Quilt-y Copyrights

Quiltcon 2013 and 2015 included an important lecture on Copyright.

It’s a subject we all like to steer clear of mostly,

but it really needs to be brought up once in a while.

If you see a pattern online that is a free tutorial,

it’s considered good etiquette to link back to the pattern

and credit its designer when you post your version.

If your work is “heavily influenced” by another person’s work,

you should consider doing the same thing.

If you’re making a quilt from a pattern,

 you really should give credit to the designer.

These are all situations where you want to give the maker due credit, provided you are using a paid for pattern or free tutorial.

However, and this is the sticky part,

what if you are influenced by a designer and you did not buy the pattern?

Generally speaking, most quilters and designers consider this copying,

also known as cheating unfairly.

This are just my two cents worth on the copyright issue. It’s a raging problem because of ubiquitous internet access. When we as quilters see an easy quilt posted online, we think we have every right to copy it and use it as we wish. In reality, we’re copying someone else’s art, and cutting into their livelihood. My rule of thumb is that if the pattern is for sale, and I want to make the pattern, I buy it. If you want to live in the world of free patterns for the rest of your quilty life, there are lots of them, and you can do that! No one’s going to be upset if you use and credit a free pattern of tutorial. But I encourage you to think of the designer’s viewpoint the next time you see an easy quilt you want to copy!

Charity Quilt Revisited

I need to apologize. I wrote a post yesterday, A Charity Quilt, while something was under my skin. A new acquaintance made a comment about charitable endeavors that rankled me. She doesn’t read my blog, although I would apologize if she did. However, you ladies and a few men do read my blog. I should not have written to you all in that state of mind.

There is an uncomfortable fact about quilting that does come to light. What is our motivation? This year, I hope to examine my own reasons for blogging and for making charity crafts. I hope you’ll join me in this introspection!

A Charity Quilt

I know a little something about charity quilts. Well, that is to say that I’ve made a few. My last count on quilts for wounded soldiers was somewhere around 50. (I stopped counting because I like round numbers! Ha!) I’ve also made baby quilts for the NICU, and Veterans quilts for the VA hospital. All that said, I have a little knowledge about how charity quilts work, and how they are given. Hopefully that means I’m qualified to say what I’m about to say!

When you make and give a charity quilt, it’s not about you. For a brief few minutes it will be about how you put colors together or piece well. But in the long run, the quilt is a comfort to someone in need. You’re making something, I presume a quilt but it could be other things, to bless someone’s life. Let’s make some practical points about charity quilts, shall we?

1. First and foremost, it is a gift. If the recipient snuggles in it every night and wears it to shreds, it’s theirs to do that. If they hang it up and never snuggle with it, it is also theirs to do that. NEVER dictate how someone is supposed to use your gift!

2. Do good work. A charity quilt doesn’t need to be complicated or fussy. It doesn’t need to have taken hours per block. But it should be very sturdy and pretty. One of these days, I’ll get around to writing the epic blog post on good patterns, aka the good idea fairy. But the truth is, any simple pattern will work.

3. Don’t overcomplicate the matter. Please do not make a Baltimore Album quilt, a Hawaiian hand appliqued quilt, or something equally as challenging, and then expect the recipient to go overboard with praise. As stated, a charity quilt should be attractive. But it isn’t a show quilt; it’s meant to be sturdy and warm. A simpler pattern will allow you to move from planning to finishing in time to give the quilt away. Besides, many people prefer a simple quilt!

4. Get over it. Post your pictures, share your patterns, even state plainly what you’ve done for someone or an organization. But then, move on. Make a new one for someone else, the same charity, or someone you know. Please don’t fall into the trap of tooting your own horn! Arrange your life so that others will do that for you!

I hope this helps someone who is considering making charity quilts! I speak on this subject because I’m addressing someone in a recent group who wants something (praise I think) in return for a quilt she is making for an organization. I hope she realizes, as you probably do, that giving is its own reward! =}

February’s Finish

I finished another Work In Progress (WIP) this month, and just haven’t shown it to you yet!

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It’s a very modern piece, designed to show off some of the characteristics of modern quilts.

I finished the top over a year ago for a lecture on modern quilting,

and am just now finishing the quilt!

It’s straight line quilting, still one of my favorite techniques for texture.

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I’m glad to have this lecture piece finished and put away for next time!

A Weather Day and Current Projects

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The weather isn’t terrible today where I am.

But it’s very, very cold and windy.

It only stands to reason that we are having

a weather related day at home.

For me, that means a sew day!

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The only hard decision is which project to choose today!

Should it be hand work in front of the fire,

or machine work in my quiet sewing room?

I will probably choose some of both!

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Here is my test block for an upcoming swap.

It should turn out lovely if I can manage all the curves!

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Sometimes, a challenge is good, though!

Happy Sew Day for all those who are staying inside due to weather today!

Behind the Scenes

It’s interesting, isn’t it? How we all have these pseudo lives now, these Pinterest perfect, and Facebook fancy personas. We rarely, if ever, take the time to listen, to find out what is really happening in other people’s lives. We scroll past someone who is obviously having a hard day. We are quick to say we’re thinking of someone when asked, but are we quick to communicate that one on one? We are in a hurry to show our support “publicly” online, but what about those closed door conversations? I’ve addressed it before, that perhaps conversation, the real kind, is a dying art. We live in a culture that wants the information in as few words as possible, in concentrated little sound bites. But, what are we really saying? Are we willing to have a one on one chat, even via technology, that meets and affirms the other person? Try this. The next time someone crosses your mind, say a short prayer for that person, then text them, one on one, letting them know they are on your mind. No I do not mean on Facebook-real time, only to that person’s phone. Because really, friendship isn’t one huge thing, it’s an interwoven mesh of little things you do for each other.

I’m fortunate, in my life to have some older people who really know how to communicate well. They ask interesting, leading questions, then listen to the answers. They remember those answers next conversation, and ask again about how your life is progressing. They want to hear about what’s new, and an update on ongoing issues. Sprinkled in there, they make things light and fun, and speak with snippets of wisdom. The older I get, the more I realize how much wisdom these older ladies (and a few men) have. If you’re on the receiving end of this kind of great affirmation and attention, spread it around. Give that gift to someone younger or your own age! Teach them how to have a conversation, and remember to be encouraging!

While we’re on the subject, try snail mail. I know, it’s old fashioned. But who doesn’t love getting something fun in the mail? For that matter, who doesn’t love making up a pretty package for someone else? Such fun!

Why not make someone else a priority and build your relationship?

Happy Blogiversary!

I’ve been blogging in this space for 5 years!

Happy Blogiversary to me!

Thanks to all of you for continuing to come to this space,

to see what’s new with me, and to see the quilty show and tell!

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful day!

Bee and Swap Extras

I didn’t have the best bee experience last year. There were several dropouts, bad communication, and lots of flaking going on. There were a few good members, and you know who you are. To those ladies, thank you so much! To everyone else, grow up and stop making commitments you can’t keep! See? I’m totally over it now.

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Except I’m in a new bee this year! In fact, I’ve done exactly what I did last year at the beginning, planning little extras and pretty packaging for each member. From the great communication so far, I doubt this year will be anything like last year’s experience, and I’m glad of it! Today, I want to talk to you about extras. These may be bee extras or swap extras, but I’ve created a lengthy Pinterest board for good ideas on the subject.

For many years, my husband deployed each year. That means I have an extensive knowledge of what mails easily, and, just as importantly, what doesn’t. I will never forget the story of the entire box of Cadbury eggs……or his surprise at getting a flat fabric Christmas tree in the mail. Some things work, and some things just don’t!!!! I want to pass along that wisdom to you all!

1. Consider your packaging. If you’re in a year long bee, then go ahead and gather envelopes for the whole year. I took these plain white paper envelopes and stamped them pretty, to include writing fun things on them, and printing a “happy mail” label! If you don’t want to stamp, consider some shiny envelopes or pretty labels. You can even do some fancy addresses if that’s your cup of tea! For swaps, I found a pretty set of boxes that are just right for minis and extras.

2. Consider what will travel well. I heart chocolate, but it’s a pain in the neck! Please don’t send anyone in Afghanistan a huge box of chocolate-just sayin’. If you’re determined to send some chocolate with bee or swap packages, please put it in a separate baggie. Ok, so I admit, bars are rotten stinkin’ cute when they are wrapped in pretty paper!

3. This one should go without saying but it doesn’t, don’t put breakables in your package. There are generally plastic versions of most glass things, but if you’re determined, use the rule of separate bags again, maybe even double bagged.

4. Please do not send handmade edibles to anyone you don’t know well. You would not eat them, so don’t expect your partner to, either. This one is a hard and fast rule. Just don’t.

%. Look for inexpensive but nice things. No one wants a box full of things that aren’t, well, nice. No junk or fabric you hated as extras! Hopefully, you understand this one!

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6. If you’re sending a large swap package, consider individually wrapping each item. You could even tag them with an order or some other creative way. It makes the whole thing more fun, really!

7. Consider a theme. Most swaps are themed, so you are automatically going to have color and/or style themes. For the bee hive, I chose a bee theme. {I can’t hardly stand it, it’s so cute!} There are fun green items for St. Patrick’s Day, red and pink for Valentine’s, and so forth. If your swap is, say, an Alison Glass swap, then think about items that go with her fabric line, or that you can make from her fabric! For the Charley Harper swap, think about things that follow that theme, too!

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8. Add a note. If you’re a stamper, you could make a set of cards at the beginning of the bee, and have it all prepared. Which leads me to my next point.

9. Have it ready. There’s no way you can know what your year is going to be like exactly. So prepare and plan a little, for your own sake! Make or gather the notes for your bee. Have all the envelopes you need. Make all the goodies at once. And then, store all of these things, along with baggies in a simple box or basket. When the Queen for that month puts out her wishes, all you need to do is make the block, then give her one of each item in your basket! Done!

10. Have fun with it. Enjoy giving to others and making for them! It’s fun to get blocks in the mail, but, wow, is it fun to prepare a package to surprise someone else!

Is it Modern?

Quiltcon 2015 is coming……

And with it, comes the ongoing debate about what IS and what is NOT modern. In theory, modern has about 12 characteristics, to include asymmetry and negative space. Looking at a quilt, it’s quite easy to see that it either does or does not have a modern slant. It is either a new pattern, or a reinvention of an old pattern.

I agree with all the basic principles of what is being defined as modern by many bloggers out there. Modern is not batiks, novelty prints, or vintage patterns. It is not a traditional neutral background with thimbleberries fabric. BUT…..

Here’s the sticking point. There are plenty of people in the modern movement who ARE using batiks, who are using vintage patterns, and who use fabric that looks a WHOLE lot like what I was using in the ’90’s. I know what true modern looks like, and I also know what patterns are truly modern. However, is that defined by me, the modern quilter, or is it defined by those quilters that are doing the making? This Theodore Roosevelt quote comes to mind.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

How about you? What are your thoughts about “modern” quilting?

Virginia State Quilt Tutorial

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To make this lovely state quilt, you’ll need to first gather some materials, some of which you may already have on hand!

Materials

Outline of desired state (this can be found on Pinterest or Google-search “state” outline)

2 fat quarters or slightly smaller for front and back of quilt.

1 fat eighth or large scrap for state itself

thread

Wonder Under/Steam a Seam/Applique Wonder

Basic Sewing machine and feet, etc.

So let’s begin, shall we?

Step One-Print out a paper sized outline of your state. Ideally, your image is just black and white, so it doesn’t require much ink. I took my image and traced around it, to streamline the shape, and to make it slightly larger than the one I printed. I then cut on my pencil lines, and that gave me a template for Virginia! (Yay, my new state!)

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Here’s the tricky part. To ensure that your state is going in the right direction, at least on your quilt =), flip your template over to trace on your preferred applique product. Trace the template, then apply to the back of your state fabric. (Mine is red.) When you flip the state back over, you should be able to have it situated correctly, to applique to the top of your fat quarter, face up. Clear as mud? Ok….

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Iron your state shape down, once it’s centered and looks like it should. This will give you a semi-permanent bond until you take it to the machine to sew it down.

Go to your machine and sew a zig-zag stitch over the edges of the state, being sure to stay on the edge, but also catch that edge under the stitch.

Once your state is stitched down, you have a lot of options about embellishments. Maybe a button or a heart in your town? Or maybe a slogan around it, hand or machine embroidered? I’m still debating on the slogan I want to use, so I’ll post another picture when I get it complete!

Quilt. Bind. Repeat!