Happy Thanksgiving and Other Things

Hi everyone.  I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. I am very thankful for my wonderful family, friends, and my readers.  I was thinking about it the other day as I was pressing a section of the (seemingly never-ending project) overcoat.  I dug out my special pressing things I have had for years for use in making clothing…my ham, my sleeve pressing board, my shaped wood pressing piece.  I haven’t used them for a couple of years and I am grateful I did not get rid of them because of that.  I am grateful for my machines and my wonderful inspiring studio, no matter that it is a bit of a mess.

My thoughts today are also with those who have lost so much in recent disasters both hurricanes and fires.  I  just want to hug you all and wish you all a speedy  and full recovery.  I am trying to figure out the best approach for helping.  I don’t have a lot of cash to contribute and I know rushing to send stuff is sometimes more of a problem than a help in the end.  For now, I’m doing some praying and watching for what, if anything, I can do.

Sew how is my overcoat coming?  Well, I have completed the outer shell and am almost finished with the lining that includes the fur collar.  To me, the biggest challenge is getting that fur collar installed in the coat.  Sewing with this thick fur is not the easiest thing and requires some special techniques even it if is “faux” fur.  I think that will happen tomorrow afternoon or Monday.  Then I will be practically done except for hems and buttonholes, so it is looking like I will make my Thanksgiving deadline.  After that…back to quilt making and book writing, and I am looking forward to it.  The coat has been more of a project than I anticipated largely because of the challenging fabrics.  The fabulous wool is, nevertheless, loosely woven in a way that closely resembles hand woven fabric.  the fur collar is fabulous faux fur, but sewing with it is also challenging.  Nevertheless, I will be happy to have this beautiful coat.  It is going to be a little snug, but since I am in the process of losing weight I think that is the way it should be fitted at this time.  It will serve me well for several years even as I go down in size (I can move the buttons and I made the sleeve/side seems such I can take them up fairly easily).  My next fashion sewing project will be with well-behaving fabrics!!!

Sew happy everyone!  Have a wonderful time this week!

 

 

 

Making a Coat and Other Things

Sew I have put on my inner Edna Mode and am tailoring myself an overcoat as my regular readers already know.  I used to do quite a bit of tailoring and know serious tailoring techniques, but it has been quite a few years since I’ve done this kind of work.  So I’m slow, and get distracted, and have to look things up in my old notes because they don’t really include these high-end techniques in most patterns of the day.  It’s worth it though.  The results provide good fit, hang beautifully, and last and last.

 

Messy work table with coat pieces

 

Today I just finished the outer shell of my overcoat and am moving on to the lining, which also includes the fur collar.  At least I was able to try it on and it seems to be fitting okay, though it is kind of hard to tell without the lining and all.  I know, I should have made a muslin fitting first, but I didn’t.  I did do extensive measuring and adjusting.  I really love this pattern, and I’m making it in almost the exact same fabrics shown on the cover.  Of course, I am a rather large woman, so it won’t look quite like this, and I changed the sleeves a little and shortened it to knee length because I didn’t have enough fabric for this version.  Still, it’s going to be quite nice I think.

Butterick B6604

The very nice wool fabric from my long-held stash is, nevertheless, quite loosely woven almost like a hand-woven piece, and requires fully finished edges despite the fact that the seams will be hidden within the lining.  I’m lining it in a beautiful red crepe back satin and I have a wonderful faux fur for the collar that I bought years ago at G Street Fabrics from their remainder table.  Even as a small piece like that it was expensive then, but I have had it long enough that I consider it free…LOL.  I might make this pattern in another color in a long length with these interesting sleeves next year if this one turns out well since I still have a fair amount of the most beautiful black faux fur for the collar.

I don’t know why I’ve been so distracted on this project, so I haven’t sewn steadily on it every day like I normally do in such a case.  Still, I am making progress.  My “deadline” I set for myself is Thanksgiving.

What has distracted me, you might ask.  Among other things I am working out a new workshop to teach at G Street Fabrics next spring  for sit-down quilting with rulers using Bernina’s basic sit down ruler set.  My problem with this is the rulers are really basic and limiting, but I have learned I can add lines to them with Sharpie markers and later remove them with alcoholic swabs…(thank you Bethanne Nemesh for that tip).  This opens up many new possibilities.  I want to do something other than a set of rectangles to fill in standard looking designs for the class project.  I haven’t yet come up with a quilting pattern design I want to make into the workshop project, but I will eventually.   Then I will have to make one or more samplers and write a handout to go with it.

In the process I have been developing some templates to print out and use as quilting design frameworks.  I have managed to get my printer to use the biggest paper it is supposed to use…13 x 19 inch paper…and make these framework templates to fit on two sheets.  They are 16″ x 16″ and should work well as a basis for a 20 x 20 inch sampler.

In every printer there is a small amount of distortion, and so keeping the number of sheets down is very helpful in something like this.  That’s why I don’t think printing it in standard letter size sheets that need to be taped together works as well.  After printing them out and taping them together I tape them to the table and put a piece of tracing paper over them to work out some designs, while making notes so I can remember what I did (Thank you Lisa Calle for introducing me to this technique).  It has taken a good amount of time so far since I have made several of these framework templates.  I was thinking of eventually having these frameworks made into stencils for people to use in a similar way, but I haven’t yet decided what to do about that.

Additionally, I am working hard on finishing my Ten Skill-Building Projects for Bernina v7 design software book.  I plan to also write another similar book for Bernina v8 software.   I’ve also been working on working out some aspects of how I will approach my next show quilt, and new ideas keep rolling in, so I make notes in hopes of capturing the concepts as they fly by.

All of this is why I haven’t yet finished my overcoat.  LOL.

Sew happy everyone!  May you all live in God’s safety and happiness in this troubled time.

 

Halloween, Basic Stencils for Ruler Work, and Other Things

Hi! Happy Halloween! Here we are finally into the fall.  Our leaves are not very pretty this year..just kind of brown, and the weatherpeople say we had so much rain and it was too warm too late at night so the trees got confused.   So the leaves will mostly just turn brown and fall off.  It was kind of like living in a tropical environment this summer…steamy, hot, wet.  So I am really happy to finally get to some good quilting and sewing weather.  Maybe there is some hope for some pretty oranges and reds in the leaves yet.

On Saturday, I finished all my teaching for this year and have my overcoat with its fur collar all cut out and stacked by my Bernina 830 ready to sew together starting tomorrow.  I have been working on one of my books today and am really going to finish the manuscript sometime in November.  I am working on a show quilt design.  And I am designing something interesting I wanted to tell you about and see if I can get any of you to give me some feedback on the idea.

I was recently challenged to develop a class or two in ruler work using a specific set of very basic quilting rulers that are inadequately marked.  Now while I find this concept a little limiting, given that I wanted to come up with some designs that are significantly more fun than drawing blocks and filling them in with ruler patterns, I also find it fun to meet this challenge.  I also decided it needed an accompanying handout/short book complete with designs and project ideas.  Sew developing a basic quilt sandwich to work with for this project has led me to think it would be fabulous to have a stencil I could use for marking a basic structure on the practice sandwich to build some designs on.

So I then drew some 16 inch by 16 inch foundation designs for marking these sandwiches and got some 13 x 19 inch paper, which is the largest my printer will take, and printed off a couple of different such designs for tracing and taped them together,  I tried using smaller paper, but that requires a lot of taping and it introduces small distortions.  This type of foundation design cannot have distortions and still be useful.  I’d like to share this concept, but a pdf file wouldn’t be helpful because of distortions when someone taped them together.

Wouldn’t it be nice, I asked myself, to have these in plastic stencils that I could either pounce or use to draw onto the sandwiches.  Then I could just work through a stack of structurally marked sandwiches until I came up with one or two completed designs that would be fun, interesting, and something a student could accomplish in a four or five hour class.

I then got to thinking that there may be others out in the quilting world who would like to have such basic structural stencils that go beyond grids and circles but are the right thing to hang a good design onto. I also have located someone who could make these for me for something that would enable me to sell them for about $12 to $15 each for the 16 inch square size.  To do this requires some up front investment, and it would be difficult to sell them for much less, so I have not yet decided what to do.

I would like to have my dear readers responses on what you think about this.  Is $15 too much to pay for a stencil that could help you build a mandala or other interesting designs.  It would be much less marking than a whole design, but could enable the quilter to create some really nice designs without detailed marking.  Just lay it down and pounce or mark the stencil and grab your favorite rulers.  You could even use it to make your guidelines on your design paper to work out your more detailed design.  I hope I have gotten the idea adequately explained.  I don’t want to put the designs on here I want to keep them for me to create first. LOL

Sew happy everyone!

 

Workshops, Books, and Near Magic

On Workshops

I have one more workshop to teach of my three-part series on basic fabric art techniques.  The last one will be held at G Street Fabrics in Rockville, Maryland on 27 October and is on Organic Free Motion Quilting.  The class will quilt a prepared quilt sampler sandwich, and hopefully they will all leave with the same sense that one of my students said about the last class that “this has been a really good class and I feel so much more comfortable with my machine.”

Sew I have all the kits almost prepared, though I still have to put together six more sandwiches that are already cut, marked, and prepared, which should take me only about another hour.

So I have been asked by G Street to return for another round of these same classes next spring, and to add at least one more on ruler work.  I agreed to do that.

Drawing used to digitize the applique project.

On Books

While I was there, my friend and dealer talked me into finishing my 10 Skill-Building Projects for Bernina design V7 software book.  I had nearly finished it when Bernina came out with v8 and put it aside at that time, but I had shown it to her recently.  She said there are lots of people out there who are still using v7.  I decided she is right and maybe I won’t make much money with it, but someone may find it useful.  It does seem too bad to not publish it after all that work. She said then maybe I could maybe buy v8 at a sale price  and do another one for that software.  I’m considering that and think I probably will do that.

But I did open the file for the v7 book to see how much I have to do, and I think I can finish the manuscript in a matter of a few weeks. I only have one more chapter and I have to make one more stitch-out for photographs in addition to whatever I do for the last project.

Sew that made me look at the other book that covers the same fabric arts techniques presented in my three workshops only much more extensively, and that is not too far away from completion either.  And in fact, I even think I have nearly all the samples made that only needs photographing for the book.

I have a third book in the works also on surface design and embellishment…but it’s a ways away from completion.

I’ve been working on these three books off and on for years and it’s high time I get them finished and published.

On Near Magic

I know how frustrating computer software and computerized machines can be sometimes.  I also know that if they work, or if I actually figure out how they work, they can enormously enhane my ability to accomplish things, or accomplish them faster or better.  The more I learn the more I realize it’s nearly magical.  I also know that most of the problems I have with them is because I don’t really know how to use them right or don’t know all the cool things they will do that I can use.

I have been taking a class in Corel Painter this past couple of months and I have learned an enormous amount.  This will be a major help in my design work and it’s lots and lots of fun too.

For some unknown reason I am sometimes compelled to share what I have learned, which is why I am developing workshops, writing books, and sharing this blog.  I am going to add to those the making of videos.  My oldest son has outfitted me with all the equipment I need to do some simple videos and podcasts.  I have been practicing video making so those will happen sometime soon.

It may seem that I am getting in over my head, and am going to be overwhelmed, but while that may be, a lot of the work for quilts, books, workshops, and videos has multiple uses.  If I make samples and develop methods for a book, I can use the same thing in a workshop and video.  I can use my quilts or parts of them as some of the illustrations.  So it’s kind of like working on everything at once.  Magic, see?  Hahahaha

And I haven’t forgotten my show quilts.  Just today I worked on a pattern for one of my planned show quilts.  I won’t share this one until it is mostly done, but just think “trains”.

Sew happy everyone.  Share what you have learned with someone.  Happy new quilting season!

 

Fabric Art Workshops…Some done, more to come

Today I completed teaching the second in a series of Fabric Art Workshops that cover my basic techniques for creating quilted fabric art.  So far I have addressed my multiple techniques for machine applique and today I covered quilting with feed dogs up.  This gives the new quilter a chance to get used to handling a small quilt and learn how much you can do with the feed dogs engages.  On October 27th I am going to finish the three part series with Organic free motion quilting.  This is not formal feathery quilting, but rather how to approach quilting in a way that adds texture and enhances the design…often of pictorial quilts and the like.

This series sets up a nicely finished piece, but it does not include several things I also use…ruler work and the real biggy, which is surface design and embellishment.  So while I was there they asked me to run this series again next spring, and I agreed.  We also talked about how I might cover the missing elements…ruler work as well as surface design & embellishment.  So I will be developing some new workshops to go with the first three.  IF, therefore, someone wants to have the techniques to make quilted fabric art (and even use the techniques for more traditional quilting), they will be started down that path. Once they learn the techniques they can fly, as Bob Ross once said.  I am also mulling around in the back of my mind the possibility ofoffering these to quilt shows close enough to drive to from here (Ashburn, Virginia) and other shops.

I may not do that other than a possible local business or two because I don’t want to get so busy with these that I don’t have time to spend a lot of time making new art in my studio, because I am, after-all, basically a studio artist.  It is my biggest joy.  I do find I like teaching also, though.  I just don’t want to have the art overwhelmed by the teaching.  It is fun, however, to think of providing this whole series of what may work out to be five or six classes.  I want to do what I can to keep this sport alive and growing.

Sew there is more to come.  I have also been encouraged to complete my book on Bernina V7 design software, even though v8 is already out, because there are still people using v7.  It is almost finished and might actually be ready for the editor in a matter of a couple of weaks.  We’ll see. And then I am well over half-way through my techniques for fabric arts book.  I think I need a super power…Zap!   This is finished…that is finished…hahahaha


Exciting times…I want to start a new show quilt.  Tee hee

Sew happy everyone!..Teach someone to sew or quilt…your next door neighbor, your best friend, your grandson, your granddaughter, your dog….lol.  I love having you along on this great adventure!

An Infinite Horizon

Creating art with fabric and thread, plus some surface design and embellishments provides us with an infinite horizon.  No matter where we are with our creative expression and techniques, we can always get better.  Design and creative possibilities are nearly limitless in today’s sewing and quilting world.  So much can be done with even the most basic equipment (as long as it is in good working order). It’s so exciting!

I think I must be a little bit crazy because I see inspiration everywhere.  Sometimes I have so many ideas in my mind about what to try next that I have a hard time focusing in on a project, and then just as I almost have figured out how I will do my next project, I see a new inspirational technique or design.  I have to rein myself in and focus…LOL.

I have also realized that I am basically a magpie. .  I love love love sparkly, shiny designs, but then I also am fascinating with what I can do to make interesting looks and near three dimensional art quilts (I think of it as 2 1/2 Dimension)  Recently I have been thinking about what I can do with Bernina v7 design software.  This software has so many interesting techniques that go so far beyond simple embroidery designs.  So I have been spending considerable time thinking about and working on designs that might end up being my next show quilt.   Oh look, there’s another neat idea!!!!

In the meantime, I am making an overcoat.  I got the outer fabric cut out, but still have the fur collar (from a gorgeous piece of black faux fur), the lining, and interfacing to go.  I also am continuing the making of my applique bed quilt for my own bed.  I have completed the large middle block and six of the twelve little blocks.

Life in my studio is fun, and I’m sew excited about this brand new sewing and quilting season.   If you are in the area, maybe we can work out a play date to sew together sometime this fall. What are you working on?

Don’t forget…I am teaching a workshop next Saturday at G Street Fabrics in Rockville on quilting with feed dogs up for fabric art.  In this class you will learn how you can do some very interesting quilting in place of or to work with free motion quilting.

Sew happy everyone!  Wishing you a wonderful fall and winter sewing season.

 

 

 

Report on Quilts Back Home from PNQE

Last Tuesday my two quilts that were in Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza came home.  As you probably know by now Wizards’ Duel got a blue ribbon as Best Interpretation of Theme and Night on the Bayou did not place.  PNQE is a Mancuso show and they usually provide comments that are often helpful and sometimes just a little depressing.  This time, I got wonderful comments on both quilts and I wanted to share with you, gentle readers.

Wizards’ Duel

For this quilt I placed it in the Innovative category.  They don’t have an all art-quilt or all pictorial quilt category.

(E=Excellent S=Satisfactory N=Needs Improvement NA=Not Applicable)

I got all Es for their set items:

DESIGN

  • Artistic Impression/Graphic Impact
  • Use of Design/Pattern in Quilt Top -balance, proportion, scale – balance, proportion, scale
  • Use of Color & Fabric – pleasing, value contrast, scale of fabric
  • Degree of Difficulty
  • Quilting Design – enhances top, is sufficient
  • Innovation/Creativity

WORKMANSHIP

  • Piecing/Applique – precision, stitches, shadow-through
  • Quilting Technique – even stitches, making stops and starts

Best Features of this Quilt (handwritten comments)

Visual impact of radiating center. Very innovative use of embellishments.  Good interpretation of theme

Areas that needs improvement (handwritten comment)

Nothing!

Ok, so I don’t think I have ever had a quilt where judges’ comments are provided that actually said “Nothing!” for areas that need improvement.  Here is where I have often managed to save a quilt to go on to other shows that made them place.  Indeed, this very quilt was shown at Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival and my quilting and treatment of the rocks was called down as needing improvement. So I improved them between shows, and it clearly paid off.  Sometimes I disagree with judges’ comments and in such cases dismiss the comment.  This would be when my artistic opinion conflicts with theirs, but I have also gotten really good and helpful advice from such suggestions.  Judges for this quilt were Augusta Cole and Marjan Kluepfel

Night on the Bayou

For this quilt I placed it in the Wall Quilt category and the grade sheet had the same categories and grading system, except the judges wrote in G=Very Good and gave me all Gs on all the categories!!!  Harrrumph!  Not only did they choose the nonexistent G for all the categories, their grades seemed to compete a bit with their comments. See what you think.

Best Features of this Quilt (handwritten comments)

  •  Absolutely LOVE the moss hanging from the trees!! Beautifully executed
  • Well chosen quilting designs enhance visual texture of tress vs water vs sky
  • Splotches of orange lights prevent monotony from happening

Areas that needs improvement (handwritten comments)

  • Some surface distortion noted [I can probably fix this with a new and better blocking and hopefully dryer and cooler weather for future shipping…I think it was caused by the hot very humid weather for shipment, coupled with the heavy yarn and thread treatments]
  • Perspective is good but not quite perfect [uhhh…artistic opinion and I submit that art quilting in particular is never “perfect” anywhere. She might have been more impressed if I had been able to get more moonlight filtering through the trees as my friend who attended the show suggested.  I’ll see if I can accomplish that before sending it out again. For the most part, the paint just sinks into the quilt on this fabric]

Sew what do you think about this?  I was really pleased, even with the comments on the Bayou quilt.  I was not pleased with having a whole scale special grade that was less than “excellent” on all the categories and that then conflicted with some of the comments. I can only think at least one of the judges is a person who has a really hard time rating anything as “perfect”.  I can guess which judge this came from, but will not say.  The judges for this quilt were Dierdra McElroy and Bobbie Bergquist

If you look up all four judges you will find that none of them are art or pictorial quilters.  They are all four traditional and a couple specialize in hand quilting, which should tell you something about how far they had to stretch their view of quilts to make a judgement call on the art and pictorial quilts and therefore, I think they did a fine job.  All four of them.  It’s a hard job when faced with such fabulous quilts throughout a national or international show.

Sew overall, I am happy, and now believe both quilts have the potential to bring in some nice ribbons from future shows.  I’m going to have to do some choreography in placing them.  Houston rejected Wizards’ Duel, but that was before I fixed the rocks.  I think perhaps I need a new set of pictures for both of them.  Pictures make a big difference in what a show will take.

Sew happy everyone! I wish you fun in your studio or office and that you be surrounded with love.

 

 

Machine Applique for Fabric Artists– Saturday Sept 22

Next Saturday, the 22nd of September, at G Street Fabrics sewing machine center, I will be presenting a six hour workshop from 11 am to 5 pm.  This workshop is the first of a 3 part Fabric Arts techniques that are designed to present all the techniques I use in creating my basic fabric art show quilts (minus surface design and embellishment).  The other two parts will be October 6th and October 20th.  It’s going to be fun.

Anyway,this first workshop presents multiple machine applique techniques for multiple uses, and discusses how to decide which of these techniques work best where.  To do this, I designed a simple fun little top piece and provide a complete kit so the student can start right away learning and not spend time in prep work.

I will also show some of my show quilts that used these techniques and give instructions and demos along the way.

Canterbury Knight

So I am all ready.  I have all the kits made, I have the video equipment for my demos, and I am excited.  Hope to see you there!  If you aren’t there, please send a little prayer and good thoughts for me that it will go really well for all of us and everyone will have fun.

Sew happy everyone!  Play with some applique and make something fun.

Bring on Fall!

I have some fun and interesting plans for the fall and winter quilting season and have been spending nearly all my working time preparing for them for the past couple of weeks.

First of all, I am preparing for my fall workshops at G Street Fabrics in Rockville, beginning with the first one on Saturday, September 22nd at 11 am!  See more about this on my blog from a few weeks ago here.

So I have all my handouts made and the kits for the first workshop. I almost have all the kits for the second workshop and have made progress on the third workshop.  So when you come, you will have a lot of fun and be able to dive right in to our projects.  You just need to call G Street sewing machine department and sign up!  You can sign up for one or all three.  So much fun to come starting in just a few weeks!  I should finish preparations for these this week and be able to get back to sewing and quilting.

Sew my plans for the fall and winter sewing and quilting season are exciting for me.  As you may know by now, I like to run two or three projects at once to keep me from getting frustrated…hopefully all at different stages along the way.

  • My current quilt project is for my bed, making an applique pattern by Sue Nickels that is really pretty and will add a lot of beauty to my bedroom.  I am about half way through that.  It is not for a show quilt and is just for fun and adding something to my home for me.
  • I am currently working out what my next show quilts will be.  My plans are exciting and two of them involve other people.
    1. My dear friend, student, and what we jokingly call my apprentice Anita has drawn a beautiful scene with a steam locomotive train and gifted it to me for use as a quilt design.  It is full of wonderful things and will be quite fantastic if I can pull it off…trees, rocks, trestles, the locomotive with steam, pulling cars…one with a load of wood. So cool!  Send good thoughts, because this one is a challenge but I plan on starting it soon.
    2. My oldest son, who designed Pendragon, is designing an accompanying piece Excalibur.   Oh I can hardly wait to see his design.  He started earlier but work got so busy for him that he had to lay it aside for awhile.  Things have gotten a little more sane for him now and he thinks he can finish it soon.
    3. Okay, so I am working on my own design(s) also.  I have an array of things I want to do, and am engaged in trying to draw up some of them to choose from for this season.  I am thinking of making one based on polyester satins that I embellish multiple ways to show what can be done with a limited quilt budget (under $100 is my goal).  That design work is not done yet, and I keep oming up with new ideas  with new subjects…I’m currently leaning toward a dark forest with spots of beauty and fun woodland characters, but it could end up entirely something else…spending a little time every day on this.  So it will be a little while before I just get the design sealed down and ready to make.
    4. And then I also want to do another line drawing quilt based on architecture.  I have a couple of possibilities, but I’m still looking.
  • I haven’t forgotten my book.  I have actually made considerable progress on it this summer, and hope to finish it sometime in October.
  • Plus I am wondering just how I can approach the passing on of my many surface design and embellishment techniques.  I have won several ribbons on this aspect of my quilts, and feel I have much to tell you about.  I already have a book outlined and started, but I am thinking of videos.  My son Ken has gotten me all set up to do videos, and I am thinking of making several…some on quilting and some on surface design and embellishment techniques.

I did mention clothes, didn’t I.  I am planning on making a new winter coat this fall.  I found a great pattern that I think I can make with fabrics (and faux fur) I already have..a free and hopefully gorgeous winter coat.  It’s free because I’ve had this fabric for years and properly stored, so it is in great shape.  If you haven’t made an overcoat, it is not really as difficult as making a shirt with a stand collar, really it isn’t.  And using thick winter fabrics is very forgiving, hiding most little mistakes.  I encourage you to try one.  There are some great patterns just out this year.  I also am planning on squeezing in a winter dress suit, yes a pants suit beause my legs just look best that way.  This will challenge me to resurrect my professional tailoring skills, but I have recently lost a couple of dress sizes (though I freely admit that I am still “fat”), and I will make it in a way I can take it up one more size.  I have fabric for that too.

As you see, this year is going to emphasize to myself trying to get all my sewing and quilting done by shopping my stash or keeping costs down while still producing some remarkable pieces.

Sew happy everyone!  I hope you are planning to do a lot of sewing and quilting this fall and winter or are encouraging your friends and family who do sew to let their lights shine (and help them make time to sew).  Happy September!

 

A Call to Stop Forgery and Design Theft in the Quilting World

I have several friends whose beautiful artistic quilted creations have been “copied,” or attempted to be copied, without permission and without acknowledgement and passed off as their own work.  In the rest of the art world, if an artist had painted, or otherwise crafted, a wonderful work of their own, and someone else had copied it to pass it off as their own, this action would be called “forgery” and would likely be a crime.  We in the quilting world should stand firmly against this kind of activity in our own craft.  I am sure that there are many of my friends who agree with me.

Note that I am not talking about quilts designed with blocks that have been in the public domain for years and happen to end up similar to someone else’s quilt, but I think that should be clear.

It is a wonderful thing to be so impressed by someone’s work that you are inspired to go work on your own piece.  Inspiration does not mean copy however.  And even if you do not copy, but create some similar subject, you need to acknowledge where the inspiration came from.

Let’s look at this a little bit.  I do not use other people’s quilts for my own fabric artwork (unless I bought a pattern or kit and am using it for my own utility quilt), but I might use someone else’s painting or drawing or photograph.

If I want to use someone’s artwork as an inspiration, or even a design, for  my quilt work, I will not even start it until I have contacted the artist and asked permission.  This has occasionally resulted in my not being able to make the quilt, but there are thousands and thousands of wonderful ideas, artworks, and photographs out there to try again, or even design things from scratch.  Sometimes, this has resulted in my having to buy the rights to use the artwork as inspiration or even the design for the making of a quilt. In addition, even if I obtain the rights to use it, I still feel it imperative to acknowledge the artist.

In the course of my work, I have gotten the following responses to my requests to use their work in some way from the artists:

  • Sure, no problem (the usual answer)
  • You cannot use this on your website (they didn’t read the request and were a little insulting)
  • The rights would cost $600 (I didn’t make that quilt)
  • The right for one show quilt would be $200 and you can’t use the art otherwise commercially (I made that quilt)
  • I make you a present of this design and would be honored for you to use it. (Designs in progress or quilts made)
  • You can use four to ten of the designs in each coloring book for your craft (Dover Publications standard use statement…but you cannot make another book using these designs and sell it.  Make no mistake this is not Copyright Free as many report Dover Publications as being, but is instead permitted use and is Royalty Free.  This doesn’t make much difference to us as quilters, but should be acknowledged).  I have used many Dover elements in my designs when I couldn’t draw it better myself.  I love Dover publications and thank them for their generosity.
  • And finally, when the work is way too old and is now in the public domain and the artists have been gone for centuries, you really don’t have to ask even if some unrelated organization has taken it up and tried to make it theirs.  Public domain means just that.  IF you know who the artist is, however, it would still be nice to acknowledge him or her.  I used elements from eleventh and twelfth century art as the basis for some of my work, but there is no possible way of knowing who the artists were.  We can safely assume they are in the public domain by now.  LOL

Sew join with me in helping to stop the forgery of the fabulous quilts and theft of designs within our quilting world.  Put it in your blogs, make a point of it if you are teaching a class, maybe even put up signs at quilt shows.  I don’t know all the ways, but people need to be made aware that just because it is a quilt does not mean it is free to be copied without request or acknowledgement.  It is like any other fine art and needs to be treated as such.

Sew happy everyone!