Let’s lead with the real news: I just discovered a blog that has a fantastic list of free quilt patterns available on the web. It was created in 2007 but is updated for 2011, and it’s beautifully organized. I clicked through a few and found a fun quilt-as-you-go project and a neat “more than a 9 patch” quilt pattern. Nice going for those of us who enjoy a freebie now and then!
And here’s the meditation on this news: As a writer and editor by trade, I will always love books and support creative authors. And there seems to be a great flowering of writing about quilting/fiber arts right now. I recently compared some new quilting books to a stack of old ones at a used bookstore – what a difference. The new ones were filled with lots of gorgeous color photos, brief intro texts, and really simplified step-by-step rotary-cutting instructions. The old ones had paper outlines for templates and black-and-white pages of directions that, to me, seemed rather impenetrable. Clearly, there’s a lot of new material out that just beckoning the new wave of quiltmakers, sewists, and knitters.
And I believe that the artists who create that content should be able to earn money doing so. In fact, I dream of writing my own patterns and tutorials for original projects one of these days, and I understand that compensation is a good thing. Free patterns are terrific but just like other kinds of free content (i.e. news) we should also think about the brains behind the creativity and try to support those folks.
On the other hand, one of my vows this year is to spend less money on purchasing books and patterns that I just don’t use. It’s great being inspired by the designers and artists who make them, and I want to support them, but why acquire things that will gather dust (and take up space in my small home)? I’ll be cruising the web a bit more in search of inspiration…. But I am sure I’ll still buy more than my fair share of patterns/books in 2011, if history is any guide!