Software Review: Quilt Pro 2.0 for the Macintosh

Quilt-Pro is the only Macintosh quilting programme that is now available; however, this does not mean that Mac users are required to make do with what is available; quite the contrary, in fact. Quilt-Pro is an application that any quilter who uses a Mac need to give serious consideration to using as their primary design programme.

Although it is likely that the majority of quilters who use Macintosh computers rely on a drawing application as their primary tool for design, utilising Quilt-Pro offers a number of benefits. Utilizing a quilt programme such as Quilt-Pro comes with a number of obvious benefits, like automated quilt layout, yardage computation, and a number of alternative pattern grids. Quilt-Pro blends all of these benefits into a straightforward user interface.

The tools for designing blocks in Quilt-Pro are very similar to those that one would find in a standard drawing programme. Tools for squares, triangles, and custom polygons are in the palette, as well as flip, rotate, and pie-piece tools. On a single palette, which can be made invisible if desired, are all of the available tools. Additionally, there are palettes for materials and colours that may be stored and customised however you choose. You have the option of using either a circular, isometric, eight-point, or square grid.

Once your block or blocks have been created you can lay out your quilt. This is accomplished through one menu selection which brings up a dialogue and allows you to select the type of quilt you would like to make (sampler, sequence, or single block), as well as the type of sashes and borders you would like to add. The dialogue contains a diagram of what you quilt will look like (minus block patterns), which changes as you change you enter your preferences. This WYSIWYG feature is very helpful in making decisions about borders and sashes.

Once your quilt is laid out, the program closes your block window and presents you with a new window showing your quilt. The quilt is not static in this window, however. Changes to individual blocks can be made, as well as changes to all blocks. You can exchange one block for another and change the patterns and colors of the borders, blocks, and sashes. You can even change the entire layout of the quilt by going back to the Layout menu and choosing different options.

Once you’re satisfied with how your quilt looks on the monitor, you can do several things. Quilt-Pro quickly calculates necessary yardage by fabric, and you can print out your quilt. You have several different options when printing, and you can set them to best fit your needs. Quilt-Pro can create Foundation Blocks for paper piecing, and these pieces can be numbered to your specifications using the “Number Patches” option.

Quilt-Pro also includes hundreds of different ready-made blocks, borders, sashes, and patterns, which you can use as is, or change however you like. Many users will find the blocks useful in learning how to put together a complicated block using the Quilt-Pro tools. You can create your own fabric designs, and can even use the actual fabric design by creating a scanned picture of your fabric. The User’s Manual covers every aspect of the software and begins with a tutorial which even a beginning user will be able to understand. The documentation is indexed and has many helpful illustrations.

Mac users will be pleased with the integration of Macintosh niceties into Quilt-Pro. As you bring up blocks in the open dialog box, a preview of your block or project is displayed. One shortcoming, however, is the relative scarcity of keyboard shortcuts in Quilt-Pro. Many Mac users have become accustomed to programs that have a command-key shortcut for almost all important functions. Quilt-Pro has very few, and would benefit from the addition of some, especially for the oft-used quilt Layout menu option.

Quilt-Pro Version 2.0 for the Macintosh is a stable, easy-to-use program. It is simple enough for the beginning user to understand with a little use, but customizable and with enough features to keep the expert computer quilt designer busy for a long while. Mac-loving quilt designers should love Quilt-Pro 2.0 for Macintosh.

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