Greetings all! And Happy February! As we get closer to the start date of the Dear Jane® Quilt-a-long, I would like to share with you, a tool that has made piecing my Dear Jane® blocks so much easier.
As you may already be aware, there is a Dear Jane® software program made by Electric Quilt. This program is several years old, however, it is still a very valuable tool to assist you with the planning and construction of your Dear Jane® quilt. (Note that you do not need to own any other EQ software in order to use this one. It is a stand alone program.) Further, for those of you having trouble locating a copy of the Dear Jane® book, it can serve as a substitute, while you are waiting for the book’s re-release (although, I still recommend using the software in combination with the book).
For more information on how to purchase the software, please click on the link below:
Thanks to Electric Quilt, we have 2 copies of the Dear Jane® software to give away, so keep reading for more details!
I decided to purchase the Dear Jane® software because, even though I have been sewing for many years, I have only been quilting for 2. Therefore, I figured I could use all of the help I could get! As a high school teacher, I have had to keep up with technology as a part of my job, so the idea of playing around with a computer quilting program quite appealed to me.
As you can see the Dear Jane® software comes with a very comprehensive User Manual, that I found to be quite helpful. I also found the program to be very user friendly when I sat down to play with it. One thing to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to purchase the software is: that the Dear Jane® software is formatted on a CD-ROM and is a Windows-only program. According to EQ, the Dear Jane® software has stood the test of time so they are planning to re-release it in an updated format (download) that can be used on modern computers (Windows and Mac) at some point in the next few years. Regardless, if you are intending to participate in this Dear Jane® Quilt-a-long, the current EQ Dear Jane® software is a solid investment. Continue reading to see how I have benefitted from all of the tools made possible by this software.
1. Use the software to plan your colour placement and layout.
Dear Jane® is a large and complex quilt that I believe requires some planning, especially in terms of colour placement.
One of the benefits of using the EQ Dear Jane® software is that you can print a colouring page of the Classic Dear Jane® Quilt layout. You can colour the blocks inside the software (see below) as well, but I believe there is something to be said about pencil crayons and paper.
2. Use the software to calculate fabric requirements
Yes, when embarking on a project of this magnitude, it is important to know how much fabric one is going to need. In the photo below, I used the EQ Dear Jane® software to colour the blocks, including the setting triangles. I then printed the plan for my reference. The EQ Dear Jane® software allows you to upload bitmap images of your own fabric, to really visualize what your quilt will look like. For my Dear Jane®, I plan on using Libs Elliott fabric – but for planning purposes I used the solid fabric palette in the EQ Dear Jane sketchbook.
After completing the colouring of my plan, the EQ Dear Jane® software also gives me the option of printing the fabric requirements. In the photo below, you can see that I have labelled and totalled all of my fabrics by colour. This is based on 42 inch wide yardage – the program allows you to adjust the width. (Sorry I had to label because I was out of coloured ink at the time of printing – My daughter had a school project which used up all of my ink!)
3. Use the software to print your blocks.
What??? I can print my blocks!?! Yes! You can print the cutting instructions for each block. Depending on the block you want to print, you can print rotary cutting instructions, templates, or a foundation pattern! In the photo below, you can see the rotary cutting instructions that I printed for block “A-5 Cathie’s Campfire”. The EQ Dear Jane® software takes away the painstaking 1/8 of an inch measuring that is hard on my old and tired eyes!
I personally love doing English Paper Piecing, especially to avoid doing “Y seams” and, also, for sewing the tiny curves included in some of the Dear Jane® blocks. The benefit of using the EQ Dear Jane® software is that you can print your own “EPP” templates onto card stock and “EPP” to your hearts content!
In the photo above, one can see that the templates that I printed for block “A-10 Which Points West?” have the 1/4 inch seam included, which I used to cut out my fabric and then removed before basting my fabric to the papers. In the photo below, you can see the same block in the “EPP” stage of construction, whilst I relax and watch Netflix.
So there you have 3 good reasons to invest in the EQ Dear Jane® software!
These are features that I found to be most helpful to me so far in my Dear Jane® journey, however, I have barely scratched the surface on what you can do with this software. As mentioned on the EQ website: “this software will help you see how other quilters have made their own beautiful Dear Jane quilts and even design your own on your computer screen. From there you can print patterns for your quilts or the blocks, read sewing instructions, print quilt labels, surf Dear Jane web sites and so much more. “
…and as I mentioned earlier we have 2 copies to giveaway so…