Sunny Flowers • quilt no. 246 • 54″ square
This is BlockBase+ week, and in one week, I’ll be giving away a free copy of the software!
What is BlockBase+ ? It is new software from The Electric Quilt Company that will become your new best friend for creating quilts. It works on Macs and PCs and is a good companion to The Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, if you have that book.
I’m writing four posts, total: the first two posts will be about how I used BlockBase+ to create my Sunny Flowers Medallion Quilt. Today’s is about the selection process and introduction to the features of BlockBase+. On the next post, I’ll give you my formula for making your first Medallion quilt, using blocks in BlockBase+ and showing how I finished out my Sunny Flowers quilt. And then one week from now, in the last post about this software, I’ll have an entirely new idea for you, showing ways to adapt the blocks you find, making them your own through the software’s ability to make any block any size, in a snap. (I’m telling you, I really like this software!) Watch also for the Bonus Post!
Center Block of a Medallion Quilt, and How to use BlockBase +
Many of you have seen this quilt in process on my social media and here, on my website. On this post I go through my process of how I used BlockBase+ from start to finish. If you have more questions on how it works, there is also a database on the EQ website, too.
I started my Sunny Flowers Quilt as a sample to show you how you could use BB+ (my shortcut name for the program). I started by having a great time going through different blocks. I knew I wanted something that was sort of vintage, but that would make a great centerpiece. I picked the Sunflowers Block; it looks like this on my BlockBase+ screen:
I have it selected, so there is a dark square around it. See the little heart in the lower right corner of that block? You can also tag your favorites, so if you find something you really love, you won’t have to search for it again. The Brackman ID number is 773.6 (all blocks have a Brackman ID number).
By clicking on the Published Names, you can see the source and information about the block. (Hooray for quilt history!!) This block hails from the beginning of the 20th century, and is not one I’ve seen before.
Right now, I’d like to take a look at the one next to it, titled Three-Flowered Sunflower.
By clicking on the different icons in the Colorway area, I can have the block fully colored, shown in shades, or just in lines. As a newbie working this program during its Beta period, I wish I’d known better how to use these to enable me to see the structure of a block. Although neither of these blocks are the easiest, this second one has easier construction, which is shown by looking at the Line Drawing.
I tried out their quilt layout, just to see the block in different variations (there are seven different ideas to look at), but then decided to export it as an SVG (or Scalable Vector Graphic) into my Affinity Design Software, to see how it would look.
There are three ways to export it (JPG or SVG or PNG). Here’s the first rendition:
I had thought I would just make it a simple series of sunflowers, and put an uncomplicated small border around it and call it done. I know those of you who know me are laughing hilariously right now as I’m not very good at simple and uncomplicated, but I keep trying.
Here it is, all sewn. In my sample, I stitched one flower using EPP, and the other three flowers, I used Templates, sewn on the sewing machine. Just keep your wits about you, or choose another block–there are many more that can serve as centers.
Here’s a potential center for a Fall/Autumn Medallion (I added the center circle). The Brackman ID Number is 1740, but you can also search by name: Maple Leaf. If you are an Electric Quilt 8 user, all these blocks are available to use in that program, so you can build your quilts that way, too.
Printing Out your Pattern
Whichever block you chose, and however you choose to make it (Block, Foundation Pattern, Templates or Rotary Cutting Chart), re-size it to 14″ so the center will finish at 28″ square. We’ll use that measurement to build out our medallion quilt. (More on how to use BlockBase+ to do that will be in the next post. Being able to re-size my blocks made the whole process soooo much easier.)
After clicking on your block, go to Print Template. This window pops up. In the red circle, click on the radio button to select Custom Block Size and type in 14″ in both boxes.
In the aqua circle you have Printing Options. I usually use “Print unique templates only” if I’m going to be pinning and cutting out, but for just for fun, I chose “all templates” this time.
This screen pops up. Whoa! Look at all those pieces broken across two pages.
NEVER FEAR! We can fix this by clicking on a template and dragging it around where we want it.
You can also click on the piece to reveal a little green “handle” of sorts that can be rotated in case you want to re-align pieces to nest together more closely together (the above image was blown up by using the plus sign in the upper right of the screen).
I reduced my original 14 pages of printing to nine. As you move things around, the border on that particular page changes to light blue, so you can keep your pieces within the printing area of your page. That long green stem still breaks across two pages, but in the original it was breaking across three, so I consider this an improvement.
I kept tweaking and got it down to 8 pages. (Pin a ribbon on me!)
So, have any questions? Are you curious about things? Keep reading in this series to get the knack of this, and leave me questions if you have them.
- Next post on Wednesday: Building a Medallion, using BlockBase+
- Final BB+ post on Sunday: Winner of the software announced, and more fun things to try with BlockBase+
- But come back for a Bonus post: Affinity Designer software and BlockBase+ — with the ability to export in SVG, they are a quilty match made in heaven.
Are you someone who has only drawn out your patterns with pencil and graph paper? Have you worn an eraser down to nothing, changing lines and shapes? Have you always wanted to create your own designs?
To enter the giveaway, please leave me a comment below telling me how you might use BlockBase+ (and how it might help you bring to life those ideas you’ve thought up all during covid).
Yes, this giveaway will run on Instagram, too, so you can enter there for more chances to win. A n d . . . there is another post where you can enter — we’ll see you on Wednesday!
Leave your comment to win a copy of BlockBase+!