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Creative Impulse 2000 is a refreshing addition to the quilt software world with its completely unique approach to quilt design. Traditional quilters will find more layout options of their blocks than possible in any other quilt software, innovative quilters will be in thrilled by the quilt ideas generated by using the Effects options! Both styles of quilters can benefit from this quilt software!

Creative Impulse 2000

Software NO longer available

Kaliedoscope design using a photograph embedded image

Bitmap Embedded Design using a photograph by BIrte Hilbert


Program Developer: Birte Hilberg

Ripple Effect added to quilt

Hexagon Effect added to quilt

Creative Impulse 2000,
A Design Software for the New Millennium

by Sharla Hicks © 2000

Creative Impulse 2000 is a design software that will help you design traditional or innovative quilts quite nicely but if you are looking for something that is completely unique in its approach, Creative Impulse really is your ticket.

Creative Impulse uses repetitive tiles/blocks to generate multiple designs quickly and automatically. There is nothing in the quilting software world that comes close to the speed or methods that Creative Impulse uses to generate new design ideas for quilt, wall paper, fabric, art and more.

Creative Impulse 2000 is the third generation brain child of Birte Hilberg, an artist and quiltmaker of international reputation from England. Birte has been tweaking capabilities, adding functionality and enhancing the user friendly interface this go around and I am very pleased with what I see!

What will the traditional quilter find in Creative Impulse 2000?

If you are a traditional quilter looking for a program that will produce yardage calculations, seam allowances around templates, have 1,000 of blocks to select from, tons of fabric, and want traditional setting that use sashing between blocks, then Creative Impulse probably is not for you. You probably want one to look at one of our other popular quilting software programs that do have those options.

Method Repeat MenuMethod Mirror MenuBut if you are a traditional quilter who likes working with repetitive blocks in new variations for a fresh edge in your quilts, then Creative Impulse may just be your ticket. CI allows the traditional quilter to take 1, 2, 3, 4 or more blocks/tiles and automatically rotates them through a series of math equations that produce more setting options than any other program on the market and very quickly! No other quilting software can help you make your quilt stand out from the crowd in quite the same way and still maintain its traditional roots.

traditional quilttraditional quilt

Traditional quilt designs using 3 different blocks

Method Rotate MenuMethod Random MenuFor the traditional quilter who likes the kaleidoscopes and tessellation repetition, Creative Impulse will turn any quilt block into a kaleidoscope or tessellation design without all the drafting, slicing and dicing that is often required. Creative Impulse creates the designs in a blink of the eye! Creative Impulse does all the work for you and you simply have to decide which one is best for you, then print it out and go to town.

Try out the 30 day demo and see what I mean.

Effects Main MenuWhat will the innovative quilter find in Creative Impulse 2000? Special effect under the Horizontal and Vertical twist commands

Kaliedoscope design using a photograph embedded image

The innovative quilter will like the unlimited layout settings for blocks/tiles in unique setting not possible when using traditional format oriented quilt software or graph paper exploration. BUT then add Creative Impulse's kaleidoscope, tessellation, distortion, and manipulation capabilities using special effects (see menus) and jazzy, unique, one-of-kind, never-before-seen designs are the end result. Create kaleidoscopes, tessellations, 3-D designs, distort with twists, turns, hexagon and curvilinear edges and much more. These type of distortions are impossible in almost any other quilt software. You may find some of effects in high end graphics programs, but even those do not compare to number of distortion options available with a simple click or two. And nothing compares at this low price! The example menus shown here are few of the options, each arrow in the main menu indicates additional options.

Kaleidoscope and circles menu Mirror Commands menu Samaller and Small Menu

Ripple Effect added to quilt Hexagon Effect added to quilt

Traditional quilt with Effects added: First quilt is Ripples and second quilt is Hexagon

For more examples of the Special effects (and wow they good examples) that Creative Impulse can create, refer to the additional articles and guided tour listed at the bottom of this review.

Operations completed using Toolbars and Menus

Top Menu & Icon Bar
Top menu bar with easy-to-use icons and drop-down menus.

Creative Impulse is a Windows 95/98/NT/XP/Vista compliant program (Windows 7 users download before purchase) and the File menu follows the familiar format.

Each of the other menus, including Edit are unique to program operations.

Creative Impulse 2000, easy interface has all major commands for program operations located on the icon tool bar. (See above) Each icon gives you clues as to operation and often eliminates the need to use extra step menus. Hovering the mouse over the right hand of icon brings up a tip box explaining the function. Also look at the bottom of the window for an additional information line.

Drop-down menus present additional creative options like the Method and Effects Menus shown in the previous paragraphs. A new program setup option allows you to determine how long an design stays on the screen that is particularly useful when reviewing the design progress or saved design sessions. And if you are fond of specific color palette. Create it, and save that one as default.

To get the most of the demo and preview, I recommend making the following changes to Setup and then view some of the designs that Birte has created by clicking Design Library Button. To change the setup options:

Setup Menu 1. Select Setup under the Setup Menu. The Setup Dialogue Box opens.

2. Change the Effects delay from the default 0 to 1, 2 or 3 seconds. This delay gives you time to view each stage of design transformation.Effects Delay

3. Click Design library button to open Design Library, make a selection, sit back and enjoy!

Draw and Color Blocks/Tiles using a special screen.

Draw screenThe greatly improved drawing screen has the standard graphic tools of a line, circle and curve but with little nifty additions to make drawing simple.

4 very useful options are built into the drawing board.

1. One of the best additions is a quick drawing option tied to the Grid settings.

Grid option and auto line tools

Select one of the line icons shown beside the grid and you instantly draw the lines across the screen.

2. The drawing board is only half screen wide, this allows you a view of the layout screen that reflects each line that you draw giving you a preview of the designs to come. You can stop in the middle of drawing, and go to the design screen, try out a few layouts and special effects. Then go back to your drawing screen and pick up where you left off, adding or subtracting lines as needed.

3. My favorite options when I am in the drawing screen is a little window that shows you all the rotation that would occur when using the block you are working on.


Drawn Block Rotation Window

Color Management:

  1. 5 color palettes included and Creative Impulse has the ability to save your own custom palettes.
  2. Coloring your block is made easy with a 16 color palette that is part of the draw screen. (See draw table above.) Creative Impulse give you two modes, solid or hatched. The hatched effect (heavy or mild) gives a feel of fabric texture to the painted patches.
  3. When you come up with a design that has potential, one button will automatically active a random coloring option that allows you to quickly try out colors you would not have thought of before.
  4. Customize you coloring by changing individual colors using slider bars or a built in palette.
  5. Bitmap fabrics can be used to fill the patches or be embedded. Embedded means import your photos or clipart to a specific size and place in your design. The embedded option gives a wide variety of design options.

Import and Export

You can export your favorite designs using several different options:

  1. Save as bitmap.
  2. Save as 256 color bitmap.
  3. Save to clipboard and post into word processing and graphic program.

Bitmap Embedded Design using a photograph by BIrte HilbertImport:

  1. Import a bitmap that can be used to replace a color in a patch or used as section of the design with a technique called embedded. (See example to the right which was created from a close-up photo of Birtes.)
    • Scanned Fabrics
    • Your favorite photo
    • Clipart
    • Anything that can be saved as a bitmap, the only limitation is the imagination
  2. To see additional examples and instructions on how the bitmap feature works, click here to go to Birte Hilberg's article on Creative Impulse 2000.


Care has been taken to prepare an easy-to-learn program. The tools are sometimes self-explanatory and sometimes require looking up. For a quick reference guide, hover the mouse over each icon for a tip message that tells you its function. There is also a reference line that appears at the bottom of the window for additional information.

There is no manual available and all the help is online. The help files are well-written, step-by-step instructions for each tool and menu command. To print out the help files to use as a manual, refer to the Computer Quilting BYTES article: Using Help Files Effectively in Quilting Programs.

Printing Options:

  1. Will print with any Windows compliant printer.
  2. Print Outline
  3. Print with fill
  4. Print color separation (this is for the basic colors, will not work with bitmap designs)
  5. Print design information on a separate page, this includes all the steps used to develop a design, the folder it is stored in, bitmaps and other pertinent design steps.
    • Note: This information can be edited to remove effects from the design.
  6. Optional to print page headings.
  7. Select your resolution to print the design.

Print Size Options:

  1. Let the program automatically decide what size is suitable based on the design window.
  2. Print fit to page.
  3. Print to ANY size using cm or inches, prints across multiple pages

Print Templates:

Templates in this case is an outline of a section you selected printed to size. There are a couple of different techniques to help you select an area to print. NOTE: Creative Impulse does not print traditional quilt templates with separate pieces and 1/4" seam allowance added. This type of template is just not possible with the type of designs that Creative Impulse creates using many of the special effects.

Block, Design and Bitmap Libraries

The preview window is used to select the block/tile, design or bitmap from the libraries.

Block/Tile Library Window Design Library Window

Examples are the Block Window and the Design Window.
Slider bar allow you to browse easily through the library items.

  • 220 block/tiles
  • 70 bitmap files (96x96 pixels) resemble traditional fabrics
  • 105 bitmap files (192x192 pixels) that are photographs from Birte Hilberg’s library and very wonderful. Really inspiring.
  • 112 design by Birte are included with the program. Each design has multiple solutions saved with the design file. (Refer to Setup above to setup the design view timing)
  • When you purchase the Keycode for the Internet download or buy the CD, you unlock an additional 400 designs in birte.cci folder.

Creative Impulse 2000 Computer Requirements:

Software NO longer available

  • Pentium 200 MHz or better
  • Minimum 32 MB RAM
  • 60 MB free hard disk space
  • 1024x768 resolution or better recommended
  • True color 32bit recommended
  • Older operating systems that work with Creative Impulse: Windows 95/98/NT/ME/00/XP/Vista

For additional information about Creative Impulse go to the following resources:

Download your trial copy good for 30 days

Creative Impulse Review
by Sharla Hicks

Creative Impulse 2000 (about program operations and magic!)
by Birte Hilberg, the program developer

By Claudia Wade includes working with Creative Impulse

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