PCQuilt's charm is it is simple to learn and easy-to-use. PCQuilt was the first quilt software program to include a Design Screen with the block and quilt in the same window. It has a traditional based format and adding your own blocks and color choices is a snap. Read on to find out more about the power built into PCQuilt 2.
Looking for something easy to use in quilt programs? Take a close look at what PCQuilt 2 for Windows has to offer.
How many times have you seen a product passed over because it lacks name recognition. PCQuilt suffers from this syndrome, but this computer quilting software has much to offer the traditional quilter who likes repeating blocks and the freedom to add their own color ideas and to draw new blocks. Also, create Sampler quilts quickly. Is PCQuilt right for you? This question is something each person needs to answer for themselves? To help you decide, read the review and then try out the (still version 1, remember version 2 demo is not available yet but remember version 2 is even better!)
Did you know that PCQuilt is the only quilting software written by a quiltmaker? Nina Antze brings her quilter-intuitiveness to the program's operations and the beauty of the upgrade is it has given her an opportunity to add all the new things that the consumer have been asking for.
PCQuilt 2: Operations
In PCQuilt 2, the block and quilt are interactively connected and on the same screen. This Screen setup is unique to quilting software. Color a patch in the block and it shows up in the Quilt!
Any quilter, traditional or innovative, who likes working with a repetitive block format will find the block and quilt view on the same screen invaluable feedback to how good or bad a design choice is.
The option to disable the Quilt Repeat adds flexibility to meet different work habits and it temporarily frees up computer resources when drawing blocks design. This enhancement will be especially useful to quilters who are running older systems or have less than the recommended RAM.
Menus and Toolbars
Draw Tools found in PCQuilt 2
PCQuilt 2 has a new larger Block #1. Block #1 is the drawing area and the larger size makes it easier. The drawing tools are designed to quickly create blocks or borders using standard geometric or appliqué shapes. The Applique Tools are a PCQuilt 2 enhancement.
The Block Menu on the left shows the shortcuts keys and drawing aides to help speed up the drawing process. When you try out the demo, experiment with each option to see how slick they work.
Right clicking anywhere on Block#1 opens the Quick Tools menu.
The mirror tool allows the quick completion of blocks with repeating geometric or appliqué shapes. This mirror option is also used in the quilt layout.
Mirroring is one the best tools in PCQuilt because it speeds up
the drawing of repeating sections of a block and the quilt. Mirroring
allows the partial drawing of the block or layout of the quilt and then
the Mirror Tool finishes the rest. Learning to use this feature is well
worth the user's time.
Shape Editing Menu
When a patch, line, or curve is selected, right clicking brings
up the Shape Editing Menu shown on the left.
With Flip and Rotate added to the Shape Editing Menu
you will find a powerful set of drawing tools close at hand.
Plus add the ability to reshape the objects/patches by dragging the nodes (black squares) to resize the patch or dragging handles (dashed lines) to alter the curve and you have a very complete drawing package.
Powerful New Appliqué Tools in PCQuilt 2:
Find 100 appliqué templates in the Shape Combo Box. Use the drop-down menu and slider bar to browse the list of shapes. Use the shape name for added clues as the little template shape does not always look like the real shape.
Quilt Layout and Borders in PCQuilt 2 are simple:
Nina has added shortcuts to quickly layout quilts and borders. (See the Quilts and Borders Menus above.) Note the F key shortcuts in the Quilt Menu to create traditional quilt layouts: 4x6, 6x4, 5x5. Also note the quilt drawing aides: Mirror Quilt Blocks, Rotate Quilt Blocks, and Expand Border to quickly expand the repeating blocks to fill the quilt layout.
The niftiest design shortcut is in the Border Menu. Simply hit F5 again and again to cycle through all the border blocks found in the library. Each border appears around the quilt layout. There is no other program with this wonderful and truly time savings tool. This is an exceptional way to quickly see what border looks best with the center of the quilt layout.
You can also customize the quilt layout to your specifications using the dialogue box shown below.
Paint Color and Fabrics tools found in PCQuilt 2:
There are 25 color palettes ready and waiting to be used in PCQuilt. When your quilt is painted with solid colors (not fabric), try out another magical keystroke Nina has added, the ability to change to a different palette by hitting the F6 key. Each keystroke brings up a new palette color combination for your quilt and block. This is computer quilting at its best showing you color combinations you might not have considered otherwise.
Also find 22 fabric pattern groups. Included are many popular fabric lines from Benartex.
Painting is simple, select the Paint Can , select a color or fabric from the on-screen palette, then fill a patch in Block #1, Block #2 or the quilt. All painting done in the blocks is repeated in the quilt. You can also add a custom color or fabric to the respective palettes.
When painting patches to match other patches, use the Eyedropper Tool to select a color or fabric already in the block or quilt so you do not have to guess which color or fabric was used.
Nina, the master programer of one keystroke color changes created a
quick change background technique. Draw your block with only the primary
shapes. Do not create the background shapes. Then to see all the variation
the background could be, use the 10 keypad + or - keys to filter/move
through each color in the palette for a preview of the background choices.
Talk about fast and easy.
Draw your own fabric or import scanned fabrics via the Clipboard:
PCQuilt 2 has four ways to create, edit or add fabric to the fabric palette.
Block, Quilt, Template Shapes, and Fabric Libraries
A very smart, shortcut feature in PCQuilt 2 is the ability to open 24 of your favorite blocks in the Block Windows and then save those blocks as a Block Library item that you can open at any time without having to hunt and peck through the single block lists again. This a charmed idea!
Simple and easy-to-use is the foundation of this program and learning it is no exception. Instinct will lead the user most of the way. But reading the manual and using the on-line help is always advisable.
The fully illustrated, 121-page manual is an excellent reference manual that is easy-to-read with understandable directions for each tool, menu and function found in PCQuilt 2. The manual also includes a sample index of the blocks in the library.
Exporting Blocks and Quilts from PCQuilt 2
Export blocks and quilts to other programs via the clipboard or as a saved bitmap. Bitmaps are universally accepted by the majority of programs.
You can also bring a bitmap into PCQuilt 2 as a scanned fabric to be added to a fabric palette or as a picture that you can paste on Block #1. This does NOT convert the shapes into usable patches, but it does allow you the opportunity to redraw the desired shapes using the bitmap as a template.
NOTE: The clipboard import of a fabric bitmap is just another example of shortcuts built into PCQuilt because, PCQuilt is the only quilting program that allows you to bring a bitmap from an outside source using the Clipboard -- that means scan and paste -- how easy can it get? Most quilt programs require that you use their Import feature which requires you to save the scanned images a bitmap then import or copy the fabric bitmap to their fabric folder. This is a several step process. PCQuilt's way is faster.
Print Foundation Blocks with Piecing Sequence Numbers, Templates and Yardage Calculations
Included in PCQuilt 2 is the ability to automatically number foundation blocks in the order that the patches were drawn. It also include in the ability to change the number sequence when needed.
Computer System Requirements for PCQuilt 2