On page 85 of Quilter’s Home Oct/Nov issue you’ll see Helle-May Cheney’s Dandelion Wine quilt. What wonderful Fall colors it has, Dandelion Wine is a very appropriate name! Helle-May says, “I design nearly all my quilts with EQ6! I always kid my friends that it’s like my third hand!

I usually start designing a quilt with an inspiration block and go from there. In this case, the owners of Island Batik, for whom this quilt was made, really liked my Treasure Chestquilt. (Co-incidentally Treasure Chest was included on the Electric Quilt/Quilters Newsletter Best of 2007 CD and it too was designed with EQ6!)  The primary block in that quilt is essentially a 13.5″ 9-patch with bands of color that circle the block. I started designing Dandelion Wine by playing with the block design in EQ6. After deciding on a final block design and an alternate block, I placed then in my favorite quilt layout – On-point.  In the meantime, I also copied the fabric samples from Island Batik’s website, edited the images so that the scale of the print was realistic, and imported them into EQ6. Being able to place the actual fabrics on a quilt layout in EQ6 is a tremendous aid in designing a quilt. After playing around with the fabric placement for a while, I was able to finalize my fabric selections. quilt.

Using EQ6′s rotary cutting directions, I always make a few sample blocks to make sure the blocks are “sewable.”  Based on that experience, I can make any necessary changes to the block to make it easier to cut and piece.

My biggest challenge for Dandelion Wine was the border. I am not usually one for plain borders. I soon realized that the solution to my problem was lying on the cutting table. After cutting the corner triangles for the primary blocks from strip sets, I had pieces remaining that could be cut into triangles (with the strip set in reverse) to be used as the side setting triangles, creating a self-border. Not knowing exactly how to draw that on EQ6, I redrew the entire quilt using the individual 4.5″ patches instead of the 13.5″ blocks, which allowed me to see the final result! I’m sure there must be a simpler way, but it worked! It still took a fraction of the time it would have taken if I had to do it by hand!

I love EQ6 for its ability to allow me to visualize my ideas and to so easily make changes until I decide the design is “right,” even if that means 60 or 70 different quilts in the sketchbook!

I can’t wait to finish my current quilt – Driftwood. Of course, it too was designed on EQ6. I’m using a standard EQ6 border design (with my own color twist) that I’ve been just dying to try on the right quilt. It makes for a stunning finish!”

You can see Helle-May Cheney’s other quilts on her website at www.hellemaydesigns.com