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The sketchbook and the role it plays in EQ is often misunderstood. Gordon Cooper article below helps to clarify the differences between copying to the Sketchbook and saving to the hard drive.

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


The EQ4 Sketchbook

by Gordon Cooper
Illustrations by Sharla Hicks

I have previously written a few notes on this subject for the Info-Eq mail list, but perhaps it's time to take another look at the job of the Sketchbook in EQ4. It is an area that has baffled many newcomers to the program, and probably confused a few of the more experienced users too.

From the computer's viewpoint, EQ4 is a collection of files on the Hard Disk. These files are grouped within several folders:

  • The library folder 'LIB' contains fabrics and block designs.
  • The project folder 'PRJ' has the results of all your hard work in designing blocks and quilts.
  • Another smaller folder named 'RES' has the default fabrics that appear when you click the Color Tab on the EQ4 Drawing Board.

The main folder (named EQ4 on my computer) contains:

  • The EQ98 engine that does all the work
  • The built-in Help File
  • A whole collection of odds and ends that make the program tick.
  • Hidden in the middle of these files are the unborn EQ4 Sketchbooks.
NO, I have not made a typing error, YES, I did say Sketchbooks. There are more than one. In fact, EQ4 generates a Sketchbook for each project, but the user can only look at one at a time.


Try this.

1. Opening EQ4 brings up the following dialogue box.

  • Create a New Project by typing a name and clicking .

2. If EQ is already started, open the Create a New Project dialogue box:

  • Go to top menu bar and select File; from the menu click New.
  • Create a New Project by typing a name and clicking .

After you have typed a project name and Clicked OK, the screen will be showing one of the Worktables - either for Blocks or for Quilts. No sign of the Sketchbook?

Where is it? Yes, you could look at it by clicking the View Sketchbook Button (or by using the F8 Key) but there's not much point in looking at this Sketchbook until you have put something in it.

  • It will say NO Quilts and NO Blocks,
  • The default fabrics and colors will be there ready for use.

3. Add blocks or quilts to the Sketchbook by drawing a block and/or design a quilt.

4. Copy your quilt or block to the Sketchbook your quilt or block to the Sketchbook by clicking .

5. Then Save the project to the hard disk.

  • Go to the top menu and select File, from the menu select Save As.

  • In the Save As dialogue box, type the Project Name and click .

The next time you open this project, the Sketchbook will come up first, showing the work that you have already done. (See example below.)

5. To open a saved project:

  • Go to the top menu bar and select File, from the menu select Open. The Open an Existing Project dialogue box will appear.

  • Select the Existing Project you wish to use and click .

So what does this all mean?

I like to think that the Sketchbook behaves like a Trading Post in the middle of EQ4. Every time you copy a block from the library, it passes through the Sketchbook. The same with fabrics, the Sketchbook is the "middleman" ("middlewoman?") in the transfer. When you save to Disk, what you are saving is the content of the Sketchbook. New block designs must go through the Sketchbook on the way to a quilt or library.

It all seems very simple, so where's the confusion? Well, if I have been reading my email from Info-EQ mail list correctly, most of the problems stem from what some people have been describing as "two step saving". The apparent need to SAVE in the Sketchbook and then SAVE again to disk. Certainly this is how things appear in the EQ4 users' manuals. The words "save to Sketchbook" are used often. This has definitely mislead some users. Here is what you should remember:

  1. "Copy to Sketchbook" blocks, quilts and fabrics
  2. "Save" only when doing the following:
  • When using the File Menu Save Command to back up the project sketchbook to the hard drive to prevent loss of data. It is highly recommended that backup be done frequently as you never know when a program or Windows might freeze.
  • When closing a project.
  • When exiting Electric Quilt.

To summarize.

1. The EQ4 Sketchbook is the mid point for all transfers of blocks and quilts, both within the program and to computer storage disks.

2. EQ4 Worktables allow you to work on only one quilt or block at a time. The Sketchbook behaves as a temporary shelf where you can KEEP things while working on a project.

3. When you exit from an EQ4 project, everything in the Sketchbook is erased. Therefore you must save to disk when backing up data, before changing projects, or exiting Electric Quilt.

4. When you open an existing EQ4 project, everything in that project will appear in that project's Sketchbook ready for access.

5. All new Sketchbooks contain a set of default fabrics. You may set up your own set of defaults if you wish.

6. Whatever you do otherwise, Save your work to disk OFTEN.

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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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