#EQ25 – A Tutorial to use EQ7 for Creating Stencils, based on The Ultimate Stencil Collection, by Cindy Needham

The Electric Quilt Companyis celebrating their 25th Anniversary with monthly giveaways.  This month you can win a copy of EQ7 software or a fabric bundle from Art Gallery Fabrics.  

EQ 25 Celebration EQ logos

And, as I love all things EQ, to help with this celebration, I’ve created an EQ7 tutorial for using quilting stencils, which I want to share with you today.  Incorporating stencils into EQ can help to plan your projects, as well as create your own unique FMQ designs.  Of course, for those with EQStitch, you can also easily convert these designs to machine embroidery.  Plus, you could also easily use this technique to incorporate into quilt labels.


While this tutorial shows how to incorporate any stencil, I’m using a stencil from a design collection by Cindy Needham, called the Ultimate Stencil Collection.   You may be aware that I’m also hosting a challenge this summer, with three ways you can enter to win prizes. One is to sketch/doodle FMQ design ideas using any of Cindy’s Ultimate Stencils.  And, while you can certainly sketch on paper, you can also use EQ SW to create your design ideas and share.  And, when you share, you’re automatically entered to win prizes.  Plus, you don’t have to purchase anything to sketch out your design ideas, as Cindy has free downloadable templates.  Of course, there are also ways to enter by using these stencils and doing free-motion quilting on your pieced, applique, or wholecloth quilts, of any size, where you can also win prizes.

It is really easy to use stencils in EQ7 to apply to your designs.  But, admittedly, the Ultimate Stencil collection, Ultimate Background Stencil collection and the new Ultimate Shape collection are all versatile stencils that are so much fun to pull into EQ7 and let your creativity have fun.  Possibilities are endless.

Here are a few auditioning ideas I came up with for some of my doodling using the Ultimate Stencil Collection.  If there is interest, I will happily create a video tutorial, but for now, I hope this will inspire you to play with these stencils in EQ7 to sketch out design ideas for blocks and/or projects.  And don’t forget you can do this for any stencil.


To use stencils in EQ7, here are the basic steps.

Launch (aka run) your EQ7 software.

On the CREATE A NEW PROJECT TAB, type the name of your project (I used “2016 FMQ Challenge FMQ Design Ideas”).

On the file menu bar, on the top, click on BLOCK >> NEW BLOCK >>EASY DRAW + PATCHDRAW BLOCK

Click on the TRACING IMAGE tab


Click on the IMPORT IMAGE button.  Navigate (browse) to the folder where you have stored your image for the Ultimate Stencil – Circle.  A pop up will appear showing you the defaults for the image you scanned for your artwork, for you to crop it.  We do not want to crop, so simply click ok.  And then use your cursor to click anywhere on the Tracing Image tab for your image to appear.


The image appears the size that you saved your scanned image.  In the example I’m sharing, my image was approximately 6”x6”.  As we want this image to be fairly close to the actual size of the stencil, we will manually adjust the size while on the Tracing Image tab.

Use your mouse to click, hold, drag one of the corners of this image outward to enlarge (drag inward to make smaller).

Note:  If you want to create a design larger than the template, that is easy to do using only the stencil and paper, as well as within EQ7.  For EQ7, you simply extend out the lines, and the rings of the stencil to the size you want and add more circles, for the grids that you wish.

Likewise, when using this stencil to design FMQ motifs for blocks that are smaller than the stencil, you simply use only the portion of the stencil needed for your blocks, or the area you want your design to be.

The grids are 1” apart and the design area of the stencils are basically 16”x16”.  In EQ7 we are going to create a template for ¼ of the Ultimate Stencil, where our block will measure 8”x8”.  A ballpark scale in EQ7 is fine, as we’re creating stencil design ideas that will be marked on our projects using the actual stencil.

How we adjust our image, as well as how we draw out our FMQ design ideas in EQ7 do not need to be precise.  What we are using EQ7 for is to create design ideas that we will select from and those we wish to use will be “precisely” transferred to fabric using the Ultimate Stencil.  We will also use our FMQ design ideas for auditioning on blocks and quilts within EQ7, to help us select FMQ designs that we want to stitch out on our project.


How we adjust our image, as well as how we draw out our FMQ design ideas in EQ7 does not need to be precise.  What we are using EQ7 for is to create design ideas that we will select from and those we wish to use will be “precisely” transferred to fabric using the Ultimate Stencil.  We will also use our FMQ design ideas for auditioning on blocks and quilts within EQ7, to help us select FMQ designs that we want to stitch out on our project.

Click on the APPLIQUE tab.

Draw (doodle) within EQ7, saving your design ideas to your sketchbook, as you go.


Use your mouse to select all your design ideas and click COPY.


While in the Sketchbook View click on the STENCILS tab and click paste.

import an image of the Ultimate Stencil – Circle template

Set your block size for the desired size of your block design.

Enlarge/shrink your image to reflect the appropriate scale of the actual stencil.

Now, let’s create a folder for your Ultimate Stencil design ideas in MY LIBRARY, so that you can use these stencil designs for other projects, within other EQ7 project files.

Now, let’s play with these design motifs to see how they would look on your quilt projects.

For purposes of this lesson, I   will walk you thru how to apply on a whole cloth quilt vs quilt blocks of various sizes, but don’t forget you can use the stencil grids to create designs in 1” increments easily up to 16”, as well as manually extend to larger sizes.

On the applique tab

Save your design to your sketchbook

From within the sketchbook on the block tab copy your design, click on the stencil ta  and paste your design.

How about adding a smaller version of the same motif, not just on the sides, but inside of the two larger motifs?   With the Ultimate Stencils having a 1″ grid it is super easy to transfer these designs to your quilts in any size.  And very easy to do an echo line to any of those 1″ gridlines, creating a 1/2″ FMQ echo line.



Distortion ?

Within EQ7 if you do not adjust the size of the image of your stencil equally you will pick up some distortion in your FMQ motif which you design in EQ7.

ultimate stencil square 3

Don’t forget you’ll use your actual plastic Ultimate Stencil to mark your quilt top for FMQ.  Thus, when using EQ7 to plan out your design ideas for the Ultimate Stencil, you need not be 100% precise with your design.  But you do want to be close enough you can use the stencil to mark your fabric to FMQ as desire.


For those that have EQStitch software, it is also super easy to convert these FMQ designs to embroidery designs.  They also work well for creating quilt labels.  To clarify, you can use stencils to create borders for your quilt labels, as well as for adding FMQ motifs within your quilt label.

Again, let me know if you have any questions and/or if you are interested in seeing a video tutorial for creating stencils in EQ7 and/or how to take these stencil designs in EQ7 to convert to embroidery designs using EQStitch.  Today, this tutorial was simplified, not knowing what the interest of using stencils in EQ7/EQStitch might be.  For me, I find them easy to do and offer great fun when it comes to planning out my FMQ, as well as machine embroidery.

I hope this has inspired you to play with the Ultimate Stencils to create designs that you can stitch out on your projects and hopefully share in the Ultimate Quilting Challenge #2 Linky Party (aka Doodle/Sketch) to enter and win prizes.  Incorporating your stencils into EQ7 is easy peasy and so much fun.  Definitely faster and more versatile than using paper to sketch out ideas.


The EQ Team also recently released an EQStitch tutorial, for quilting in the hoop designs, which I want to recommend those with this software, or interested in it, to check out: http://doyoueq.com/lessons/quilting-in-the-hoop-with-eqstitch-and-quilting-designs/


EQ and Art Gallery Fabrics have great prizes you could win this month, as part of the EQ 25th Anniversary Celebration: Wouldn’t it be fun to win a bundle of fabric from AGF or a copy of EQ7 this month?

For a complete schedule of events, as well as information on the amazing prizes and generous sponsors:  http://electricquilt.com/eq25/contest-schedule/
Use the hashtag #EQ25 on social media throughout the 2016 as much as possible! Pair the hashtag with something related to EQ and you may be chosen to win a prize!


I’m also thrilled to have several blogging friends joining me today, to help celebrate.  As you may already be aware, many of us, will be sharing a EQ themed blog post on the 10th of every month this year, where you’ll find tips, tutorials, inspirational projects, as well as hopefully some fun quilty insights, as well as learn about how to win amazing prizes.

Yes, each month several blogging friends are releasing a post on the 10th of each month to help celebrate the EQ 25th Anniversary.  Along the way, you’ll find tips, tutorials, inspirational project and various EQ themed insights.  Here are some bloggers that I hope you’ll click thru to visit today:

Carol of Fun Threads Designs

Marian of Seams to be Sew 

Pamela of Pamela Quilts

Tina of Quilting Affection

Lastly, if you are a blogger that loves EQ and wants to help with the 25th Anniversary Celebration, consider releasing an EQ themed post on the 10th of each month (e.g. tip, tutorial, inspirational project you’ve made all showing how you use EQ products).  Let me know and I’ll include you in my blog post, to encourage others to pop by your blog and check out your EQ themed sharing.  I’ll also make sure you are on My Creative Blog List, which is a easy to use site designed to follow creative blogs, as well as increase awareness of blogging events.

 You can find the Electric Quilt Company at:

Here are links to my prior posts for these monthly  #EQ25 celebrations, many include tutorials. And all include links to posts by blogging friends who are also sharing EQ tips, tutorials and inspirational projects on the 10th of each month, to help with the EQ 25th Anniversary Celebration:

[catlist name=#EQ25 numberposts=30]

0 thoughts on “#EQ25 – A Tutorial to use EQ7 for Creating Stencils, based on The Ultimate Stencil Collection, by Cindy Needham

  1. Brilliant…thank you so much. Will have to bookmark this. This has not occurred to me…to import the stencil!! Great way to doodle and come up with new designs.


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