Friday, March 4, 2011

Love. Partnership. Pretty Colours.

I love Microsoft Paint. It may be simplistic and useless with photos, but if only more people gave it a chance they'd realise it's damn good for designing quilts.

I have a lot of graph papers I've drawn up, various sizes, some on point, some with every second line in bold, some with sashing. These are saved as bitmaps, so I can just paintfill in each square with whichever colour I want. Here's some I prepared earlier.

Sometimes I add bits to the squares. It's just straight lines and it's easy enough to copy and paste over the whole thing.

I have a touch screen so it's easy enough to write my workings on the document.

If you click on it you'll see that I have 2 more brown 10cm squares than necessary and 8 too many green and pink triangles. I promise I'll make it one day.

Alternatively, I can be nice and neat and tidy with typing.

But obviously, they're just instructions for me. And early ones too - I work out how to do it better later on. But I think Paint is a way better quilt designing tool than, say, a piece of paper (16 million colour options - the most Derwent will give you is 72, and you can change colours over and over again and copy and paste and rotate and move and layer and make bigger and smaller) and much much simpler than specialist kit like EQ. I can use it effortlessly and endlessly, and I do, and that's why I love it.


  1. I don't know what to say. I'm very impressed. How long have you been quilting / designing? I usually try to design my quilts on lined paper (when i"m not using someone else's pattern) .. doesn't work so well.

  2. Wow, who knew the lowly Paint program could be so useful in quilting? I think I need to explore it more sometime. The funny thing is I have an older version of EQ but never really bonded with it.

  3. Pretty cool, haven't ever thought of using that, though I use a mac now so I don't think that comes standard lol. I do have the latest EQ though.

  4. great idea!

    And, since I've never heard of this before - I'm wondering if this is what my first grader was telling me about?

    Thanks for the lesson!

  5. I always get frustrated with MS Paint, but you definitely have made it work for you. Very cool designs!

  6. @Thea - With regards to colouring little squares in differnt colours, I used to use KidPix's stamp designer to make pretty rainbow blocks when I was still at primary school, so, in some form or another, at least a decade.

    @P. - I have about version 5 of EQ and it just drove me bonkers. I loved the lock-to grid idea but nothing else. I've come up with a way to do full fabric patterns in paint as well, but these days I just make the actual quilt. Life's too short.

    @Amanda - I'm not really up with macs, so I can't help. Sorry.

    @Kristen - the average first grader has a better idea of computers than the average person over the age of 20. My eight year old sister has done plenty of paintfill designs of her own. Paint comes standard with most windows operating systems, and is pretty much the most basic drawing program there is.

    @Kate - my tips would be a) hold down the shift key when drawing a line, it will lock it to a 90 or 45 degree angle and b) in the select options, click "transparent selection" which will let you see through your design on any pixel that is white (or whatever your selected base colour is) Also, keep your files as 24bit Bitmaps, because other file formats will blur your edges and you wont be able to paintfill anymore. And the zoom. Use the zoom.

  7. Great favourite, Sara! Before I got my current graphics software, I used Paint. It is surprisingly easy to manipulate. I've created gift tags and business cards with it. Wow...designing quilts with it. Now, that's impressive. Your designs are fabulous. Thanks for sharing. Happy FTF! :o)

  8. Normal paint I understand. Computer paint is beyond me.

    You amaze me Sara with your ability to design pretty things and make them come alive before you even cut a piece of fabric. I just close my eyes and hope it all turns out.

    Oh! I was at Spotlight yesterday and they have a load of the samefabric you used for one of your recent quilts for $7.99. I was so tempted...

  9. Oh yes Sara Im liking the purple quilt other than that I dont have a clue what your talking about thats why I just wait until they turn up at my house already made. Your a champion Queen Sara