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Jen Carlton Bailly showed us how to make Scrappy Whole Cloth Placemats, His + Hers Pillows and she’s been an expert here more than once too. Today she’s sharing her experience with the new Threadbias Quilt Design Tool; you’ll love the quilt she designed! Learn more about Jen in her introduction and be sure to stop by her blog.

Threadbias is giving away a one-month pass to their Quilt Design Tool, or a one-month credit for existing subscribers. Leave a comment here telling us what tools you currently use to design your quilts for a chance to win! We will pick a winner on April 8th. (Sign up for a free account on their site if you don’t have one already.)

When Kristin asked if I’d like to review the new Threadbias Quilt Design Tool I was really excited. However, like with most things, I was also skeptical. I like my pencil, my gummy erasers from art school, my pretty pencils and my calculator. Plus I’ve played around with several different programs like it that just didn’t work and ended up being frustrating. Hearing though that the tool had a fabric calculator and would tell me how much fabric I needed to make my quilt totally peaked my interest.

I sat down and opened the program. I tried to play around, tried some more and then got frustrated. Oh right!– I was told to watch the tutorials. Of course, I know better… So I hopped over to the YouTube page and watched all fourteen videos. They were short, sweet and to the point. Once I had run through all of those I felt like I was totally set up for success. It was still a little frustrating getting around and remembering everything, but after a few dedicated sessions I totally got it. So don’t try this and expect to just “get it.” It’s a computer program, and will take some time to learn. Practice is really the key. Oh, and watch the videos!

If you know who I am you know that I have a slight obsession with ¼ circles. That was my jumping off point. It took me about a minute to create one, and that’s when my obsession with this tool began. I started copying the ¼ circle and playing around with different angles. In literally a matter of minutes I had the nine blocks below. MINUTES! It was right after this that I had to give myself time limits on using it. Otherwise I knew it would consume me!

Seeing all the blocks laid out got me thinking about the tiling tool that Alex talked about in the videos. (This happens to be my favorite part of this whole program.) I picked my favorite block and added some colors.

Then I copied the block and tiled over four spaces and got this.

From there I copied the whole row and tiled down four more rows. When I saw my screen I was so excited. There were so many different patterns that came out that I didn’t even know were there! Now, you might be good at spotting a repeat pattern– I know I marvel at my husband’s talent for it– but it’s just not how my brain works. So when I saw them I was ecstatic!

When I selected the fabric requirements tool for my design I knew it was a little off. The calculations are over-estimates and cutting this particular block can be done more efficiently than the program could probably calculate. That being said, it was still helpful to have a good place to start.

The one thing that I would love is a cut schedule. (It’s promised for a future release.) A cut schedule tells you how many and in what size yellows to cut, how many blues, etc. In the meantime I just added them up on my own which is just fine! This quilt has 25 blocks. Each block has 16 pieces in it, which means 400 blocks for a 120 by 120 inch quilt.

After a few days I kept coming back to the block. Finally I decided I loved it so much it was going to be my new king quilt. I gathered all my yellows, blues, grays and my favorite yarn dyed Essex. (Thanks to everyone who gave and sent me yellows!) Here are my first four blocks.

I love how it’s turning out. It will probably take some time but will totally be worth it.

Overall it’s such a great tool. I designed 15 different quilts in the matter of an afternoon. There was no erasing, no tearing out my paper and throwing it away, just lots of fun trying out new patterns. I’ll share the quilts with you all over the coming months on my blog.

I really encourage you to try it. It’s free with a 9” x 9” workspace and all of the features; you just wont be able to save your designs. You can buy a subscription to the full tool for just $10/month that can be cancelled at anytime. They have a support forum for the tool and have been amazing about getting suggestions implemented. Updates are free as well! It is a web-based program so you don’t need to worry about installing any software or paying for upgrades.

If you would like to try your hand at making quarter circles, you can get the template that I used here at TabSlot.

Threadbias is giving away a one-month pass to their Quilt Design Tool, or a one-month credit for existing subscribers. Leave a comment here telling us what tools you currently use to design your quilts for a chance to win! We will pick a winner on April 8th. Be sure to sign up for a free account, if you don’t have one already.

Don’t forget to visit these other sites that are also part of the blog tour:

      March 25 –

Freshly Pieced

      March 26 –

Don’t Call Me Betsy

      March 27 –

Generation Q Magazine

      March 28 –

The Sometimes Crafter

      March 29 –

Diary of a Quilter

      April 1 –

Swim, Bike, Quilt

      April 2 –

Fresh Lemons

      April 3 –

West Coast Crafty

      April 4 –

Sew,Mama,Sew!

      April 5 –

Alison Glass

      April 6 –

Pink Castle Fabrics

      April 7 –

Ellison Lane Quilts