Technology: Friend or Foe?

images-58With the advances many gifted humans have made throughout time it is not surprising to witness applied science making its way into the quilting world.  Beginning with the birth of the first patented sewing machine in 1791 to the now visible computerized quilting machines; mechanics has evolved quilting into an amazing hobby and business.

Somehow in this ever-changing quilting world I still embrace the tried and true, (a.k.a the old-fashioned way) pencil and paper.  Bells and whistles are in abundance; enhancing the efficiency and uniqueness to what can be created with a small needle and thread.  Yet, I forever find myself holding my graphite pencil prepared for brainstorming battle on sketching paper.  I know my BERNINA 750QE is a playground of fun that I have allowed myself to only slightly enjoy.  Maybe, one day, I’ll venture to the BERNINA playground filled with wonderful stitches.  Or maybe not.unknown-22





In regards to computer programs and the quilting world I do possess the EQ 7, however, I do not utilize it often.  I am reluctant to be unfaithful to my pencil and paper, I simply find it faster and reliable.  I even hesitate to stray from my handy-dandy calculator for determining yardage.  The words “Computer Savvy” and “Lisa Calle” do not seem to compute.  However, I  do make use of “Illustrator”.  I am actually quite proud to share that Illustrator and I are going on a 7 year relationship.  I honestly cannot ever see me totally breaking up with Illustrator as this program has definitely become a small piece of me.  There are moments during my creative process that, with the help of handsome Illustrator, I will produce an appliqué design.  The results have me grinning from ear to ear as my eyes take in printed designs in various sizes.  But every relationship needs a break, and I since I’m not very good at juggling relationships I always follow my heart back to my pencil and paper.







Breaking up is hard to do.  So until my loyal pencil and paper decide to call it quits with this designer, I will be sticking with the tried and true.  That’s not to say that technology won’t tempt me into putting my pencil and paper on the back burner.

Has technology found its way into your quilting world? I am sure there are many tech savvy quilters among us, so share your modern must haves!

12 thoughts on “Technology: Friend or Foe?

  1. You recommend we take pictures of our quilts or blocks and then use tracing paper to draft out quilting designs. The digital camera is a wonderful tool – remember having to get film developed (or maybe you are too young for that :).

    • lol, Oh Lee, I wish I was too young for that. I remember taking rolls and rolls of film to get developed in hopes that one picture would be good. You are so right.. I couldn’t live without that piece of technology.

  2. I need to switch to computer designing as well. I am a tried and true graph paper person, but I have an equilter as well. I forced myself to make blocks for my guilds BoM challenge last year, but haven’t done a whole quilt design yet. I want to design patterns for other people, but haven’t figured out what software I need. I love my IPad, but hate to get on the big computer. Fear of the unknown I guess.

  3. I love Illustrator too. I took a course on it and found out about the pattern brush tool. I played with it so much that I developed a process that allows me to make up to hundreds of quilting designs from one original idea. The designs morph along the way. I was so impressed with what I was churning out that I wrote a book on it and two with four hundred (combined) of the resulting designs. It’s a lot of fun and very addictive. I believe if previous generations had computers to design on they would have embraced it; it’s just like a rotary cutter in your toolbox. You still get to take credit for what comes out of the computer.

      • Thanks, dianne61. The creating designs book is called The design master plan. The other books are called From labels to whole-cloths: Volumes 1 and 2. I’m nearly finished the second editions of DMP and Vol 2 so I’ll be taking them off line in a week or two, so I can proof them and they’ll be online again after that on You can read more about them on my blog, Happy quilting!

  4. Like you, Lisa, in whatever my mind creates via pencil and paper seems limitless. I too have EQ7 but have trouble making it work as fast and efficiently as my manual way. Never heard of Illustrator so perhaps I need to Google it and see what it’s all about.😁 ok, back to doodling.

  5. I wouldn’t be quilting if it wasn’t because of technology. I came to patchwork and quilting from digitising machine embroidery designs and although I now enjoy FMQ I still like digitised embroidery. I love drawing my FMQ patterns with pen and paper but equally enjoy digitising the drawings I do in Inkscape. I wouldn’t want to be without one or the other. Magpie – that’s me ;-D

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