I am so excited to introduce my Guest Blogger today. Please welcome Linda Franz. I have known Linda for quite awhile and I love what she has created for quilters - Inklingo! I love to hand piece and Linda has made it so easy for us. She has had some help along the way from a little guy (Monkey). You will see him in this blog. So Linda - take it away!
The world of quilting has been wonderful to me. My first bed quilt won a first place ribbon in Paducah in 2000 and resulted in my first book. I self-published Quilted Diamonds early in 2002, and I have published dozens of books since then, most of them related to Inklingo. It has been a long journey, mostly uphill, but the view has been wonderful!
Before Inklingo, I was teaching hand piecing using freezer paper templates and drawing the stitching lines with a mechanical pencil. Quilters love the idea of a portable project, so classes filled all over the US and Canada.
I loved teaching. I met many wonderful quilters and made some life-long friends. There was a huge demand for classes but traveling to teach was taking its toll, so in 2003 I hired movie professionals from Toronto to come to the house to film a two hour lesson for a DVD. Quilting DVDs were not common back then, but it allowed me to teach students all over the world without ever going through an airport again.
Many quilters wanted a portable project but found drawing the lines too slow or too difficult. I saw enough thick, heavy, inaccurate lines to convince me that I had to find a better way.
English Paper Piecing sounded like a good idea in theory but it was not precise enough, hard on the hands/wrists, and incredibly slow—even slower than carefully drawing the stitching lines around templates.
The Little Engine That Could was one of the first books I could read to myself as a little girl. The story of optimism and persistence stayed with me. I had to get over the mountain, so I kept experimenting. I tried rubber stamps (not one of my best ideas) and then printing on fabric with Inkjet printers.
The result is Inklingo, a wonderful method of printing on fabric with any ordinary Inkjet printer. I draw layouts of shapes and deliver them as PDFs, so quilters can print the shapes on fabric and have a line to cut on and a line to sew on. No more templates. No more measuring. No software to learn. Inklingo makes it possible to combine hand and machine piecing in the same quilt for the best of both worlds AND it uses the printers that quilters already have.
Inklingo is so innovative, this little engine (and Monkey) succeeded in getting a patent! There are 3 key ingredients to make Inklingo work. They are described in the Quick Start Guide under the Support & Goodies tab on inklingo.com.
In the beginning, I was looking for a solution for hand piecing but it only took a nanosecond to realize that printing on fabric is even better for machine piecing and appliqué!
The best thing is that Inklingo has made quilting more accessible to quilters of all ages. Also, my business model is designed to ensure that Inklingo is good for fabric manufacturers, shops, magazines, teachers, designers, beginners, experts—almost anyone associated with quilting.
Seeing is believing. You can order, download and start printing on fabric in the next few minutes because I published two FREE Inklingo shape collections ($20 value each), one for piecing and one for appliqué. They are under the Shop & Freebies tab.
The first Inklingo shape collection was published in May 2006—8 years ago already. You may wonder why you haven’t heard of it before, but Inklingo has been growing by word of mouth from one quilter to the next. I am just “one little engine” but there are thousands of quilters in more than 60 different countries using Inklingo and they are the best advertisers! You haven’t seen full page ads in magazines or received spam from Inklingo. Thanks to a loyal following and a generous affiliate program, the train is chugging over the mountain delivering Inklingo to one quilter at a time. We think you will love it too and will want to tell your friends.
Almost all Inklingo books are downloadable from inklingo.com. Some exceptions are Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses (POTC), Jane Austen Patchwork Mystery and The Inklingo Handbook. Those are also sold in quilt shops.
By the way, I apologize to anyone who has started sewing POTC blocks with English Paper Piecing!
I only included instructions for English Paper Piecing in Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses because that is the method Lucy Boston used to make her quilts in the 1950s and 1960s. It is by far the slowest and most difficult method in the book. I did not think anyone would sew POTC that way!
Lucy Boston was famous for the way she used the designs in the fabric, definitely not for her sewing method. She never took a quilting class and did not know about faster methods that are more precise. I am haunted by “the lost quilts of Lucy Boston”—the other quilt designs she had dancing in her brilliant, artistic mind but that she did not have time to finish, even though she lived to be 98 years old.
Luckily, if you are bogged down with EPP, you can switch to an easier method and get better seams, better intersections—and finish sooner! I have heard from many quilters who are finishing their quilts thanks to English Paper Piecing RESCUE on the All About Inklingo blog.
As a little thank you for reading this far, Monkey and I are hosting a draw! If you leave a comment on this blog post, you will be entered in a draw for a $25 Inklingo Gift Certificate. $25 is enough for Hexagons, Triangles, Winding Ways, Storm At Sea, Baskets, Castle Wall, Clamshell, Hunter’s Star, Log Cabin, Rose Dream, Yin Yang or another shape collection listed under the Shop tab. And $25 is almost enough for Double Wedding Ring, Dresden Plate, Orange Peel Deluxe and other designs too. You have until midnight on April 28th to leave your comments.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money. Even the pricing makes quilting more accessible to everyone.
Inklingo is growing. I can see the day where a big company will buy the patent and I will sew just for pleasure again. In the meantime, I am introducing new Inklingo shape collections almost every month, sharing lessons and videos on the blog, and having fun with quilters on Facebook.
Aren’t we lucky to be quilters in the twenty-first century? I hope you will subscribe to the All About Inklingo blog and like Inklingo on Facebook. Let’s take the rest of the journey over the mountain together.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my story, Nan.
Linda, thank you so much for being a Guest Blogger. I made a quilt using Inklingo and it was featured in the February 2014 issue of The Quilt Pattern Magazine. You can view a picture of it as I have posted it as my cover page on my Facebook page. This is all wonderful information and I know one lucky reader is going to enjoy winning an Inklingo Gift Certificate. How cool is that? So everybody, it is time to start talking and leave those comments.
I will be introducing May's Guest Bloggers in my newsletter so sign up. There will also be specials offered with every newsletter, so add your name to the list.
Until next time...