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Block Factory: Kansas City Star Block Patterns, Volume 1

Quilt-Pro Systems
For Windows 95/98
CD-ROM, 8 MB RAM, 25 MB Disk Space
MSRP: $24.95
Available at a discount

Quilt-Pro has always been an innovative company, and was the original inventor of the foundation piecing program with its first issue of Foundation Factory several years ago. They have continued to add to their line with two additional Foundation Factory disks, and have now introduced a new approach with the first volume of the Kansas City Star patterns on CD.

They changed the name of the program from Foundation Factory to Block Factory, because the program will produce either foundations or templates of any block that lends itself to both. Many of these blocks, of course, do not, and for those the program will produce templates but not foundations.

The Kansas City Star collection of more than 1,000 blocks was published in that midwestern newspaper between 1928 and 1961 (a publishing tradition that preserved much of American quilt heritage). Three hundred of the earliest of them are collected here in digital format and colored with a new line of reproduction fabrics from the RJR Company due to be in the stores this fall. As in the earlier Quilt-Pro programs, you can select a block from the menu (they're organized chronologically rather than by design type), and using a menu pick a size and then instruct the software to print out templates (or foundations). The program is smart enough to pick out only the unique pieces in the pattern for templates, but you have complete freedom in selecting which of the pieces you want templates for through simple mouse-clicks on a schematic of the block. You know which ones are foundation pieceable by whether foundation selection button is active or "grayed out."

The program throughout has an easy point-and-click interface and working with these blocks in this environment is fun and painless. 

In addition to this wonderful collection of blocks, the program includes a good online help system and links to a number of goodies, including some interesting articles about the Kansas City Star block history, and how Debby Kratovil, who adapted the KC blocks for this program, updated them for modern sewing techniques. There is also an index of all the blocks on the disk, giving the name and date of their publication. These blocks can easily be imported into the Quilt-Pro 3.0 design program, but Quilt-Pro is not required to use the K.C. Star program.

This reasonably priced and easy-to-use disk is a "must have" for quilters interested in their quilting heritage, and in having a useful treasury of traditional blocks for their own quilts!

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