Okay, Material Girls, this post is for you!
I know several people mentioned wanting to make donation quilts at our meetings. I came across a REALLY simple (and fun) pattern that I wanted to share.
It’s called the “Strippie Quilt” and was designed by Mary Johnson at the blog "Making Scrap Quilts from Stash”. This link will take you to her most recent “Strippie”.
Anyway, her pattern is offered for free on her site. If you want to check it out, go HERE.
Here is the one I made last night on my design wall. It took only a couple of hours from start to finished top.
I’m thinking I could easily cut one of these out before a meeting, bring my sewing machine and get it all put together by the end of our meeting!!
It’s so satisfying to get an entire top done in one evening! Now, we just have to see if the longarmer of the group is willing to quilt them!!! ;)
Interview with the Inventor of the Twister Tool- Marsha Bergen!
I recently wrote an in depth blog post about the Twister Tool. A very fortunate byproduct of this post was the fact that I was able to communicate with the creator of the Twister Tool. Below is my interview with Marsha Bergen.
Marsha Bergen, inventor and creator of the Twister Tool, also owns the Country Schoolhouse Quilt Shop in Superior, WI, only 3 blocks from Lake Superior.
Marsha originally created the Twister Tool for use in her shop but the idea grew and eventually found a market nationwide.
Like most inventions, necessity was the mother of invention. She came up with the idea of the Twister Tool in response to her customer’s frustrations. The traditional methods for creating pinwheel quilts were time consuming and not easy.
She knew if she designed a tool that simplified the process and could be used for precuts (charm packs and layer cakes) this would open the pattern up to a whole new group of quilters. Both beginners and experienced quilters looking for a quick and fun pattern would have new options for making pinwheel quilts!
It was important to Marsha that she develop a high quality product made in the United States. Marsha’s rulers use thicker acrylic than most. This means you won’t accidently shave off the plastic edges when the tool comes into contact with your rotary blade.
She also puts “bumpers” on the bottom of the ruler so it is raised up over the seams. As an additional bonus the bumpers make the ruler “slip-free”. As a side note, Marsha, her husband and one other employee (Kathleen) manually attach the bumpers by hand in their shop before shipping to customers.
If you own one of these rulers, you know that the markings on the ruler are clear and easy to read. Surprisingly, Marsha had to work with quite a few companies before finding a printing method that would create a marking that would not rub off.
I mean, who would think this one simple thing would be so much work!!
Marsha, Kathleen and her husband do all of the packaging themselves in the quilt shop. They send the tools out personally to all of the distributors and people who order online.
“I’ve tried to keep prices as low as possible for distributors so they can keep their prices low for the independent shops. I’ve had three price increases from the companies with whom I buy materials but I haven’t passed it on yet. I’ve tried to absorb the costs so prices won’t increase.”
Of course, the business of running the Twister Tool business is done at night and on the weekends because Marsha runs her quilt shop during the day.
Marsha admits she’ll never become a millionaire from making the Twister Tool but was motivated by her passion and desire to improve the technique.
Based on the number of Twister quilts I’ve seen online (I’ve personally made three!), I’d say her method has been a success!
Thank you, Marsha, for giving us a little insight into the world of designing!
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.
The pattern has been written and is currently being tested!
As soon as I get feedback from my testers I will be offering it for sale here!
Here’s my latest version using the Oceania line of charm squares from Moda.
You’ll notice in this version I did Not bind the edges. I’ve offered the option
of binding or not in the pattern. I like it both ways, it really does change the
It’s been a LOT of work to develop this pattern but it’s almost done!
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