I have had Electric Quilt for quite a few years and have upgraded it to EQ8.  I use it for designing most of my quilts and especially my memory quilts.  When I first got it I used just the fabric colors to balance the coloring of the t-shirts and save the time of laying them all out on the floor to get them to balance right.  I remember the first time I tried to do photos of the shirts and use them in the design on EQ it was really complicated and I gave up in frustration.  Admittedly, I am not the best person at using software, but I remember it not being that easy and with as busy as I was whipping out quilts for customers and working on my book etc, I didn’t have time to fuss with it so I just decided to keep going the way I had been.   Fast forward several years and I have more time to play and learn.  A friend and neighbor of mine asked me to make a t-shirt quilt for her daughter’s college graduation.  I have watched this young lady grow up and couldn’t say no.  She brought me a bag of over 45 shirts.  I decided to use her “Top 40″ and to make a two sided quilt.  I remembered seeing an article about how easy it was to use photos for t-shirt layouts in EQ and decided to give it a try again.  Wow, have they come a long way or maybe I have LOL.  It was so easy.

The steps I took were:

1) Measured the design on each shirt.  I had already decided all the blocks were going to be 14” wide finished so I only needed the length of each design.

2) I put the length on a piece of paper and placed it on the upper area of the photo where I could cut it out of the photo later. If you are going to do a variable size quilt you would write down the width of the design also. I took a picture of each shirt with the length in the photo.

3) Downloaded all the photos onto my computer.

4) In my computer I sized/cut each photo so the design was the only thing showing in the photo and saved the photo with the dimensions of the design in the file name.

5) Following the directions in EQ I imported the cropped photos into the photo library and then saved them into the project sketchbook.

6) I used the photos to design the quilt – putting the shirts where they needed to be according to the design size and style. Since the size was embedded into the file name it was easy to know which shirts would fit in with the other shirts in the row.

Here are the designs I came up with for each side of the quilt.

A lot of programs get upgraded regularly. Something that may have seemed difficult to do the first time you tried it could have been made so much easier as the program gets improved.  I am not sure if that was the case here or if I just got better at understanding the software. I am just glad I finally had the time to experiment with the program again. There are so many really neat tools for us to use in our quilting we just need to have the time and take the time to learn how they work.  Electric Quilt has lots of support and ideas for using their software. Just go to http://www.electricquilt.com and check out all the information available.

Do you have quilting and sewing tools you are not sure exactly how to use such as computer software, specialty rulers, feet for your sewing machine?  Go to the manufacturers website, Google the tool or do a YouTube search. There are all kinds of videos out there to teach you what you want to know.  Most of all, don’t be afraid to expand your horizons! It can open a whole new world to you and possibly make your quilting and sewing life a lot easier.

Happy Memories