Quilt that Bucket List

I’m a list maker. 

I’m the kid you hated in school because my homework list was entirely too detailed (however, I was also the kid you called when you couldn’t remember what the homework was).

I have a running grocery list on my kitchen counter, with the stuff I normally purchase every week already printed on the list.

I have an Excel spreadsheet of every quilt pattern I own, alphabetized, with the date I purchased it.  I also have spreadsheets for my Cindy Blackberg stamp sets (with the names of the stamps in each set) and one for all my Simplique’ templates.

I have a “to do” list for everyday of my work week.

I also have a “to do” list for housework and chores for every day at home.

I have a packing list for trips that is four pages long (thank you Kelly Healy).

Yup.  I have lists.  And when something critical gets thrown in my schedule (like a wedding or quilt show), I have a list of my lists

Maybe I am a little OCD, but you know what?  I get stuff done.

There is one list, though, that I made a couple of years ago and I keep tucked inside my Day Planner and that’s my Quilting Bucket List – you know, the quilting related things I want to do before I get too old to hold a needle.  Several of these things have already been checked off:

Attend the Paducah AQS Spring Show:  Check – three times as a matter of fact.

Attend the Lancaster AQS Show:  Check.   Twice.

Pigeon Forge Quilt Fest:  Check.  Once.  Really want to go back.

Workshops with some “famous” quilters:  Check.  Four or five by this point.

Learn how to use a long arm:  Check.

There still are some items on that list I need to work on …

I want to attend the Houston International Quilt Market.

I want to go to the Seven Sisters Quilt Show.

I want to design at least one quilt pattern and market it.

There are more items on the list, most of them are not quite so ambitious as the ones I’ve listed.  They’re more easily attainable.  But I’ve found, even though those things still on my list are small, if I go through the process of writing them down, there’s a commitment there between me and them.  I’m more likely to do those bucket list items if I have them visible, instead of trying to remember them.

What I would like to do with this blog is to challenge you to dream about your quilting journey – big dreams and small dreams.  Make a list.  If it’s a quilt show you want to go to, write it down.  Then you’re more likely to remember it as you browse through quilt magazines and get to the travel advertisements in the back.  Do you want to make a Judy Niemeyer quilt?  A log cabin quilt?  Organize your quilt room?  Learn how to use a long arm/mid-arm/embroidery machine? 

Write them down – all of them. Tuck the list away somewhere that you can pull it out and look at it from time to time.  The reason I keep mine in my Day Planner is that I sit down at the end of each month to plan out my next month.  Since the list is in my Day Planner, I see it frequently and I can plan what item or two I can cross off my list to make my quilting dreams happen.  I’ve found the little things can be worked into my schedule pretty easily.  The big things take more time and planning but seeing that list keeps me thinking about them. 

Quilting is like any other passion in your life.  It needs room to grow and breathe and dream.  Just because it’s a “hobby” doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t have the right and the room to have goals and ambitions.  If goals and ambitions are not there, then there is nothing to aspire to.  And if there is nothing to aspire to, then you’ll never grow and get better as a quilter.  If you’re a new quilter, those goals can be as easy as “Learn to Use a Rotary Cutter Better.”  If you’ve been around the quilt block a few times, those aspirations may (and should) become more ambitious – design your own quilt, write how-to instructions for making a quilt block, or creatively piece the backing of a quilt.

Maya Angelo once said, “I did then what I knew how to do.  Now that I know better, I do better.”  That is true for every area of life, and quilting is no different.  You begin with the basics, learn them, then branch out.  Start small and easy, get bigger, better, and take on the complicated.  So, before you get too old  to sew a straight line of stitches, make that Quilting Bucket List and get busy.  And better. 

______________________________________________________________________________For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, you folks may realize that we’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of discovering my daughter had cervical cancer.  February 28 marks the day that the cancer was discovered.  I remember exactly what I was doing when Meg called me:  I was quilting with some friends.  I remember the panic flooding through me, and the immediate thought that there had to be some mistake and it was only a cyst. 

It wasn’t. 

It was stage one cervical cancer and without rehashing a lot of what we went through, I will say that the radical hysterectomy was successful, we got clean margins, a few setbacks, and are now going through Pap smears every three months.  If the next smear comes back clean, she will move to having smears every six months. 

We’ve faced the cancer, an abscess, a severe allergic reaction to an antibiotic that contained Sulphur.  She’s undergone   a colonoscopy and lung scans to make sure that those areas remain cancer-free.  She’s a fearless fighter and she’s shown me that you can plan for the future, but for God’s sake live in the moment, because you don’t know how many moments you have left.

In short, she’s one of the strongest and most courageous women I know.


Hence the need for Bucket Lists.  Grab life by the tail and live it, folks.  Do some of what you want to do instead of all you have to do.  Quilt like there’s no tomorrow.  Dance like no one’s watching.  Face your fears and stare them down.

We only live life in this realm once.  But if we live it right, once is enough.

Now go make that Bucket List. And until next week, Quilt with Passion!

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam


The Quilts that Haunt Us

I know we all have them.  I have them.  You have them.  Your friends at Guild or in your Bee – they have them, too.  You know what I’m talking about. 

The Quilts that Haunt Us.

I’m not talking about the quilts that we think about – the ones we want to make but haven’t gotten around to yet.  No.  I’m talking about the ones we made years ago that are either stuffed into the back of a closet, or hoisted high up on a shelf, discretely hidden in an old, cotton pillowcase. 

Those Quilts.

The quilts we made when we first started piecing and appliqueing and quilting.  The ones that at one time we were so proud of … until we got better.  We began to learn to match corners and seams.  We learned how to make our applique stitches so tiny they could barely be seen with the naked eye.  We mastered the art of dropping those feed dogs on a domestic machine and meandering the life out of a quilt.  You know what I’m talking about…

Our first quilts.

And while, yes, they do hold some sentimentality for us, those are the quilts best loved from a distance – like from the top shelf in our linen closets, behind the Christmas bath towels that are only pulled out after Thanksgiving.  Those first quilts are kind of like that high school crush most of us had.  We remember that person fondly, but can’t help asking ourselves, “What was I thinking?”  We can’t for the life of us remember why we thought Williamsburg blue and Old Rose were just the best colors ever or why we thought that making templates out of empty cereal boxes was the only way to cut our patches.  We love those quilts, but cringe anytime they’re mentioned or brought out.  There is just so much wrong with those quilts, we kind of want to forget them.  And in the process, we forget just how much they taught us.

This is my first quilt.

My very first quilt, circa 1988-89

It’s a homely little thing, isn’t it?  I made this little quilt for my second child, but my third pregnancy.  I had been sewing for a while, but at that point, I was only making garments for myself and my daughter.  After my second pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, I hesitated in making any clothes for my third baby.  But a quilt?  That would be just fine.  This is my first attempt at a quilt and my son literally loved the stuffing out of it.  It’s sparsely quilted, then tied.  At that time, I didn’t know any better than to buy the fluffiest batting out there.  The seam allowances aren’t consistent (after sewing 5/8-inch seams for clothes, a ¼-inch seam was just so small), and the colors are typical late 1980’s.  I was self-taught and was immensely proud of this crib quilt until I took a quilting class.

Then I learned just how many mistakes I had made.  But process of making that first quilt planted a desire in my being to learn more and get better.  If I had never made that first quilt, I wouldn’t have this area of my life that I love so much.  I would have never met other quilters that have enriched my life.  So, while this little quilt is truly down-right ugly, it’s a time capsule of my progress.

Let me explain.

This is one of the quilts I finished a couple of years ago.  It’s pieced and appliqued. 

Here is top I finished two weeks ago.

And here is my Farmer’s Wife (that I still need to finish designing the borders for).

None of these quilts would be possible if I had not made that first quilt.  And while that crib quilt is safely tucked away in my closet, I do bring it out a couple of times a year.  I do this at times when I don’t feel I have grown as a quilter, or I think that everything is wrong with the quilt I am presently working on.  It’s tangible evidence that I have developed as an artist and that I will continue to do so.  It’s proof that no matter how much I may be struggling with the quilt I’m currently working on, I can master it – I have become more skillful with each quilt I make and will continue to do so. 

I think it does us all good to take a look back at our quilts – from the first ones we made to the one that’s currently under our needle.  They show us how far we’ve developed as quilt artists and reinforces our confidence – we can master new techniques and new patterns.  At one time half-square triangles were the  scariest and trickiest thing in our quilting world.  Now we don’t blink twice about them. 

This week, I’d really like you to take the time to pull out a quilt (or pictures of a quilt) that you made several years ago.  Look at it closely.  I know at first, you’re going to see every mistake you made on that quilt.  Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and then try to see everything that quilt taught you.  Was it how to nest your seams?  Was how to meet corners?  Was it how to sew on a border?  Then look at the quilty thing you’re working on now and understand how far you’ve come and how a great deal of what you’re successful at today, wouldn’t be possible without the quilts of yesterday.

If those first quilts are going to haunt you, let them be friendly ghosts and not some kind of poltergeist moving thing.  And if you’re new to quilting, know that every quilt you make teaches you something.  Don’t let them daunt you.  Keep working away at it and learn the lessons it wants to teach you. 

Until next week, Quilt with Passion!

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam


The Right and Wrong (Side) of Batting

I was looking through my 2018 blogs last week and had a sudden epiphany:  I never talked about batting.  With all the techniques I covered, I never specifically talked about batting and why choosing the right kind and using it the correct way makes all the difference in the world with your quilting.  Let’s rectify that this week.

Batting, of course, is the center of your quilt sandwich.  There’s the top you’ve spend so much time piecing and/or appliqueing, and the back.  Between these two, there has to be a batting (at least there has to be if you want it to meet the true definition of a quilt).     And when you talk about batting, most quilters assume you’re referring to a fluffy substance.  Nearly 99 percent of the time that’s true, but technically the batting is anything that’s used as the center of a quilt.  In antique quilts, it’s not uncommon to find an old quilt or blanket that’s been used as the batting.  For summer quilts, I’ve used a cotton or flannel sheet as batting.

However, for the sake of this blog, we’re referencing the “fluffy stuff” that’s sold in bags or rolls clearly labeled as batting (or “wadding” if you live in some European countries).  Batting can be cotton, cotton/poly blend, wool, polyester, silk, or even bamboo.  The batting sold in bags are labeled queen, king, twin, or crib-sized.  If you only complete one or two quilt tops a year, the bagged batting may work best for you.  For those of us who have long arms, generally rolls of quilt batting work better, since we try to finish several tops a year.  Some of it has scrim and some of it doesn’t.  So how in the world do you choose which kind of batting to use with your quilt?  Well, just as the colors of fabric we pick determine the look of the quilt, so does the batting.  There’s no right or wrong choice, it just depends on how you want your finished quilt to look.

My go-to batting is  80/20.  It’s made of 80 percent cotton fibers and 20 percent polyester fibers.  It washes well, holds up to abusive quilting (close lines of stitches), and is generally a great all-around batting.  It doesn’t break the bank and I can buy rolls of it at just about any store that sells quilt fabric or most quilting websites.  If I’m making a charity quilt, a child’s play quilt, or any  quilt for general use, this is the batting that goes in the middle. 

However, it’s not the only batting that I use.  If I want my quilt to have great drapability or have a slightly puckered, antique look, I reach for my all-cotton batting.  I also use cotton batting in show-bound quilts, as this batting seems to show off the piecing the best.  That’s because cotton batting is low-loft – it’s a thinner batting.  This showcases the piecing more than the quilting.  I also use it for any quilts I consider heirloom quality.

But….if the quilt is appliqued or pieced and appliqued, I order wool batting.  Wool batting has a thicker loft, which means my quilting stitches will take the spot light.  And when those stitches are around my applique, that means  the applique will  appear to “pop” off the quilt top and also be showcased.  If I really want my applique to shine, I double-batt – I use a cotton batt next the backing and a wool batt next to the quilt top.

Hand quilting requires batting that a needle will easily go through without  much force.  When this is the case, I use polyester batting.  I know that 100 percent polyester batting has a bad reputation – the kind manufactured years ago had thin spots in it.  However, it’s gotten much better and makes the perfect batting for hand quilting.  A needle pushes through without a lot of effort, making it easy to get at least eight stitches to the inch with some practice.  If my hand quilted piece is show-bound, I prefer silk batting, which is even easier than polyester to get a needle through.  However, silk batting is on the pricey side and I only use it for small, hand quilted pieces. 

With any batting, you should read the directions before making your sandwich and proceeding with quilting.  There are a few terms that may appear in the instructions you need to understand.

  • Scrim – This is a light layer or grid of woven fibers added to some cotton battings.  It acts as a stabilizer and helps to hold the batting together while quilting.  This can be a good safeguard if the quilt will be frequently  washed – the fibers won’t separate.
  • Bonded – Quilt battings contain a type of glue or bonding adhesive, which means the batting may separate if the quilt is washed.  In order to avoid this, close quilting lines are needed to make sure the batting holds up over time.
  • Bearding – This is something to avoid.  It refers to any wispy fibers that eventually seep out of the quilt top.  This generally happens with lower-quality batting.
  • Fusible – While I am not a huge fan of fusible batting (I think it’s stiff), for small projects and quilted items such as bags, it’s a wonderful thing.  I’ve found myself struggling with it if I use it for larger quilt tops and I can’t seem to get it to bond evenly and without wrinkling. 
Bearding on a Quilt Back

Now for a couple of things you should be aware of with batting.

  1.  If you choose cotton batting, give it a close eyeballing to make sure there are no seeds in it.  Most cotton batting is very high quality, but even with this, occasionally a seed or two will pass through inspection.  Use a pair of tweezers or your fingernails and remove the seeds.  The reason?  Over time they will leave a stain.
  2.  Again, if you’re going with a cotton batting, chose white over the natural color.  And I admit at this point, this is more of a personal preference thing.  I tend to use a lot of white in my quilts and the dark flecks in the natural cotton batting can show through.
  3. If you’re machine quilting on your domestic sewing machine, a low-loft batting may work best.  The high-loft batting is thicker and takes up more room, thus making it more difficult to maneuver around your machine’s throat.
  4. Know when to use black batting.  Just like the other battings, black batting comes in a variety of blends and lofts.  I don’t use black batting often, but it is important to know when to use it.   If I’m making a quilt that has a lot of black and white in it, I will use black batting.  However, I will also plan on quilting the black areas more densely than the white areas.

I will also use black batting if I’m using vivid reds, greens, blues, and purples.  The black batting actually enhances the warmth and richness of the quilt top’s intense dark hues.  And of course, if my quilt uses black background fabric, I will use black batting

Needle Punched Batting

  •  There is a right and wrong side to some batting.  Yup – there is.  Just like there is a right and wrong side to some fabric, there’s a right and wrong side to some batting.  And if you place your batting wrong-side up, you can have issues with thread tension as well as bearding.  If the batting is needle-punched, there is a right and wrong side.  You can tell if your batting is needle-punched by giving it a close look.  If the surface looks like it has tiny dimples in it, it’s been needle-punched.  And that side with all the tiny dimples is the right side.  The wrong side of needle-punched batting looks like it has tiny balls all over the surface.  That side needs to go next to your quilt back.  If you don’t put it next to the back, then there is more tendency for your quilt to beard on the front.  Here’s the reason why:  If you place the wrong side of the needle-punched batting next to the quilt top, as your quilting needle pierces the tiny balls, the needle will pull up fibers. 

There is a right and wrong side to some bamboo batting.  If the bamboo batting is needle-punched, you need to make sure you have the dimpled side next to your quilt top. 

If the batting has a scrim, the side with the scrim surface is the wrong side.  Make sure it goes against your quilt back.  The reason behind this is that the side with the scrim should be the against side of the quilt  that receives the most abuse.  So, while the topic of which side of the quilt – top or back – receives the most abuse is a hot one, most batting producers agree the back of the quilt receives the most abuse since it’s always against something – a bed, a wall, etc.  If the batting  has a scrim and is needle-punched, go with the dimples against the quilt top. 

However, if you’re working with bonded batting, you can rest easy – it doesn’t have a right or wrong side.  And if you’re in any doubt, take a piece of the batting and push a hand sewing needle through it from each side.  Whichever side is the easiest to needle is the right side.

  •  If you’re quilting on your domestic machine, always use a new needle.  It will cleanly punch through all layers of the quilt, so bearding for whatever reason won’t be an option.  My favorite domestic machine quilting needles are microtex and top stitching needles.  The size of the needle will depend on the thread used.  Long arm needles are more heavy-duty and can take the abuse of quilting a top or two (or more depending on the sizes of the quilts) before being replaced

The longer you quilt and the more different brands of batting you try out, you will probably find yourself liking one brand over the other.  My very favorite brand is Hobbs, followed by Quilters Dream and Warm and Natural.  I like Hobbs for lots of reasons:  They have different lofts and blends, so I can find just about anything I need for any quilt I’m making, and their customer service is awesome.  They also have a very informative website, so if I have any questions about what to use, I generally can find the answer there.  And if not, an email to a customer service rep is answered quickly. 

If you plan on quilting your tops (either on a domestic machine or a mid-arm or long arm), here’s one reason you may want to give Hobbs a try.  They have a sample pack of their 13 most frequently used batts in large 18-inch squares.  Purchase a pack, sandwich them with some quilters-quality muslin and experiment.  This is an economical way to determine which type of batt works best for you. 

Before closing, let me encourage you to quilt as many of your own tops as you can.  For years I quilted on Big Red, moved to a mid-arm for a short while, and now am learning Loretta the Long Arm as quickly as I can.  I love the quilting process as much as I love everything else (except for cutting out the quilt).  Give it a try.  You may love it as much as I do.

Hobbs Batting Chart

Until Next Week, Quilt with Passion!

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam

PS – The usual disclaimer applies here.  I am not employed by Hobbs Batting nor do I receive any type of reimbursement or fee for endorsing their product.  I only promote products that I have a history of using and that history includes consistently great results and superb customer service.  In my over 30 years of quilting, Hobbs is one of those companies.


The Grumpy Quilter — or Copyright Policies (With Apologies to Steve Bender)

I receive Southern Living Magazine.  My wonderful mother (who truly is the wisest woman in all the world) gives me two magazines subscriptions each year at Christmas.  One is Reader’s Digest.  The other is Southern Living. I like Southern Living  for many reasons.  First is the fashion ads – primarily the jewelry (drooling over expensive jewelry  is another hobby of mine) and the second reason is the recipes (I gain ten pounds reading them). 

However, one of my favorite columns in that magazine is one called “The Grumpy Gardner.”  Steve Bender writes the column, answering questions that have been sent into him with great knowledge of all things involved with photosynthesis.  He even has a small side bar called “Grumpy’s Gripe of the Month.”  And sometimes, kind of buried tongue-in-cheek in his responses is the tone, “I can’t believe you just asked that question…did you not read the directions that came with your plants/sprinkling system/fertilizer?” 

I mention Southern Living, Steve Bender, and Steve’s grumpiness as a lead in to this blog.    Several weeks ago, I wrote about the Dumbing Down of Quilting and received a huge response to it – mostly in my favor.  But whether folks agreed with me or not, the one thing they did consistently tell me was that I was certainly passionate about it.  So, while I’m batting a thousand on the passion meter, I want to gripe talk about something else I’m passionate about in quilting and why it makes me as grumpy as Steve and it also angers me a great deal.

Sharing quilt patterns and books.

There.  I’ve said it.  I know at this point I may have made those of you who do this regularly upset with me.  But hear me out and we can talk about it in the future if I really offend you.

First, let me define what I mean.  I do not mean loaning quilt books or patterns out to your friends for them to use and then the books or patterns are returned to you.  I mean those quilters that scan or copy patterns and give those copies out to their friends.  If you want to get down to brass tacks about why you shouldn’t do this:  It’s illegal.  Plain and simple.  These works (or at least most of them) are either copyright protected or in the process of obtaining the copyritght, so any reproduction of these works for personal gain or not, is illegal.  Even if you’re only making one copy of a pattern for sweet Betty at guild and are not charging her one red cent for the copy, it’s still illegal. 

“But it’s only one copy…”  I can hear some of you saying that now.

I realize that it’s just one copy and sweet Betty from guild may be a widow living on a limited income.  However, that doesn’t negate the fact that you just distributed a copy of pattern that is under copyright protection. And that’s wrong. 

Will you get caught?  Probably not.  As I’ve said many times before, there are no quilt police and unless someone takes the time to contact the pattern designer or the book author and they, in turn, get their lawyers involved, you will probably continue to skate on the thin line of the wrong side in this ethical dilemma.

But let’s set the laws of copyright protection aside for a minute and consider the second reason that copying a pattern or book in any form is wrong – and that’s the ethics of the issue.  As a published author, here is where this issue hits me the hardest.  Let me explain.  It’s not easy designing patterns or writing books.  It takes time.  It takes talent.  You pour yourself onto the blank screen of a laptop and rework drawings (if it’s a pattern) and words until you get them just about as perfect as you can.  You research.  You re-write.  Then you upload it and send it off to an editor who proceeds to tell you what else you need to do to make your writing or pattern even better.  The editor returns it to you.  You make the corrections.  The writer or the designer goes through this process several times until they and the editor feel like the project is the best it can be.

And then somewhere in the print world, someone hits publish. Gears whirl, cyber space churns…then BINGO BABY … you’re published.  The craft world is similar to the academia world that I have my background in … it’s publish or perish.  If you don’t keep yourself out there in the public eye, showing what you know, that same public that adores you today may forget you tomorrow.  This process takes time, and for some of those writing and designing in the quilt world, this also takes money.  Many of our favorite designers have to self-publish their first projects in order to get their books and patterns out there.  At least in the beginning.  Then later larger publishing companies may pick them up and actually pay them as their going through the publication process.

Once the patterns or books are printed and the designer or author pays for them, they are usually delivered to the designer or author and they must sell them.  Some of them have direct lines into stores or websites.  Some of them use the products in the workshops or classes they teach.  Some of them trek across country, following the line of quilt shows that begin in January and end in October, setting up a vendor booth and selling to the crowds there.  Most of the time it’s a combination of all three.  These are people that are doing what they love and they’re trying to make a living at it.  Every copy they sell helps pay their expenses and puts bread on their table. 

And when you make copies of a book or pattern and distribute them, you’re stealing.  Yes.  That’s right.  That sounds harsh, and I mean it to sound that way.  You’re taking away potential income from that person who probably needs to it pay bills, buy groceries, and foster their next book or pattern.  Every copy that is illegally made without permission from the designer or author is taking income away from them. 

I get it that some patterns and books can be expensive.  I do.  But it’s not inexpensive to produce these things, either.  However, most patterns and books are reasonably priced.   The designers and authors make sure that their products are priced within most quilters’ reach so everyone can afford them, and more product will be sold.  If sweet Betty from guild needs that pattern, buy it for her. Make her day and use it as a tax right-off.   Just don’t steal from that hard-working designer or writer.

Let’s look at another end of this subject:  books or patterns that are out of print.  This is area is a little more black and white for me.  I’ve had the situation arise when I’ve seen a quilt that I really, really want to make.  The first thing I do is Google (what did we ever do before the internet?) the pattern and see where I can purchase it.  If I keep finding out it’s out of print, I try contacting the designer/author.  Sometimes this can be a fairly easy process – in today’s world, you can find people on Facebook and Instagram quickly if they have an account with either of those – or I may find them through another Google search.  I ask them if they have additional patterns for sale or where can I possibly find one for purchase.  If said pattern or book is available for purchase, that’s what I do.  However, if the author or designer is deceased or directs me to Ebay or Etsy, I have no issue with getting a copy of the pattern or book from a friend.  At that point, there is no additional income from the product going to the author or designer. 

Now I’ll posit this situation: What if you take a pattern, twist it a little bit, put your own flair to it, and enter it in a show?  How would you treat that?  It’s certainly not all your work – you didn’t design the pattern – but a large chunk of it is.  Take a look at this little quilt I made:

Those of you who are like me and are avid Esther Aliu fans, know that my quilt is very similar to her quilt, Easter Blessings, as shown below.

Esther Aliu’s Easter Blessing

I based this Springtime wall hanging on Easter Blessings.  I changed the border up, eliminating Esther’s Easter eggs so I could keep my wall hanging up from March through the beginning of Summer.  My plans are (if I can get this bugger quilted in time) to enter it in my Guild’s quilt show in August.  On my label and my paper work I will give Esther Aliu credit for part of the quilt by stating “Based on the quilt pattern Easter Blessings by Esther Aliu.”  I realize that this is a little thing, and it’s certainly not putting any additional income in Esther’s pocket from me, but it gives her credit where credit is due. In addition, someone else may like my wall hanging so much, they may want to make it.  With this extra credit on my label and paper work, that person now knows where to go and purchase it. 

This is a little thing, but it’s an ethical issue.  It lets the quilt judge know that the quilt isn’t all my original work and it gives recognition to the original designer.  Plus, it helps me sleep better at night knowing all my bases are covered. 

One last topic on this subject before I close out this blog.  I’ve discussed what is copyright and how to treat those patterns and books that are under that auspice.  But you and I both know that quilting has been around for a long time – hundreds, if not thousands of years.  There are quilt blocks and quilts that we have no idea where the idea originated.  I’m talking about quilts like Storm at Sea, Sunbonnet Sue, Double Wedding Ring, and Irish Chain.  Is there a way to give credit to the designer on these? 

Unfortunately, no in some circumstances.  These blocks and quilt patterns have been around so long that there may not have been copyright available for them in the first place.  And they’ve certainly been in circulation long enough that any copyright they may have had has long expired, which makes them part of public domain – they can be used freely without any thought of illegality.  My personal rule of thumb is this:  If I make a quilt using traditional quilt blocks and no pattern or book is purchased (or copied — for you out who are still going to pilfer copies from your quilting buddies), I don’t give any credit to anyone other than to myself.  I simply don’t know who else to give it to.  However, if I’ve purchased a pattern or book, the credit goes to the author and designer.  My quilt label and any paperwork will list them as part of the quilt process. 

I hope this has explained why honoring copywrites is so important.  And I hope it gives you pause the next time someone offers to make you a copy of a pattern or book.  Everyone has bills to pay and mouths to feed – even if it’s just their own. 

And I promise I won’t be so grumpy in the next blog.

Until next week, Quilt with Passion!

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam