Case Study: Leah Day Brings Free To The Quilting World

from the arts-&-crafts dept

Having made an award-winning feature film, the next logical step in my career would naturally be...quilting. That's what my Muse says, anyway, and I've learned not to argue with Her. So, for the past 2 months, I've been learning how to quilt, something I've never done before in my life (no family members nor friends quilt) but find fascinating.

Starting from zero knowledge, the first place I sought information was the Internet. Easier said than done: quilts are poorly represented online. Art quilters are extremely cagey about their designs and techniques; online photographs of art quilts are scarce and those that do show up tend to be postage-stamp tiny.

Leah Day is a happy exception to this rule. Through her web site Day Style Designs, she offers countless Free tutorials on quilting techniques, from the most basic (how to iron and starch your fabric - something this beginner found invaluable) to the most advanced. While other quilters cling to their designs and issue threats against copying, Leah goes in the opposite direction, sharing freely, inviting copying, and requesting (rather than demanding) links back to her site.

Leah specializes in Free Motion Quilting, a kind of drawing with a sewing machine. She is best known for her 365 Free Motion Quilting Project, a personal challenge "to come up with a new free motion filler design every day for a whole year."

A quilt is a piece of art and the free motion filler designs add an element of texture and thread to the surface of the quilt that nothing else can. A quilt is simply not a quilt without the quilting stitches. Think of the filler designs as texture created by a painter with a paintbrush. Only instead of paint, quilters are creating that texture with thread.

I searched for a book to teach me creative free motion filler designs. I didn't find one. Maybe I wasn't searching hard enough because when the idea of this project came to me, I couldn't get it out of my head.

Leah makes clear, short videos of creating the designs, which she posts on her blog, along with photographs of the finished designs and the message, "Feel free to use this free motion quilting design in your quilts and send in a picture to show it off!"

The quilting world is apparently rife with copyright bullying. Those sweet little old ladies (average age of 'dedicated quilters' is 62) issue threats against anyone who would copy 'their' designs, which consist entirely of un-copyrightable motifs like squares, circles and spirals. As long as neither the bullies nor the victims know much about copyright law, the quilting community maintains the fiction that ideas are property.

The free model is very, very new to quilting. Most quilt patterns are covered by copyright, so you can't use the design for any commercial purpose. I can't make a quilt from a pattern and sell the quilt without first contacting the original designer for permission. I can't even show that quilt in a national show without permission.

And that's just for the quilt top design! The free motion designs can also apparently be copyrighted (which is insane). How can I copyright "Basic Spiral"? It's a spiral design! Spirals have been around for thousands of years! Am I the first to quilt it on a quilt? Heck no! I'm just the first person to give it a name and teach you how to do it.

Leah monetizes her work primarily through her online Quilt Shop, which stocks only products she uses herself daily. Although the selection isn't broad, it's a great strategy. As a beginner, her recommendations guided my initial purchases; I happily spent over $250 at her shop. If I need more quilting supplies, I'll check her shop first. I'd rather have sale profits benefit her than Amazon, and the prices are the same. That is fan behavior: I'm a fan of her videos, grateful for what she shares, and I want to support her. She makes it easy to do so, by selling supplies. It's Connect With Fans + Reason To Buy in action.

Demand from fans also led her to publish an instructional book and DVD. Even though all the designs in it are free on her blog, fans begged for a printed book they could keep next their sewing machines. Because she's connected to fans, she knows what they want, what will sell, and where to invest her energies.

It is unlikely the copyright maximalists of the quilting world support themselves from copyrighting, or quilting. Quilts themselves are tremendously undervalued and underpriced:

Even the purchase price at major shows (AQS Paducah is probably the biggest) is only $30,000. For the level of work and detail that go into quilts, it's pennies per hour.

This is why I don't sell my quilts. I have sold only 2 since I started quilting and even those two limited experiences taught me that this was a good way to stay broke and live frustrated. Making what other people want, rather than what I want, is not creative, it's slave labor.

Americans spend $3.6 billion on quilting annually (yes, you read that right), primarily for quilting supplies and equipment, followed by conferences, classes, and workshops. Most quilters are affluent and retired. Presumably they cling to copyright due to control issues, not a need to make money. In contrast, Leah Day needs to make money - she is 27 years old and supporting a young family. Is it any wonder that she has embraced Free?

The more fans Leah gets, the more sales she makes, and the higher her profile as an artist and teacher. In its first year, her online shop grossed about $140,000. Prior to the Free Motion Quilting Project, Leah was virtually unknown; she now leads a growing community of fans and customers. Says Leah, "Free is really what's put me on the map."



Reader Comments (rss)

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    Thomas (profile), Feb 10th, 2011 @ 3:20pm

    Off topic, but Nina's quilts are lovely works of art.
    On topic, this a great story about how a creative person can support themselves and continue doing what they love.

     

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    Mr. LemurBoy (profile), Feb 10th, 2011 @ 3:23pm

    My sister is a textile artist, makes beautiful stuff, but isn't much of a techie. I never thought I'd send her an article I found on TechDirt. I'm really pleased to be wrong in that assumption. This is right up her alley!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2011 @ 3:27pm

    Wow. She discovered the idea of giving away free samples. What next? Perhaps she can invent the wheel.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2011 @ 3:33pm

      Re:

      Why do you always assume that these are something new?

      Did it say this was a new idea?

      Does she try to brag that she's a genius for figuring this out?

      We all know you'll grasp at anything just to get on the anti-TechDirt bandwagon, but at the very least stop making stuff up.

       

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      Anonymous Howard, Cowering, Feb 10th, 2011 @ 3:39pm

      Re: AC #3

      Way to troll! Can't be bothered to actually read the article - just jump right in and focus on a single sentence - wait; no, she doesn't give free SAMPLES, she gives free TUTORIALS. That's OK, even the best trolls have off days.

      The post was well written, described well-considered and effective marketing, and related what can happen when you focus on what you love. Kudos to both Nina and Leah.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2011 @ 4:00pm

        Re: Re: AC #3

        What does she actually sell? She sells kits and supplies to do it her way. In other words, the tutorials are the free samples that encourage people to buy the products.

        It would be way more impressive if she was giving away the products and selling the tutorials. Now that would be special!

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2011 @ 4:24pm

          Re: Re: Re: AC #3

          Special would be you making money and not going down the path of bankruptcy LoL

          See I can make assumptions too!

           

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          teka (profile), Feb 10th, 2011 @ 4:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: AC #3

          But that would be doing it wrong.

          She is giving away the infinite product (digital video) and using it to better monetize the non-infinite product. She is also connecting with her fans (CWF) and her actions are a reason to buy (RTB)

          CWF+RTB=profit*

          *usually. I only amend that to make an end-run around a troll poised and ready to spring "but what about these other people who made no money?!?!?!" well, nothing is absolute.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2011 @ 6:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: AC #3

            CWF? It's all fancy names for the same crap that has gone on for years. Free samples are not new ideas. Heck, Video Professor has given away one free video from their collection for years. Not really shocking.

            It's not news. Congrats to her for having a great business. But really, it isn't anything new.

             

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              Jose_X, Feb 10th, 2011 @ 6:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC #3

              >> CWF?

              That means fans care about what you are doing.

              In any case, does Video Professor allow you to make as many copies as you want and share them with other people?

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2011 @ 7:12pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC #3

              I know you can't read, TAM, but let me try to help:

              No one said it was anything new, except you.

               

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    drew (profile), Feb 10th, 2011 @ 3:37pm

    I was wondering...

    ... how the anti-free-as-part-of-a-business-model brigade would attack this. Is that really the best you can do?

     

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    Jose_X, Feb 10th, 2011 @ 3:47pm

    Case study

     

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    Kathlyn (profile), Feb 10th, 2011 @ 5:52pm

    Wow. This article surprises me very much

    I have been a quilter for 17 years and my mom has been a quilt shop owner for 7.

    While it is true that quilt patterns offered for sale are under copyright, usually only the ones distributed for free specify that they cannot be used for commercial purposes and I have never heard of anyone having to ask permission from a pattern designer before entering a quilt show.

    There are disagreeable people in any group, but I have found them to be more the exception than the rule in the quilting world.

    Many of the fabric manufacturers have sections on their website devoted to free patterns. www.hoffmanfabrics.com, www.robertkaufman.com, www.konabay.com, and www.ttfabrics.com are a few examples.

    I am less able to offer links to art quilt sites because I don't do much of that, but my mother-in-law has been an art quilter for 20-25 years. I have asked her (via e-mail) if she has any links to provide and either she or I will likely post some later.

     

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      Nina Paley (profile), Feb 10th, 2011 @ 8:05pm

      Re: Wow. This article surprises me very much

      There are a few art quilters who post high res photos, like the delightful Susan Shie. But they're the exception.

       

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        Kathlyn (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 7:29am

        Re: Re: Wow. This article surprises me very much

        re: Nina's comment - I can definitely believe this. Quilts are difficult to capture well in a photograph and art quilters are a minority in an already small niche market. Often even professional photographers have a difficult time capturing quilts well unless they have experience with quilts specifically. There are also always going to be some who don't want to share their ideas and I imagine that is likely to be more common the more artistic the work gets.

        re: Anonymous Coward - There is a lot of free in the quilt world, but the free that I have seen IS mostly in the traditional quilt world and not the art quilt world. Most of the large quilt companies manufacture printed cotton and there is less payoff for them in providing free art quilt patterns because art quilts tend to be small and not to use much of their product.

        Traditional and art quilters tend to group separately and have very different focuses. Sad to say, art quilting is often not well accepted in the larger quilt community and often does not have the same level of support traditional quilting does. I have heard quilters express an opinion that art quilts aren't really quilts at all and shouldn't win the big prizes at shows. It is a sad blindness held by many who are otherwise wonderful people.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 5:57am

      Re: Wow. This article surprises me very much

      So what you are saying is that there has been plenty of free already in the quilting world?

       

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      Nina Paley (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 6:47am

      Re: Wow. This article surprises me very much

      I should add that I'm sure the copyright-bullying quilters are very nice people, and would never be thought of as bullies within their milieu. It's a world in which many people believe they can own ideas, so threats against copying are accepted as natural and appropriate.

       

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      HeatherRadish, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 9:23am

      Re: Wow. This article surprises me very much

      The author admits in the first paragraph they're not a quilter, so it's not at all surprising they're wholly ignorant about the industry. There have been free patterns out on the Internet for at least 15 years (when I started quilting).

      The author doesn't know much about copyright, either. The "circles and squares" aren't copyrighted; the photographs, videos, and written words are (unless the authors state they're releasing them to the public domain). Same as every other industry, discipline, and hobby.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2011 @ 6:17pm

    Nina, you need to go to National Quilt Museum in Paducah KY.

     

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    Leah Day, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 6:59am

    To explain...

    All me to clarify for the multiple Anonymous Cowards:

    Quilting as a hobby has a foundation of free. Women would gather together in bees and guilds to hand piece quilt tops, then quilt them together in groups. It was a way to connect with friends and benefited everyone in the group.

    We have a huge collection of free, public domain piecing patterns to create quilt blocks, the blocks are then put together in a top.

    The thing that has always been not free is the quilting design, or the stitches that actually connect the 3 layers of the quilt together. Sorry to get technical, but there is a big difference between the two.

    So quilters have always had a huge supply of free quilt block patterns, but a limited number of free quilting designs, and up until I started the blog, a very limited amount of free information on machine quilting.

    So, as it applies to a BUSINESS model, my giving away 365 quilting designs and teaching free motion quilting techniques on a weekly basis on the blog is new to the quilting world. Most people thought I was crazy and certainly didn't see how it would build a profitable business.

    But as I have found the formula of:

    Connect with Fans + Reason to Buy = $$$

    Definitely works if you start with a good idea, or at least fulfill a real need within your niche field.

    The ultimate point of Nina's article was not that this was something brand spanking new (it's obviously not), but as it applies to the free motion machine quilting world, it is.

     

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      Kathlyn (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 7:39am

      Re: To explain...

      This definitely has merit, but, to be fair, non-free data on the actual quilting process is fairly sparse as well. There are a few books and DVDs for sale but not nearly as many as there are piecing patterns (which is what I thought the article was about).

       

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      HeatherRadish, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 9:30am

      Re: To explain...

      I understand what you're doing and why, but the author of this article has damaged your brand by being ignorant and bitchy toward your intended market.

       

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    alison schwabe, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 7:01am

    Bringing 'free' to the quilt world is anything new?

    I don't think so - 'free' has been part of the quilt world culture since the craft began - and in fact this quilters' culture behind the copyright problems now that many quilters are published and preciously protecting the copyrighted material in their books or class teaching handouts, whatever. Nina's right - there is a lot of nitpicking obsession about copyright and a lot of ignorance about it in the quilting world as a whole; but the palin fact has always been if you put it out there - teach it, print articles about it and publish pictures about whatever you are doing, people will try to copy it, for sure. And that's true of any human endeavour, regardless.

    Leah's work is justifiably focused, and technically highly competent. Using modern technologies to spread her knowledge far and wide, show her to be the born teacher she is. However she's not the only one, and then again, not everyone who is doing great stuff is able to teach or demonstrate it, and who says they should, anyway? To teach is a great option if you are able, for fee or otherwise.

    Contrary to the impression given in this superficial article, many quilters and art quilters (for they are two distinct creatures) are actually highly generous with technical information, and many teach, not necessarily for a fee, in the knowledge that a receptive student will learn, absorb and develop an idea in ways the original teacher might never have considered. So I refute these silly or rather ignorant statements from the article -
    (1) "Art quilters are extremely cagey about their designs and techniques"- a genuine artist knows it is all about the ART not about the techniques used to achieve it.
    (2)"Online photographs of art quilts are rare, and tend to be postage stamp tiny" This is total b.s. - and anyway, who says anyone has to put up huge photo files? Again, it's about the art, not the technical detail revealing every minute stitch or thread used in achieving it. Would anyone complain about a sculptor's work this way? Of course not. Nina has taken very little time to research the truth of this thoughtless and untrue comment which may have been made to her.
    (3) And finally, "Most quilters are affluent and retired" This is just so not true - yes, I know where she probably have got this figure - the annual survey the Quilting Industry publishes, and she is porbably young enough that anyone in their 40's looks 'old' - but there are many people out there making quilts who are never touched by the survey - and again, this survey group does not necessarily cover any of us out there making art quilts - and as I said, "Art Quilters" and "Quiltmakers" are entirely different. It's a shame Nina didn't take a bit more time to understand what she was really writing about.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Nina, it was an excellent, well written article.

    Thank You

     

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    Pat Shaer, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 9:52am

    Quilting in general, art quilt in particular

    Out of the way first - the biggest quilt show in the world is the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX. Last November 60,000 attended the 3-story, 3-block site of the show. Brings in the most income of any convention in Houston.

    As to art quilters, Leah, Leah, tsk, tsk, tsk, you're not very savy in web searching. You'd learn so much if you did. Quilters, including art quilters, are the most generous, artistic, and sharing people in the world.

    Check out Lyric Kinnard, Hollis Chatelaine, Pokey Bolton (who has a fabulous 1.2 hour TV show using a variety of media for art quilts or just plain art.)

    Visit a book store that has quilting magazines, especially Quilt Art or Cloth Paper Scisors. Go to Amazon and enter art quilt in the book search.

    Oh my, my, my, there's nowhere enough room here to write it all. Suffice it to say, you have a lot to learn about researching before you can speak about quilting or art quilts.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 10:38am

    You have to love it.

    Clearly a few of the member of the quilting community found this article. It's also clear that they don't seem to think there is anything new here. Maybe new to Nina, but certainly not new to anyone else, it seems.

    What's that on the ground? Credibility? Yup.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 10:57am

      Re: You have to love it.

      Maybe you should pick your credibility up then?

       

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      Kathlyn (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 11:19am

      Re: You have to love it.

      That's a pretty nasty comment for you to make.

      Nina presented a picture of what she saw. Not all of it was 100% accurate from the perspective of those of us who have been doing this a while, but discovering the whole of quilting is a long process and is doubly difficult to do via the internet. There's nothing wrong with her being excited about the parts of it she has discovered and wanting to share that with others. It's what makes quilters a community.

      Even if some of her views of the parts she has not yet discovered fully are a little...negative, I hope that will change for her as she gets to know our community a little better.

      Nina, it appears that you do not live near me, so I cannot offer IRL support, but the California quilt community is pretty active and http://www.suite101.com/content/san-francisco-art-quilter-joyce-goode-a330871 seems like it might be a place for you to meet some local art quilters.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

        Re: Re: You have to love it.

        Nina enjoys the comments. It makes her tougher and makes her work more on her craft. The comments are intended only because the story is another example of a Techdirt person sort of not getting the whole story, and as a result misrepresenting what is truly out there.

        I am not even a quilter, and I know patterns are out there for free and often used as a come on by companies to sell other products. I can remember my mother buying material to make dresses for my sister and getting the pattern for free (Simplicity, I think it was called) in return for buying all the material at the same store. That was 40 years ago.

        What Nina did was discover something new to her, and try to act like Christopher Columbus finding the new world... only to discover it was already well populated by "natives".

        Enjoy your quilting, it is quite an art!

         

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          Nina Paley (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 3:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: You have to love it.

          I don't think you understand what "Free" means here. It doesn't mean free of charge, it means free as in free speech. Patterns that are provided free of charge are still copyrighted, considered the "property" of the rightsholders, and are illegal to redistribute without permission.

          That is the difference in what Leah Day is doing, and why I wrote about her. I would welcome your links to other free-as-in-freedom quilters, but so far none have been offered here, and I haven't found any.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 3:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: You have to love it.

            Nina, "free speech" isn't limited only to people who give everything away for free without restriction of license. You can give things away for free and still have a licence of them so they cannot be resold. That doesn't make their speech less "free".

            There is no such thing as "unfree speech".

            You may want to re-read this post: http://www.techdirt.com/blog/casestudies/articles/20110209/09043313026/case-study-leah-day-brings-fr ee-to-quilting-world.shtml#c249

            Clearly the quilters know more about their hobby. In her words: " It's a shame Nina didn't take a bit more time to understand what she was really writing about"

             

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              Karl (profile), Feb 12th, 2011 @ 3:47pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You have to love it.

              You can give things away for free and still have a licence of them so they cannot be resold. That doesn't make their speech less "free".

              Yes, that is precisely what it does. A non-commercial restriction is still a restriction. It makes the speech less free.

              There is a big difference between libre and gratis.

               

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    W L Starn, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    Quilting in general, art quilt in particular

    Brava to Alison for saying what I think, only better.
    Art quilters are, first and foremost, artists who happen to be working in the medium of fiber. Did anyone expect Picasso to license his original designs to be made into paint-by-number kits? Many artists in a variety of media use what they consider to be unique self-developed techniques. That's what makes their art unique and one of a kind.
    There are plenty of quilt and fiber tutorials on the web if you only look, and plenty of free quilt block patterns as well. By the way, not all of us are little old ladies making traditional quilts. Go to Houston for festival, and you might be surprised by what you see. Bring an open mind.

     

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    Tom Landry (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 12:23pm

    so her husband works all day then has to come home and cook, clean, do laundry etc.

    Now that girl is a go-getter.

     

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    TheBee, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 1:27pm

    Wow--that's some statement

    Nina said: " As long as neither the bullies nor the victims know much about copyright law, the quilting community maintains the fiction that ideas are property."

    That's some statement. I believe all artists are actually quite savvy about dealing with copyright issues, because they are a group from whom the general public seems to enjoy stealing.
    We as quilters, and particularly art quilters, find our blog or website photos used on all sorts of other blogs and websites with no mention of the original artist. I'm sure the photography community has simlar experiences. The reason that artists cling tightly to ther artwork is for that reason.
    As artists, we know that ideas are not copyright-able. The copying and borrowing of techniques and processes is not what this is all about. Artists, and quilters especially, post, share and write countless books about techniques and ideas to help beginners "get it". For example, I am also an oil painter, and use Van Gogh's technique of heavily laying colors atop one another for a certain effect, because I know the technique is free for me to use.
    However, I would never copy any kind of artwork, be it painting, quilt or photo, and pass it off as my own, as some do when they post purloined photos on their own blogs and websites, or copy quilts in order to sell patterns for there own profit.
    The quilt and art community has been burned in the past. You bet we're going to protect our designs and artwork!

     

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    Vicki D., Feb 11th, 2011 @ 1:55pm

    Jumping to conclusions

    It's a shame this writer used a very little bit of research and an enthusiasm for one quilt teacher to make negative generalizations about a huge and varied quilting and art quilting community.

    I do understand and appreciate her enthusiasm for Leah Day's work. She's very creative, an excellent teacher and I'm glad her efforts have led to a successful business. Too bad the writer didn't leave it at that.

    And Leah is far from the only person who offers her work freely. Designer Bonnie Hunter has been giving away free quilt patterns on her website for many years. That led to her huge popularity as a teacher and author.

    Other than that there are so many misperceptions that it's hard to address. Rather than putting them here, I'm writing a blog post. You can see it here.

    http://vickisvintagestitches.blogspot.com/2011/02/jumping-to-conclusions.html

     

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    Nina Paley (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 3:20pm

    What Free means here

    Dear angry quilters,

    Free here does not mean "free of charge," it means "not restricting others."

    There are plenty of quilt patterns offered free of charge. For example, Quilter's Cache offers free of charge patterns. But notice the terms of use:
    You may print out the information on these Web pages for your personal use and make as many copies as you need of templates- again- for personal use....
    I do not allow the distribution or use of any of my patterns, graphics or site pages in shops or other commercial environments, nor the use of these as teaching material in any commercial way.

    No posting of images and/or text from this Web site to another Web site, magazine, etc

    Items made from Original designs may not be made for sale.

    ...or Anything in violation of the Copyrights listed below unless I have already addressed it here.

    That is not Free. I understand you may not be familiar with what Free-as-in-Free-Speech means, because you are new here. Welcome! Have a look around, there are many articles discussing free speech and how copyright works.

    Now that you know what "Free" means, please send links to quilters who actually practice it. I would love to learn of others. Thank you!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 9:00pm

      Re: What Free means here

      Now that you know what "Free" means

      Quite possibly the most arrogant post of the year so far. Congrats Nina for telling grown adults that they don't know what simple english words mean.

       

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        vivaelamor (profile), Feb 13th, 2011 @ 4:36pm

        Re: Re: What Free means here

        "Quite possibly the most arrogant post of the year so far. Congrats Nina for telling grown adults that they don't know what simple english words mean."

        Grown adults? As opposed to shrunk adults? By the way, English has a capital E.

        I hope that pointing out pleonasm and grammar errors is more arrogant than semantics, I would hate Nina to beat me this year.

         

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    Michele, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 4:25pm

    Wow, are you kidding me?

    I didn't even make it all the way through the article because I had to say this: I'm not sure where you are looking, but there is TONS of info/pics/tutorials/etc. etc. out there from quilters (both traditional & art). Practically everything I've learned about quilting has been online and from the generosity of these amazing crafters and artists who take the time to post information for others. You might want to bone up on some online research skills.

     

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    Susan, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 5:08pm

    This is old hat and full of mis-information

    Much of what Leah does is not original. However she is younger and more hip than many quilt teachers. While Leah has earned a good reputation for herself as a blogger and film maker, not everything she says is accurate. Many of her designs are designs done by others.

    There are thousands of quilt blocks and quilting designs in the public domain. People are concerned about copyright when it comes to one-of-a-kind quilts and patterns that they have put a lot of time into developing. But ask any quilter for help or ideas and you will learn as much as you can absorb. Ask two quilters and you will get two or more viewponts. Quilters are among the most giving people of any type of hobby.

     

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      vivaelamor (profile), Feb 12th, 2011 @ 6:29pm

      Re: This is old hat and full of mis-information

      "There are thousands of quilt blocks and quilting designs in the public domain."

      How are they in the public domain, do you mean that they're out of copyright or under a non-restrictive licence? If they're out of copyright then how long are we talking? The state of copyright is such that it can last over a hundred years for certain works and the terms aren't commonly understood.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2012 @ 4:23pm

        Re: Re: This is old hat and full of mis-information

        The "thousands" of quilt blocks and patterns in the public domain are those that were created a hundred years ago, more or less, by quilters and freely shared with friends, who shared them with other friends endlessly. Those patterns are simple to complex; they were given names by their creators or by others, and the names frequently changed as the political or social climate changed, or as the quilter presently using them thought of different names she liked better. They were not sold; they were truly free, however you define free. You can find those quilt block patterns and quilting (stitching) patterns in books in your library, quilt shop, book store, or from a quilting friend. Early in the 20th century, quilt block and quilting patterns were published in newspapers and magazines; usually, they were free, in the sense that if you bought the newspaper, you did not have to pay an additional fee for the pattern. Those patterns are still available, and free. Find them in books, and use them--freely!

         

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    Netti, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 9:50pm

    Leah Day

    My quilt group, the Patchwork Angels, have greatly benefitted from Leah's free quilting videos. Since we've started practicing her designs, our quilting has reached new dimensions and a new excitement about our craft has evolved. Leah is truly a gifted person who freely shares her knowledge.
    In South Africa quilters are continuously bombarded with copyright issues by the quilt police and most of us are thoroughly sick of it. Hurray for Leah who has moved beyond this attitude of "thou shalt not" and gives so much to ordinary quilters who simply wants to enjoy the art of quilt making.

     

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    Rich Fiscus (profile), Feb 12th, 2011 @ 5:11am

    This basically reminds me of the strategy Bob Ross used with his show, "Joy Of Painting." He gave away the show to public television stations and made most of his money selling the supplies go with them.

     

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    Lyric Kinard, Feb 12th, 2011 @ 7:11am

    Love Leah, author didn't have to be so snarky

    I love what Leah is doing, and thrilled that she is able to support her family, and after having spent time with her, can vouch for her generosity of spirit and business savvy. Leah has managed to marry free with income perfectly. Kudos!

    The author or the article is correct in that some quilters are copyright police, and that the actual quilting patterns aren't as prevalent on the web as are piecing designs. Valid points. After that... well.

    I am easily able to find clear and wonderful pictures of both art and traditional quilts on the web. They aren't often super high resolution because then viewers complain they load too slowly.

    Quilters, both traditional and artists, are genuinely kind, generous, and sharing. Not snarky, phobic, witches waiting to attack anyone who wants to learn. There is a large, open, sharing community there for her if Nina chooses to come out from behind the monitor and meet some real, and wonderful people. Come join us instead of attacking those you haven't actually met.

     

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    :Diane, Feb 12th, 2011 @ 8:39am

    learn to google

    Leah is doing a great blog. There are thousands of others online who share as much or more.

    I can't believe Nina hasn't found enough resources online or locally to help her learn to quilt. There is an online Quilt University which offers classes for modest fees. Most cities have guild meetings and sewing groups which are free to attend.

    Has she attended any of the International Quilt Festivals in cities across the US and in Europe? I doubt it. I would gladly send her the price of admission ($10 US) just so she could say she got in "free" to see the hundreds of exhibitors and look at thousands of quilts up close and personal. Any newbie who attends one of these venues is overwhelmed with the possibilities and the resources available. Priceless, in fact.

    :Diane

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2011 @ 2:43pm

      Re: learn to google

      Does any of those "free" offer the following:

      - The freedom to use it as one see fit.
      - The freedom to redistribute the work.
      - The freedom to improve upon a work or modify it.

      Are many out there who give these freedoms to others?

       

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    Ignorant Idiot, Feb 12th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    "FREE"

    Howdy,

    Reads like a tempest in a thingee made of ceramic with a funny lid that never quite seems to fit and a spout that pours forth hot liquid. Maybe "unrestricted use" would be a better word choice than "free." Semantics. Many minds can't get past "free = price" as an initial reaction.

    Merc

     

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    Mini Patterns, Feb 12th, 2011 @ 3:07pm

    Free? Shared?

    As a pattern designer it is hard to stand in my booth at a quilt show and listen to fellow quilters discuss bow they can cheat me out of the price of a pattern by each purchasing a different pattern then making copies to "share" with each other.

    Not that my patterns are so unique. But i did the math. I calculated the yardage. I made the drawing of the pattern pieces. I wrote easy to follow instructions. Now they want to buy one pattern and make 4-5 copies to "share" with their quilting friends.

    Adds a new meaning to "free."

     

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      vivaelamor (profile), Feb 12th, 2011 @ 6:24pm

      Re: Free? Shared?

      "As a pattern designer it is hard to stand in my booth at a quilt show and listen to fellow quilters discuss bow they can cheat me out of the price of a pattern by each purchasing a different pattern then making copies to "share" with each other."

      Are they cheating you out of the price of a pattern or simply being economical? Throw out the notion that you're owed because they're using your patterns, clinging onto it won't make you any more money.

      Read Mike's writings on the subject, which happen to be all available for free, or in a book. They are being economical and you can be too, but it means giving up the idea that it's possible to get people to pay by restricting how they can use your work after they've bought it.

      'Adds a new meaning to "free."'

      As I've explained to someone far less deserving than you today, free does indeed have more than one meaning. If you give someone something for free then that is gratis. If you give someone something without any restrictions on what they can do with it then that is libre. You can have neither or either or both. What you describe is what I would call de facto libre. Something is bought and the purchaser is doing what they would naturally do, which is anything they want, despite your wishes and the unrealistic threat of copyright.

      Leah uses a business strategy that takes advantage of this. You may not want to do what Leah is doing, but there are likely other ways in which you can adapt your business that will work for you.

       

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    dasboots, Dec 26th, 2012 @ 7:20am

    this post

    I can not believe the tone here. I so dislike cowards and trollers.
    Nina, thank you for the post. I so agree with you. Thank you to Leah for her videos.
    To the trolls, you add nothing to this post, so go away.

     

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    Susan Marty uska, Apr 12th, 2013 @ 4:51pm

    Leah truly gets it

     

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    Susan Marty uska, Apr 12th, 2013 @ 5:00pm

    Leah truly gets it

    I am truly amazed by Leah's never ending loving warmth and giving. I quilt also, and use several different mediums. I belong to several different art groups and my own long standing quilt guild, and have found that being a part of a group of women who participate in something that is truly life affirming is really food for the soul. Leah has a shining soul, and we are lucky she has chosen to share it with us. Bravo, Leah!

     

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