Ask Jo: Quilt Designing on the Computer

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I get this question asked to me all the time…”How do I make and design quilts on the computer?”  I got the question again after I posted the most recent pattern instructions for our quilt “Peanut Butter and Kelli“.   I showed graphics like this….

Although I have EQ.  I do not use EQ.  I use Word.  Yes…the same program you might use to write a letter.  Many of you don’t know the features that the program has…to start off with, you need to make sure that you have the drawing tool bar available for easy access.  Following the diagram below go to view-toolbars-drawing.  Then your toolbar will either show up at the top or bottom of your screen.  I keep mine at the bottom.  If you want to move yours, I think you can just click and drag it to where you want it.

Look at the bottom of the photo above.  See where it says draw and auto shapes?  That is the drawing tool bar.

Now that you have the tools, let’s learn to work with them.  Open a new blank page.  Let’s make a four patch block.  Go to Auto Shapes-Basic Shapes-then the rectangle at the top. Click it.


From there, move your mouse to the screen.  Drag and make a square.  DO NOT PUT IT IN THE CREATE DRAWING HERE BOX.

Now we need to color the box.  Who wants a quilt with no color???  Right click on the box.  This prompt will come up.  Go to Format Auto Shape.


Now you need to go to Fill Effects.

Then go to Pattern.  From here, pick your background and foreground color.  Then click on the pattern you like.  Hit okay.  Then hit okay again.  Your block will now be colored.


It is much easier to work with the blocks if they are an easy size.  Let’s make our block 1″ x 1″.  Right click on the block.  Go to size.  Put in 1 and 1 for the width and height-click ok.


Now we want out four patch to have two blocks the same.  So we click on the square…then right click the mouse.  The copy button will appear.  Click it.


Touch your mouse on the screen, right click again.  This time push paste and another square will appear.


Now you can click on the square and drag it where ever you want.  Make two more square by following the copying and pasting instructions two more times.  You should now have 4 identical squares.


Well for our 4 patch we want two squares of one color two of another color.  So click on one of the squares.  Hold the Shift key on your keyboard down and click on the second square.  Now whatever we do with one square will be done to both.  We want to change their color so we are going to right click the mouse while holding the shift key down.  We are going to go to format autoshape-fill effects-pattern and pick new colors.  Click through the okay buttons and you should now have two different colored squares.


Now, click and drag the blocks to make a 4 patch.

The next thing we need to do is to group the pieces together to make a block.  Click on each shape while holding down the SHIFT key.  Right click.  Go to the grouping button and hit group.


Now the blocks can be moved and treated like one item.  If you click and drag it, all the pieces come together…just like a completed quilt block.

Now to make a quilt and we need lots of blocks.  Right click the block and copy-paste more blocks as I explained how to do earlier.

Drag the blocks together and make a quilt top.

Eventually if you keep playing with the tools, you’ll learn to make all sorts of quilts using this program.  The best thing of all-most people already have this program on their computer and don’t need to go out and purchase EQ.

Here is one of the first quilts I ever designed via the computer.  We submitted it to Moda Bake Shop and it was our first quilting recognition outside the blog.  You can find the finished quilt and pattern here.

Since then, I have learned so much more…like how to remove the lines so I can see what the quilt will look like.


If there is an interest, I can keep working on offering more tips for using Word to design quilts.  If you have questions, ask away.  I’ll try to answer them the best I can.

You can find installment #2 for designing on the computer here.

You can find MANY other free patterns on our site by looking under the free patterns tab at the top of the page under our banner.  Stop by again…