The Electric Quilt Company is 30!

The Electric Quilt Company’s Story – How It All Began

We’re celebrating 30 years! Since the pearl is the traditional symbol for 30 years, we’re sharing EQ Pearls of Wisdom from our friends! See all Pearls of Wisdom posts. We hope you enjoy the tips and tricks you learn along the way and discover some new quilters or catch up with your favorites! Also, we’d love to hear about YOUR journey with EQ so feel free to tell us your story in the comments on any post! A big THANK YOU to all our customers for your support over the years. We’re looking forward to many more!  :-D

This week’s featured friend: Jan Allston!

Tell us a bit about yourself Jan!

I started quilting in 2008, having sewn all my life and found EQ5 on sale at a quilt show in the UK.  The Man from Rio – Lawrence Dawe (UK distributor for EQ) changed my way of designing quilts forever!

Now I teach quilting techniques on land and on cruise ships circumnavigating the globe and smaller various parts of it. EQ8 is my lifeline when on board ships and I’m asked to design quilt blocks for passengers wishing to add extras to the quilts I teach them to make.  I can draw what they want, translate it into templates and print them off in a very short space of time using my trusty laptop and the ships’ printers.

2017 World Cruise Quilt designed by Jan in EQ

When did you start using Electric Quilt and how has it changed your quilting life?

I started using EQ5 several years ago and have upgraded each time a new version appeared on the market, giving myself more features which have been so useful over the years.  Now with EQ8 I feel I am a master of my trade and no longer have to wrestle with graph paper, pencil and rubber along with an overflowing waste paper basket!  Designing a quilt using EQ gives me more time to explore colour and form, more avenues to go down in the quest for interesting block design, draw my own designs from imported images and to put blocks into quilts almost instantly and view the results – no more crawling around the floor after clearing the room for space to lay blocks out.  Sore knees are a thing of the past!  If I don’t like the results, it’s so easy to move them around till the final quilt is balanced and acquires that “Wow” factor!

2018 World Cruise Quilt designed by Jan in EQ

What is your EQ “Pearl of Wisdom” for EQ users?

My Pearl of Wisdom for EQ users would be the ability to turn the block template printouts from EQ8 into .PDF documents and ready to send to users.  How to do this?

In EQ8,  when your block is designed, go to Print & Export>Templates>Page Setup>Printer.  Choose the option that will allow you to print to PDF – I use Microsoft print to PDF on my computer.  Click OK>OK>Preview.

Arrange your individual templates as desired.  My example is Rocky the Rockhopper Penguin designed for the cruise around South America in 2019.  He is to be fused to the background square using the Raw Edge Appliqué method, so no seam allowances are needed.

To get more info on Exporting PDFs from EQ8, click here.

Templates for Rocky the Rockhopper Penguin

Click on Print.

You should get a dialogue box asking where you would like to save the document.

Open the new .PDF in your editing software, move things around, add text, add an enlarged key, add a photo of the finished block in colour, a control box 1” square; give the PDF a title, add your copyright and page numbers.  Now you will have a professional document that you can send to those who wish a copy of your wonderful design.

What are you up to now and what do you have coming up?

So, what am I doing now?  No cruises probably till next year but I am very busy in my role as exhibitions organizer for The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles, Region 2 (south east of England).  I am putting on lots of Zoom events for members and their guests, as well as doing talks about EQ8 to International audiences, workshops teaching quilting techniques and giving private tuition in EQ8 as well.  My next big project will be a virtual quilt show in July (16th to 18th) when I should have been organizing a real one at a castle in Kent, England.  Tickets will be available for all the virtual events soon on The Quilters’ Guild website, Region 2 Events page.  I will also be organizing a two day event later in the autumn when a series of crafting  tutors and speakers will be given a short time to demonstrate what they have to offer.  Attendees will be able then to choose to visit that tutor/speaker’s website/blog to contact them about workshops or talks.  Again, it will be advertised on The Quilters’ Guild Region 2 Events page.

I am hoping to start sailing again in 2022 and making quilts to hang on ships again as well as having the chance to visit the most amazing places in the world.

Marco Polo Quilt designed by Jan in EQ


My free project features the blocks from last quilt I made for the cruise to the Amazon in January 2020.

Download the project here!

Amazon quilt by Jan for EQ

Hope you enjoyed this “pearl” of wisdom. Feel free to share your EQ story or a “pearl” of your own in the comments! Stay tuned for our next post!

View all Pearls of Wisdom posts >>