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Nov 27, 2011

Electric Quilt 7 Review and Software GiveAway

Nov 27, 2011
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A few weeks ago, my friend Lee asked me my thoughts on Electric Quilt 7, a quilt design software, since I had been using it for about a year.  My hubby gave it to me for Christmas last year and I have been thrilled to be learning, experimenting and designing with EQ7 since then.  When I responded to her, the review that followed was something I thought many of you would be interested in hearing.

The Electric Quilt Company, based in Ohio (like me!), is being extremely generous in offering a GiveAway copy of EQ7 here at Gen X Quilters.

So for anyone who has been curious about EQ7, here are my thoughts as a modern quilter.  Maybe you'll add EQ7 to your holiday wishlist this year - and don't forget to enter for your chance to WIN your own copy!


EQ7:  Electric Quilt 7 Quilt Design Software Review

BLOCKS:  There is a block library with 5,000+ blocks, all of which are copyright free.  All the standards are in there - every nine patch you could ever think of, stars, dresdens, ny beauties, pineapples, applique, foundation pieced, classically pieced, etc, etc.  If you are brainstorming for a quilt, you can create a "sketchbook" and drop all the blocks you think you like into the sketchbook to view your likes with one click.

Here is an example of a pillow I made.  It uses the Honeysuckle block from EQ7.  I customized it to a 16" block - the size I wanted.

There is also a "face" of the software for designing your own blocks.  You can choose the block size and set up a grid.  The grid contains snap points that make it easy to draw (for example, mirror images).  This is absolutely your own design - it can do strange angles or curves if you want it to.

Any block, your own design or one from the library, can then be printed.  Your print options include an actual sketch, rotary cutting instructions, paper piecing printouts, or templates if you prefer to piece that way.
The software labels the pieces, tells you how many of each to cut and the correct cutting dimensions to obtain your desired finished size block.  For my pillow, I chose to print out paper piecing templates because of all the triangles and funky angles.
I really like this feature.  I am always searching for a particular block and modifying it to the size I want.  It makes the rotary cutting estimates simple.  But I do find sometimes that the program wants you to piece triangles a lot - so I usually modify the instructions slightly.  For example, instead of piecing 2 triangles to make a HST, I would typically use one of the short cut methods (like here) which changes your cutting dimensions.  I don't mind doing a little math to piece with my preferred method.

I still double check all measurements the software gives you.  I never rely completely on EQ7 quilty math - but it definitely gives you a good target to shoot for.  I guess it's the engineer in me that checks and double checks.  Since I like to change piecing methods, it keeps me on my toes.


QUILTS:  Another face of the software allows for quilt design.  This is where I love the software the most.  There are forms you can pick from (A rows x B columns, horizontal strip quilt, vertical, etc.) or you can design your own.  There are entry points where you type in your desired block size and then sliders that let you add sashing, borders, etc.  and change their dimensions.

This instantly lets you visually see whether 2" or 4" sashing looks best with your design. This is incredibly valuable to me.  I am always changing dimensions on block sizes, sashing sizes, borders (adding a border, ditching it, changing widths).  It also gives you the finished size of the quilt when you change all these dimensions, so if you're shooting for a twin size quilt, you can see very quickly how many blocks you need.

COLORING:  There are built in fabric swatches (+5,000), but not many I feel are modern.  I usually paint my quilts with either solids or actually upload the jpgs of the fabric line I want to use for the quilt.  I also like being able to see what the quilt will look like using actual swatches of the prints.  You can download the fabric swatch jpgs for current lines at the fabric manufacturer's website.  It's so easy!  For older fabrics, I have also scanned the fabric and then uploaded the swatch to the software.

Printing out a quilt offers similar features to printing out a block.  You can estimate fabric requirements based on usable WOF.  This is where I have found fault with EQ7.  It overestimates the amount of fabric you really need.  Again, I don't mind the extra fabric for me, but if I'm designing for a pattern, I double check all the yardage estimates and usually reduce the recommended amount.  There is some comfort in knowing that you'll never be short though!

PHOTOS:  There are tons of options I've never used about uploading photos and making them into quilts.  I'm guessing it can digitize a landscape, etc and turn it into blocks.  This is something I'm sure the art quilters love, but personally, I have no use for.

OVERALL: I found the software quick and easy to pick up with the online video tutorials they offer.  I always start out using the software.  In looking at the user manual as I write this, I can see I've only just begun to tap the software's capability.  But!  I only want to review those aspects of the program I am most familiar with.  I've had it almost one year (it was last year's xmas gift) and I have used it on the majority of quilts I have done this year.  The engineer in me loves turning quilt work into CADD work (Computer Aided Drafting & Design).  The ability to change dimensions on blocks, sashing, borders, etc. in a click or two is absolutely worth it in my book if you like to design your own quilts, like to re-engineer quilts, or just have an aversion to working from patterns.


I hope this review was helpful for anyone who may be considering investing in Electric Quilt 7.  Enter for your own chance to win a copy of Electric Quilt 7 from the Electric Quilt Company!

GiveAway / Here's how to enter:  
1.   Comment to tell me what feature you would find most helpful in quilt design software.  

2.   Comment to say you follow this blog (new followers welcome).  

3.   Comment to say you spread the word (twitter, facebook, blog, etc). @genxquilters

** please be sure that an email address is available on your profile or is included in your comment if you are a no-reply blogger**

Enter by Saturday, December 3, 2011 at midnight EST. A winner will be randomly drawn on Sunday.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.
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461 comments:

  1. Thanks for the opportunity to win! I'm a follower.

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  2. I think this would be great to help me decide on the layout of quilts. Being able to see them with the same fabrics I'm using would be so helpful.

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  3. Wow! That is very generous! And I'm already a follower. :)

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  4. Oh. But I think the best part about it would be the snap to grid feature. That HAS to be nice when drawing out your own blocks.

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  5. I would love to be able ot design my own blocks in the software. Not sure if that's actually an option but I think an owner of EQ6 told me you could. I really like being able to pull in various fabrics!

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  6. Fabulous review! I have heard so much about this software and would love to win it. The colour swatches are what interests me the most-the hardest thing about my quilting process! Thanks for the giveaway.

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  7. I am already a follower! Thanks for the opportunity to win.

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  8. I need help with the design process and I think this would help immensely! How cool to change designs with the click of a button instead of a scribble and an eraser.

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  9. This looks like fun - but something I probably wouldn't buy for myself anytime soon.
    I am another engineer by training (now a math teacher) ... I would enjoy playing around with different setting and sashing options.

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  10. I am also a follower of your blog ... thanks for the chance to win!

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  11. I would find the quilt layout part most helpful as I have trouble visualizing a completed quilt top in my chosen fabrics and often scrap tops when I don't like the finished combination.

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  12. I like the "quilt design" part best. I have a hard time visualizing how something will actually look when finished so this part sounds wonderful. Thanks for the opportunity to win the software.

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  13. I have been a follower of your blog for quite some time and thank you for the opportunity to win your giveaway.

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  14. I think it would be much easier and faster to do quilt images on this software than on graph paper with my huge box of colored pencils. Plus it would keep them in a much neater organized matter than the "oh where is that piece of paper" method I have now.

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  15. This is timely, because I just started watching those videos yesterday to see if I wanted to put EQ7 on my Christmas wishlist. And I decide it would be really helpful for me!

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  16. And I'm sharing this giveaway at http://www.craftbuds.com/giveaway-roundup/

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  17. I shared it on Facebook. But that means I have less of a chance to win! =]

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  18. I like the idea that you can "see" what the quilt will look like with regard to colours.

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  19. I love the idea of being to calculate the math (my brain uses up that power during the school week apparently) and to do the layout AHEAD of time...rather than last minute on my kitchen floor while I dodge animals.

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  20. I like that I could play with my blocks to see what quilt layout I like the most. Plus, it would be helpful to know how much fabric to buy.

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  21. https://twitter.com/#!/ziamariadesigns/status/140882809517641728

    Tweeted all about it...

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  22. I'm a new follower.
    Thanks,
    Peggy
    peggy_verdongibbs@att.net
    http://keepmeinstitches-peggy.blogspot.com

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  23. I have posted your giveaway on my blog.
    Thanks,
    Peggy
    peggy_verdongibbs@att.net
    http://keepmeinstitches-peggy.blogspot.com

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  24. I would love the feature of loading in the photos of the fabrics, so that I can see the most accurate view of what I want to do, I have been dreaming of this program, fingers crossed hope to win!

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  25. Well, I think it would be helpful to use it to estimate how much fabric to buy, I'm always buying WAAAAAAAY too much.

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  26. The feature I would use the most - I think! - would be the ability to figure blocks in a number of different sizes. Fantastic!

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  27. I am a happy regular follower of GenXQuilter!

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  28. I'm a follower, thanks for this great giveaway.

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  29. Color matching and showing how a design would work.

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  30. I follow your blog; thanks for this chance to win!

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  31. Just playing with a layout. It look so cool! thanks for the chance to win!

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  32. Wow! What an incredible giveaway! I love that it helps you determine cutting measurements and the quilt design feature looks so helpful too!

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  33. I would love the layout function. Currently I try to do it in PowerPoint, and it's a huge pain to make the block out of basic shapes, color it and then copy and paste over and over. This would be amazing!

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  34. I love your blog and have been a follower for a while now! I have EQ5 but haven't used it in years... this would be great to get me back into the swing of things!

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  35. I like the idea of changing the block size. I am often having to figure that on my own. And I lie the lay out feature I hate drawing each block to see how it will look as a quilt.

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  36. And it is blogged about: http://bobbinsandbullets.blogspot.com/2011/11/great-giveaway.html

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  37. Resizing the blocks is probably the most valuable feature for me - I never seem to want to do things in the size people offer them!

    Although being able to mock up a design would be great, too!

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  38. And I think the idea of being able to add the sashing visually in the software to see if I like it sounds pretty appealing to me, plus I always love nifty software...

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  39. How much would I love to have this?! So, so much. As for the most useful feature? Um ... putting blocks together to see what a whole quilt would look like ... no, adding jpegs of actual fabric swatches to my blocks ... no, changing borders and sashing ... oh, I just don't know!

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  40. I follow your blog, waiting, daily, anticipating a new post! :-p

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  41. I've read that you can scan and load in your own blocks which would be a great way to see the progress on Dear Jane or Farmer's Wife quilts and then see how they look in various settings and with different sashing sizes.

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  42. Hubby bought this for me for Mother's day this year and I have tried to use it a few times, but found it overwhelming and confusing. Your blog has got me thinking I need to give it another chance and PROBABLY start with the tutorials! LOL Thank you! I do love their beginner program, Quilt Wizard, which is what prompted the purchase.

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  43. Trying different colorations for a block without actually sewing it is a great feature!

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  44. Being a newbie, I would love both the block library and the ability to see layouts. Thx for the opportunity!

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  45. Wow, what a great review and a brilliant giveaway! I would absolutely love to win this one! I think what I would find most useful is the ability to upload fabrics/colour in draft patterns as I am rubbish at planning that sort of stuff out and tend to make it up as I go along. Fingers crossed!

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  46. I shared this on my FB page facebook.com/fairyfacedesigns

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  47. I think the re-sizing of blocks would be the most helpful for me! Also, since I design most of my own quilts, fabric requirements would be super helpful...I always try to estimate a little high on my own, but sometimes a quilt has to just end up a bit smaller.

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  48. I'd love the ability to re-size to tiny blocks without having to run to a copy machine! :)

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  49. I don't work off patterns, but tend to draw up designs on paper - this would be so much cooler!

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  50. I am a follower! Loving what I see on your website and the versatility of what the software seemingly can do! Hope I win!! I follow you on Facebook. karenschmitt@netins.net

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  51. I would love to use the software to design and "color" quilts. I recently did that by hand by creating my design in a Word table and printing the fabric jpgs several times so I could, literally, cut and paste the images onto my design. This software would make it sooooo much easier.

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  52. I would love this to be able to physically see the visions in my head before committing to something and having it not work out, thus wasting precious fabric.

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  53. I've been following your blog for a while, but I've just made it official. :-)

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  54. I have an older version of EQ and would love
    alllllllll the updates!
    I have your site in my favorites links to check in daily........also share on fb.
    thanks for the giveaway

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  55. Wow! To be able to see what your creation might look like before attempting to start it is awesome! It's a huge improvement from drawing it out with crayons!!! Laurie T

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  56. I also follow you on Facebook ;) Laurie T

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  57. I like having all the blocks in one place and being able to download swatches from the manufacturers - although it would decrease the time I spend with my colored pencils :) thanks for the amazing giveaway!

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  58. I've retweeted your giveway tweet too! Thanks again!

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  59. I also shared this site on Facebook.

    Laurie T
    taylor_laurie@hotmail.com

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  60. I follow your blog! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  61. I follow your blog. I'd love to win. It wouldn't have far to go. I'm in Ohio too.

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  62. One of the features I like is that it helps you figure how much fabric you need when starting a quilt from scratch. I'm not very good at this part yet. It would be very helpful to me to also see colors together in the pattern selected. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  63. I tweeted about your giveaway today as KShahann. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  64. I shared on Facebook.
    I am now a follower. Great Review.
    I would like to see quilt in the fabrics I have.
    SallyKingemail@gmail.com

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  65. I would love to be able to "see" a quilt before I get hip deep in piecing. I know what I like when I see it but have a hard time visualizing ahead of time.

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  66. I shared on Facebook.
    I am now a follower. Great Review.
    I would like to see quilt in the fabrics I have.
    SallyKingemail@gmail.com

    In case we need to post three times.

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  67. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  68. I think most helpful would be to be able to see a quilt before i commit to making it!

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  69. Thanks for the review and giveaway i am a follower

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  70. I think having it do the math would be the most helpful. I have tons of ideas floating around in my head but not sure how to execute due to the math.

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  71. Hi Annemarie, I think I'd like the ability to see what a quilt layout would look like before I start piecing.. I usually start with an idea in my head and then have to keep modifying it to suit as I go along.. it would be nice to not always fly in the dark!

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  72. I would use the design it yourself feature.

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  73. I am a new follower, thanks for a great giveaway

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  74. I think the layout feature is the best

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  75. I love the enormous block library!

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  76. I've had my eye on this software for a bit but it has been interesting to read your review. I have a hard time envisioning what many blocks would look like as they repeat and make secondary patterns so I love that I could do it so much faster and easier with EQ7 than with my paper and pencils. Thanks so much!

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  77. Of course I'm a follower, too!

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  78. Awesome! I'd love being able to upload jpegs of fabric to design a quilt.

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  79. I would love to be able to see what my finished quilt would look like in color! Right now I draw out my quilt plan in pencil and do all the math myself. Just last night I designed a star quilt and I had about 5 full pages of calculations (I have 10 different fabrics). I bet this program would speed up this process a ton! Thanks for the chance.

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  80. Oh and I'm a follower! rebeccalbark dot gmail dot com.

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  81. Thanks for the great review! I would love the quilt planner option and be able to see the colors and blocks BEFORE I start to cut. I'm definitely a visual person!

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  82. I'm also a follower!
    Eren0317 at hotmail dot com
    Thanks again for an opportunity to win the software.

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  83. I always thought I'd want EQ for the block library and instructions/sizing, etc but you've pointed out so many great features I'm not sure anymore that this would be the feature I'm most interested in. Loads of good stuff!

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  84. Think I would use the quilt layout feature the most. Sometimes I have a hard time visualizing what my finished quilt will look like.Thanks for the chance to won such an awesome giveaway!

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  85. I would most like the ability to change the sizes of blocks. Thanks for the chance to win this amazing software.I've been reading your blog since the summer and enjoy it.
    anita dot griffith at sympatico dot ca

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  86. I think it would help me with designing new ideas for quilts and help me visualize with the colors and such.

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  87. What an awesome review! Now I definitely know I need this software!!!

    I would love the block design feature, as I frequently have ideas and then spend oodles of time sketching and doing lots of hard math :)

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  88. I'm a loyal and dedicated follower! :)

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  89. Tweeted! .......now gimme gimme! :P

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  90. I've been a follower since forever! Thanks for the chance to win. I've been dying to try this software.

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  91. I think I would love the block library and be able to customize the sizes. I am also interested in uploading the fabrics to see how a quilt will look. Sometimes things seem to look good in my mind, but in real life, not so much:)

    Thanks!!!

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  92. I pinned it on my "I Want This" board... http://pinterest.com/pin/209276713903998860/

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  93. I would love to be able to test out layouts for different blocks! So cool!

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  94. I like the feature about designing my own quilt blocks, and adding sashing or not. And sizing my quilt as necessary. And uploading jpgs of the fabric I'll be using. And...and...and... :)

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  95. I'm a follower, too, of course!

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  96. I too love EQ7. Your blog post is very well done and nicely illustrated with screen shots from the program. You have made it simple and understandable for even the most basic quilter. Thanks for promoting EQ7 and for your incredibley thorough and well-written review. Check out the EQ7 tutorial tab on my blog to see a demonstration of the tracing and wreathmaker tools. www.katlovesquilts.blogspot.com

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  97. I think all the features just sealed the deal of what I am asking Santa to bring me for Christmas...that is if I don't win!

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  98. I also tweeted the giveaway. I am new at tweeting...

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  99. I think the feature I'd like best would be the ability to change the lights and darks (I hope quickly and easily) on a quilt design to see how it looks.

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  100. I'm a follower. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  101. Yay, thanks for the awesome review! I'm glad I asked about it. : ) I definitely like the face that allows you to design an entire quilt. I am basically doing the same thing with Illustrator but it's more "manual" and therefore probably takes much longer!

    Thanks for the giveaway.

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  102. I'm a follower, of course! : )

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  103. Thank you for the wonderful review. I think I would find the quilt designing the most useful. I have pages and pages of graph paper scattered around my quilting projects, filled with quilting experiments. I would love to be able to change things in a design at will, without having to completely redraw. Thanks for the chance to win EQ7!

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  104. And I'm a delighted follower as well.

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  105. Thanks for this review...you've answered several questions I had on this software! I particularly like the ability to change the dimensions on block sizes and the quilt design feature.

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  106. I would love to easily adjust my layout and design of a quilt. The database of blocks sounds fabulous too.

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  107. Wow, I don't know if I could decide what feature I'd like best. My mind is racing with ideas! I don't think I'd normally want to upload a picture and make a quilt from it, but one immediately came to mind and now I really want to do it! I started following your blog recently when I came upon your block library, which I love. Consider the word spread on facebook. :)

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  108. i love the idea off being able to add/change sashing width to see how it changes the look of a design instantly

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  109. I love you can put fabric into your design..very no risk! Instant gratification.
    staceym9347@gmail.com

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  110. Awesome giveaway! I would love to be able to design quilts without having to do all the math/seam allowances/cutting requirements in my own little brain! Yzobela at hotmail dot com

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  111. I think that being able to "paint" the quilt with different colors and prints would be a great help-- to actually see the design using fabrics similar to the ones you plan to use might help avoid some bad results! :-)

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  112. I tweeted about this giveaway! :-)

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  113. Being able to print out rotary cutting instructions after designing my own block would be great, especially if I wanted to share a design on my blog!
    This looks so much better than my clunky EQ5!

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  114. This looks like a very useful tool -- I would love to have it. Thanks.

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  115. OOOh, something to work out triangle measurements and circle segments exactly! (with seam allowance!). it is getting beyond my mathmatical ability with a protractor and calculator and pencil!

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  116. Like you, I'd love to be able to look at a whole quilt, size options, etc...

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  117. Great review, AnneMarie! I really like your comments about the sashing widths. I have a hard time visualizing sashing and border widths. If I have the time, I'll usually sketch things out, but I'm finding I have less and less time. I'm actually working on a quilt right now and having this software would have been so helpful as I calculated all aspects of the quilt.

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  118. Of course, I'm a follower. :)

    Love your pillow too!

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  119. I posted this giveaway on Facebook.

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  120. I love the re-sizer and sashing width.

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  121. I think I'd use the quilt design part the most--I always have lots of ideas in my head, but I'm hesitant to commit them to fabric. Great review!

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  122. Wow, it does more than I thought! I think I'd like to try the digitize/art quilt thing, very cool.

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  123. I like the quilt layout and the color section. This program looks awesome!

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  124. I'm a follower! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  125. What a great program! I like the color option - being able to see the design easily on the computer.

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  126. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway! I'm a follower

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  127. The resizing of the blocks, sashing and borders would be the most helpful tool for me.

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  128. I posted about this giveaway on facebook.

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  129. Posted on my facebook

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001077794518&sk=wall

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  130. I am a follower! Thanks for the chance to win!!

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  131. I would use this software to solve all my quilt math problems!

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  132. The math!!!! That is the main reason I don't do my own designs. I don't like calculating especially HSTs.

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  133. I'm a devoted follower, thanks!

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  134. I have been checking out EQ7 for a while now, so your review is fantastically helpful & really timely with Christmas wishlists & the like. I'm sure I would love every aspect of being able to design quilts the EQ7 way but I think being able to upload jpgs of fabrics would be AMAZING! Thanks for an incredible giveaway.

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  135. This is a fascinating program and to be able to see accurately a representation of the quilt design is really invaluable to me. Then to be able to make corrections and adjustments contribute to the certainty of final quilt appearance. Then, there are all the other features which would assist like fabric auditioning, block making, embroidery, applique..you name it this package has got it! This is a dream of a quilt maker's program and I would be thrilled to have access to it. Thanks for the opportunity!!

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  136. Yes, I am a follower of your blog!

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  137. I think I would like the layout feature the most, and probably the fabric measurements as well!

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  138. I also mentioned the giveaway on my blog :)

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  139. what a cool program! And truly, if an engineer likes it, it's got to worth it! So, it seems like as though the EQ7 does everything, but how about:
    1. the ability to scan in something, such as a photograph and then work with it. I love architectural features (ironwork, window placement) so to get the scale right would be a plus (meaning i don't have to guess or draw out the dimensions, the program will allow me to outline what I want from the photo and then calculate for me). this might already be possible if it accepts photos for landscape quilts. I suppose it would be useful for something you don't have in jpeg form or..
    2. scan in your own fabrics
    this program interests me every time I see it but it's out of my price range. A giveaway sounds great! Thank you for the in-depth review☺

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  140. I have never used quilting design software, but I would think printing patterns for paper-piecing would be fantastic! Thanks for the giveaway!
    Linda
    http://homesweetquiltinghome.blogspot.com/

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  141. I am a follower. Thanks again!
    Linda
    http://homesweetquiltinghome.blogspot.com/

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  142. I SHARED this giveaway on my FB page!
    Thanks!
    Linda
    http://homesweetquiltinghome.blogspot.com/

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  143. Would so love to win this! I think I would appreciate the fact that u can see what the color scheme looks like with scanned or available swatches. Beats using graph paper and colored pencils any day.

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  144. I would so love the planning/laying out of your own quilts.

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  145. I think it would be nice to design blocks and have help that way!

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