Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mary's Pattern

When I first started the Mashiah Foundation sewing program in 2003, I introduced the women to paper piecing as a way of making their quilt blocks. Paper-piecing actually involves sewing on paper. It's a fantastic way to get very accurate blocks--great for beginners!

The first major job we were given was for Miango Rest Home. We were asked to produce 13 quilts and wallhangings for their dining hall. Wow! We were thrilled. I had a great paper-piece pattern book so I started selecting different patterns and photocopying them. Early in the process I suddenly had a thought: I'll be these patterns are copyrighted! Well, sure enough, they were. As the purchaser of the book, I was given permission to make the patterns for my own personal use, but sale of such products was prohibited by the copyright. AAAHHH! And I had already given our customer a date that we would have the project completed by.

Well, that night I sat down at my kitchen table, drew a six-inch-square block, and started making my own original patterns. The next day I had the women try them out, and they worked! I made 13 different patterns that we used for that job. Over the past six years, we have used the patterns for all kinds of quilts and various projects.

Our most popular block is Mary's pattern. I named each pattern after one of the HIV+ women in the program. A good friend in Iowa made these stained glass windows using Mary's pattern.

I have the copyright on the patterns that I drew. I have given the HIV+ women in the Mashiah Foundation sewing program permission to use the patterns to support their families. However, I have not given permission to other organizations or individuals to use the patterns for their business--even if they are helping HIV+ women. Organizations need to come up with their own ideas and patterns.

If you ever see this pattern, you will recognize it as a trademark of the Women of Hope in Jos, Nigeria.

1 comment:

Sarah E. said...

What a lovely pattern -- I like the colors in which you worked it up, and your friend's stained glass piece turned out beautifully! I'd like to try it.

I receive your posts in my in-box and thoroughly enjoy starting my day with reading your thoughts when you write. I'm up at 4a w/my honeybunny and once he's off to work, I sit down to catch up on the computer. My mornings are made special on the days I receive Establish's email.

I lift you and your family and women's group up every day -- from my corner of the world to yours, you are a blessing.