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Block size can be a bit deceptive in Electric Quilt. Here Gordon Cooper shows you how the Sketchbook manages block sizes.

Expressive Quilters' Newsletter
Supporting The Expressive Quilter In Tradition, Innovation, Art & Computer Quilting

Issue 12: November 2001
Editor: Sharla R. Hicks
Newsletter index for all issuesTable of contents for this issue


Block Size Considerations in EQ4

Electric Quilt 4 is a wonderful program but it has a few quirks that can confuse new users. One of these initial mysteries is the way that EQ4 handles block size. I'll try to explain by having you draw several odd shaped blocks.

1. Opening EQ4 brings up the following dialogue box: Create a New Project by typing a name and clicking .

2. To setup new block setting, go to the top menu bar and select Worktable, from the menu select Work on Block.

3. To setup the Drawing Board, go to the top menu bar and select Worktable, from the menu select Drawing Board SetUp.


4. In the dialogue box, set the Block Size to Horizontal to 6 and Vertical to 1.

5. To exit the dialogue box and return to the block screen, click .

  • You should now have a short wide block filling the width of your drawing board.

6. Go to the toolbar and select the Line Tool.

7. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.

8. Click Save in Sketchbook .

10. Repeat above instructions, only this time setup the drawing board Block Size Horizontal to 1 and Vertical to 6. You will now have a narrow block from top to bottom of the Drawing Board.

  • Do NOT add any more lines
  • Save again, the program will protest with a dialog box that says "This block is already in the Sketchbook. Do you want to save another copy?" Click Yes.

11. Now, click View the Sketchbook. You'll see two identical SQUARE blocks, no sign of the short fat block, nor the tall skinny one either.

12. Go back to the Drawing Board SetUp, set the size to Horizontal to 6 and Vertical to 36. On the Drawing Board, this will look exactly the same as the Horiz. 1 and Vert 6. block.

So what's the point of all this?

1. The first important point is that the Block Drawing Board does NOT show or save the size of any block. The Drawing Board does show the shape of a block, and uses the full width or height of the screen for this. This can become a bit silly, try setting the sizes to H 1 and V 40 and see what your block looks like now.

2. The outside shape of a block (the ratio between Height and Width)is lost when you Save it to the Sketchbook. In the Sketchbook, all blocks are shown as squares.

3. The Sketchbook DOES retain the relative shapes and positions of all lines drawn in the block. This means that you can return to the original design of any block simply by setting up the Drawing Board to the same Height to Width ratio as was first used.

4. The Block Drawing Board remembers the last SetUp that you used - even when the computer is turned off. This setting has upset a few users when they have recalled a block from the Library or the Sketchbook, only to find that it has an unexpected shape on the Drawing Board.

5. When you come to Print a block you will asked to choose the Horizontal & Vertical sizes. These settings will decide the dimensions of your printed block, NOT the settings that you used on the Drawing Board.

Another Question - When does EQ4 use Block Size?

1. Block size is considered when Blocks are used in a quilt.

2. On the Quilt Worktable, the Layout Tab brings up a dialog box with provision for you to set the number of blocks - Horizontal and Vertical for the quilt, and to set the Size of the Blocks.

3. Both Horizontal and Vertical size are asked for in the Horizontal and Variable layouts. On-Point and Baby blocks retain their shape at all times, so only one dimension is needed.

4. EQ4 does remember and save block sizes WHEN the blocks have been used in a quilt design, and that design has been saved.

Finally, a comment about quilt size. EQ4 adds up the blocks, sashings, and borders and shows the overall quilt size at the very bottom right of the worktable. Block sizes are not shown.

Gordon Cooper
4 April 2001.

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Electric Quilt Software review
click here

Gordon Cooper is an active member of the Info-EQ list and the programmer of FREEware databases that are geared to create easy to use, information retrieval that allow you save hints, tips (without pictures) and other data to a single place. He has developed 4 FREEware programs ready for download, click the underlined title.

  1. KeepHere: Blank database to store subject of your choice.
  2. KeepMany: Create up to 6 blank databases for subjects of your choice.
  3. YesUcan: An archive of info-EQ mail list answers and setup to allow you to add your own hints and tips.
  4. What Cooks: Blank database to store your recipes.

For more information go to the article by Gordon about Keep Here/Many and YesUcan click here

To join the Info-Eq mail list, click here and go to the website, This opens a new window, to return to this website, close the Window.

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Hints and Tips for Electric Quilt User Series:

Gordon Cooper Series on Electric Quilt:
Customize the EQ Default Palette with your favorite fabrics so that it automatically opens when you start up the program
Block Size Considerations in Electric Quilt
The Electric Quilt Sketchbook

Patti R. Anderson Series on creative uses for EQ:
Insert Photo Scans Into a Quilt Layout in Electric Quilt. Patti R. Anderson. This new idea is going to make GREAT memory quilts!
Simple Shape Quilting Designs for Borders Patti R. Anderson. Design and print long runs for the border using simple quilt stencil motifs you design yourself.
Featured Photo Inspired Quilts designed in Electric Quilt by Patti Anderson shown on Sharla Hicks Simply Quilt appearance

More How-to and help for Electric Quilt Users:
YesUcan, a database compiled from questions and answered shared by members of the Info-EQ mail list.
Using Help Files Effectively in Quilting Programs. by Sharla Hicks

Clearing up the Mud surrounding Copyright for Electric Quilt, BlockBase, SewPrecise and their Support Books. by Penny McMorris
Electric Quilt Website Review by Sharla Hicks: a great resource for all EQ users
Info-EQ Archives -- how to use them by Penny McMorris of Electric Quilt
EQ's Stash Fabric CDs: How to Convert Fabric Bitmaps from Stash to CorelDRAW pattern fill by Myrna Giesbrecht
How to Create Tessellations using your Quilt Software Instructions for EQ, Quilt-Pro and PCQuilt by Sharla Hicks

Past Articles for Electric Quilt 3
Win 95: here's a quick way to change the name of an EQ 3 project file by Penny McMorris of Electric Quilt.
FAQ: Electric Quilt 3 for DOS printing problems answered by Penny McMorris of Electric Quilt Company (these problems are not associated with Electric Quilt 4 which is a Windows 95/98/NT program

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