Creative Impulse, I want
to start applying Effects. Effects are what the program calls various
distortions that one can apply to the basic design. These effects
all have names descriptive of what they do, but it takes a lot of
practice before you can predict what the resulting effect will look
like when applied to a design. To me, that is a big part of the fun---not
knowing what to expect! The program encourages playing and
experimentation because it has an Undo button. Some of the possible
Effects are Kaleidoscope, Circle, Vertical Twist Linear, Vertical
Twist Steps and Horizontal Twist Smile. There are about 30 different
Effects possible. Multiple Effects can be applied to a single basic
design. Each Effect can be controlled to a certain extent by user-controlled
parameters. If you want the program to make your design into a circle,
for example, you are able to define the point of the design you want
to be the center of the circle, the number of sections in the circle,
the radius of the circle, and other variables. One of my favorite
Effects is the Smile Effect, which can be applied vertically or horizontally.
The Smile Effect resembles an overlapping curve in the design. The
design below, Figure 2, is my original design with the Vertical Smile
But that's only the beginning. Several different effects can
be applied to a single design. Two different designs can be overlaid
on one another, and one design can be used as a border for another.
I can save any or all variations of the design that I like. And designs
can be printed in any size for piecing diagrams. I suppose you could
even cut the printed design apart to use as templates. If I
want to add a second Effect I can. For example, if I change the tile
size after applying an Effect, it makes the Effect change. See Figure
3 below, where I changed the tile size after applying the Vertical
Smile Effect, making the Smile Effect look jagged rather than smooth.
This is beginning to look like a very funky quilt! And I could keep
playing with this design, adding more effects, start over with the
same original design to add different effects, or delete it and start
again with different tiles, Methods, and Effects. Another choice would
be to print the design in color on a single sheet of paper to use
as a springboard to a similar but perhaps simpler design using Electric
Quilt 4. That way I could get templates, yardage estimates, color
changes and added borders quite easily. The variations go on forever!
I'm still in the early stages of learning how to apply,
control and manipulate the Effects using Creative Impulse. I'm very
excited about this program as a tool for artistic quilt design.
Here are some additional examples of Creative
Impulse virtual quilt designs I've made:
Click here to continue to Part 2 using
For additional information about Repligator,
go to following resources.
Review by Sharla Hicks.
out how Claudia Wade is morphing her Electric Quilt designs into new
and different interpretation not possible in a standard quilting software
in her Computer Quilting BYTES article, Playing
with Quilt Design Toys.
MUST see stop on the Internet is a visit to Owen
Ransen's Website (program developer), his gallery and examples
really show the full range of possibilities. But remember to come
back to order at our great discount price. (Click back in your
Creative Impulse 2000
Software NO longer available
Program Developer: Birte
index for all issuesTable
of contents for this issue