After make their first few patterns, many quilters have a desire to design their own quilt patterns. Instead of using old-fashioned graph paper and pencils, many quilters opt for commercial computer programs that help to create hundreds of different quilt designs. Some quilters are leery of spending a large amount of money before trying out the concept of electronic quilt design. These quilters would benefit from one of the many free online quilt design programs. These are smaller versions of the commercial programs, but give a good feeling of the process of designing on a computer.
Try your hand at making a Log Cabin design at the Illinois State Museum's quilt design program. This application has 16 log cabin blocks, already pieced and in place. You have the ability to click on each block and rotate the direction in which it is facing. This tool is used as a design wall, and is useful for imagining the block set in any diagonally designed quilt block.
Spiderwoman's Design Thingy program is a page where it looks as if someone dropped piles of different quilt elements on the top of the page. The bottom half of the page is graphing. Click on any quilt element, whether half-square triangle, solid block or border rectangle, and place it anywhere on the grid. This is a good basic design program to play with ideas and to find out different angles for simple shapes.
Quilting Studio is an elaborate quilt design program, much like the downloadable Electric Quilt programs, but this program is entirely online. There is a free trial you can use indefinitely, while the pay version gives more variety from which to choose. In the free program, you are given a choice of six different quilt blocks and hundreds of fabric choices from classic prints to batiks and tone-on-tones. Design your quilt blocks and save them. You then have the opportunity to create a quilt with one or any number of the blocks that you have designed, along with choosing border, backing and binding fabrics.
- flower quilt image by robert mobley from Fotolia.com