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Love All Around

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About a week ago, my friend Lee from May Chapelle sent out a call to action—she wanted all of us to help her bring some love and positivity to the world on January 20. The idea is that she’s going to make this block—the Love All Around block—every time she sees an act of kindness in her community in 2017. She’s hoping to end the year with a gigantic, epic quilt.

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I can’t think of a better way to spend this particular day than talking about an idea like Lee’s. There’s so much negativity in the world right now. Anger, defensiveness, and self-absorption are rampant—and I’m not talking just about the political arena. It’s everywhere right now, in all walks of life. There are a lot of ways I’m hoping to help change the world in 2017, but this block is a pretty great place to start, don’t you think?

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Want to make your own? Head over to Lee’s blog for a complete tutorial for making this block. And check IG for lots of other versions of this block, made by many of your other favorite bloggers! Let’s bring the love today!

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On Quilting “For Keeps”

I have a big pile of quilts that my family uses every day. Sometimes, those quilts are folded in a neat stack next to the couch, but more often they can be found in a crumpled heap, or my kids are dragging them around the house giving their stuffed animals rides on them, or one is crammed underneath the ottoman, or one’s in the washing machine because somebody spilled on it. And I love that: In my opinion, all of the above are what quilts should do. I adore having that pile available for whatever purpose anybody wants them to serve, whether it’s staying warm on a chilly evening or building a fort for the American Girl dolls.

Know when the most recent of those quilts was made? 2012.

Because somewhere along the way, I started taking quilts to trunk shows. And sending them off to fabric companies. And sometimes getting them professionally quilted by superstars whose work are true masterpieces, so you certainly don’t want to drag that around on the floor. And people said things like, “That quilt was in a book! Take good care of it—it’s special!”

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. Love it. I’m not apologizing for attempting to make money on my quilting, or implying that turning my hobby into a job has taken the passion out of it for me. I still love what I do and feel incredibly lucky to have this dream job, even after spending the last year working a little (okay, a lot) more than I might have liked and feeling plenty burned out after Quilt Market this spring. And I still put my heart and soul into everything I make, even my “working quilts.”

But. There’s just no substitute for making a quilt that you know is going to get loved to death by your family. No substitute for making a quilt that’s going to get super soft and crinkly from a hundred trips through the washing machine. A quilt to sit on while you watch fireworks or have doll tea parties. Isn’t that what makes a quilt truly special, not the fact that it was in a book? Whenever I’m making a quilt, my girls always come to oooh and ahhh over it, and invariably they ask, “Do we get to KEEP this one?” And by that they mean, “Do we get to have this one in the pile in the family room, instead of squirreling it away in a corner of your studio, only to be taken out for trunk shows?”

 

Enter Amy Gibson’s new book, For Keeps: Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Living. You probably know Amy from her Craftsy classes or her blog Stitchery Dickory Dock. Her gorgeous new book has reminded me of the importance of taking time out from things that are designed and made strictly for my business, in order to keep making special quilts for the most special people in my life. It’s a tough balance to strike of course, because there are only so many hours in the day, but it’s important, after all!

And what better place to start than that scrap quilt I’ve been itching to make for months?

I was initially thinking of an Irish Chain quilt, but as these little pairs of squares have started coming together, I’m now leaning toward a postage stamp quilt—a postage stamp quilt of 1″ squares, you guys! Just the kind of beautifully torturous project that you want to keep forever and ever and let your family use and abuse. : )
My goal is to use at least a small portion of every single print in my scrap bins. Every one of them! I’m sure some will get culled eventually, but it’s the working goal for now, anyway. I’ve divided my scraps roughly into 8 color families and my goal is to do two colors a week over the next four weeks. The reds are already done, as you can see. : ) Then I’ll lay them out into a big ol’ scrappy rainbow and spend the next decade or so sewing them all together. Good times.

While my particular “balance problem” might be unique to bloggers and pattern designers, I think in this day of Pinterest and beautiful photos online, we can all be tempted to get off track and make things for the wrong reasons. Or to believe that everything has to be absolutely perfect in order to be “good enough.” For Keeps hits the reset button on all of that. The projects range from classic quilts to playmats and pocket pillows that hold books—all written with Amy’s trademark sense of humor and illustrated with beautiful photography that reminds you that the simple things in life are often the best. : )

 

 

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QuiltCon: My Thoughts

By now, you’ve probably seen at least a dozen posts about QuiltCon (I know I have), so today my challenge is to attempt to add something new to the conversation! QuiltCon was amazing and thoroughly inspiring. But it was also a bit overwhelming and a lot of work for me, since I taught three classes. That means I didn’t get to see or do everything I might have liked, and I certainly didn’t take as many pictures as I should have! But I’ll do my best to sum up my thoughts on the full experience.

Flame by Rebecca Bryan of Bryan House Quilts

There was a lot of discussion before the show (especially around the time people found out whether their quilts were juried in) of what type of quilts would be in the show. Now that we’ve seen them all, I personally think the full spectrum of modern quilting was well-represented at QuiltCon. In my own opinion, design is the single most important element of a modern quilt, and it seemed clear that the show organizers held that opinion as well. That’s not to say quilting and technical skill aren’t important, because of course they are, and the best quilts had all those things going for them. But there was no question in my mind that the quilts that were shown at QuiltCon were all examples of design at its very best, and as a graphic design nerd, I’m all about that. : )

Geometric Rainbow by Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft

If there was any one over-arching design lesson that we can take away from QuiltCon, I think it’s this: Get creative with your layouts! If you aspire to make quilts that push the envelope and/or are worthy of a modern quilting show (not everyone does, and that’s completely fine, but if you do), don’t keep doing the same four-blocks-across-and-five-down layouts that we’ve seen over and over again since, oh, the 1800s. Easy for me to say, right? Since I taught a workshop on creating alternate layouts at the show. : ) But walking around the floor, it was pretty hard to miss the layout creativity that was on display. There is so much more you can do with the blank canvas of a quilt top.

Diamond Dust by Doris Brunnette of Made By a Brunnette

Maybe that’s particularly important in my own little niche of modern quilting, Modern Traditionalism. I think the QuiltCon Modern Traditionalism category was trying to tell us that it’s great to use traditional blocks in a modern quilt, but if you’re going to go that route, you need to offset those traditional designs by getting really creative with the layout. I personally submitted 6 quilts for QuiltCon, and had 4 accepted into the show. The 4 that were accepted had alternate layouts, which used negative space and/or block structure in unexpected ways. The two that weren’t accepted? Standard tiled layouts. And I don’t think I’m the only Modern Traditionalist who had that same experience. And you know what? I think that’s awesome. Because: Design, you guys. : )

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That’s not to say that every quilt I make from here on out is going to have an alternate layout. The truth is that I enjoy quilts with traditional layouts just as much as the ones with more unique layouts. My Spin It Again quilt from my book Vintage Quilt Revival was rejected from QuiltCon. It’s still one of my favorite quilts I’ve ever made, and I’m sure I’ll want to make more like it in the months ahead. But a show like QuiltCon is supposed to inspire us, get our creative juices flowing, and move us in new directions. That’s exactly what the show did for me, and hopefully many others. There were plenty of new directions hanging up in that convention center, and I can hardly wait to see what we all come up with next, thanks to this show!
Balancing Act by Amanda Hohnstreiter

In general, QuiltCon 2015 really was a whirlwind—with my teaching schedule, I barely had time to get through the entire show floor. I had literally NO time for shopping and came home without buying a single solitary thing (the horror!). And at times the show felt a bit too overwhelming and chaotic. The quilts were displayed in pod-like groupings, instead of in rows, and I really wish it would have been set up in rows, so I could have gone through it more methodically. All the beautiful colors and designs are distracting enough as you’re walking through—I tried several times to get through the whole show and hit areas I had previously missed, but somehow there were still whole sections of the show that I never saw (including the Gee’s Bend quilts).

Lovely Fishbourne by Mandy Leins of Mandalei Quilts 
(I liked Mandy’s “Egg and Dart” quilt that was in the show even more than this one, but my picture of it is terrible, sorry!)

So I’m going to wrap up this post with photos of a few more personal favorites from the show. I really wish I would have gotten better photos, but …. yeah, whirlwind again. : ) Enjoy, and if you’re thinking about attending Pasadena in 2016, well, book your hotel right now. If not sooner. LOL.

Modern Lily Bean by Claire Jain of Sewing Over Pins (I love how this one looks like Pyrex!)
Iceberg by Crystal McGann of Raspberry Spool
Percolate by Emily Cier of Carolina Patchworks
Upstairs by Kristen Lejnieks
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Should You Buy Quilting Supplies on Massdrop?

I’m sure many of you have heard by now that the e-commerce website Massdrop is making a big push to enter the quilting market. There’s a lot to like about Massdrop, and they’ve had some good offerings of modern fabric and notions in the past, so I thought it’s worth taking a closer look.

How does Massdrop work?
Massdrop allows its users to suggest the products that are available for purchase. Any user can create a poll for a certain product (such as a fabric line, rotary cutters, thread, etc.). If enough people vote for that product in the poll, Massdrop will contact the manufacturer and try to arrange what they call a “drop”—which means the product will be available for purchase on Massdrop for a limited time.

Once the drop becomes available for sale, the more people who commit to purchase that item, the lower the price goes. As soon as the drop’s time frame ends, buyers are charged for the item and the purchase is final.

What can quilters buy on Massdrop?
Offerings change frequently, and there doesn’t seem to be a huge selection available at any given time. (Obviously, that could change if quilters become more active on Massdrop and use it more frequently to buy their supplies.)

Right now, you can join a drop of a fat-quarter bundle of Feather River by Birch Fabrics—you’ll get 13 fat quarters of organic fabric for $42.99 (that’s 23% off—there are 3 days left on that drop, and the lowest possible price has already been unlocked).

You can also get this Simflex sewing guage for $16.99—7 days left on that one.

Past drops have included Oliso irons, Frixion pens, Clover Wonder Clips, Cotton + Steel prints, Gingher scissors, and more.

Should you buy on Massdrop?
Massdrop does offer some great deals, but their business model requires some work on your part to take advantage of them. Checking the website frequently and voting in their quilting-related polls will help you get the most out of Massdrop. And be aware that at this point, Massdrop’s quilting selection on any given day is quite small. Still, over time, Massdrop has made many products available that appeal to modern quilters. And more user involvement could up the selections even more.

You also have to be patient when buying on Massdrop. Orders don’t ship from the manufacturer to Massdrop until after the drop ends, so it can be 2 to 3 weeks or even more between when the drop ends and when the order actually arrives in your mailbox. And the entire process from start to finish is even more lengthy: You have to wait for a poll to get enough votes, then wait for the drop to be arranged, then wait for the drop’s on-sale period to end, and then wait for the drop to ship from the manufacturer to Massdrop and from Massdrop to you. However, Massdrop appears to be good about keeping its buyers informed of the shipping status in the drop’s comment section and via email. So if you’re willing to wait for a bargain, Massdrop might be for you!

Another drawback: It looks like some buys on Massdrop may be better bargains than others. There was some discussion in the comments on a recent Clover Wonder Clip drop that indicated the clips were cheaper (or at least similar in price) elsewhere. So a little homework might be in order before committing to a drop.

Finally, this recent post from Sew Mama Sew about the types of businesses we frequent for our sewing supplies may be worth a read before you purchase anything from Massdrop. Still, with Massdrop vending at QuiltCon in a few weeks and actively promoting their offerings to quilters, I don’t think it’s going away any time soon! It’s yet another option to be aware of in the ever-growing list of online sources for quilting supplies, and an option where you might just be able to score a few good deals with persistence and patience.

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Are Blogs Dead? Not Even Close. But They’re Different.

So, yesterday I had a total brain wave: Put WIP Wednesday on Instagram. While WIP Wednesday continues to be popular right here on the blog, it seems tailor-made for Instagram too. Instagram is perfect for quick sharing—a “let’s just see what everybody else is working on” kind of thing. So in future weeks, I hope you’ll all participate in WIP Wednesday either on IG, here on the blog, or both, if you’re so inclined (you can now link up Instagram pictures in the blog-based linky).

But this got me thinking about all the talk recently among quilters about how “blogs are dead,” or “blogging is taking a backseat.” It’s true that blogging is taking a backseat for many people, but I don’t think blogging is dead—not even close. So today I want to tell you why I think blogs in the sewing and quilting community are alive and well. We’re just using them differently now.

A photo from one of my first blog posts

Let’s hop in the way-back machine to the year 2010, which is when I started blogging. Blogs were indisputably king then. Twitter existed, but I don’t recall it being popular among quilters just yet. If Instagram and Pinterest were around, nobody was using them. And people actually liked Flickr back then. I know, it was primitive. : )

At that time, I think blogs in the sewing community served two main purposes: 1) To foster community and sharing, and 2) To inform and educate. I started my blog almost entirely for the first reason: Sharing and community. At the time, I knew very few quilters in real life, and none of them were doing it quite the way I was. But the bloggers were. I felt like I found “my people” online. And with no IG, at the time there was no better way than blogs to share with each other what we were all working on. Starting a blog seemed like a natural way for me to more fully participate in that community.

Kissing Fish, my first tutorial/free pattern

But somewhere along the way, things shifted. People started asking me how I did certain things or what patterns I used (and the answer was often my own). Gradually my blog evolved to become more oriented toward that second purpose I mentioned above: Informing and educating. And at the same time, vastly better ways came along for participating in the online sewing community. Like I said, Instagram is perfectly suited for community interaction like WIP Wednesday. So if community is what you’re looking for, IG is probably where you’ll find yourself at home, and that’s just fine.

One of my first Instagram photos

But I can’t put a tutorial on Instagram. We can’t pin things from Instagram (yet!). With the exception of fabric de-stashing, it’s very difficult to buy or sell things directly from Instagram. I can’t describe things in-depth on Instagram. I can’t write an 800-word treatise on Instagram about why blogs aren’t dead. LOL. Those who want/need to learn something, or just get more long-form, detailed information, or buy things like fabric and patterns are still migrating online for that purpose, and will for the foreseeable future, unless something in the social media landscape changes dramatically.

And are there still people who want and need to learn about quilting and get more detailed information—to the level that they’re motivated to go online for it? According to my blog stats, the answer is a resounding “yes”. I’ve gained more than 4,000 new followers on Bloglovin’ alone since Google Reader officially bit the dust less than a year ago. I’m currently adding Bloglovin’ followers at a rate of around 100 per week. My page views are up 10% from a year ago, to an average of 75,000 page views per month, and my average unique visitors per month are up 12% to 25,000. And that doesn’t even count those who might only be viewing my content through a feed reader such as Feedly.

Supernova, the first quilt-along I hosted on my blog

So are blogs dead? Definitely not. But so much has changed since 2010. The medium is evolving. The way we use blogs is different, how we find and follow blogs is different, how often we read them is different, and why we read them is different. The way I see it, blogging has lost the community function it served back in 2010, but blogs’ educational function is still alive and well, and maybe more important than ever. But that means, for better or worse, blogging has become more of a one-way medium. It’s not as much of a conversation as it used to be. And there’s nothing wrong with that, since we have so many other two-way options now. Each social media platform has become more specialized. In fact, I think bloggers can embrace that specialization and learn how to use everything together (IG, Pinterest, Facebook, blogs) to create a sum that’s greater than its parts. (For example, I post here on my blog a bit less frequently these days, but I’ve tried to make sure it’s high-quality content when I do post. I use social media like IG to supplement with “bonus” content and to drive traffic to blog posts.)

Yes, I’m getting fewer blog comments than I used to. I think people come to my blog, read what they need to read, and move along. Or they’re scanning their feed readers and being more selective about what they click through on. But I think blogs are still the go-to platform for more detailed information when it’s needed. Meanwhile, Instagram, Facebook, etc. specialize more in community interaction (you can follow me on Instagram at @lee.a.heinrich). I think that’s a pretty effective way to split things up, and it seems a lot of quilters out there agree with me. Blogs aren’t dead, so let’s embrace the different animal they’ve become.

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An Old Favorite

My grandma turned 91 years old yesterday. In honor of that, today I thought I would re-run one of my all-time favorite blog posts, starring some special quilt blocks that she made. I think I had about 20 followers back when this post originally ran, so it’s new to most of you. : ) And besides, it’s taken on new relevance for me with the release of Vintage Quilt Revival in just a few months. I think this quilt was my first (conscious) effort at combining traditional and modern aesthetics. I’m not sure how successful it was on that front, especially compared to some of my more recent projects, but I think it’s worth a look back anyway, for many reasons! Enjoy!

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Eighty-eight years ago, a little girl was born on a farm in rural Michigan. She was the second-youngest of nine kids. As a child, this little girl watched her own mother, who was the daughter of German immigrants, sew and quilt—something that was done more out of necessity than enjoyment. It was the Great Depression, and those nine kids needed clothes and bedding. Buying a quilt from a store would have been an unthinkable luxury.

And so, the little girl learned to sew and quilt too, just like her mother before her. It was just one of the many chores that needed to be done around the farm. Yet another item on that list called “Women’s Work.”

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Three of my grandma’s original five blocks

The little girl grew up, moved away from the farm, and had five kids of her own. Money was still tight, but not quite like it used to be. She still sewed and quilted here and there, but the necessity of it declined steadily as the years passed. Quilting became something she did probably more out of habit than anything else. Around the time her youngest child moved out of the house, she hand-pieced five curved pinwheel quilt blocks. Then she put those blocks away and never sewed another. Why? Maybe it was her arthritis flaring up. Or maybe she suddenly realized she didn’t have to quilt anymore. What had once been a chore no longer was. Store-bought bedding was well within reach financially. And she finally had a little time to herself, to do exactly what she really wanted to do, probably for the first time in her adult life.

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Now the little girl obviously wasn’t a little girl anymore. In fact, she had three adult daughters of her own. And those grown-up girls had all learned to sew too. Sewing was, after all, still on that list of Women’s Work. Even if these girls didn’t end up needing this particular skill, they were still expected to have it. So they all dabbled in it a little.

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But the world was changing. It was becoming less expensive to buy bedding than it was to make a homemade quilt. Not only that, but that Women’s Work list? Was getting turned upside down. Women could do many things now that weren’t on that list. In fact, for a while, it became necessary for some women to put the list aside. They had to temporarily distance themselves from it, in order to prove they could do other things. One of the original little girl’s grown daughters now had a daughter of her own, and that little girl grew up thinking sewing was just about the most uncool thing imaginable. Seriously. She wouldn’t be caught dead sewing her own clothes, bags, or a quilt.

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But of course, as that third-generation girl got older, the world changed yet again. Sewing isn’t considered so dorky anymore—in fact, “handmade” is now experiencing a coolness renaissance. Maybe enough time has passed that we feel we can come back to these “women’s” crafts without sacrificing the advances we’ve made in less-traditional areas. Maybe we’re tired of made-in-China mass-produced comforters and clothing. Maybe all the other things that might keep us from quilting and sewing are now just less important than creative expression. In fact, for so many of us, it’s a wonderful way of expressing ourselves and getting a little more fulfillment in life (and we’re lucky that we have the time and money to spend on it).

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Whatever the reason, I have my mom and my grandma to thank for the fact that I am able to quilt today. I don’t do it out of necessity. I don’t do it because it’s culturally expected of me as a woman. I just do it because I love it. How lucky does that make me? (And all of us!) In a way, I can do it only because of the inroads women made in the previous two generations.

So I took those five blocks that my grandmother hand-pieced 40 years ago and made 12 more. My mom made a handful as well. And we put them all together into this quilt, which I’m calling the Three Generations Quilt. I tried to make it both a little vintage and a little modern. A little fun and a little serious. I tried to put a little piece of all three of us in there. I tried to make it representative of our stories: Three generations, and what sewing and quilting has meant to us, as women and as creative people.

Happy birthday, Grandma! Love you!

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Talking About “Modern”

Something happened yesterday that I think is worth pointing out: The national Modern Quilt Guild changed its “official” definition of modern quilting.

The new definition, as stated on the MQG website, is as follows: “Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. ‘Modern traditionalism’ or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.”

Modern Mirage

I’ve been surprised by all the talk on blogs recently about the MQG’s definition of modern quilting being too narrow, or excluding certain types of quilters. I don’t think that was ever the intent of anyone on the MQG board. I believe that the previous definition, as stated on the MQG’s website, was never meant to be exhaustive. After all, the previous definition did not mention Modern Traditionalism (my favorite area of modern quilting), but QuiltCon had an entire category devoted to Modern Traditionalist quilts. In fact, the Best In Show winner was a double-wedding-ring design that came from that very category. I was in Austin and saw the wide variety of quilts that were shown at QuiltCon. So while I think the previous definition needed work, I don’t for one minute think it was intentionally exclusive.

Sparkler quilt

But I’m very glad that the MQG has now made the effort to clarify their definition. I think the change more accurately reflects what is happening in modern quilting, and the fact that the leadership was willing to make the change shows that they’re trying to be responsive to members’ concerns. Are there some people out there who don’t consider the type of quilts I make (and love) to be modern? Of course (and I’m fine with that). Do I agree with all of the judges’ decisions and critiques from QuiltCon? Nope. One of my quilts placed, but I got critiques on my other two quilts that I did not agree with at all. But that doesn’t change the fact that I have always found the Modern Quilt Guild to be 100% welcoming, both to me—a primarily “modern traditionalist” quilter—and to many other types of quilters. That includes events with my local chapter and the nationally sponsored QuiltCon. In fact, many of the ladies in my local guild don’t even exclusively make modern quilts—they are just as likely to dabble in traditional quilting or many other types of sewing. Every local guild is different, but to assume that the MQG in general is only interested in a few types of modern quilting or is trying to exclude certain quilters baffles me. Why jump to negative conclusions?

Chicopee Square Quilt

The only reason I am posting this at all is because I don’t think this particular viewpoint has gotten much play in the blog world. I would hate to see all this talk of narrow definitions and exclusivity dissuade anyone from checking out their local Modern Quilt Guild chapter.

In the end, it’s really up to all of us to collectively define modern quilting—and I think the MQG is showing that it understands that and is willing to listen to what we’re saying. I’m closing comments on this post because I’m not interested in furthering any more controversy or inviting negative comments. I just wanted to put my side out there. But if you have specific questions or feedback about this post, please feel free to email me. And thank you for listening!

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A Little Chat About Copyright

Recently I came across this pattern being sold by a brick-and-mortar quilt shop. It’s my Cross-Terrain quilt pattern, a free pattern that was published on the Moda Bake Shop blog in October 2011.

I did not authorize the shop to sell this pattern, and the Moda Bake Shop didn’t authorize it either. In spite of this, the shop was selling a pattern that uses my photography of my quilt, my step-by-step instructional photos, and my text. The name and website of the quilt shop appears on the front and back of the pattern. My name is only mentioned in very small type on the last inside page. My blog, my blog address, and the Moda Bake Shop blog are not mentioned anywhere. The shop was selling this pattern for $4. I didn’t see a dime of this money, nor did Moda.

I’m sure you all know this already, but this kind of thing? IS NOT OKAY. Reproducing and selling someone else’s pattern is illegal, even if that pattern is available online for free. In this case, I think the shop was well aware that what they were doing was wrong, so I’m not going to waste my breath admonishing them for their illegal and unethical behavior.

But I will try to enlist all of you in the fight to stop this sort of thing.

It was a remarkable coincidence that I even discovered this problem. And if I happened to stumble upon my own pattern being sold illegally, it occurred to me that this kind of thing is probably happening everywhere. My printed patterns are in, ummm, limited distribution at this point. : ) So it’s very possible that there are more illegal copies of my patterns out there than there are legal ones—making more money for the unscrupulous folks selling them than I could ever hope to make myself. And if this is happening to me, I guarantee it’s happening to other designers as well. It’s hard enough for us designers to make a living at this without someone blatantly stealing from us. But we can’t be everywhere. So we need your help.

How can you help? Please just keep an eye out for obvious fakes like this pattern. If you come across a pattern that you recognize as being designed by myself or another blogger, please check it out and contact the designer if you think there’s anything fishy. Or at the very least, don’t buy it!

Here are some ways to recognize an unauthorized pattern:

1. The designer’s name, company, and/or website are nowhere to be found, or are not obvious. As I said, my blog/company name was not found on this pattern.

2. The cover design doesn’t match the cover of the designer’s other patterns—or there’s no design at all. Most designers have some sort of company logo or branding. If you don’t see that logo, chances are the money isn’t headed their way. An example of my current “official” pattern cover design is above. (And by the way, I would never, ever, EVER use the Comic Sans font, under any circumstances! Are you kidding me? That just added insult to injury!)

3. The printing is low-quality. This one’s trickier, because some designers do copy their own patterns or print them on a home printer and sell them. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s the designer herself doing it. But personally, as a former graphic designer, I’m a sucker for good printing. : ) So my hard-copy patterns will always be printed in full color, on high-quality glossy paper. They will never be obvious photocopies or home print jobs.

4. Ask yourself if this is a store/location where the designer is likely to sell patterns. At the moment there is exactly one store in the entire United States that sells my hard-copy patterns, and it’s just ten minutes from my house. : ) So if you’re not buying it from Material Matters in Theinsville, Wisconsin, it’s not legit! (Although if you own a shop and are interested in carrying my patterns, I would love to hear from you!)

In the case of my Cross-Terrain pattern, the real victims here were the shop’s own customers, since they were paying $4 for what was essentially just a printout of a free internet tutorial. So please help us combat this problem. If you recognize my or any other designer’s quilts on a pattern that doesn’t look “official,” please contact the designer immediately and let them know when and where you saw it. I, for one, promise a free pattern of your choice to anyone who informs me of a legitimate case of theft like this one. Thank you all!

Edited to add: The Moda Bake Shop does encourage shops to make its patterns available free of charge to customers, in shops and as part of classes. I’m completely fine with that, as long as the pattern remains free and my name and blog address are prominently included.

As I said in reply to a comment below, the bottom line is, if a shop is making money from a pattern, the designer and/or publisher should be as well. Any other scenario is not okay. Thanks.