In a very round about way I recently discovered the London Modern Quilt Guild, which is a group of modern quilters that meet once a month to share ,inspire and discuss modern quilting. It is a smaller branch of the much larger Modern Quilt Guild. The meetings are held the second Saturday of every month at Hyggeligt Fabrics (another great discovery) in downtown London. Last Saturday I was able to demonstrate how I use SketchUp in my quilting.
I promised to post the tutorial and I also thought it may be helpful to others. The tutorial is fairly lengthy, as I tried to add as much detail as much as possible. Once you get the hang of the program it really can be a lot of fun!
Please have a look!
Because I use SketchUp everyday, I have found that I take for granted little tricks and commands that others don't know. I strongly recommend watching this 10 minute you tutorial. This tutorial provided by the folks at ShetchUp cover using your mouse, navigation (zoom, pan etc) and axis in a video. It is everything you need for my tutorial.
Note: For the purposes of this tutorial, when I mention 'click' this will mean a left click. If I you need to right click I will use the words 'right click'.
Survival Tip #1...
If you find yourself in a situation where you've drawn something you want to undo, hold the 'CTRL' key and then hit 'Z'. If you want to redo a command, hold the key 'CTRL' then hit 'Y'.
Survival Tip #2...
If you find yourself in a command that you don't know how to get out of you can press the 'ESC' or click on the 'Select' button.
Typically Sketch Up is used as a 3D tool to draw pretty much anything you can imagine. However for drawing a quilt we won’t need to draw that 3rd dimension. It’s important to know that there are 3 axis to drawing 3D and we will only use 2. We will need to make sure that we avoid drawing in the the Blue axis. We only Require the Green and Red axis. Think of them as width (red), length (green), height (blue).
Depending on which template you used at the setup of the SketchUp program you may see a figure standing in your screen. This figure is not required to draw a quilt and we need to delete it.
A) Right click and click on 'ERASE' in the right click menu.
B) Hit the 'DELETE' button on your keyboard.
C) Alternately you could click the ‘ERASE’ icon at the top of the screen that looks like an eraser. If you use this tool, you need to click on that icon first.
Personally, I almost always use the delete button on my keyboard.
You have now learned to 'ERASE'!
It’s time to start drawing the quilt! For this exercise we will be drawing a 64”wide x 64”long quilt.
- At the top of your screen click the “RECTANGLE” icon.
- Once you have selected this icon you will be prompted in the prompt line to select the first corner. You can click anywhere on the screen to select the first corner, however, for this exercise I would recommend that you select the point where all axis meet (blue, red & green axis).
- Note: When you hover over this point a text box with the text ‘orgin’ will appear and you cursor should snap to this point.
- Once you have selected your first point, lift your finger and drag you mouse away from the origin point along the green or red axis. You will see a rectangle appear on the screen. To ensure that you draw this rectangle at the exact dimension you want type “64,64” and hit 'ENTER'. Because you have entered this dimension and hit 'ENTER' there is no need to click again. The numbers you enter will appear in the dimensions window in the bottom right side of your screen. This represents the 64” length (green axis) and the 64” width (red axis) of the quilt we are going to draw.
It’s now time to create a 2” border around the edge of the quilt. There are many ways to do this but since we know that the border we want is 2” we will ‘OFFSET’ the outer edge of our quilt. To do this, select the ‘OFFSET’ icon.
Hover your cursor over the blue rectangle quilt. You will notice that the blue surface highlights. This means that the surface is ready to be offset. Select a point near the inner edge of the rectangle and HOLD & DRAG the cursor to the centre of the quilt. Without lifting your finger off the mouse, type ‘2’ and hit 'ENTER'.
Now that we have the quilt base and the border set up, it is time to create our quilting blocks. We know that the overall quilt size is 64” x 64" and we have a 2” border on each side. That leaves us with 60” to play with. To make things easier we're going to draw a 12” wide x 12” long block. This will allow 5 blocks across the width of the quilt.
To draw the first block, repeat Step 2 and create a ‘Rectangle’ in the top left had side of the quilt. Instead of using the start point at the axis I am going to pick the corner of the inside edge of the border. Once this is done, type “12,12” and hit 'ENTER'. This will give me a 12" x 12" block in the top left hand corner.
Now that we have the outline of the first block defined we can detail the inside of the block. For this step we are going to create another border within the block. In order to do this, repeat Step 3.
This time instead of hovering over the overall quilt, hover only over the smaller 12x12 rectangle that we just created. This time offset this rectangle 3” by typing “3” in the DIMENSION WINDOW.
We want to repeat this exact block all the way across the top of the quilt. We also do not want to draw and offset each block over and over again. Instead we will turn the block we just created into a 'GROUP'. If you were to relate this group in sewing terms you could compare it to basting. For our purposes it is a temporary way to join items together.
Starting in the top left hand corner click on a spot anywhere outside of the quilt. HOLD down the left mouse button and DRAG your cursor over the block that we just created. Once you have selected the quilt using this method lift your finger off the mouse. This is called SELECTION WINDOW. All surfaces and lines of the block should be highlighted in blue and the rest of the quilt should remain un-highlighted. RIGHT-CLICK and select ‘MAKE GROUP’ from right click menu.
This will join all items in the block so that we can copy it with ease.
Now that the block has been "basted" we can copy it across the top of the quilt. Select the ‘MOVE’ Icon at the top of your screen. Using your cursor, click once on the top left hand corner of the block we just created. The outline of the block should highlight in blue. After clicking the corner, HOLD ‘CTRL’. You will notice that there is a small '+' beside the 'MOVE' icon. This will ensure that we are COPYING the block. If you do not see the '+' sign, the block will MOVE instead of copy. Move the block to the top right hand corner of the block and click again at that corner. The command is complete and you should see a copy of the block. Repeat this process all the way across the top of the quilt.
Note: You can toggle between copying an object and moving an object by hitting the 'CTRL' button.
To repeat the original block down the length of the quilt there are a couple of options.
1) We can ‘COPY’ the block we first ‘basted’/‘GROUPED’ repeatedly (Step 7).
2) We can ‘GROUP’ the first row and ‘COPY’ it down the length of you quilt. (Steps 6 & 7)
The choice is up to you.
The outline of our new quilt is complete and we are almost ready to start colouring! But before we do, we need to remove the “basting” or ‘GROUP’ we created earlier.
Starting in the top left hand corner click on a spot anywhere outside of the quilt and HOLD down the left mouse button and DRAG your cursor over the entire quilt. Left click again after selecting the entire quilt. Right click somewhere over the quilt and select ‘EXPLODE’ from the right click menu. This will break apart all of the groupings that we previously created, similar to the sewing equivalent of seam ripping.
If you are having trouble selecting the entire quilt, you can also use this step to 'EXPLODE' each block individually.
Note: You may be asking why we can’t just apply colour to the groups? If we apply colour to the blocks while they are in group form, the entire group will take on that colour. We will not be able to apply individual colours to the components within the block (smaller squares, borders, triangles etc.)
Now for the fun part! Applying COLOUR! Select the ‘PAINT BUCKET’ icon. Once you do this, a window titled ‘Materials’ will pop up. SketchUP provides preset textures and colours that would typically be found in or around a building, but it also provides an opportunity for you to add your own textures, and colours.
At the top right hand side of the ‘Materials’ window click on the ‘CREATE MATERIAL’ icon.
In the image below, I have applied all of the patterns I want to my quilt. You will notice that there are some light blue areas that have not received a colour yet. I want to consider using a solid blue that matches one of my uploaded textures.
There are several options for selecting a solid colour. One methods is to use one of the pre-loaded colours provided by SketchUp. Another method is to draw out a colour found in the textures I have uploaded. Select the texture you want to draw from.
In the ‘Materials’ window there is a tab titled ‘Edit’. If you select this tab there are some editing options that appear. Click on the 'Create New Material' icon. You will notice that the texture I am drawing from is in the preview window. Below there is a box that is checked ‘Use texture image’. If you un-check that box, a solid colour appears. This is now my new solid colour that coordinates.
Note: This is an easy way to apply colour quickly. However it only applies when painting a new colour to coloured areas that have the same starting colour.
Now that the quilt is drawn and coloured we can quickly and roughly estimate how much material of each colour/texture we will need to complete this quilt.
Click on any colour in the quilt. Right click and select ‘Area’ from the right click menu. You are given the option to find the area of the ‘Selection’, ‘Layer’ or ‘Material’. In this case, we want to know the total square footage of the ‘Material’. An ‘Area’ window will pop up giving the overall square footage of the material that is used in this quilt.
At the beginning of this tutorial we defined the size of our quilt with a quilt base of 64" x 64". You don't always have to define the quilt base. You can just begin to draw and play. If you do this you may want to eventually know what size of quilt or block you end up with. This is where the 'TAPE MEASURE TOOL’ comes in handy.
Click on the first corner of what want to measure and then click again on the second corner. The measurement you just took will be displayed in the length window at the bottom right hand of the screen and also on screen at the second selection point.
This tool could also come in handy for determining sizes of pieces required to assemble the quilt.