With regularity, I see an emotional, helpless post from a fellow artist or quilter sharing that their artwork has gone missing in shipping. It’s a horrible feeling – something you’ve poured your heart and soul into vanishes and the shipping companies act like you’re just trying to track down the return of  your online shoe purchase. I’ve had two experiences with this happening, and wanted to share what I did, but more importantly, what I am now doing so I know where my quilts are all the time while in transit.


AppleAir Tags: I sew an Apple Air Tag into the sleeve of every quilt I ship now. I purchased a set of 4 (a set of 4 is $79.99 on Amazon) and made a tiny fabric envelope for each which includes my personal label on it. I sew it onto the quilt, at the edge of the sleeve, so as not to interfere with the hanging rod. 

Sewing in AirTag

I like that on my phone via the FindmyiPhone App I’m able to see exactly where the AirTag is. You can rename them easily on your phone and rotate them from quilt to quilt as needed. I’ve literally watched and waited before leaving my house as my quilt was being driven around the neighborhood – I waited for it so it wouldn’t be delivered and sitting on the porch for all to see.

Sew an info label on the back: Many quilts have this as part of the requirement for showing so I use this as an opportunity to also note who I am and how I could be reached.  I always have the name of the quilt, measurements, year, my name, city, and email address/phone number. I also sew my personal label from Wunderlabel.com into the back binding.

Include a paper letter with to/from shipping information folded into the quilt: Include a piece of paper that notes where the quilt is being shipped to – with all shipping, contact information – and also includes who it is from (me!) with my name, address, phone number and email.  I’ll share more about that below. I tuck it into the folds of the quilt so that someone would only find it if it is unfurled and not easily removed if the box is opened during shipping and the shipping label is gone. I’m happy to see that this is a shipping requirement spelled out for quilts accepted to the International Quilt Festival in Houston!

Of course, aways get your tracking information and track shipped items on your provider app!

Bookmark the Elliot Report, who can provide names, numbers and email addresses of executives responsible for customer service at major companies (including FedEx and UPS) if your package is lost and local sources aren’t helping


I’ve had equal opportunity scares with UPS and with FedEx.

UPS Social Justice Sewing Academy Memorial Quilt and stolen from UPS/Atlanta and sold at auction via Cargo Largo (!)

As part of a In 2022 I volunteered to make a memorial quilt for a family in Georgia who lost their beloved son to gun violence. The SJSA memorial quilts honor the loss of human life and ensure that families who receive a quilt know that they are supported and their loved ones will never be forgotten. The quilt I made reflected the life of the boy using the only shirt they still had of his, and photos shared by the family. I was told his favorite colors (blue/yellow) and his interests (insects, his church) to include in the piece. 

JaJuan Front copy
JaJuan back

At my local Postal Express Shop, I selected UPS shipping with a signature and tracking and they packed and shipped it.  (Note: I now ONLY ship directly from a UPS store – more on that later.) I alerted SJSA that the quilt was on it’s way and that they would receive it by the following Tuesday.  The date came and went and the family called to say that the quilt had not arrived.  I looking on the tracking app and the quilt had made it to Atlanta, then went off the radar.  There was only a “!” on the app and no other information.

I contacted UPS, but they wouldn’t deal with me because The Postal Express was listed as  the official sender, not me! The Postal Express was of little help – the girl at the counter said it was too early to file a complaint. After several calls, I finally got the manager on the phone who looked into it and said he’d filed a loss notice. Apparently there was no way for me to get involved or connected – which was infuriating. It was clear no one was really looking for it.

A week goes by – radio silence and no word from anyone.  I get a phone call from Kansas City, MO.  It was a woman (the Good Samaritan) who said she’d just purchased a pile of fabric/textile items from a lot auction by Cargo Largo auction. Cargo Largo holds auctions of merchandise – some of which (theoretically) is “undeliverable” from UPS.  They (theoretically) try to deliver it to the intended destination and if unable to do that, sell the merchandise at auction. 

The Good Samaritan saw the bright blue item folded up inside the heavy clear plastic bag and was unopened. When she unfolded it, she found the letter I’d written to the boy’s mom, sharing how I made the quilt, what parts were from his shirt, noting the various fabrics with bugs, butterflies, that he loved. On the top of the letter, I had formally written the mother’s name and address, as well as all my own contact information as th sender. Also on the letter was the date which was only 2 weeks earlier. She correctly figured that this was something important that didn’t reach the intended person. She called me, told me she had the quilt, told me how it came to her, and generously shipped it herself along the way to the family.

Cargo Largo has a partnership with UPS and (theoretically) attempts to deliver “undeliverable” packages.  I find it inconceivable that the week between when the package was “lost” at UPS in Atlanta, shipped to Kansas City, MO, and organized into an auction that any attempt could have been made to deliver the “lost” package.  I have to assume that the box was – at best – completely damaged (really? How could that have happened as everything remained intact?) or at worst – stolen from UPS Atlanta and tossed somewhere in the warehouse to be picked up by Cargo Largo. 

I’m posting all this on Instagram with people following me and hashtaging it all along the way, including #cargolargosellsstolengoods.  They did post that while they were sorry the package had been lost and glad it was found and delivered, they don’t sell stolen merch. At that point, I was so over the whole incident I didn’t do what I should have, which is contact UPS Atlanta to alert them of what happened, or follow up with Cargo Largo to find out how they could have really ever attempted to deliver.  And, while I got my $100 “insurance” from The Postal Chase paid to me, they remained uninterested and unhelpful and I’ll never use them again. 

FedEx Lost two Quilts on way to QuiltCon. 

Two quilts lost on the way to QuiltCon 2023.  I paid FedEx Express, 2nd Day Air with a signature,  and shipped from a FedEx store on a Friday. I had the tracking number and a QR code. On Tuesday it wasn’t delivered and there was a “!” on the FedEx tracking app. Calls and emails via the app got me people on the other side of the globe giving made up answers from “it’s on it’s way” to “it arrived in Austin” to “we are looking into it.” I filed a lost report and opened a case – someone called me to get information, said they’d get back to me.  No word for several days, then another person called and asked for the same information, no word.  Both times they would not leave any information for me to call back or follow up – just insisted that they were working on it – then radio silence.  This was in the midst of me recovering from Covid so as soon as I tested negative, a week after it was shipped 2nd day air, I started sleuthing around the area of the San Francisco Airport to find the warehouses that were for FedEx (they don’t make these public, but I’d recalled seeing them from the freeway.)  I went to the Ground Center Warehouse – they said “of course” they didn’t have it because I didn’t send it Ground and pushed me off several blocks away to the Fed Ex Express warehouse.  The guy at the desk said they never got it, and that I should go back to the Ground warehouse.  Both warehouses kept telling me that each had nothing to do with the other and that even though they were both FedEx, they had different systems, different data, and nothing to do with each other. Both were completely uninterested in helping me figure out what to do – it had vanished. I asked to talk to the FedEx Express Manager – the guy at the desk told me I couldn’t talk to anyone else. I started getting very noisy and mad and said I wasn’t going anywhere until I could get a higher up to help me. When a woman came out from inside the warehouse I appealed to her, she took it seriously and went back to talk to someone and to call over to the Ground warehouse.  I gave photos of what was lost, gave my information, asked them to please ask everyone to check, etc. 

In the meantime, I got some good guidance from Instagram – one great suggestion was looking up the FedEx HQ higher ups in Mephis and contacting them. I sent an angry letter to the CEO (!) and the whole list of HQ VPs in charge of customer experience, and also posted that on IG.  Mostly, I wanted to the Fed Ex CEO to be aware that everyone on the ground seemed to think they all worked for different companies and that I figured to him, ALL of it was FedEx and that they lost my package and I was getting no help. I got a call from a tired woman from HQ who clearly was the person these things were tossed to and, again, gave her all the information.  No feedback for another week. 

A week later someone from San Francisco FedEx Ground called me to say that they found the package – had anyone notified me? (They had not). He said he had gotten the APB from FedExExpress to be on the lookout and the thought that it was found lodged somewhere in the Ground warehouse and put off to the side for some reason as it wasn’t supposed to be there, it was supposed to be at Express.

Apparently, the problem originated at the store – the FedEx Ground guy picked it what was an Express package (they have two different pick up people), took it to Ground warehouse and it got lost there, and no one bothered to deal with it to put it back over to Express. 

After it was finally on it’s way, I got a bill from FedEx for $170 to ship it on it’s way (this was ON TOP of the $170 that I’d ALREADY paid originally!) I was about to explode – I called the HQ complaint lady, she eliminated the bill and refunded me the original amount. But no one apologized for all the trouble. It was really frustrating.

All of the above issues would have been addressed if I’d had AirTags sewn into the quilts. 

Towed (er, stolen) Car

My daughter is a teacher in Boston.  She keeps an AirTag in her car. One day she came out and her car wasn’t where she parked it. She was puzzled because there wasn’t a “No Parking” sign, no street work etc.  Nothing. It was just GONE.  Because she had an AirTag in her car she could ping and see that was across town at a tow company – the tow company had several different names online.  She took a Lyft over.  She asked why it was towed and they said “someone complained”  – there was no ticket, nothing documenting it, nothing. But there was her car. Their sign noted that they only took cash to release a towed car and she needed her car so she paid $350 (!) and drove away.  She went to the police to ask if there was a ticket or something they had that showed why it was towed. They had nothing (here in San Francisco you have to pay SFDPT for the ticket and show it before the towing agency will release your car…at least you know WHY you got towed!) Nothing like that there. Apparently, this company is a known sleaze business. People who have reported or gone after the towing company have been reported to get harassed and run down by the owners!  If my daugther hadn’t had the AirTag in there, she would have no CLUE where her car was!  I think she could/should’ve reported it stolen – since that’s basically what they did.  She was scared to make a fuss, and doesn’t really know how they “do” things in Boston, so just moved on. Thank heavens for the AirTag or I’m not sure how she would ever have known where her car was.