What have I been doing wrong?

Over the holidays, I heard from two groups of quilters.


“Thank you for the free stuff.  Now I just have to get up the nerve to try it.”


“Where have you been all my life?”
“I wish I had known about Inklingo before I started my ____________ quilt with acrylic templates/this weird, expensive ruler/paper piecing/rubber stamps/whatever.”
“I’m a convert!”
“Inklingo ROCKS!”


Why do some quilters think Inklingo requires a lot of nerve? What have I been doing wrong?

Quilters who actually try Inklingo—as opposed to thinking about trying Inklingo—are almost always surprised and delighted.

Don’t misunderstand. Being creative by nature, most quilters “get it” right away, but some aren’t ready to print.

What do you think? What is the best way to explain Inklingo, so every quilter can hardly wait to send her first piece of fabric through the printer? Because that’s all it takes!

We’ve had an encouraging response with fabulous free shapes, great free patterns, and a free chapter of the Inklingo Handbook! Also videos, worksheets, checklists, tips from Monkey, the Inklingo Quiz, and many new shapes for exciting and unsual patterns.

The Inklingo Quick Start Guide has even been translated into other languages. There is a very friendly Yahoo group with tips, encouragement, and lots of experience.

There are Inklingo quilters in at least 60 countries.

Why not you?


Were you afraid to try Inklingo, or were you on it right away? What convinced you to try it for the first time? How do you explain Inklingo to your friends?

If you haven’t tried Inklingo yet, please tell us why. “Sounds too good to be true?”

I hope you have some great suggestions for me. If you prefer, you can write to me privately. I am interested in what you think, and want to make Inklingo more inviting.

How can I make Inklingo better?

Thank you in advance!

Linda & Monkey

PS  Russ’s monkey socks were a gift from a good friend—a quilter, of course.

PPS  One more try. New to Inklingo? Order and download free shapes and start sewing in the next few minutes. Quick Start  (Always FREE.) There are triangles, diamonds, and squares  in the free collection—great for dozens of different blocks.

31 thoughts on “What have I been doing wrong?”

  1. Hi Lorri, I have always washed quilt fabric before I put it in my stash–even before Inklingo. I throw it in with my regular laundry. There are all kinds of tips online about avoiding fraying, but I don’t do anything special. I just wash it, dry it, and fold it. I don’t iron it until I need it. There are good reasons for washing your fabric, including removing dirt, harmful chemicals, and even pesticides. I won’t bore you with all of the other reasons (you can google them online), but I hope you will re-consider it, whether you are using Inklingo or not. By the way, one of the extra reasons for washing fabric for Inklingo is that the freezer paper sticks better, and that avoids jams. (Jams should be very rare.)
    The Inklingo test procedure is important, but after the first few times, many of us just test when we install a new ink cartridge. When you do try Inklingo (and I hope you will!), you will be surprised at how little time it takes. In fact, Inklingo is The Best for quilters like you who are extremely time challenged! You are going to love it!
    Regarding patterns. I could not agree with you more. We need more Inklingoable patterns! I am doing my best to encourage pattern designers to make their patterns inklingoable, even if they also include traditional methods. There is an Affiliate Program and great support for designers. Please tell your favorite designers that you want that little bit of extra Inklingo info in their patterns—and I will help! I am even willing to create custom shape collections for designers. It is a great opportunity, and it is not “too good to be true”—it just seems that way. LOL Do you think we can add 50 new designers and a few hundred patterns in 2011? I’m going to try.
    It was very kind of you to take the time to write. Thank you.

  2. Bonjour Marie! I am glad you wrote because Inklingo works well for tiny scraps of fabric—especially because the fabric can be smaller than the freezer paper! Yes! Iron the scrap onto a larger sheet. I use little bits of my favorite fabrics too. It works well.
    Some quilters have written privately to “accuse” me of providing too much information (TMI), but I’m going to risk it one more time. LOL
    1. There is a blog entry about printing on small scraps, nickels, and even Jelly Rolls at this link
    2. There is also info about printing on scraps in the free chapter of The Inklingo Handbook (which you have), especially pages H46-H47.
    Thank you very much for leaving a comment!

  3. Hi Linda, As I am one of the procrastinators its only fair that I try to give you an idea of my reasons for being one. I guess the steps to prepare to sew are so different that they seem harder. I am sure they are not , but they appear to be. For an extremely time challenged person like myself the whole process of washing and ironing the cloth, cutting the cloth and freezer paper to match, choosing an ink color you think will work,printing, washing to see if it washes out or cannot be seen and repeating all the steps if wrong seems like so much work when you have so little time its daunting. I have been assured by a couple of your most prolific users that its not that bad and will become habit with time.
    The other issue for me anyway is patterns. I am used to buying a book that contains the pattern I want. Read exactly how much fabric I will need in each color, buy , hack away with a rotary cutter and sew. Since starting to sew by hand I have to mark sewing lines as I am one who does need and use them. I hate that part hence the interest in your product.
    More patterns would be great. I know that Tilde has done some in a loose sort of way and I have hunted the internet for more. I wonder if Electric quilt would be a benefit to someone like me. Maybe patterns to buy with just the shapes needed for that pattern would be a good thing . Making Inklingo affordable and easier to understand for newer users who could then, once they were used to the system, buy larger shape packages.
    I would agree with others that more instructional videos would be great for those who learn better by seeing it done.
    With all that I have never seen any one or any company give the type of customer service you do. Its almost instantaneous. You are great !
    I have finally seen a quilt done with your product that is forcing me to give it a go. I am hoping to find time to try a few steps this weekend. Thanks so much Linda.

  4. dear Linda,
    I bought the fist collection of inklingo : hexagon.
    I waited for years to use it because I only had a black and white printer then I changed my printer and tried it
    you did a wonderful work, with all the collections, uou did nothing wrong, I even tried it with friends that doesn’t manage with the preparation before sewing and they succeed in perfect flower of hexagon, that they never had done as perfect, it was a very good technique…….
    BUT the only problem for me is that I want to use scraps (because I have lot, because I love scraps quilts, and because I don’t want to throw my small pieces of fabric AND because it is necessary to print an sample and wash it before to print it in the right color, i proscratinate (I tried to choose a color without the sample but it was not successful.

    except that it is perfect and if I was not reasonnable I would buy all the shapes! (I have not time to use them so…

    have a nice week end
    Marie (Nice in france)

  5. I’m such a new user that I just barely activated my first shapes collection. But I must say that I am really impressed with the very clear instructions and support that you have provided. I don’t see how you could make it any better. Now I’m off to read the guided tour and hope to be printing out my first attempt tomorrow.


  6. Linda, thanks for the fun comments re-inklingo it seems to be very true. Alot of people I speak to seem very impressed but don’t know how they will atempt it. I keep telling them it is soooo easy.
    I now have a HP printer which feeds from the front as opposed to my old epson which fed from the back. I love the HP it had no problems and printed a couple of labels so easily no extra pages for missfeeds. I will get the mini’s I want down off the shelf and print them today! Love inklingo now to finish allthe tops I have started.
    I have never had any troble with downloading (aside from having to prove I am who I say I am – Hard drive crash caused that I think).
    and the printing and instructions are very clear.

  7. Hi Angie,
    There is no limit on the number of times you can download Inklingo PDFs, just on the number of computers you can use it on at the same time. The license agreement is under the Support tab.
    Two computers at the same time, single user, not transferrable.

    No one has had to pay double for a shape collection yet. If you contact me when you replace a computer, and delete the files from an old one, I can give you new activations. If you want to use an Inklingo shape collection on three computers at the same time (e.g. home, office, cottage), you would have to buy it twice. No one has asked me for that yet, and the downloads have been available for two and a half years. Two computers at the same time, single user, seems to satisfy the need.

    I have had more than 20 hard drive crashes (lost count), including a true mechanical crash that physically damaged the drive (very big bang). I understand about computers breaking down. 🙂

    If you have any other questions, please ask.

  8. I find that now that I have tried Inklingo I am anxious to try more. It’s the beautiful small pieces blocks that come out ever so neat – I love it…. The tiny pieces are easy to sew, fit perfectly and make for fantastic sessions of hand-sewing for those who enjoy the quiet time one has when hand-sewing. Just keep up the wonderful work and those of us who have found your products will pass the word that this is the best thing ever for creating small piece blocks….. It’s just so easy and practical with little waste for scrappy quilters… Anyone who gets past the “What, I have to print on fabric” part will LOVE it!!!!! So, we all need to pass on the fact that it works and the printing is a snap once you try it and just start one at a time and won’t take long at all. Again, thanks for a wonderful way to do the smaller piece blocks and after I finish my Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses I will be doing other Inklingo Projects, for sure!!!!

  9. If I’m understanding her comment correctly, I think I agree with Cathie in UT. It might be nice to be able to do some a la carte ordering? If I want to make a pattern that used 4 shapes, it would be nice if I could plug in those shapes and sizes and then come away with a small but custom set of shapes to print specifically for that pattern without shuffling through the existing bundled collections. Might be less cost effective for me to buy, and certainly would limit my options for re-use, but that very limitation makes the whole thing simpler and easier to get started and use.

    For example, if I wanted to make a Jack’s Chain using 1.5″ hexagons, squares and equilateral triangles, what collections would I need right now? Instead, how much would it cost (if you could offer this) to purchase those as a simple, custom set and would the simplicity of this option appeal to more quilters? I think it would. Remember the concept and popularity of “point and shoot” which is still alive today and made the switch from film to digital cameras nearly seamless.

    This won’t help the ones who shy from mixing computer use with quilting. Or the ones who’ve bought other “advanced methods” only to realize they don’t want to spend the time learning how to use them. Everything has a learning curve, and I don’t know how a person decides which curve is worth their time to attempt. Maybe a simple checklist would help: Do you know how to print a file from your computer? Check. Do you know how to iron fabric to freezer paper? Check. Do you know how to ….. check, check, check. Once they see they already know individual steps, maybe that would help too. (Did anyone see the surgeon on the Colbert Report the other night, advocating checklists for all professions?)

    As always, Linda, I so admire your willingness to listen to other opinions and to question how you can improve your already brilliant product.

  10. Maybe I should add, that we have two desktops and two laptops in our house already, and none of them are very new. So who knows when they’ll quit on us…:)

  11. Jillian, thank you for your suggestion. We have a Canon 3-in-1 and so I’ll try your idea for awhile to see if that fixes it. I’m still going to consider a second printer in the next month or so…

    Linda – yes, I realize you can have more than one printer on a computer, space to put the second one is the problem with our office space. One other question, if I remember correctly, there is a limit on the number of computers that the files can be downloaded to? So, if we get new computers we have to buy the file again? Just curious…I have the same problem with the EQ program as well.

    Thanks for your help and interest in simplifying our quilting lives.

  12. When I first downloaded inklingo, I admit to being scared to try it. I was scared to ruin the printer and I wasn’t confidant about navigating around the software. Looking at all those pages in the .pdf file made me worry I would pick the wrong one or do something wrong. One day I just bit the bullet and printed a page on a scrap of muslin on a cheapie printer I bought just for inklingo. It worked just like the instructions said it would (imagine that!). And my printer handled it just fine. I had been stressing when I didn’t need to! It works just like Linda says it does 🙂 I couldn’t imagine making my “insainty” hexagon quilt without inklingo! Thank you Linda!

    My suggestion is similar to Crystal’s: maybe offer a one page / one color .pdf download of the shape printout for people to use to see how well it works in a printer and to see how cool the printout is. That might take away some of the fears I had about jumping in. It would show how it works and give motivation to jump into one of the complete collections.

  13. Hi Crystal, Thank you for the suggestions. I’m sorry the size of the downloads prevents you from trying Inklingo because you are in such a remote location. Luckily, at only 35 MB (many are even smaller), this is not a problem for many quilters.
    There is a workaround. You can download Inklingo anywhere, copy it onto a memory stick, and then copy it from the stick (or CD) onto your hard drive. That means quilters can download Inklingo at work or at a friend’s, where there is better Internet service. You still have to go online to activate, but that only takes a minute, and you don’t have to be online to use Inklingo after that. If you want, I can send you the free file on a CD, but then it’s not free anymore. 🙁 Email me if that is what you would like to do and I will send instructions.

  14. I haven’t tried inklingo yet because of the file download size. And my computer crashed big-time for the most of Dec and I’m still playing catch-up. Anyway, we have limited download bandwidth spread between six internet junkies and a couple of online businesses. Due to our remote location, there are no other service provider options, so . . .

    Is there a possibility of offering a small file (like one or two pages) just to introduce inklingo? I’m excited about trying the wonderful freebie but have been burning bandwidth like crazy with computer downloads and updates getting my machine back up and running correctly. A mini-freebie might also be less intimidating for those who just don’t know where to start.

  15. Hi Linda
    I think you are doing the right thing to ask for input because no one approaches a problem quite the same way.
    My thoughts on the issue are to the direction of having a pattern or a book and wishing it were using Inklingo but not wanting to go through all the rig-a-ma-role of figuring out which collection and which sizes to use.
    Case in point…I am just starting a new patten by Lori Smith that I could easily see being done with Inklingo. I even fleetingly thought of trying to figure it all out but let that go to just follow her directions
    I ended up paper foundation piecing a whole bunch of 1 inch finished hst because it made much better results than her traditional methods. It would have been better with Inklingo, NO paper to remove, but because I was familier with the paper method I used it.
    I agree with the other suggestions of why quilters don’t pick up on Inklingo and also having some sort of large exposure like Houston or Paducah Quilt Festivals would be a way to get it out to a large group but understand the costs are very high.
    Thanks for continuing with more and more patterns and shapes, hopefully things will pay off in the near future.

  16. Dear Linda and George…errr I mean Monkey…
    Like a lot have said already. You can’t make it any easier than you have already. You do soooo much to explain how to do this I honestly don’t know how you can do more.
    I know in the beginning when I first tried Inklingo I had printer problems but that was soon resolved by the purchase of a cheap printer just for Inklingo. I was still nervous of jamming but I soon got more confident and can now move away from the printer.
    Also, remember the sticky note pads and cling film? They took a while for people to realize their use… now look at them…. we can’t live without either…. even though we still struggle and wrestle with the cling film.
    Just think where you started and then think how far along you have come in such a short time. You’re doing GREAT!! I just wish I could stitch faster ;)) like some of the girls Inklingoing!
    Hugs Ellyx

  17. What a neat tip, Jillian. Thank you for sharing it. I will remember it if anyone mentions a crooked printer again.
    I have received several more really good suggestions privately, especially to do more video, and then do more video, and then do more video after that.
    It seems there are a few quilters who think I can get on The Quilt Show just by asking! I wish it was that simple. I would LOVE to meet Alex Anderson again!
    Anyone got any contacts there? 🙂
    Inklingoists are the best. My InBox is overflowing!

  18. Angie, FYI, my old Canon Pixma MP500 printer (my primary Inklingo printer) pulls paper thru crookedly only when I don’t have the paper tray at least 3/4 full. When I do Inklingo sheets I feed them one at a time but have 3/4 of an inch of paper behind that sheet. For whatever reason, that solves the problem.

  19. Hi Angie,
    Thank you very much for leaving your comment (and to your DH too). I am a bit surprised to hear your print pulls paper through crooked. Have you tried aligning it? It is not a problem that has been reported before by quilters who are printing on fabric. I actually think most quilters get better straight grain with Inklingo because the layouts are so perfect, and it avoids mistakes.
    Be sure to move the guide bar in the paper tray to the edge of the fabric, especially when you are printing Jelly Rolls and scraps. (Handbook, page H47).
    Some quilters have bought cheap printers for Inklingo. Any printer works (truly!), but the cheap ones often use ink that washes out even more easily. (Cheaper and better? Cool.) Did you know you can have more than one printer attached to your computer at the same time?

  20. My input on this is from my dh. He’s asked how particular the patterns are to being on grain and such, since our printer has a bad habit of pulling the paper through slightly crooked, instead of straight and neat. That said, it’s exactly why I’ve been nervous to try the smaller pieces through the printer as well. Any suggestions?
    I’ve read through the hand book and would love to try it, but guess I’m a cold feet so far…. Maybe I should follow the previous posters’ suggestion of buying a cheap printer just for quilting….

  21. I love these comments! Thank you!
    Someone has written privately with an interesting point about printing custom page sizes:
    One the one hand, they can be scary because most of us have never done it before.
    On the other hand, if you don’t mention custom sizes at all, people assume that Inklingo wastes a lot of fabric.
    On the other hand (that’s three hands so far), the “welcome email” refers quilters to a page which recommends starting with an 8.5 x 11 sheet. Maybe I could improve that page. This is the link:
    You have got the wheels turning now. Your feedback is encouraging!

  22. Every quilter (to be) should give Inklingo a try. It really is SIMPLE. Threading a sewing machine is more complicated, and most of us manage to learn to do that without having to refer to the manual each time.

    I am sure you are doing everything as great as is possible for any human being. But maybe you will go down in history as someone who was ahead of her time! It sometimes goes that way with geniuses: Painter Vincent van Gogh was not really appreciated during his lifetime…Maybe in a few more years you will be surprised with how big Inklingo has become!

    As I told you before, I immediately ‘got’ Inklingo, because I had been looking for an easy, quick and accurate way to mark my patches for hand piecing for a while already. I was so fed up with the traditional way of marking, and then I found Inklingo. Hallelujah!!! Now I can’t see myself ever making a quilt without Inklingo again, whether by hand or machine. That would feel as bad as giving up my washing machine and having to do my laundry in a bucket! But I am sure at the time the first washing machines were introduced, many people (men?) felt that that was an unnecessary luxury or something 🙂 Your time will definitely come!

  23. My experience is that when I’ve shown Inklingo shapes to a quilter, they are excited and seem to ‘get’ all the benefits. But when we talk about them using Inklingo, the first fear seems to be that they need to learn ANOTHER time-consuming/confusing software; second is it could wreck their printer.

    The extreme simplicity of Inklingo seems to be only a sales pitch to some–the ‘it’s too good to be true’ thing.

    My explaining/showing that all you are doing is printing a PDF page on the back of the fabric seems to take time to sink in. When I tell/show someone the issues they are raising are explained in the free copy of chapter 1 of the Inklingo Handbook, their eyes glaze over. I know then that even though they think Inklingo is a good thing, they won’t go any further in the near future. They prefer what they know, even if they don’t get the results they want. Change is hard for many people, not everyone is a risk-taking pioneer…

  24. Every comment so far is great! Thank you! Keep them coming.
    Privately, someone suggested that I emphasize that Inklingo is green compared to acrylic rulers, paper products, etc, especially since the freezer paper can be used many times.
    According to Wikipedia: Between 1939 and 1944, the inventor of the photocopier, Chester Carlson, was turned down by over 20 companies, including IBM and General Electric—neither of which believed there was a significant market for copiers.
    Is that encouragement?
    Monkey says, Okay to Johnny Depp. But how about George Clooney?

  25. LInda,
    I too took a bit of time to get into Inklingo. Just didn’t have the time to play, but the free Lemoyne Star was a big help. Once I did it, it seemed so simple and when I show people the shapes printed on the fabric they get it. I guess no one believes it REALLY is that simple. Keep doing the wonderful things you do. Innovation sometimes takes a while to catch on. They asked Steve Jobs why anyone would want a computer in their home! Glad I’m not that guy!

  26. Linda, I thought I finally had everything together with my computers to finally really use Inklingo for the new year. However, both 6-7 year old printers need replacing. I think I am going to get a cheap ink jet printer for my laptop which has windows 7 on it and use it for Inklingo and EQ7. This Mac just isn’t working out for me. I love the photo and movie features on it but i can’t seem to figure out some of the other things I need for quilting.

    Kathie in Medina waiting for a call about the birth of a new grandson, due any day. We will be off to Columbus, OH to take care of our 4 year old grand daughter while her Mum is in the hospital. Such fun and excitement!

  27. I guess I am a cold feet!. Not because I have been afraid to try it, just that I have not had time to do so. Nor have I had time to fully read up on it.

    I don’t think you have done anything wrong! Some folks (in my opinion) are afraid to run something through their printers. Are there you-tubes showing how to do the printer thing. see I told you /i have not had time to get into this delightful product.

    I would suggest for some folks that they buy a really low priced ink-jet printer (I have seen them for around $30.00) to have just for printing on fabrics. This way they are not compromising their main printer. While it is very uncommon that fabric will harm a printer, a thread can get caught, you then think “oh great, now my printer is down, how will I print paper until I fix it”.

    I will try to be a good dragon and use my free templates soon!

  28. Linda, you couldn’t make it clearer. It is just one form or human nature. I see it all the time when I teach computer too…They/we see the whole dragon and freeze, and often simply refuse to just do something step by step.

    You could set up little mini-yous all over the world and we’d do in person demos all day long…the frozen ones would be immediate converts.

    Keep up the good battle, and all the best in the new year to the three of you. I’m still waiting for the announcement of Monkey’s forthcoming biography, can’t wait, have my pennies saved. Already wondering who will play Monkey in the screen version. Johnny Depp?
    hugs, Sharyn


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.