Does Amy Butler have a say in how we use her patterns?

I have always been confused about pattern designers saying what I can and can’t do with things I make from their patterns. I think this is such a murky area, that like the tags on mattresses, people are afraid to act because they don’t fully understand that ripping the damn tag off is fully within their rights after purchase. I’m intrigued by this site,, that outlines case law and what is really covered by copyright law. Here is a particularly interesting part about Amy Butler, who has been listed in their Hall of Shame.

So, does anyone have experience with this? It does seem that if I use her patterns to make stuff, I should be able to sell it. But I’m still afraid. Anyone else? And yet, I wouldn’t hesitate to sell something I made from a Burda or Simplicity pattern, because I almost always alter the pattern in some way.

I’m curious how other crafters feel about this.

ipod cover

iPod coverI made this goofy iPod cover…I’m not so great at planning out all the things that have to be sewn into pieces before they’re sewn. For example, I did not sew on any kind of closure, so the finished thing doesn’t close. You might be thinking, “why not sew on a closure now?” Well, the answer is that I could, but not the closure I wanted. I wanted to use these cute little pearl snaps. They must be applied to the fabric before the fabric is all sewn up and you have no access to the back. Make sense?

So anyway, the thing hold my iPod, but it’s flimsy, and I prefer the store-bought case with the clip so it stays in my pocket.

Anyway, here’s what worked:

  1. The think clear vinyl made a cool pocket, and my paper circle punch (1 in. diameter) cut a great circle for accessing the buttons.
  2. The minkie makes a nice inside for my precious nano.
  3. The basic design was pretty successful, although I think a little smaller would be better.

Here’s what didn’t work:

  1. I forgot the snaps.
  2. I forgot the openings for the earphone cord and the keylock switch. It’s funny, I had the flap drawn on my sketch, but when I went to cut the fabric, I couldn’t remember what that flap was for, so I left it out. Turns out, it was my bottom closure that left space on either side for the keylock switch and the earphone cord.
  3. Turning the whole thing inside out messes up the vinyl, and since it can’t be ironed, I think it would be better to put that pocket on last with topstitching, rather than putting it in the fabric sandwich that gets flipped.

iPod cover 2

sew what?

my new messenger bagI made a new bag. I like it. I made up the pattern. It was pretty simple – your standard sew everything backwards and flip it all out through a little hole. The problem is that that flap is backwards. I took it apart and sewed it back together twice, and still, the flap is backwards. On the other side, there’s a perfectly good, now upside-down pocket.

I’ve got a lot of ideas and not a lot of sewing time. I may need to try some energy pills or something. Or maybe I just need to get off the computer and go to sleep. Tomorrow, we’ve got a big day at the park! Then Wednesday is gymnastics – our third and final class. Let’s hope there are less tears this time.

Craft Book Reviews

(For my book count, these books are #59-#63. I wasn’t sure whether I should count them in my goal towards 100 books for the year, but since I’ve read them cover to cover more than once, I figured they should count.)

I love pattern books.The easier the pattern, the better the book! So here are a few of my favorites, if you’re interested in sewing and quilting, check them out.

Bending the Rules on AmazonThis first book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew
by Amy Karol, is awesome for the beginning seamstress. I’ve already made two of the purses in here. The directions are really easy to follow, the patterns are easy to cut out. There’s lots of room for personal interpretation, but Amy also provides everything you need if you want to create exactly what she’s made. Fun project, great gift ideas – I really really recommend this book. The author has a super cool blog called Angry Chicken, and she’s also set up a fun flickr group where people post the projects they’ve made from the book. These photos are great for inspiration, color options, ect. [rating:5]

Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted GiftsNext is Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts
by Joelle Hoverson (Author), Anna Williams (Photographer). Again, I seriously love this book. I’ve already made a bunch of those sweet birds on the cover filled with bells and catnip. I’ve also made the coasters and I’m working on a pin cushion. Super easy instructions, great patterns, GORGEOUS projects and photos. I love love love this book. The author also has a great blog called the PurlBee and an online shop called PurlSoho. Definitely check them out. I actually found this book through another blog, Wee Wonderfuls – written by the designer of the sweet little elephant, Wee Peanut, in the book. [rating:5]

In StichesNext is Amy Butler’s In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects
by Amy Butler (Author), Colin McGuire (Photographer). I won’t lie, I haven’t made anything from this book yet. Her patterns, instructions, and materials lists are more involved than the first two books. I feel like I’m not quite to this level. HOWEVER, I love the projects – the book is gorgeous, and I look forward to the day that I master the patterns. If you’re a seasoned quilter or sewer and you’re looking for some cool projects for your home, I highly recommend this book. I wouldn’t recommend it for brand new sewers – although I’m sure smarter people than me could handle the challenges just fine. [rating:4]

Denyse Schmidt QuiltsNext is Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects
by Denyse Schmidt (Author), Bethany Lyttle (Author). Again, I love love love this book. I’ve made one of the quilts (top left, orange and white pattern), and it was very simple. I even changed the pattern to fit a little better to the fabric I had on hand and it was no problem. I’ve seen a few of her quilts for sale in other places like Anthropologie and in the Sundance catalog and they were ridiculously expensive. I was excited because I already had the patterns, and I can make them myself! The projects really range from super-beginner to a little more seasoned, so I think this is a book for every level. Highly recommended! [rating:5]

amy butler's midwest modernFinally, Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern: A Fresh Design Spirit for the Modern Lifestyle
by Amy Butler (Author), David Butler (Photographer).

This one is really more of a coffee table book, although it does have one pattern in it. Still, it’s gorgeous. Her sense of style and her fabric designs are awesome. I was a little disappointed that the book only has one pattern, but it was nice to get a peek into her life, design mentality and creative process. It’s amazing how many talented, inspired people there are out there – and she’s definitely one of them. [rating:4]

Hope you found those reviews helpful – now stop reading and get sewing!

Quilt Run, Pt. 2

Today marks the end of the Southern California Quilt Run. I am sad. I was sad on Saturday as I shopped in the last five stores. But, in order to make this appealing to all my readers (thanks, you two!), I’ve decided to tell you the best shops and what you’ll gain by visiting – quilter or not.

Top Three stores, in no particular order:

  1. Sowing Sisters, Carlsbad, CA. First of all, come to Carlsbad. It’s the best little vacation beach town going. You may need to be wealthy to afford the trip, but it will be worth it. Carlsbad is a little jewel located north of San Diego by about 40 miles. There’s a gorgeous beach with plenty of parking, nice sand and freezing cold Pacific Ocean water – so don’t forget your wetsuit. You’ll probably see some dolphins and maybe even a whale. About four blocks from the beach, right across from a great little bar called the Cantina is Sowing Sisters Quilt Shop. They claim to have the largest selection of Amy Butler fabrics and patterns in all of Southern California. I would denounce this seemingly huge claim, but since I have in fact been to (almost) every quilt store in Southern California, I can honestly say they DO have the most Amy Butler fabric. Plus, they’re really nice. But don’t take your quilting to the beach – it will get dirty. Take it to the pool. By the way, this store is so cool – they even have a blog.
  2. Quilter’s Coop, Temecula, CA. They don’t have a website – that I could find, anyway, but the store is wonderful. First, Temecula is chocked-full of wineries. You’ll need a driver, so you can get good and schnockerd. Start at Old Town, visit all the cute little antique shops, be sure to taste some Olive Oils, and then go to the best group of shops ever. In one building is a quilt store, a stamp/scrapbooking store, a crochet store, and a jewelry store. Plus, there’s a jail (forbleeker street dots show – or for husbands…not sure.) Anyway, Quilter’s Coop has a huge selection of fabrics and patterns. They were the only shop on the run to carry Anna Griffin’s new line of fabrics or the Bleeker Street line. Sadly, they were sold out of the cool dots by the time I got there, but they’re pretty close to my house, so I can go back anytime. Then, get a driver and head over to Rancho California Drive. There are at least ten wineries – maybe more. Have fun with the tastings, then take a load off at one of the spas. Sounds nice, right?
  3. Monica’s Quilt and Bead Creations, Palm Desert, CA. I’m not going to lie – this place was HOT (the desert, not the store). But, Palm Springs is just a stones throw away, and according to that new show Hidden Palms, exciting things are happening there all the time. Monica’s was my very last store, and boy, did I end on a good one. First of all, I’m also a jewelry maker, so I was drawn to her huge selection of beads. But even though I lingered over the huge assortment of Swarovski crystals, I was very disciplined. Instead, I only purchased three new patterns and about 10 fat quarters. It really is a beautiful store with tons of options, great classes, super friendly staff, and especially friendly owner. I was happy to turn in my passport and get my “I did it!” bar for my quilt run pin – although there are no spaces on the bar, so it looks like “ididit”…that’s right, idiot. Well, I did drive 1,100 miles and spend a lot of money – so it might not be far off.

I also found this fun virtual shop hop called FabShop Hop. It’s a hop through virtual quilt and fabric stores – good idea, right? When you find the little pink bunny, you click it and enter to win prizes!

Happy Quilting! Completed project pictures coming soon!

Quilt Run, pt. 1

The Southern California Quilt Run commenced last week (Thurs – Sun) and concludes this weekend. I spent Friday evening, all day Saturday and most of Sunday “running”. Basically, I covered about 700 miles and shopped in 27 quilt stores. Some great, some not so. My buying limit has been more than surpassed (good thing I saved a little in preparation), and I now have more projects than I could complete in a year. But still – that’s the goal, to complete them all and start again next summer.

freshcut colorway 1My favorite finds so far (still have 7 shops left, to be completed on Saturday) are Amy Butler’s new home dec line of fabric, all of her patterns for purses and clothes, and Denyse Schmidt’s book. Other favorites include Heather Bailey‘s Freshcut line (colorway 1 pictured) and any and all 1920s and 30s reproduction fabrics (old news, but I still love them.) I got a bunch of cute patterns for purses, aprons, and of course, quilts.

In each shop we get a charm – most are quilting related. Some signify the store in some way. These are a little annoying. What am I going to do with a penguin charm?

One cool shop was Quilt in a Day -that’s right, the same as the show on PBS. Turns out the shop is actually the studio for her show! You know, not when she’s in a fishing boat or in front of a log cabin, but when she’s constructing the quilt pieces. The shop was annoying though because I got there right at 9:01 pm (closing time) on Friday and had driven over 150 miles that day, and they wouldn’t stamp my damn card, so I had to go back to that store on Sunday. I even called in advance because I knew I was going to barely make it and the lady said, “oh, you’re not going to make it – we will be closing at exactly 9 pm.” Which sounded like a dare to me, so I DID make it, only she pretended not to hear me knocking on the door as she counted out her drawer. So I didn’t buy anything from them when I returned – their loss. But besides one other store with no parking, I had only happy experiences in each shop.

It was fun to keep running into the same ladies as we traveled the same path along the freeways. Lucky for me, I had my brother-in-law’s trusty TomTom One GPS device. I tell you, that thing is a marvel of convenience! I’m not sure if you’ve ever driven on the freeways in California, but the exits are often not where you’d expect. The TomTom warns you – it tells you which lane to get in! Amazing! I chose the Austrailian guy’s voice, and listened to his fun accent for every exit and turn. Very pleasant. And no furiously and dangerously looking at mapquest directions to figure out what comes next! I highly recommend TomToms to everyone!

At one point, I was in gridlocked traffic on the 405 freeway in Orange County. I hit “Alternate Route”, “Avoid 405” on the TomTom, and the Aussie (whom I assume is very handsome) told me to exit right away and proceeded to take me on a lovely scenic route through Topanga Canyon and along the Pacific Coast Highway. Couldn’t get any better than if someone else had been chauffeuring me around, paying for all my fabric.

So, this Saturday, I have to hit the last seven shops to be entered to win wonderful, fabulous prizes. I’ve also been entering all the guild opportunity drawings for gorgeous quilts I could never construct. Wish me luck!