Whole cloth quilting can be accomplished by stitching free motion, in the embroidery hoop, or by printing templates and transferring the design to the quilt top to stitch through. The choice is yours. EQ8 aids us in this adventure of whole cloth quilting by providing stencil blocks in the Block Library built into the program.
The EQ8 program gives us a visual of how the whole cloth quilt will look when stitched. You can always change the layout once you start working on the quilt material itself. For instance, on the quilt pictured above, I would not create a stencil for this wavy line border. I would most likely use the serpentine stitch on my machine at maximum width and length and repeat the rows one beside the other stitching with my walking foot until the outer border was filled to my satisfaction. I like to use this visual reference of how my quilt will look when completed by laying stencil blocks on layer 3 of a Custom Set Quilt layout in the EQ8 program.
My first step in creating my whole cloth quilt would be to search the extensive EQ8 Blocks Library and see if there are all ready designs in the library that I may want to use. I don’t need to draw my own blocks. Since there are so many blocks available to me, even if the exact block is not there, I can use one that is close to what I had in mind and then edit it to make it exactly what I wanted.
Next I will determine the type of layout I want my quilt to have. I decided it would work easiest to use the Custom Set quilt layout.
Click on the layout tab at the top of the screen and then click on the Custom Set layout icon on the selection ribbon at the top.
In the layout box I will enter the size of my whole cloth quilt. I have decided to make a 40 x 40 inch quilt.
You can choose to have borders or delete borders from the layout on the Borders tab. I deleted the borders for my quilt layout.
Now I need to gather the blocks I want to use on my whole cloth quilt. I need to find these in the Blocks Library.
Click on LIBRARIES>Block Library at the top of the screen.
Navigate to the 07>Stencils Library in the EQ Block Library Folder.
There are many different types of stencils available to us in this library based on different categories.
NOTE: When looking through the stencils available, you will note that some of the stencils have a solid outline around them. It is better to choose a block without this solid outline. Choose a design block that has a dashed outline so you will see the stitch design only and not the block outline.
Navigate through the designs in the libraries and choose a couple that you would like to use. Pick whichever designs that appeal to you keeping in mind that you want the stencils without the box solid outline around them
Click on the designs of your choice and then click on the add to sketchbook icon in the upper right corner of the block library box. Click on the close at the bottom of the box once you have selected all the elements you wish to use.
Click on the Design tab at the top of the screen and then click on the Block Tools icon from the selection ribbon. You will be able to see all the blocks you chose from the library in the Sketchbook Blocks by clicking on the Set Block icon and then clicking on the Stencils tab on the left side of the screen.
Click on layer 3 of the quilt worktable. Layer 3 is where you would generally lay your quilting stencil designs.
In the sketchbook blocks folder on the left side, click on any one of the stencil designs you have in the sketchbook to select it.
Move the cursor over to the worktable and while holding down the shift key on the keyboard, click/hold/drag release a box area for the quilt block stencil.
Once the stencil block is selected with the adjust tool, you can set the height and width of the block on the left side of the screen. I am making my block size to be 8 x 8 inches. Once I type in the size, I will place it directly in the center of the worktable by clicking on the center horizontal and center vertical icons in the sketchbook menu.
With the block still selected with the adjust tool, click on copy and then click on paste in the menu. This will place another copy of the design on the worktable. Click on it with the adjust tool and drag it to the position you want it to stitch in on the quilt. Repeat the process as much as you want to have the number of design elements you would like to have.
Choose another block and add it to the quilt worktable layout to fill in the whole cloth quilt design. Using the same process as above, select as many stencil elements as you want and resize them however you choose. Use the handy Adjust Block icons in the sketchbook at the left to resize, rotate, copy, and paste the elements around the center working your way to the outer edge of the quilt table layout. Be sure to add you completed design to the sketchbook. Remember this is your quilt and you are the designer so there is no right or wrong way to produce this. Just make it visually interesting to yourself.
Click on the Print/Export tab at the top of the screen. Click on any one of the blocks to select it and then click on the printer icon on the menu bar to send the design to the printer. You can lay the paper template onto the quilt sandwich and stitch directly through the paper following the lines to create the pattern. Tear away the remaining paper after you complete your stitching.
The EQ company makes foundation sheets that are perfect to use to print your stencils. They are easy to see though for perfect placement on your quilt top. They tear away cleanly after stitching. Check them out on the EQ website.
You are on your way to creating awesome whole cloth quilts designed with the EQ8 program!!