Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

An Ugly Issue

I've been thinking for a while about blogging about that unseemly, ugly issue that seems so prevalent in the quilting world.  Theft.

I'm not talking about copyright issues, but out and out theft.  We have all seen photos and read blogs about quilts that seem to go missing at quilt shows.  I can sort of "get" that kind of stealing.  The quilts are works of art and quite valuable, but that isn't the only stealing that goes on in the quilting world.

Have you ever talked to a quilt shop owner?  Seen the cameras in the shops?  They are getting things stolen right and left.  I took a class years ago at Little Quilts in Atlanta.  The ladies there talked about it.  They had a fabulous, appliqued quilt top that was folded and sitting on the cutting table disappear right during business hours. 

This flabbergasts me.  No matter how much we kid around, quilting isn't one of the mainstays of life.  You won't die if you don't have that ruler/pattern/etc.  What really amazes me is that quilting used to be done to use up leftovers.  And quilters are so generous, they will usually share with anyone who asks.  I just don't understand it.

At Little Quilts, Alice (one of the Little Quilts owners) speculated that the person who took the completed top from the cutting table may have been the sort of person who had taken classes, bought lots of supplies, but hadn't finished anything and maybe her husband was wanting to see results from all the money being spent.  I guess I can maybe understand that, but who knows? 

My longarm pantograph quilter (I have been using her for over 12 years) has me send the quilt, she quilts it, mails it back with the bill and I send in a check.  Recently I was corresponding with a different long arm quilter who used to do that, but someone stiffed her.  Unbelievable. 

I have my own story to share.  Years ago I had a longarm quilter who did a fabulous job.  She quilted 3-4 quilts for me and I sent her a final quilt with a deposit.  I wasn't hearing from her, so I contacted her and she said things were going on in her life and she wasn't going to quilt anymore.  She was going to send me my quilt back with the deposit.  Long story short, it took months and I finally got the quilt back--without my deposit.  At that point, I was just happy to have the quilt top but that was over a hundred dollars she took. 

I would like to hear from you all on this topic.  Do you have any anecdotes to share?   Or do you have any insight into what motivates people to steal supplies for a hobby?  Maybe I'm just naive?



  1. I, too, am naive when it comes to people stealing things. I'm always shocked at it, and yet it seems to happen so often now. I think your shop owner was being very kind in thinking the evil-doer was just trying to appease her husband. I think it was a case of down-right greed! And nerve!

    And you're right....most quilters would gladly share anything they have with another quilter in need. I think that's why it is so appalling!

    And I can't believe your quilter kept the deposit! Sheesh! That's just as bad! Again.....what nerve! And especially after keeping your top for so long.....I just don't understand people like that. Do they behave like that with everything, I wonder?

  2. Hi JoAnne,
    That was a sad post...a sad state of affairs you might say. I use to work at a quilt shop, and they do have theft. There were also some wonderful customers too! It is sad just how much work goes into a quilt and someone would just walk off with it~ Sad indeed! ♥♥♥

  3. I'm chiming in as a longarmer quilter who was ripped off by a client. A particular pattern was requested for a quilt so I purchased and quilted it as she requested. After the client saw the design on the quilt she decided she did not like it and wanted me to rip it out and quilt another design. I told her that I would not do that but would be more than happy to send her the quilt at no charge and I didn't even charge her the pattern, batting nor return postage. In addition I refuse to quilt for her anymore. Here is the kicker....later I learned she gifted this quilt to a relative of hers...with the original quilt design she requested I quilt!

  4. Theft of any kind is horrible, I get all bent out of shape if I accidentally take something of someone's (usually an ink pen).

  5. I actually witnessed someone in my local quilt shop swiping fat quarters. I told the girl behind the counter but she said she couldn't do anything due to the fact she hadn't seen the lady take the stuff. I confronted the woman myself and told her that I'd taken a picture of her stealing with my cell phone and if she didn't put everything back I was calling the police. She was dressed really nice and had a really nice car too. I hadn't really taken a pic of her, but she ended up putting everything back and the girl at the counter told her never to come back or she would criminal trespass her from the premesis. I have also witnessed women stealing notions and if you can believe it I watched one lady stuff batting into a huge bag she was carrying! Crazy. I have no problem confronting thieves who are doing nothing but driving prices up for the rest of us honest people.

  6. Guess I'm the naive one. I had no idea people shoplifted at quilt stores; it's just bizarre. I'm sure long-armers have lots of stories of their own but I have one too. There was a quilter in our guild who was also an officer on the board. She was a military wife (sorry JoAnne!) who moved away rather suddenly ... ugly divorce, etc. She took quite a few quilt tops with her and they were never returned to anyone. In fact, no one could ever get her to respond to an email or a phone call. It was a very odd situation and just terrible because we all liked her so much and she did so much for our guild.

  7. Wow, I had no idea this sort of thing went on in quilt shops.. I guess I am naive, too in thinking that all quilters are good hearted, honest types. I'm shocked to read about these stories. Though, I suppose with ebay, etsy, and other ways to sell quilting goods over the internet, some people might be tempted to steal, and then profit from hawking the stuff online? Either way it's just sad. :(

  8. As a former quilt shop owner, I can tell you theft does happen, a lot! And its shocking, and frustrating - and it's usually the ones you'd least expect! And it's costly.... especially when the thief likes expensive ($50+) applique patterns and Gingher scissors.... or even a half dozen spools of thread. When I identified my worst offender, I simply shadowed her through my store ..... And even knowing I was on to her, she didn't stop.... it's a sickness for some people....