Virtual Challenge … Electric Quilt Library System

Edit When you have something to show after having fun, you can now share your results in Virtual Quilt Challenges, a closed Face Book group for members only. You will have to answer three questions so I can decide if you can join.

After many years, and thousands of blocks, My Library in Electric Quilt is a mess. I have made a New Year resolution to sort it all out. I have made several attempts over the last few years, but often finish up more confused than I was before, so I hope to get some order into the chaos this year. Preferably this month!

Most of you are not as far down the track with Electric Quilt, so this months challenge is to start seriously thinking about how to manage your blocks, starting with the blocks you may have already drawn from scratch, or modified from tradition blocks, as well as your favourite blocks whatever the source of the design, including blocks from the Electric Quilt libraries.

I would strongly encourage you to read the chapter in the EQ manual, and start good block library skills as soon as possible.  These skills will flow over into the Layout Library, sorting your favourite fabrics in the Fabric Library, and if you are into machine embroidery you can use them there as well.

The rest of this post is some of my thoughts about what I am doing, and maybe it will help you formulate some ideas about your own library.

I am trying to name everything, though I generally name a block project file, then name all the variations of a block by that name. I have learned the hard way to use the same name for the library as I used for the project file so that if I can find one, I can find the other. I have never lost all of my library, but I have lost parts of it on several occasion when I was clearing stuff out of the way!

To keep all pieced blocks together I use a prefix before the project/library name, using the grid as an indication that it is pieced. So 4 patch blocks are kept together by always using 4P before the name of the block collection.

There are also 5P, 7P, 9P, and others.

Log Cabin blocks will have to get something like Log before the name as the grid varies depending on the size of the centre block as well as the number of logs surrounding the centre.

For Drunkard’s Path I have been calling all my variations and associated workshops Patchwork Jigsaws, so they will be PJ, which I have been using for a long time.

Double Wedding Rings can be pieced and/or applique, so I think I will use DW, WR or DWR, but blocks that use both piecing and applique are going to be a challenge. Not inspired by any of them yet so will put them on the backburner for a while.

Thankfully I haven’t a huge number of pieced and applique block and maybe I can cover them by simply adding PA to indicate that they are a combination of techniques.

I am hoping QM for Quilting Motifs and QB for Background Fillers will work, or maybe QF would be better. However, if they are block based in any way I will put them into the same spot as the pieced or applique block, and add a Q to the end of the name.

Applique blocks can be made using many different techniques, and are interchangeable regardless of the designers intent, limited only by your knowledge of different techniques.

I have been using FA for a series of formal, floral applique blocks for some time, though it should probably have the letters reversed to put the technique first, and the subject second … AF … however that will involve changing the section I have already sorted again! This category started as crossed designs, with double crosses added very early on, then morphed into wreaths, assorted borders, and that collection is growing into a jungle of massed plants! I do want to keep this lot separate from other appliques, as all the parts of these are sort of interchangeable.

Then there are traditional style blocks similar to Lancaster Rose … which is probably the first block I redesigned just a few weeks after starting patchwork lessons. Maybe Applique Traditions, or AA for Applique Antique. I do want to keep them separate from the first section, and I think I like AA as a suitable prefix.

Then there are the themed and picture type blocks.

Pictures of people.

AH for applique house blocks, and I think there are some pieced houses too … PH.

Just a thought, put the H first to keep all the houses, pieced or applique together, so HP and HA.

Inside and outside the house pictures. Landscapes … maybe AL.

Toys. Nursery.

Christmas will be Xmas, and though I am thinking they will be all in a separate linked library, but that means I have to bring it back into My Library to add to or alter it, and I tend to add, or alter, blocks pretty much every time I open a project file.

I have a collection of applique fonts which I have called Fontasy, and I am running out of combinations of A and F so they are in a Linked Library! Font is simple and probably short enough to use a prefix so I can bring them back to My Library. That will make it easier to add numbers to most of the fonts which are lacking numerical appliques!

In the not too distant future I am hoping to be able to add some embroidery section of My Library, and hopefully I will keep that section well organised from the start.


About Virtual Quilter

I am a quilter who designs many more quilts than I will ever make, and I am sharing one quilt design every day in Virtual Quilter. I also share my completed projects in Stuff-Ups, and Christmas decorations in Christmas Everyday of the Year.
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8 Responses to Virtual Challenge … Electric Quilt Library System

  1. cindythequilter says:

    Well I finally did it. I RETIRED. Maybe now I can start doing cleaning up and sorting in my computer files but most especially in my computer. I am so glad to finally have time to go on the computer again but will have to limit my time on the computer so that I can do some sewing. That part will not be happening until April though as we are going on an extended holiday to celebrate retiring. Looking forward to spending some time catching up on some the blocks and posts from you that I have missed. Have a Happy New Year!


    • Cindy,

      Welcome to retirement. My other half retired a couple of years ago, and we are wondering how we had time for any working life. I am hoping it settles down into some sort of boring times, which I can fill with sewing, designing and gardening! Not to mention sorting out my virtual quilt block libraries!

      Judy B


    • Laura says:

      Congratulations, Cindy! I am very happy for you! 🙂


    • Toni Leggate says:

      Well done! Now the busiest time of your life will begin!! Especially if you have children/grandchildren living nearby.
      Enjoy the freedom to do your own thing in your own time…


  2. cindythequilter says:

    I like the advice about reading the chapter on libraries in EQ. Your method sounds really good. There are probably not many people that have as many files as you do though and I know I definitely don’t have that many but probably a good idea to get the libraries set up right away.


  3. Toni Leggate says:

    An excellent challenge! I have a ‘system’ that largely works but the cross-overs do present a challenge all of their own.


    • Toni,

      Welcome to the Virtual Quilt Challenge group!

      My previous system worked most of the time, but when it didn’t work it was messy. Trying to keep pieced separate from applique blocks is the main focus of what I am doing at the moment, and thinking that quilting motifs should perhaps stay with the pieced or applique designs except for the filler/background designs.

      Judy B


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