Code Name: Quilts

Tom Russell Quilts Blog QR Code

QR Code for Tom Russell Quilts Blog

Do You Know What This Is? No, it’s not a new quilt design—although it could be. It’s a bar code, but it’s so much more than your standard straight-line bar code. This new bar code is called a QR Code. It is a 2D bar code and it is the newest, latest, greatest, whiz-bang technological advancement coming our way.

This new bar code is very unique and it’s popping up everywhere—and because we are so close—I thought you should know about it, and why I think it’s so special.

What Makes This Code So Special? Well, I’m glad you asked. This code is special because it can be read by any smart or android phone. This QR Code can hold all sorts of information, from email and web addresses, to youtube video links and phone numbers. This little code will allow you to promote your work or your business with very little effort. It is so versatile that you can customize it to fit your needs. Beyond being infinitely customizable, it is also free. That’s right. I said it. FREE! Anyone can make a QR Code and use it in any way they wish.

Does QR Mean It’s Quilt Related? In this case, yes it does. I recently read a great blog post from a quilter who is using this code to help promote her business. I thought this was a very clever use of the technology, but I also thought it could be used to address a concern I have with my quilts.

Lost And Found One of the big issues with shipping and exhibiting quilts is the potential for theft. When a quilt is lost or stolen, it has a very small chance of being recovered, especially if the label has been removed.

Sure, there are web sites devoted to recovering quilts such as Lost Quilt Come Home, Missing Quilts and you’ll even find some in the Lost Quilts section of The Applique Society’s web site, but the success of these sites are dependent on everyone knowing that a particular quilt, made by a particular maker—is missing—and I mean EVERYONE. Everyone not only has to know that particular quilt is missing, they have to be able to identify that exact quilt when they see it. You can imagine how difficult this task is, even for the most devoted quilt rescuer.

I think these sites are great and I appreciate what they are trying to do—I REALLY DO—but I have to be honest, I don’t visit them very often, nor do I know anyone who does. So, if I’m not going . . . and they’re not going . . . and you may not be going, just how successful can these sites be?

I know a few police officers who are very good at what they do—but as good as they are—I seriously doubt that any of them would go look on any of these web sites, should they run across a pile of quilts in the trunk of a car, or in a house filled with other stolen merchandise.

Binding Proposition I have investigated other methods of labeling or IDing my quilts to help facilitate in their recovery (beyond the standard label), such as placing my contact information inside the binding and micro chipping them. Both of these methods are used by other quilters—and they do have some merit—but very little in my opinion. Placing important contact information in the binding is great, but no police officer will—EVER—undo a binding to search for it. Come to think of it,  I seriously doubt if any concerned quilter would do so either. Placing your contact information in the binding is like putting a message in a bottle. Yes, it could be found, but your chances are pretty slim.

Chipping Away At It Micro chipping a quilt sounds really cool and high-tech, but I think you have to ask yourself, who would even consider looking for the chip if it were there? I know veterinarians have micro chip readers and they use them all the time, but do police officers? Do police officers know to look for micro chips in quilts?

Another question to ask yourself is, who is responsible for keeping the database for micro chipped quilts? Is this database open to everyone, or is it accessible to only a select few? I’m sure that if a group of chipped quilts were reported stolen—and the authorities are made aware—they would have a better chance for recovery—but seriously—do you think a micro chip search is gonna happen for every quilt found? Micro chips may be a viable option in the future, but they don’t seem like a reasonable choice at the moment—at least for not me. Selling for around $30 per chip, the expense alone necessitates another solution.

Code-Dependent After reading the QR Code blog post and doing a little investigating, I have decided that this QR Code would be the perfect solution to my identity crisis. With this free software, I can create a QR Code and attach it to the back of each of my quilts. I can place this code in an area separate from the label.  The benefit to this, is that if the regular label is taken off, my quilt still has a chance of being identified.

I know that the “dirty, rotten” quilt thieves could take the QR Code off too. I watch Law & Order and Leverage, so I know what “dirty, rotten, no-account” quilt thieves are capable of. I figure, that if my quilt has a busy backing, and the QR Code is small, that there is a chance that the “dirty, rotten, no-account, too lazy to make your own” quilt thieves may not see it. Since I make scrappy quilts, I could even hide the code on the front of my quilt if I chose to. Hmmmm . . . (visualize wheels turning)

Code Of Silence Oh yeah, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking . . . that Tom is pret-ty clever. (I just had another idea about what I could do with this code, but I’ll tell you more about that later—or maybe I won’t. I might just let it be a surprise for those who find it.) Nope, don’t need no . . . “dirty, rotten, no-account, too lazy to make your own, didn’t your momma raise you better? quilt thieves . . . knowin what I’m thinkin.

Breaking the Code The reason I think this technology is so revolutionary is because practically anyone with a phone will have the ability to find me—without expending any effort at all. They can use their phone to scan the code—and BAM!—there I am. Another really nice thing about this code, is that you can print it onto fabric without interfering with its ability to be read. That isn’t the case with standard bar codes.

I’m very excited about adding the QR Code to the back of my quilts and I suggest you do the same, especially if you exhibit and sell your work. Because this is such a wonderful and useful technology, I hope that quilt shows in the future will make it a mandatory element for the back of each entrant.

Codex I could continue going on and on about why I think everyone should use this new technology, but I’ll stop here and provide you a few links, so you can do your own research. They appear in no particular order.  Some sites offer more QR Code options than others, so I recommend you investigate each site before you make your final decision, or go to several and share the love.

Creating a QR Code takes less than a minute to do, so don’t put it off. If you don’t like the code, you don’t have to use it. Remember it’s FREE! If you have any questions, just let me know and I’ll try to answer them.

IMPORTANT NEWS! I just got an email from the US Ambassador to Nigeria. He’s coming to the US this Friday—and you are not going to believe this—he says he’s got a check for $3.5 million dollars with my name on it. Yippeee! I’m so excited! He doesn’t appear to actually know my name—or where I live—but I don’t think that’s a problem . . . do you?


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20 Responses to “Code Name: Quilts”

  1. Lynn Kelly Says:

    Oh, Tom, you had me loosing my mind when I first looked at this in my email! I had, not 10 seconds before, accomplished downloading and getting my mobile bar-coded airline boarding pass into my smart-phone, and assuring myself that I had it right and I wouldn’t be left walking to NC tomorrow morning! Took about 20 minutes to navigate it all and confirm. You know, new phone, new process, old brain! ha

    Then I opened your blog email and WHOA! There is the bar code! What the h—? How did I do THAT? Is Tom somehow mixed up in my boarding pass? How did it get into HIS email?

    My mind went a million miles an hour until I read enough to see that you were addressing using this technology in a whole new way! Whew. I’m not loosing my mind …. at least not today! ha ha
    PS: Great idea by the way. Always thinking, aren’t ya?

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Lynn, What a funny story. I hope you got to NC safely. Isn’t technology great—once you learn how to use it. Until then, it can be pretty scary. I love new technology, but it makes me anxious. The fear of doing something wrong and not being able to correct it, is very stressful.

      Thank GOD for undo. I wish more things in life had that feature, like my design wall after I’ve rearranged everything—but forgot to take a photo prior to moving it all around, my free motion stitching—when I haven’t checked the tension before I started, my fusible web—when I’ve got the wrong side facing toward the iron, my seam allowance—when I’m not paying attention.

      I wish everyone was allowed at least one undo per day. Life could be so much sweeter that way. Hope you have a safe trip.

  2. Gari Says:

    Lynn’s story is hilarious!!! I thought only my mind had weird things like that happen!!! Tom, I think it is artistically proactive of you to consider using this technology for the quilting world. I don’t personally have to worry about any of my sewing being stolen, but I can sure see the value for others.

    Thanks for waking us up to the reality of technology. Wow, more than just a quilting blog!!! Who knew!!! 😉

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Gari, I am glad you like the idea. There is so much you can do with it. I’m going to start making a list of the possibilities. I think with a little effort I can create a . . .
      Oops, need to stop there. I don’t want to give away any hints to what I’m thinking. What would the fun in that be?

  3. Margo Says:

    Well, how cool is that!! Thanks, Tom! I’ll be checking it out! Have a great time with the ambassador! LOL!!!

  4. Susan Vacek Says:

    Tom – what a GREAT idea! I just LOVE reading your blog – it is really just like talking with you… I just laugh, hearing your voice inside my head… get outta there, you!

    Hugs – Susan V

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Susan, I’m glad you are enjoying my blog and took the time to comment. You can hear that voice too? Ha! I thought it was only me. 🙂

  5. JoAnn Says:

    Darn, I thought I was the one getting the multi millions of dollars, if I would just give him some in return. Well, we could share it. Don’t want to be greedy. 🙂

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey you, If he comes today, I’ll ask him about your money. I think they have lots of money in Nigeria, so we shouldn’t have to share.

  6. jayardi Says:

    • • • At first glance, I thought you joined my B&W world. 😉 And, until I read what you wrote, I was sure it was a new quilt design. I LIKE it.

    I also like the idea of adding it for security purposes. Since the value of my quilts are going up, I’ll need to look into this soon.

    Thanks for the information.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey there, Some day I’ll do a black and white, not today. Yes, you should DEFINITELY use this on your quilts.

      You can make the code to go directly to your Flickr site. That way people will be able view even more of your work. It can be a quilter ID and portfolio in one.

      Another super great thing about it is, using the code is so much faster than trying to type in a web address on your cell phone. This is a real blessing for those of us with fat fingers.

  7. Jane Says:

    Tom, quilters have been looking for some sort of security coding system for at least 20 years! I haven’t checked it out yet, but this is free and it seems like all the right questions have been asked and answered. Since most of the world has smart phones, I think every quilt will soon be IDed with QRs. Now if we could attach an alarm so those policement could get to it — or maybe a search light!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Jane, I hope people will take advantage of this technology. It’s so easy to use and apply, I can’t imagine someone finding a reason not to use it. The benefits far out-weight the effort.

      Believe me, if I could put an alarm and search lights on my quilts before I sent them out—I’d do it. I get afraid every time I have to ship one out.

      I’m glad you found this idea has merit. Thank for commenting.

  8. Simmie Plummer Says:

    Tom, I am making the Restore America quilt as a Golden Wedding present for friends who have been quite active in restoration. I thought they would enjoy your video explaining the inspiration for each block. But I can’t find it. I have tried HGTV and the National Trust; I have googled until I am goggled. Do you know how I can get my hands on this video?

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Simmie, Sorry it’s taken so long to respond to you. I wanted to see if I could help you find the video. I searched everywhere I could think to look and it appears to be gone from the HGTV and DIY web sites.

      The Restore America quilt is quite a gift. They must be a very special couple.

      I have a copy of the video, but it’s not on a disc. I have a contact at HGTV and will see if they can help me locate it for you. Soon as I get back from Dallas, I’ll let you know what I find out.

      If I can locate it, I’ll need your contact information, but we’ll worry about that when the time comes.

      Thanks for getting in touch with me. I hope you’ll share photos of the quilt when you are finished with it.

  9. Simmie Plummer Says:

    Bless you, Tom.
    The wife is my quilting partner and would particularly enjoy the video.
    Can hardly wait.

  10. Simmie Plummer Says:

    Tom, it looks like the video is lost to us forever. I will write a booklet with the history of the properties and what I can remember about your design choices. The block that I am least sure of is the Pail Robeson house. Don’t know where the arc comes from.

    I am down to beading the borders. You are a maniac. In a space 3×1/2 inches there are 30 pieces of fabric. Learned a lot; cussed a lot.

    The recipients restored their home and were on the Restore America program in 2004, so I think this is a suitable gift for them.


  11. Jill Buckley Says:

    Hey. I just did this yesterday! I am the owner of a new tablet and am having a ball discovering the fabulous things that can be done. Today, I went looking to see if anyone else was doing this and found your post…..I think the other benifit would be that if your work is on exhibit, having your code displayed, gives a viewer wanting to see more of your work instant access!
    So now we just have to figure a way to make the label permanent. I have, in the past attached my label prior to quilting….you would have to destroy the quilt to remove the label, but would that interfer with the code…..hmmmm I wonder

    Oh……and did you get that big cheque? Haven’t seen mine yet lol

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Jill, Congratulations on the tablet. I am sure you are having a blast with it.

      I agree. Adding the code to your quilt would benefit the viewer—no doubt about it. Having it be permanent isn’t necessary. If you make it permanent then you are going to have issues if you update your web site or change providers. Keep it simple and flexible. Technology is changing fast and you don’t want to have to rip out stitches to keep up with it.

      You quilting stitches would probably interfere with the code, so I would just applique it down.

      Nope, didn’t get the check. I’m surprised too. He must have gotten lost on the way. I’m not concerned. I keep winning lotteries in countries I’ve never been to. Surely one of these prizes will actually get to me.

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