Playing with Quiltr : an interview with Dorie Schwarz

by April

There is a great computer program on the internet called Quiltr.  It is a tool that allows one to try out quilt patterns with different color options and upload fabrics via flickr to see what quilts will look like before a stitch is sewn. This is a great excuse to get on flickr (if you are not already) and upload some photos.

 This is an example of a virtual quilt I made on Quiltr with some of my photos.

Here is an an example of a virtual quilt made just from a color picker, with no photos incorporated. There are limitless colors options!

Dorie Schwarz is the creator of quilter.  She is also author to several patterns like this Mama cat with kittens.

Project and photo provided by our own Heather.  Thanks Heather!

Dorie has also contributed projects to many sewing books that you may of seen in the shop. Titles include: Absolutely A line, Pretty Little patchwork, Quilts Baby! and Quilt it with wool.

Dorie was nice enough to answer some questions about Quiltr and herself. 

BN: We’d love to know a bit about your history as a sewist. Are you a life-long sewist or did you discover it as an adult?

Dorie: I learned to sew as a child.  My mom sewed a lot early on and I admired her for it.  I made an awesome vest in middle school, some pajama pants in high school, and a series of random things after that.  It’s something I’ve always done, with varying degrees of obsession.

BN:What are some of your favorite fabrics/patterns/materials to work with? 

Dorie: I’ve been doing more quilting than garment sewing in recent months, and I love the variety and quality of quilting fabrics available.  It’s just so different - more modern and more diverse - from what the options were ten years ago.

 BN:What Inspired you to make Quiltr?

Dorie: Professionally, I’m a web developer, and I had thought for years that the ultimate project for me would be one that combined my technical skills with my love for needlecraft.  I also wanted to do something useful for the sewing community I love so much.  After watching this Daniel Pink Video ( and getting some free time, I decided to go ahead with quiltr. 

BN:Do you use Quiltr to plan, or more as an inspirational tool?

Dorie: I thought that I would use it for planning, but it turns out that I use it for problem solving.  If I’m pretty sure of what I want to do for a quilt, but I’m stuck on some of the fabric/color options, I’ll use quiltr to preview what the different options would look like.  I still do a lot of actual fabric manipulation when picking fabric for a quilt, but quiltr keeps me from wasting fabric on a test block I might not like.

BN:Are there any plans to add more patterns or features to Quiltr?

Dorie: I recently added an x & + block to quiltr, because I was thinking about joining that quilt-a-long on Instagram. (Here is a link to the x & + along fliker group)

Rossie ( had posted measurements for really big x & + blocks, and I thought I might have just enough of this cool large-scale fabric to make it work.  I didn’t want to waste any of the fabric in cutting test blocks (they are 24” square), but wanted to visualize color placement.  Further enhancements to quiltr will probably come in this way - responding to a need.  What I most want here is for quiltr to be useful, so if there’s a pattern out there that the community would like to see added, I’m open to it.
BN:What’s on your sewing machine right now?

Dorie:  Tiny kitty doll clothes.  I just finished up a Papa Cat version of my Mama Cat pattern.  Next up is a bricks quilt!

 Thanks so much Dorie!


  Quiltr was launched in January 2012. It can be a  such a great source of inspiration and play. I encourage all levels of quilters to check it out.


One more Quiltr generated virtual quilt made with just the color picker.  Good times!