Monday, September 14, 2015

How to Use PhotoScape to Test a Quilt Block Design

    PhotoScape is a free software that I have used for years.  I started using it to watermark my photos & to resize them because blogger had limits on size of pictures when they used Picasa.  If the size was under 800 the picture did not count toward free storage.
    Recently I posted a Quilt Shot Block entitled Praire Queen.  I had wished for a free software that would let me view the block in a quilt top view so I could see the sub-designs the block might create.  So I started poking around in Photoscape and found out it's really easy.  Here's how.


Using PhotoScape to Test a Quilt Block Design
You can download Photoscape for free @

1.  Take a square shot picture of your sewn block & transfer the picture to your computer.
2.  Open PhotoScape & open Editor

3. Open the folder where you saved your picture.  DOUBLE click the picture to bring it to the working window.

4. Use the cropping tool to cropped the picture down to the actual quarter inch mark on the seams of the quilt block. See below. After you have dragged the cropped line, hit the enter key or the crop button to crop.
5.  To resize, click on the HOME button, then RESIZE button.  Choose 300.  After you've combined some later, you'll know what size will work best.
Note: The UNDO button in the bottom right corner can be very helpful.......
6.  After you are satisfied with cropping and sizing (& you can brighten and change colors too), choose the save button. A window then pops up with 3 more choices.  Choose Save again. Don't worry about messing up your original picture.  Photoscape automatically saves the original picture in a folder it creates and names, (duh,) "Originals."  So if you change your mind later, you can start all over with the original picture.
Note: You might want to use 'save as' and name the block according to the size you created.

7. Now you are ready to combine the block to see what it would look like in a quilt. Go to the top of the screen and choose COMBINE.

 8.  Again, locate the picture of the block, and drag to the window as directed. It will appear on the bar at the top.
9.  At this point use the keyboard shortcut to copy, CTRL+C (hold control key and hit the C key) which will copy the single block. This will be faster than dragging more blocks.
10.  Choose CHECKER, the NUMBER OF COLUMNS, SMALL SIZE you want to see in your virtual quilt top.  Use the buttons in the right column.
11. Now that you have copied the single block by using the keyboard shortcut CTRL+C (hold control key and hit the C key), you can paste the quilt block quickly with the keyboard shortcut CTRL+V.  If that doesn't work, just continue to drag the block repeatedly.  You should see the "quilt top" appearing.
Note: You may need to use the zoom button, or go back and resize your picture.
 12. IF you want to see what the blocks would look like with binding, use the OUTER MARGIN tool & MARGIN COLOR on the right.
Looks like a real quilt!!!!
13.  Use the INTERVALS button to see what sashing would look like.  Use FRAME to find different choices.

A tip: If you find you need to delete some of the blocks you added, say you want to see a smaller top, 
you can delete some of the blocks in the bar at the top with a keyboard shortcut as well.  Just click on the any block, hold the shift key, and click on the anothr block.  This will highlight all in between the first and last block that you clicked on, then choose delete on your keyboard.

Hit delete on the keyboard and bam, they are gone.
Hope you find PhotoScape useful in planning your next quilt!  
Meanwhile, I think I'll go see if I can change colors of this block & see how that would look. 
I could combine it with another block? Please let me know what you discover.
Note: You might want to read the comments to this post to see if anyone has added other tips & ideas.

Thanks to Chicken Chick for faithfully hosting a Blog Hop every week.  It's been 2 or more years now?
Thanks to the FREE program

 Photoscape for downsizing & watermarking photo & other alterations to pictures.
Yep, I used Photoscape to help make this tutorial.
I also used my Printscreen button and good ole fashion Paint to make the screen shots.


  1. Absolutely brilliant idea! I use Photoshop etc all the time do to things like this, It's perfect for quilts and you made it easy to do. Thanks for contributing it to SHARE IT 28 linky party at Love it, and will Pin it later today! Hope to seeing you again Saturday at the next party! ~ Rose

  2. I can do something similar with Picasa but it looks like I could do lots more with PhotoScape. Thank so much for the tutorial!

  3. This is absolutely wonderful. I didn't know you could do that. Thanks so much. Linda @Crafts a la mode Pinned.

  4. What a great way to see the many different versions that can be sewn with one block, Joy. Thanks for the tutorial.

  5. I just found your site from "Threading My Way". I was wondering if you could make a follow by email option.


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