Recently, while browsing the internet, I discovered a piece of software, called Quilt Fusion, which has the potential to remove constraints to your creativity by turning the process of quilt design on its head.
Quilt Fusion allows me to create a fusible web appliqué project from a library of fabrics and appliqué designs and then, with a push of a button, produces a fully developed pattern complete with full-size appliqué templates, appliqué placement guide, fabric quantities, and step-by-step instructions all customized for my design. The pattern shows exactly what the quilt is going to look like once it is created and I can even order a kit customized for my quilt design with a press of a button. In addition, you can download svg files of the individual appliqué pieces to use on an electronic cutter. Was I impressed? – you bet.
Quilt Fusion is a free iPad app with a monthly subscription required to print out your quilt finished pattern (annual subscriptions may be available in the future). The software allows you to create fusible web appliqué quilts from a series of templates and shapes from a library that comes with the app. It is very intuitive to use and you can have a quilt design complete with instructions completed in no time. Once your design is complete you submit it and your pattern is emailed to you in pdf format. You can elect to share your design in the Quilt Gallery where other subscribers can download your pattern, or customize (edit) it to create their own design. If you want you can order a kit from Batiks Plus who will send you a kit customized to your quilt design. Imagine going from idea, to quilt design, to pattern & instructions, to a kit using one simple piece of software. This is mind blowing.
Now before I let my enthusiasm run away with me you should know that the software does have some limitations. At this time the software only offers templates for fusible web appliqué quilts and, since it is new, there are a limited number of appliqué designs to choose from in creating your pattern. The designer is committed to adding to the library of appliqué designs and to develop new features in the near future. In addition, your “freedom” to design will be somewhat restricted by what designs are available. While this may seem restrictive, I actually view it as helpful when creating your quilt design. There are definitely lots of designs to choose from and I believe that sometimes too many choices can be more restrictive than not enough of them. This "restriction" is a natural result of making the pattern creation process simple. The trade-off between simplicity and “freedom” is one that is often made when making a tool (or a piece of software) simple to use.
As much fun as Quilt Fusion is, what really excites me is how this type of software has the potential to free the creativity of the quilter from the restrictions of traditional patterns. With Quilt Fusion everyone can become a quilt pattern designer (although you aren't able to sell your designs due to copyright on the appliqué designs). Just imagine the burst of creativity we are going to see in the quilting community as this type of software becomes more comprehensive. Think how satisfying it will be for quilters to conceive of an idea, assemble the design and then have it captured in a pattern. Quilt Fusion provides immediate feedback on what the quilt will look like based on their choices of fabric. For quilt designers this software may someday provide the opportunity to create a design that are flexible and will actively encourage the quilter to experiment.
The state of this software feels very similar to the early days of page layout software, which initially allowed the average person to create simple written materials. Now that software has matured to a point that many people can now blog or self-publish books. I think that the quilt design world is on the cusp of a similar revolution and I can’t wait!
I know that you'll want to try Quilt Fusion, and they have generously offered a month's subscription to one of my blogpost readers. Just enter a comment below indicating your favourite design in the Quilt Fusion Quilt Gallery to be entered to win. You have until Friday, September 18, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. MST to enter. Good luck!
I hope you'll take a look at Quilt Fusion and let me know what you think. I'm sure you'll be as excited about it as I am.