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BlockBase, an Electric Quilt Companion quilt software program


The computer quilter will find 4,300 blocks in Blockbase. Quilt historian Barbara Brackman's collaboration with Electric Quilt has put her book, Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, at the finger tips of computer quilters through a colorful library catalog card file organized by name, style, or number with extensive search capabilities included.

More Electric Quilt Software & Books click here

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NOTE: Opened Music, Pattern & Instructional CDs, DVDs, Videos, Computer Software are NOT returnable.
Exclusions: 1. If defective, the item will be replaced. 2. If UNOPENED in original sealed and undamaged case or box, the item may be returned for a refund.

Blockbase for Windows

Table of Contents
Click to Enlarge
Back of BlockBase Packaging

Computer System Requirements:

  • Windows XP / Vista / 7 (32-bit or 64-bit)
  • 20 MB free hard disk space
  • CD-ROM drive
  • NOTE: Compatible with EQ6 and EQ7 [but not required]
  • Will also run on a Macintosh® running Windows® plus emulation software (such as Parallels®)

BLOCKBASE for Windows
CD-ROM Version: Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman

A Stand Alone Block Library Program

Item Code: E01B
ISBN / SKU / UPC: 657920491144
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Blockbase is is a CD-ROM Version of Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns (now out of print). BlockBase has virtually every pieced block published from 1836-1970.

Blockbase is an Electric Quilt Add-on powerhouse with 4,300 blocks found in from the book! No other pattern collection comes close! These same patterns sold in 1928 for 15 cents each and are yours in BlockBase for less than 2 cents apiece! IF you own Electric Quilt Software the blocks will become part of EQ Block Libraries.


  • any size
  • as templates
  • as numbered foundation blocks
  • as rotary cutting instructions
  • as whole block designs in color, grayscale or outlines
  • Preview a single block quilt using the very handy feature found under the Block Menu. (See ) Use the Quick Quilt feature to preview a single block quilt. (See More info in the review by Sharla Hicks below)

Quilt preview in Blockbase

BLOCKBASE for Windows
Review and How-to Information

by Sharla Hicks © 2001 & 2012

Screen Shot from Blockbase

creen Shot of Block Base block preview
CLICK to Enlarge

Click to open PDF Example Sheet
Click to open PDF File of Block Examples from Block Base

Electric Quilt Company collaboration with Barbara Brackman brings her book, Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns (out of print) to Blockbase. The Blockbase CD has virtually all the pieced quilt patterns published between 1836 and 1970 with historical data that includes names and origin sources, over 4000 blocks. Blockbase has easy-to-use search options and it will print a block to any size, with templates, and when applicable, it will print rotary cutting instructions or paper piecing numbering and sections.

The operational buzzword for BLOCKBASE is EASE OF USE.

Electric Quilt Company has been making quilting software now for several years and they are very attentive to the consumer's wishes. This shows in Blockbase because it is so easy to use. You do not need to be computer guru or have lots of experience to run Blockbase. The interface will guide you right through the program operations.

BLOCKBASE for Windows will let you search in multiple ways!

There are 5 different search icons. icons from Blockbase Each icon has a mouse over tip that helps you identify the search options. Hint: To search menu from Blockbasesee the tip, hover the mouse over the icon without clicking and a tip will appear identifying the icon operation.


Or you can use the Search Menu. (See )

  1. Search by the Historical Name found in the Brackman book

  2. Search by the Number identification found in the Brackman book

  3. Search by a Wildcard Word, this is any word that is in the title of a block. For example, a search for the word star will select every block in the database that has the star in its title.

  4. search window from BlockbaseSearch by Keyword: This very powerful search has been added by Electric Quilt. It has Search Categories and then Keyword topics for each category. If you are doing a research project on reproduction quilts, you choose that category, if you are looking for holiday blocks, select that category. Then each category has a series of related keywords that bring up all blocks that can be associated with the keyword. Choose from hundreds of words -- perfect for making state quilts, quilts for your favorite teacher, minister, hunter, pilot, gardener, etc. Searching for teacher, for example, brings up all blocks that would make a great symbolic theme quilt for a teacher, such as "Schoolhouse," "Schoolgirl's Puzzle," and "Kindergarten Block."

  5. search window from BlockbaseSearch by Source: This identifies all blocks found by source and will be helpful to those who wish to create historically based quilts.

HINT: Save your searches or selected blocks in prj. files for future reference.

To save, use the Sketchbook icons.

sketchbook icons from Blockbase

If these icons look familiar to the Electric Quilt users it is because they are similar to the Sketchbook buttons found in Electric Quilt and have the same functions. The Sketchbook allows you to save multiple blocks to a file that can be saved for future reference OR the prj. file can also be opened in Electric Quilt 4. Use the mouse over tip to identify each icon's function.

How to use BLOCKBASE:

navigate side bar from BlockbaseHint: Use the icons to quickly find out the power behind Blockbase. The icons are self identifying with mouse over tips that tell you the purpose of the icon.

  1. Use the Pattern Categories (see example on the right) to browse through the 4000 blocks.

  2. Use the Search Icons to quickly find the block style of choice.

    icons from Blockbase

  3. Use the Tabs at the bottom of the screen (below the block window) to identify which part of the program you are working in.

    tabs at bottom of screen in Blockbase

  4. Identify your Pattern Category by looking above the Block View Window:

    block view window from Blockbase

  5. Identify the selected block by clicking on the icons to bring up the
    Published Name and the Historical Data.

published names for block as shown in Blockbase
Published Names
historical data included with each block in BlockBase
Historical Data
  • Block menu, select Quick QuiltPreview a single block quilt using the very handy feature found under the Block Menu. (See ) Use the Quick Quilt feature to preview a single block quilt. (See )

Quilt preview in Blockbase

Export Blocks

Export Blocks as bitmaps or .emf files.

  • Bitmaps are a generic picture file that can be used by almost any program that will allows you to bring in a picture.
  • .Emf files are formatted in a vector/object format. This format sends block outline (no color) patches as arcs, squares, triangles, and rectangles to other programs like Word and graphic programs like Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw.
  • Many of the programs will allow you to ungroup the patches/objects and manipulate them by moving, adding color, changing the shape, etc. In Word, this allows you to create handout. There are instructions for this in the Electric Quilt manual.
Two Methods to Export Blocks to Electric Quilt:

There are no Drawing Tools in Blockbase but by Importing a Blockbase block into Electric Quilt a block can be modified using the EQ draw and paint tools by changing lines, color, adding fabric and adding it to a quilt layout.

  1. Blocks saved to a project file can be opened in Electric Quilt.
  2. Upon installing Blockbase, a Blockbase folder is added to the Electric Quilt Block Library and all Blockbase files can be opened using EQ's block library options.

View of BlockBase Libaries INSIDE of Electric Quilt Software
View of BlockBase Libaries INSIDE of Electric Quilt Software

Help Options for learning BLOCKBASE:

The Blockbase manual is 106 pages of well written lessons and information on how to search, find out what's new in Version 2 for Windows, and operations.
Content example from online help

Online help is extensive, well written, and easy to follow. Search the online help by Content (see example to the left) and by index.
Find the online help by going to the top menu bar and selecting Help.
To learn how to print help files and use online help files more effectively, go to Sharla Hicks article, 4 Part Series on Using Help Files Effectively in Quilting Programs.

Printing options found in BLOCKBASE

Each print options comes with the following choices:

a. Preview before printing
b. Select size to print
c. Select Seam Allowance size
d. Pattern Name or Number
e. Number of copies to print

Print block to size using:
a. Line only
b. Color Block
c. Grayscale Block
d. Your Choice: Identify the block by name or by number as shown in the Brackman book

Print Foundation Piecing Block options that you can select to print your block:
a. Print numbers
b. Print as many as Fit
c. Print units/sections that can be pieced
d. Mirror
e. Print in Grayscale or Color

Print Rotary Cutting Charts:
a. Includes size and number of patches to cut.
b. Round cutting chart to the nearest 1/8 or 1/16.

Computer System Requirements:

  • Windows XP / Vista / 7 (32-bit or 64-bit)
  • 20 MB free hard disk space
  • CD-ROM drive
  • NOTE: Compatible with EQ6 and EQ7 [but not required]
  • Will also run on a Macintosh® running Windows® plus emulation software (such as Parallels®)

Electric Quilt offers the following overview of BlockBase Features:

  1. Over 4000 pieced block patterns.

  2. Amazing historical as well as pattern resource for quilters and quilt historians .

  3. Blocks categorized in 22 categories just as in the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman.

    • (examples: Equal Nine Patch, Unequal 9 Patch Small Center, Unequal 9 Patch Large Center, Five- & Six-Pointed Stars, Eight-Pointed Stars, Stars, etc. each with subcategories)
    • (Strip Quilts, One-Patch and Multi-Patch are only in the Encyclopedia)

  4. Design Notes for blocks include Brackman I.D. number, Block names, and dates.

  5. Published Names include names, magazines or other sources, dates and some contact information for copyright notices.

  6. Create and save projects of blocks to find them again quickly.

  7. Export and save blocks as bitmaps of a size you specify.
    • export blocks as metafiles and make your own piecing diagrams
    • separate metafile pieces in other programs to create piecing diagrams

  8. Copy blocks as bitmaps to the Windows clipboard to paste into other Windows imaging programs.

  9. Export and save blocks as metafiles of a size you specify (great for teachers who want to make their own handouts!)
  10. Copy blocks as metafiles to the Windows clipboard to paste into other Windows programs that accept vector images.

  11. Print blocks at any size as uncolored, white, grayscale, or colored blocks.

  12. Print blocks at any size as foundation/ paper piecing patterns, options include white or grayscale pattern sections, mirroring/flipping the printout depending on your technique, seperating pattern sections, printing as many small blocks on a page as will fit, printing with or without numbering, specifying with or without seam allowance and size of seam allowance, and changing the thickness of the lines.

  13. Print blocks at any size as templates, options include with or without seam allowance, size of seam allowance, and changing the thickness of the lines.

  14. Print blocks at any size as rotary cutting charts, options include choosing uncolored, grayscale, or colored version of block, specifying with or without seam allowance, and size of seam allowanceright-click on any block and view a quick quilt.

  15. Print block commercial template information for Marti Mitchell’s Perfect Patchwork Templates, including possible block sizes, template sets required, and template pieces used.

  16. Printing blocks in any size makes it a powerhouse for miniature quilt makers.

  17. Quick Quilt option shows you how a one-block quilt would look with the block you choose.

  18. Search for blocks by Block Name (example: The Priscilla, Feathered Star, Broken Wheel, Kitty Corner, etc.)

  19. Search for blocks by Brackman I.D. number (example: 1727a, 1270, I016, etc.)

  20. Search for blocks with a certain word in their name
    (example: search for “beaut” returns 41 blocks including Water Beauty, Ladies Beautiful Star, Ohio Beauty, Black Beauty, Savannah Beautiful Star, and many more Beauties for different states or cities

  21. Search for blocks by keyword search Blocks:
    • Perfect for reproduction quilts: 1785, 1795, 1805, 1815, …, 1935, 1945
    • Blocks perfect for: Color studies Miniature quilts Optical illusions Secondary designs
    • History: Colonial Times Historic characters, Historic events, Wild West
    • Holidays and Occasions: Birthdays, Christmas, Columbus Day, Easter, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day
    • Home and Family: Baby, Children, Community, Father, Pets, Women’s names
    • Nature: Animals, Beach, Birds, Water, Weather, Winter
    • Occupations: Accountant, Actor/Actress, Antique store owner, Architecht, Teacher, TV or Radio employee, Waiter/Waitress, Weaver, Writer, Zoo Keeper
    • Recreation and Sports: Card playing, dancing, games, sewing, toys
    • Travel: Airplanes, Boats, Cities, Nationalities, States, Trains

22. Search for blocks by Source search (example: Nancy Cabot, Detroit Free Press, Good Housekeeping, etc.

23.Search for blocks then use the “Find in BlockBase” button to locate where this block is categorized. The result is finding other blocks with similar structure, piecing methods, appearance, and variations of the original block.

24. Linkable to Electric Quilt Software and will appear in the Block Library.

more info here Electric Quilt Resources: Reviews, How-to information, articles by expert users of EQ, and more

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