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#56 Who Owns My Quilt? When You Pay for Longarming, Does that Change the Quilt?

Hello my quilting friends! Today I have a fun quilting debate for you all about quilt ownership. Basically I'm asking the question - if you have someone work on your quilt (longarm quilting, binding, hanging sleeve, or piecing) does that change who owns it? Enjoy watching the podcast and see the awesome progress I've made on my Mother Earth cross stitch!

Who owns your quilt?

Have you ever had a quilt longarm quilted for you? Do you regularly pay someone to handle the binding? Or are you a professional designer that depends on your quilts being pieced quickly by someone else?

All of these are services we can hire to help us make and finish our quilts more quickly. Many quilters love the piecing process exclusively and don't enjoy quilting their quilts at all. Longarm quilting has emerged as not just a service to help finish your quilts, but also a wonderful way a growing group of women (and some men) are starting businesses.

Extra services like attaching binding, a hanging sleeve, and name tag are a bit less formal. If you ask around your local quilt guild, you might find a few members that can help you out. These can sometimes be additional services offered by longarm quilters to help you finish your quilts.

Additionally there is a hidden network of contract quilters that help fabric designers make quilts for Quilt Market or for TV and internet shows. These quilters piece the quilt tops and step-outs for big events where the deadlines would be almost impossible to meet.

Let me start by saying that getting help is NOT a bad thing! 

It's wonderful that our craft is so popular and widely practiced that we have services like these available for hire. It is a testament to the stability and depth of quilting that so many people can make a living with quilting.

The main issue I was debating in this podcast episode is the question of ownership - if you get help, does that change who owns the quilt?

To say it simply - YES!

When you pay for a service and someone completes work on your quilt, yes, that does change the ownership slightly. It is no longer your, single, solo creation.

That quilt is now a collaboration.

You pieced the top. Someone else quilted it. And yes, they deserve credit for their work.

Just like the debate about quilt cheating, I take my cues from quilt shows. A quilt show includes multiple spaces to indicate who pieced the quilt, quilted it, and some even include a line for any extra work like binding, sleeves, tags, etc.

Quilts quilted by professional longarm quilters are usually put into a category by themselves so they can be judged against quilts made on similar machines. It will change the category and how your quilt is considered when it's quilted by someone else.

As I thought through this issue, I recognized a few caveats that quilters may be using to excuse themselves from giving credit:

I paid for this service. My quilt is MINE. I don't have to give any credit.

The longarm quilter didn't ask for me to give her credit, so I don't think I have to.

I came up with the design and had her quilt it for me. So it's my design completely so I don't need to give her credit.

These are all thinly veiled excuses and honestly don't hold water a bit. If you want to own your quilt completely and be able to only put your name on the quilt show form and never feel squishy about saying "Look at this new quilt I made!" then you need to do it all yourself: piecing, quilting, binding, etc.

If you can't do all the steps, that's just fine! Just give credit to the wonderful people that helped you!

Treat it Like a Business

If you're a longarm quilter and have noticed your quilts aren't being credited for your quilting, you need to make that clear in your service agreement. Offer a contract to your clients with your terms clearly laid out on paper. If you've taken the time to build the skill for unique custom quilting, you deserve to get credit for that work.

You also deserve and should ask to split any prize money a quilt wins at a show if you are quilting at that level or for that purpose.

I can hear a collective gasp of breath at that statement. Some women really have trouble putting themselves out their and asking for what they deserve. When money gets involved, especially several thousand dollars in prize money, this can get especially sticky.

So don't take a chance! Write a contract that makes this issue clear as day! It's so much easier to declare your boundaries before you've taken a single stitch into a quilt than to deal with the fallout and awful feelings that can come if you're cheated out of an award and recognition you deserve.

And for the record a Best Machine Quilting or Best Machine Workmanship award is COMPLETELY won by the quilter! There is no way you can wiggle around that one. Your longarm quilter won you that ribbon 100%!

But I Hate that Longarmer!

Uggh! This is another excuse for not giving credit. Yes, bad things happen. Yes, personalities can conflict. Yes, you could suddenly find your longarmer is someone you really can't stand and you wish you'd never had a single quilt finished by her.

You might have been burned in the past by a quilter that really didn't know what she was doing with her machine. I've heard a lot of horror stories on both sides.

It doesn't change the fact that you did not make that quilt all by yourself.

Even if you don't like the person that quilted it, it's still not right to claim all the credit for yourself. Be the bigger person. You won't make that mistake again. Give the quilt away and move on.

Pride is a Double Edged Sword

One of the things I heard a lot from my parents was "take pride in your work." I learned to slow down with my work, whether it was pulling weeds or doing the dishes and do a great job or I'd otherwise have to do it all over again!

But sometimes taking pride in our work isn't a good thing. It can make us short sighted and snobby, especially when we begin judging everyone by a higher and higher standard. If you're especially prideful about your quilting skills, you may find it easy to look down your nose at anyone that uses precuts, or quilts on a machine, or uses longarm service, etc.

This is another reason why I think some quilters don't like to give credit where it's due.

It's scary to say "I didn't make all of this myself."

It's scary to admit we're not Superwoman. I know I'm often scared to admit that. What will people think if they know I didn't piece that? What will people think if I use that machine? What will people think if I don't do it all by myself?

Let me say it straight - you cannot control what other people think!

Who cares if they think less of you? You finished a quilt and they didn't! LOL! If someone is snubbing you for having your quilt longarmed or pieced or bound, that says everything about THEM and their baggage and nothing about you.

So let go of the pride. Let go of the excuses. If you get help on a quilt, it's now a collaboration and that makes it even better, even more awesome than making it all by yourself. Give credit and enjoy your finished quilt!

And if this is STILL bugging you, there is one simple solution - learn how to quilt your own quilts! Do it all yourself and then none of this is an issue at all.

Now for the news around the house...

I'm finally back to work on my Mother Earth cross stitch project. I decided to fill in the background with this echoing design and I love how it's turning out!

mother earth goddess cross stitch

I heard a lot of different opinions about my announcement last week that I was switching to the Eversewn Sparrow 20. I heard a lot of interesting opinions about switching to an entry-level machine as well as changing brands. Maybe that's another idea for a Great Quilting Debate because there definitely seems to be a lot of strong feelings about some particular brand names.

I've been experimenting and testing new feet to add to the machine. This has been a fun challenge because I'm very particular... okay, downright picky, when it comes to sewing machine feet and I've had a great time searching for the very best feet for piecing and quilting.

Sometimes a good foot is just impossible to find and in that case it's good to know how to modify it to suit your needs. Click Here to find the new video on how to break your free motion quilting foot (darning foot) to better work on your Eversewn machine.

how to modify your free motion quilting foot

I mentioned last week that I was wanting to experiment with combining different designs. I also really need to update the hoop quilts on my wall which are all still fall themed. I'm planning to quilt a fun series of new quilts for the spring and summer and this is my first mini!

free motion quilting play hoop quilt

We've also finished up our Prism Path baby quilt along this week. This was such a fun project and I loved how short and sweet it was to quilt together through just six videos. 

how to quilt a baby quilt

Click Here to learn how to finish your Prism Path baby quilt.

We've also learned how to quilt Pinstripe Ziggie, a new walking foot quilting design to add to the Marvelous Mosaic quilt.

How to quilt Pinstripe Ziggie

I still have my second batch of Marvelous Mosaic squares stuffed in a big plastic bin. They've started yelling at me every time I walk past "Put us together! Finish us! Make the quilt!" Yeah guys, it's on the list! I'm wanting to play with a new Quilt-as-you-go technique for these so the back is 100% minky. 

Sigh. Yes, it's on the list. Problem is that list is very long!

But one thing made it to the top of the list this week - I've finally wrapped up all the loose ends for the Eternal Love Quilt Pattern! This mother and child goddess quilt is just in time for Mother's Day this weekend.

eternal love goddess quilt pattern

This quilt includes full sized templates for the goddess design. I used fusible applique to connect the pieces together, but you could use any form of applique you like. You can also print directly onto the fusible web sheets using an inkjet printer.

No, I don't have any videos set up for this quilt at this time, but if you'd like to see videos or follow along in a quilt along, please contact us to let me know!

I'd certainly love to do a goddess quilt along, but we are going into the summer so I just wanted to make sure we'd have a lot of quilters interested in quilting along together.

Finally, don't forget to check out the Free Motion Quilting Project and see the new posts I'm sharing daily. I'm getting back into the habit of blogging every day and I'm really enjoying it. I love finding an excuse to make something pretty every day.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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