At the Risk of Offending You…Twister Tool


Okay, at the risk of offending you awesome readers, here is some food for thought.


Right off the bat, I’ve got to tell a dear friend of mine who is going to think I wrote this because of her that I had already been contemplating this long before your situation!!  ;)

I know that quilting can be a very expensive hobby.  I also know how important it is to find a value or deal when money is tight.  But what about when we do it at the expense of someone else who is trying to make a living?


I recently purchased the Twister plastic templates and patterns.  The smaller one runs around $11 and the larger one around $21 (retail).  I bought them at my local quilt shop for the regular retail price.

I feel fortunate that I can afford to do this.  I know that not everyone can.

That being said, I wonder about the folks who are out there making replicas of these templates so they don’t have to spend the money.  Is is really because all of them cannot afford it?


It begs the question, is it really an excuse to say that if you cannot afford something (or if it’s JUST a simple square with blah-blah…) than you should be able to make a copy of it?   (I know this doesn’t make it legal!)


What about the designer/creator of this template?  Now, I’m not saying this company is the first one to ever think of this concept or create a plastic template that does the job.  However, they  have obviously taken the time (and money) to create a pattern booklet and plastic template to easily create a quilt that utilizes  a simple and fun method.


Why do we think there is nothing at all wrong with going out and making  copies so we don’t have to pay the person who did all of the hard work and spent the money to back their investment?

I have been to several online quilting boards lately and observed Many people stating that they have made their own template (copying the original, of course, that belonged to someone else) and instructing others how to do the same. 

Just because a project is quick and easy does not means the creativity or inventiveness that went into making the product is any less valuable.

When we copy someone else’s work, we are stealing from them.  The number of hours that go into making a pattern, writing a book, designing jewelry or writing a computer program are inconceivable to the buyer of the products.

We don’t see or know how much time and effort it takes for these things to get done and actually make it to market.  Not to mention the financial backing needed for the first time or small business owner, i.e. taking out a second mortgage, borrowing from family members, emptying a 401K.


Just like our local quilt shops, if we don’t’ buy from them, they won’t be in business for long.  But more than that, I think we can be more vocal about providing our support.


My thought is that many in this situation are just not aware that their actions are harmful to the industry they love. 

My guess is that many simply see themselves as being “resourceful”.

It may be a worthwhile topic on the quilting boards we enjoy.  Just a thought and my two cents.

Thanks, Heather




  1. I was surfing the net one day and saw the Square Dance quilt book by Martha Thompson (and purchased it from Amazon). Using the author's instructions, we made a paper template and then my husband was able to make several from plexiglass for a class that I was teaching. Some months later I ran across the Twister Tool and purchased both sizes. When doing a demo at a quilt retreat the next year, I did the demo with the Twister Tool and charm squares.
    You've given us a lot to think about. We might be thinking that we are being "resourceful" to make do with our own homemade albeit "copy" of someone else's design. If I am able to look at a photo or quilt and sit down and draw out my own pattern, is that stealing? I have never reproduced patterns or projects for profit. Good to bring this issue to our attention so that we can search our own consciences.

  2. Hey Beverly,

    You've provided good food for thought...
    When an author provides us with a paper template and then gives us permission to make our own...I think it's perfectly reasonable to go out and make your own from plastic. I think that is what they are encouraging us to do!

    You've purchased the pattern (the author's ideas) and in no way are you attempting to make something for free.

    I appreciate your contribution to this discussion.

    It's so tricky, isn't it?


  3. Just curious - does this mean that I can't use a plate or saucer anymore for a circle template because someone made a circle template and has it for sale?


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