Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quilt design using Excel

Welcome if you're here as part of Chasing Cotton's Quilt 101 series!

I have to say that I'm thrilled to be a part of the series, both as a contributor to this week, but also to be able to learn along the way.  I'm self-taught as a quilter, and I'm not always sure that I do things the best/most efficient way, or if there are tools out there which would make life easier.

I love the design process though (I actually think that's the real reason I like to quilt), and I've designed a lot more quilts than I've actually gotten around to cutting fabric for.  I've always been fascinated by pattern, and trying to break down prints into their pattern repeats.  When I'm looking at ideas for quilts I'm also interested in how a quilt might go together - can it be pieced in squares/rectangles/strips?  A lot of the quilts I've designed have been based on square and rectangular patches, and I've found that Microsoft Excel is a quick and easy tool for trialling different colour combinations, layouts, etc.  I use it in much the same way a lot of people use graph paper, and started using it because its quicker and easier to build a design, copy and change things in Excel than having to draw a quilt out from scratch every time.  I've used it to design quilts from scratch and to audition different colour combinations for traditional quilts or quilts I've found patterns for in magazines.

I've divided my design techniques into three separate tutorials:
I've been using this process for a number of years now, so I'm hoping that the tutorials are clear and that I haven't assumed too much in the way of knowledge of Excel.  If you have any queries at all feel free to leave a comment on this post, and I'll try and help out.



  1. WOW!!! JACKIE!!! That is incredible!!! What an amazing going to print it out and have a good sit down read! Thank you sooo much.. xx Bec

  2. This is why I love coming to quilt class, I love, love your idea on using Excel to design quilts. It will be a while before I start designing one (I just started learning to quilt) but do love the idea of proportions for even simple square/rectangle quilts. Will bookmark your tute. Thanks.

  3. Wow! I just read through all those pages and they are very well written and totally understandable! Great work and I look forward to trying it out to design a quilt!

  4. Fantastic tutorial. I would never have thought to use Excel to design quilts. What a great idea!

  5. I love to read about your experiences! You write beautifully! I have enjoyed reading your articles. They are very well written. It looks like you spend a large amount of time and effort in writing the blog. I am appreciating your effort.


Thanks for commenting - I love comments!


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