Changing Times

I’ll likely get myself in trouble for this.  It’s probably suppose to kept under raps.  But there’s something that has started to grind and grind and grind on me more and more.  So much so that I think I’m going to open my mouth and talk about it.  I’m so frustrated with it that I’m to point that I’m going to say it and if I end up in trouble for it, so be it.

Several years ago Kelli and I started submitting items to quilting magazines.  We loved it.   We sat down, designed something, went up to out stash and started sewing.  When we were done, we submitted it.   That’s how we made great quilts like Kelli’s Double Wedding Ring quilt.

Like Stars and Scraps Forever…

At times we’ve designed something…thought it would make a great quilt but didn’t have the right fabric so we’d go hunt for it online.  That’s what happened with this quilt.

Then occasionally we’d find a fabric line we like and design quilts around the fabric line…. Like this cover quilt….

Like….Points of Interest

At times we let our stash dictate the quilt.  That was true with this one…I had a whole bunch of red bonus triangles and wanted to use them up.  I came up with this as a way to do it.  I had tons of medium toned fabrics and decided here was the perfect place to use them.  My stash dictated the quilt.

(Photo credit to All People Quilt.)

Have you noticed that every quilt I showed I said “we”…I said “my”…  I love that.  I feel like I am the designer.  I feel like I have control to create.  It makes me feel attached to the quilts as they came from the heart….our designs…our work….our effort…the colors and ideas from our heart.  We love that and love working with magazines that allow us to do that.  Our hats off to American Patchwork and Quilting for allowing us to do that for all of this time.  We have worked with other magazines in the same capacity.  I just happened to show quilts from American Patchwork and Quilting.

Now there are many quilting magazines out there.  In the past we have enjoyed working with many.  But now, many of the magazines have been bought and are part of a big company.  A very few amount of people are deciding what and where things are published.

Through one company we were put on a designer list.  We get emails from them and I end up feeling frustrated.

A typical email will say…

For our September issue of (name of magazine) we have (this theme)
We need quilts that meet the theme either by design or fabric
We are looking for (indicates what size of quilts and how many of each size)
Suggest fabric lines are 
Moda (fabric line)
Mayowood (fabric line)
Micheal Miller  (fabric line)
You may consider other things but they need to fit the theme of course put your take on it
Your submission is due (date)-side note: these dates are typically a week after the email is sent
Your project if chosen is due (date)

In one email, four different magazines will be listed.  We are asked to name the magazine we want to be considered for.  To submit, we need to fill out a design sheet which includes all the details of the quilt.  We need to have a PDF file of the quilt.

There is no guarantee our quilt will be selected.  So…we go through all the work to design something that fits into the mold.  We find the fabric line -we do all the work and maybe or maybe not we’ll be chosen.  I feel like the creativity is sucked out of the process.  I also feel a little used.  We could easily spend 4 hours on this and get nothing in return.  It’s a lot of hoop jumping.

If we are chosen, we have to then make the contacts to acquisition the fabrics, cut out the quilt, make the top, machine quilt it, mail it to them.  For this we get $400 (for most projects, that isn’t minimum wage) from this particular company if it’s a large project.  Less if it’s smaller.  UGH.

I now am starting to feel like I am a worker to promote a company’s fabric line….a worker to fill the slots in a magazine…a busy bee working for the industry and not a quilter, not a designer, not a creative being…I don’t like it.  I don’t like it at all.

This is me writing and my feelings.  I have talked to Kelli and both of us are on the same page.  We’re both kind of sad.  I realize we can still submit anything we want…  I’m disgruntled.  I know it.  I’m not a good rule follower when it comes to this.  Where is there room for the scrappy, from our stash quilts, that I love?  Where is the “make do” attitude quilters had in the past?  Where is the quilt that was inspired by something I found in an antique shop?  Where?  …lost in the stacks of pre-cut fabric line quilts.

Don’t get me wrong…I like a quilt from a fabric line now and then…in fact we’ve designed some and have fun with the process.  But now and then…not all the time! Variety and moderation are best.

For me it’s turned into such an industry.  Maybe it was a big pushing industry all along and I was naive, not seeing it.  Maybe not…I don’t know.  I’m just sad about it and I think it’s stealing some of my desire to quilt.  and that…is even sadder.

I am sure this is where the industry has lead the magazines after all they are just one small part of the industry.  I can understand that, but doesn’t mean I’m still not sad.  I want my grandma’s days of quilting back.  Sadly, they are gone.

I am sure for some designers, they use the email requests we get as a jumping off board and love having an idea for to start from when it comes to designing.  I am so happy for them if it works that way…my brain doesn’t work that way most of the time…Instead of taking it as a jumping off point, I end up taking it as being told what to submit and it turn turns me off from wanting to submit anything.

So..that leaves me muddling through looking for my place.  I know one thing for sure….it won’t be busy bee working for the industry.  Maybe I burned some bridges in the process of writing this but I’m so bothered by it. I been in this world long enough to know I have to do things on my terms.

64 thoughts on “Changing Times”

  1. It is big business now…my friends and I discuss this occasionally. The patterns in the magazines are not what they used to be…they were more challenging years ago. Now they’ve become simpler with bigger pieces. Why? The designers each put out several 40 bolt lines a year and the manufacturers need to move the fabric. The faster one finishes a quilt, the quicker one buys more fabric. What was irritating was when they’d change the designers color palette just a bit so the lines wouldn’t work together. They seem to have gotten better about that. Anyway, a pattern in the magazine using a line of fabric helps sell the fabric because a lot of ladies want their quilt to look just like the picture (I used to work in a quilt shop so I know this first hand). Getting off the merry go round makes the quilting more fun…make the quilts you love to keep your joy of quilting. Love your designs! Keep them coming.

  2. Quilting, like a lot of things now a days is no longer “quilting”. It is a true business, as in $$$$$. We will never see the yesterday of quilting from the heart and soul of all of us. I have too many scraps/fabrics/patterns in my stash to ever bow down to the magazines and fabric lines. I just take what they show and do them from what I have in the stash :-) Or I just do something out of my own head with what I have on hand :-)

  3. I quit buying quilting magazines years ago because I wasn’t finding them interesting anymore. They all seemed to change into the same type of magazine. You and Kelli will need to start your own line of quilt patterns and sell them yourselves. This way you can make your quilts your way, with the fabrics you want to use in the time period you have.

  4. Anne Deedrick

    Good for you Jo for stating your feelings on this subject. Too much these days we’re afraid to say how we feel about something in case our opinion clashes with someone else’s. We can all have our own opinions and that’s okay. I used to buy kits for quilts because I did like the look of a particular quilt but since I have been following you and Bonnie Hunter I’ve gone to scrappy, use my stash and scraps quilts, and I love them!! I will never go back to buying just one line of fabric for a quilt they just don’t have the draw for me anymore. I hope you keep on sewing scrappy – for me it’s so inspirational to see what you sew!

  5. I’ve said it a few times here that I’ve been priced out of this hobby so I went to Bonnie Hunter and the scrappy side of quilting. I quit buying magazines in 2005 and since then, I bought four quilt books from Bonnie. I agree with what you’ve said here and I appreciate that you’ve said it.

  6. Elizabeth V K

    The fabric industry is driving the quilting instead of the design. I hope you continue to resist and do what YOU love the way you love to do it.

  7. Beth-near Louisville KY

    I have been wanting to make a comment on my blogs… regarding the “conglomerate” that owns most of the Quilting publications. They were all looking the same previously, but now more so. I call it the HOMOGENIZING of the industry, and personal creativity is downplayed.

  8. Good for you! Do what you like and don’t let big business take the joy out of your work! After all it is your quilt!!!

  9. I rarely buy quilting magazines now. I did when I first started quilting almost 20 years ago. I learned a great deal from them then. Now I rarely find anything in them that I want to make. I do get “Quiltmaker” magazine for Bonnie’s “Addicted to Scraps” column. I rarely find anything else that I am interested in that magazine either. I do read your blog and Bonnie’s blog every day along with a couple of others. I have your book and all of Bonnie’s Books with a bookshelf of other books. I have enough patterns to last me a forever. I never use one fabric line to make a quilt. Even making Bonnie’s quilts, I never use her colors. I don’t want my quilts to look like everyone else’s. So I feel your pain. Keep making your quilts your way. They are much more interesting than most of the ones in today’s quilting magazines.

  10. As an educator I always said I would teach as long as I was having fun because I knew my students would also enjoy learning. After 25 years and lots of changes I didn’t like it was time to do something different…..I retired. Quilting is the same way….Do what makes you happy.

  11. Bravo to you and Kelli! Design what you love. There are many of us out there who love scrappy and find fabric lines too confining. Keep up you beautiful work and many of your friends will follow!

  12. I agree totally! Big business stinks! I only buy one quilting magazine a year! That is the one with the shop hops in it! this year, my favorite quilt shop, Always Your Design’ in Dell Rapids, SD, is featured! Plus, I agree with Gretchen, design your quilts and publish your patterns! Use Facebook, publishing, you can do it!

  13. I recently considered submitting one of my designs, but the deadline was so unreasonable. That, together with all the other requirements including staying within a fabric line, had me deciding against submitting my pattern. I will self publish it as an individual pattern. Continue to design Jo, and be sure to enjoy the process.

  14. I agree fully. I have been quilting since the 1970’s. I do not need any more fabric except a few pieces to update my stash. The techniques and patterns are driven by the industry. I still hand tie my quilts. I enjoy making them and people enjoy using them.

  15. It’s funny you mention this. I started quilting a few years ago. I have little to no quilt budget. I get frustrated with magazines (and some bloggers too) because they call for fabrics I cant’/won’t afford. I find the magazines themselves a little pricey too. I read them from the library. I thrift shop a lot of my fabric and try to use scraps as much as possible. When I do buy fabric it’s because I like it and has nothing to do with a name or a company. Kudos to you for taking a stand and sticking to what brings you joy.

  16. I’m so happy to read your thoughts. Like others, I rarely buy quilt magazines. And, I rarely buy the fabrics that are shown in a quilt pattern. I’ve even seen patterns designed for a specific fabric line and I won’t buy those either. Like others, I want to make my own quilt. Thank you for explaining their process. Maybe if they read these opinions they will understand why people aren’t buying their magazines.

  17. I am a young quilter and have cut my teeth on easy strip piecing projects. I Inherited a stash of quilting magazines from the 80s and 90s. The piecing designs are fantastic and challenging! They remind me of my mom’s scrap quilts. I’ve often thought of scanning and posting somewhere. I love using what I have or picking a color and scouring clearance aisles to make something amazing!

  18. Thank you for saying what we all thought but didn’t know how to say. Magazines are boring anymore. I might find a tip but that’s all. There are too many ads and not enough content. I do get Quiltmaker because of Bonnie’s column but that’s about all. Once in a while I’ll see a scrappy quilt that catches my eye but not often. I always like your quilts and would by your patterns and I always get Bonnie’s books. I have enough fabric I just need ideas. I think the magazines are killing the creativity instead of inspiring us. They will eventually self destruct. Don’t let them kill your joy of something you do so well.

  19. I’m sorry it’s come to this Jo. Magazines are beholden to the advertisers who pay for space. Therefore if those advertisers have demands they will be met. Such is our economic driver in this country.

    I’ll echo Gretchen: Create your patterns and sell them on your website to us as “PDF download”. If you sell a $6 pattern 67 times you’ve got your 400. But if you sell 1000? Well, there’s $6000!!!!! And it’s all yours :-)

  20. I think this is what happens to most industries when they become monopolies, they become cheap and fast with no room for independent thought. Sad to see it happen.

  21. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really thought I was somewhat isolated in my thinking on this.
    I suppose I had began to wonder if I was becoming jaded.
    The patterns, nor the content in the magazines were not thilling me nor filling me with creativity like they used to. I blamed it on a variety of things, all of which lead back to me. I also wondered if Youtube and Pinterest were spoiling me.

  22. I stopped buying magazines a few years ago because they seemed to repeat year to year just different fabrics were used. I love quilts that are scrappy and usable. I do buy a magazine if its got one of your quilts in it and I really like it. I have enough projects in my stash to keep me happy for a long time. Glad you had your say

  23. Jo and Kelli,

    Please, please, please keep on doing what you love! You do scrappy so well!

    There are may of us quilters who learned from mothers and grandmothers and they used what they had. That’s what I do. Occasionally I’ll buy a specific fabric, because I love the fabric. Rarely do I see whole lines of fabrics that I love the whole line. I refuse to buy what I don’t like.

    What that publisher has misunderstood is that creativity is NOT a product of a committee! Creativity happens on an individual basis, sometimes two people can work together like you and Kelli. My husband and I can do that.

    I like and admire you and Kelli, you’re doing something you love and I hope you’re making some money at it. But if you love it, the money isn’t as important (at least for me, It’s my recreation).

    Keep on being you,



  24. I quite buying most magazines a long time ago because most of the quilts are “cookie cutter” quilts – they all seem to be the same thing and yes feature the fabric that is out now. I like the old fashioned quilts and use a lot of scraps too. I like your quilts – it doesn’t sound like you are paid all that much to have a quilt in a magazine – maybe it is time for you and Kelli to save up your patterns and do a book instead eventually. Or just make quilts for fun

  25. I think I know the group of magazines to which you are referring. The same magazines that I have had subscriptions to for years and years. The same magazines that are turning into mostly simple quilts that would rather show a fabric line instead of a great design. The same magazines that I am contemplating NOT renewing my subscriptions to for their current lack of creativity. However, that being said, I don’t know that I can do away with the possibility that maybe, just maybe, in the next issue there will be a quilt that I have to put on my bucket list of quilts.
    I hope that you and Kelli are able to continue your passion of making great quilts where ever you decide to publish them.

  26. I think you’ve started a very good conversation that needs to be heard. Magazines are not interesting to me either. Rarely, I buy one for a particular pattern. I do like the Quilt Sampler that talks about shops and each shop has a quilt pattern. That is a fun format to read. I’m in agreement with others here about self publishing your own patterns!

  27. Everything today is big business as companies gobble each other up. In the process, things are less and less personal and we find ourselves dealing with computers only. Just try talking to a real person. The ONLY magazine I buy is American Patchwork and Quilting. I also get a quarterly magazine from American Quilt Society. Other than that, I find myself making quilts I like from books by certain designers such as Jo Morton or Lisa Alexander-or design companies such as Zen Chic. Unfortunately we are living in an age where bigger is better even though the American consumer would disagree. Keep making quilts you like. We love them all.

  28. I can draft a pattern for a quilt just by looking at the picture. A great skill to have. Sometimes I buy patterns for the color combo I like or for the layout that sparks my imagination. I rarely use the pattern directions because they are lame. I am letting my last subscription (Quiltmaker) go, as the magazine I would still subscribe to was QNM. It had information on techniques quilters used as well as bits of history. I can’t get QNM so saving my money. Most magazines are just a rehash of the same patterns in every issue. Probably the most telling tidbit was that I attended the large quilt show in Chicago and drove home only with a novelty set of 5 pins for my pincushion…Honestly, not one other thing in the vendor area enticed me to open my wallet. I have your book and I think you have great ORIGINAL ideas for quilts and I agree that you and Kelli might want to strike out on your own…:)

  29. I agree with Gretchen and Ellen–sell your patterns as pdf downloads. Long live the use-what-you-have-buy-what-you-like practice of quilting.

  30. My favorite type of quilt to make is scrappy. And I never make the same pattern twice! There are just too many options out there to re-do a quilt pattern. Don’t even get me started on “Fabric Lines”! After the first block is made using all fabrics from one line, I am bored with making the quilt already. The more different fabrics I can add to my quilt, the better I like it. When I see a pattern I like, the first thing I think about is what colors I would choose to do it in as I don’t want it to look just like someone else’s quilt ~ I want it to be my own version.

  31. I just read your article and all the comments. As I was reading, I realized that I had not renewed my magazine subscriptions and now I know why. It is the focus on the fabric and not the design that is the the main theme in magazines. I like to explore my stash and see what I can create by design. Usually there is a specific direction I want to go. An example is making a quilt for our family reunion. I know that whoever gets it will love and share the story that accompanies it. In summary, I like to have a purpose to make a quilt that connects for the person receiving it. Current magazine publications do not do this.

  32. I have opted out of the quilting industry almost totally.

    DH has retired; we are considering a big move in the next 4-8 years so it is more important for me to get the bills cleared out and stockpile funds to do home upgrades for our comfort than buy what the industry is pushing.

    Several years ago I wrote on my blog about the “dumbing down” of the industry because 99% of the patterns were written based on precuts and that there were only so many ways to work with squares & triangles & strips.

    I have seen so many of the same pattern done by different people. . . all claiming copyright. . . that it just turns me off.

    Designers are becoming “media whores” because they are everywhere all the time selling, selling, selling, upselling and selling even more.

    Just the other day I went to a bookstore and looked at 6 quilting magazines. I did not purchase one. Out of all of them there was only 1 pattern that I would even consider wanting to make. . . but it was not that unique to warrant buying the entire magazine.

    There is definitely a change in the industry. . . . and it too will pass. . . . and I will still be using the stash that I have built up over the past 30 years (books, patterns, fabric, tools, etc.) when it comes back again.

    You could always go the route of self publishing your patterns. Many quilters do that.

  33. I used to subscribe to several quilting magazines…then found, like you, that they were focused more on the fabric selections; …and scrappy quilts, which are my preference, went by the wayside….so, one by one, as the subscriptions expired, I didn’t renew them.
    I still buy quilting magazines now and then, if there is something that interests me in that issue.
    But now I have some of Bonnie Hunter’s books, and use those as my inspiration, along with the free patterns she so generously provides… Those, plus a few other quilt books, provide me with a plethora of choices that work well in the making of scrappy quilts.
    Thank you for your post today…from the number of comments, I think you have a lot of support on the subject!!

  34. Your quilts are masterpieces. If they are only paying you-guys $400, and they sell how many magazines when your design is on the cover, how much are they benefitting from your work? You can easily sell these designs on this very blog. Judy Niemeyer sells her patterns for huge amounts and yet people pay because they are unique. She can sell three or four patterns and easily make $400.00. If you price your patterns fairly and have good instructions people will buy. You don’t need to charge $80 or $100 for a pattern. You spend so much time on designing for the magazines, put the time and energy into making PDF downloads and sell them here.

  35. I quit subscribing to quilt magazines when they forced Mark Lipinski out of his own Quilter’s Home magazine. I agree with others who mentioned trying to self-publish your own patterns.
    I’m a scrappy quilter, mainly due to money issues. Thanks for sharing.

  36. Yes, I too have quit subscribing to quilt magazines. At one point I had 5 magazine subscriptions.i am now down to one. American patchwork and quilting. That one along with the McCalls mags were always my favorites. I have made many quilts from those two, but not any more. I agree that it has become BIG business and we keep seeing the same things just “reheated”. I love your patterns and fine your blog to be inspiringly. Hang in there and thanks for you thoughts on this subject.

  37. About fifteen years ago, I was told by a media executive that the new era of magazines and do-it-yourself shows was all about “inspiration” and not about actually doing things yourself. Photographs became larger, instructions more simplified (some quit instructions all together), and the emphasis was on buying supplies instead of actually doing–because as she put it, “how many people actually MAKE the thing anyway.” Long gone are the lovely newsprint quilt magazines with homespun stories and templates and pictures accidentally printed upside down. There are more dreamers that buy supplies than there are actual doers that make–so that’s what the target audience is. I only buy thrifted fabrics and books now, and make one project at a time at my own pace. I think you should buy what you love, make what you love, and sell what you want to. Your blog is popular enough for you to sell your own patterns–why do you need the middleman that wants to put you on a schedule, tell you what to make, and use you up? They appeal to a quiltmaker’s vanity, and will use you up and move on when you don’t fit their guidelines. They are slowly killing the beautiful, gentle art of making do, and our quilting heritage.

  38. Quilting is a big business today. To survive, any business has to sell and sell more, or it goes out of business. Precuts appeal to people who don’t have time to choose fabrics, or who choose not to, but want to give a “handmade” gift. Many of these quilters are young. Many of them did not grow up sewing anything. Home ec is now more family oriented than “doing” oriented. So, patterns are easier and less intricate, fabrics are easier with precuts because the colors all go together and pieces are larger. I love my stash, but many quilters do not want a stash and don’t have room for one and don’t know what to do with a stash and don’t have time to experiment. Not all my color choices are good ones, but I have the time and stash to experiment.

    Jo, you and Kelli are working and the magazine time constraints don’t fit your life style. Maybe it’s time to consider other options.

    Nothing in life is static. Quilting is still evolving too.

  39. Deb E / Oregon

    Thank you for sharing how you feel. I must admit I have stopped renewing ALL my subscriptions (except for Missouri Stars ‘BLOCK’) because it feels more ‘big business’ than true love of the craft, and I don’t like it. Develop your own patterns and market those on THIS blog — maybe this feeling you have is a way of telling you its time to focus on a different direction. You obviously are incredibly talented and I know many of us would purchase your patterns. Try to look at this from a different direction and I think you’ll find YOUR path that will make you happy and able to enjoy quilting in a new way (and we will get to enjoy all those new ideas, too!)….

  40. Jo,

    After reading your post and the comments, I have to say I agree! Selling fabric to quilters is BIG business. I’m not against business, they put people to work. But, I also have noticed that some designers are making their pieces/blocks bigger (simpler) so people can “finish” a project in a “day/weekend”. I make things at my own pace, sometimes years. I can understand your frustration. I only purchase quilt magazines when they have something I am looking for. The last magazine I purchased had a Jo and Kelli quilt in it, otherwise I wouldn’t have purchased it. Keep doing what you are doing:) And thanks for doing it.

  41. My quilting friends and I have been discussing these trends for a few years. The US quilters and quilting magazines are looking very generic. I love what the Australian quilters are doing, what US scrap quilters (like you & Kelli and Bonnie Hunter) are doing and almost everything in QuiltMania.
    I agree with the others who said you should sell your own PDF patterns and would definitely buy them. That way you can make what you want to make and use the wide variety of fabrics that you and your readers like. Most of us have enough yardage and scraps to sew for years if not decades so don’t want to make quilts from a single fabric line.

  42. This was such an interesting post and I loved reading it. I agree about the magazines and have slowly been dropping my subscriptions. I have continued to get Quiltmaker because of Bonnie’s Addicted to Scraps column. Bonus that sometimes Bonnie has a quilt pattern in the magazine. I used to look at a magazine and think of making 3 to 6 of the patterns, now there isn’t much that interests me. I had subscriptions to both Machine Quilting Unlimited and Modern Quilts Unlimited. They have stopped production and are not refunding money. This was a lesson to only buy one years subscription at a time. I fell for the ‘subscription prices are going up’ and subscribed for 3 years. This is now money wasted!!

    I like the idea of creating your patterns as a pdf download and selling them on the web. There would be no shipping costs. You and Kelli could create the quilt you want, with the fabric of your choice and still make some money from selling the pattern. I have bought several patterns as digital downloads.

    Thanks for your post!!

  43. While I appreciate the fact that the magazines tell us what fabric line is used, I love the quilts that let me use from my stash. I love to make the pattern my own, using my own color palette. Another problem I have found is that by the time the magazine gets to me, if I do want to use the same fabric, it is almost impossible to find. Your quilts that have been published are great! As I looked at your photos, I thought oh, that one was great, and then the next was even better! They are more original than a lot of the other patterns the magazines are publishing. Keep up the good work!

  44. Sharon Malone

    I still subscribe to several quilting magazines; however, I am seriously considering not renewing several of them. You’re correct about the patterns being big pieces for quick sewing and all from one fabric line and many times a ruler or template for this, that or the other. What is the fun of sewing a quilt using one fabric line that is just several different colors of the same print? Oh, and you must have this ruler to make this pattern work. And don’t get me started on precuts. I use them at times but not often. Give me scraps and fabric across several different lines, a pattern that doesn’t require special rulers or templates and I’m a happy quilter!

  45. You should self publish patterns. Do it a digital downloads. I love your designs and would much rather make scrappy quilts. So much more unique. I found you by happy accident because of a beautiful quilt of yours and then found you love Bonnie Hunter as I did. I sure hope you continue being you

  46. Marsha from Delaware, USA

    I echo the above comments! I subscribe to Quiltmaker Magazine, for
    Bonnie Hunter’s addicted to scraps block patterns. I have purchased
    American Patchwork and Quilting magazine when you and Kelli have a quilt in it. Loved seeing your quilts in the blog post today.

    I have a question, when a quilt of your’s is in a magazine, is there any contractual restriction or time restriction on your ability to sell that pattern of the published quilt pattern in a magazine?

    Count me in as another customer.

  47. I am also in agreement that you need to keep doing what you love and how you want and like to do it. Create your quilts in the same ways you always have done. Then, if you show a quilt and there is interest expressed by your readers, learn how to create the PDF patterns and either sell them directly on your blog, or, if something else seems better, do that. Am sure that you have enough followers that will share what they see and love that your patterns will be purchased and if you made $400 from a magazine, at $8 a pattern, that is only 50 patterns you need to sell to make the same amount of money?

  48. I’m not sure I’ve ever bought a quilting magazine. My mom had subscriptions to some and she passed those on to me and sometimes people will bring them into a quilt guild meeting to pass on. They’re also in my local library; I remember seeing one there once just after you showed the cover on your blog — you had a quilt in it!

    When looking through those magazines, some as early as the 80s and 90s, what interested me were the things that were different — a unique take on something, a quilt in colors no one usually put together, seeing someone’s awesome sewing setup, etc. I’m sure the articles and quilts that drew me in would not have been solicited in one of these mass emails. It’s like they’re saying, “Please make some art in exactly the way we want you to make it.” Plbbbt! Then it’s not art, right? And I should add, “and then we’ll pay you a pittance!” Um…thanks? But, no thanks.

    I make my own designs. They’re rarely elaborate, but I like them. I get ideas from all kinds of things, even tiles in a restaurant bathroom or a quote in an article totally unrelated to quilting. That’s the joy of quilting for me, making something unique in the way I want to make it.

    It sounds like you and Kelli know where the joy is for you — do YOUR thing! I really appreciate you speaking your mind. This is your blog and you should say what you want to say. It seems from the comments that we all agree with you.

  49. I love that so many people have so much to say.

    Me learned about some of the behind the scenes in the quilt magazine world.

    Many said they stopped buying magazines me I do buy quilt magazines

    Fabrics I like far more than I can afford or can use

    I bet you feel so much lighter after getting so much off your chest

    Me thank you love your blog


  50. You have every right to speak you mind.
    This is my first year with no magazines coming in the mail. It’s so refreshing. It took me a couple years to wonder why I hardly looked at the ones I was getting. They didn’t have what got my attention and you all have mentioned the reasons why so I don’t have to repeat anything. I enjoy patterns by Jo and Kelli, Bonnie Hunter and any other scrappy designer. I stay in my own little world of quilting and doing what I like with those people that I enjoy and let the mad world of quilting with everyone trying to get to the top just go by. it’s not that I won’t purchase notions or the beautiful fabrics that are out there, but I do it as I need it not as they would like me to do. I don’t much are about companies trying to be pushy and in control.

  51. Carolyn Sullivan

    yes that is a problem! There is no money in quilting unless you bow to the industry, or go on the road like Bonnie, even publishing your own patterns it’s difficult to get the advertising…. SIGH…. I have the pattern for one of the quilts, and really want to make stars and strips one… don’t have that pattern YET.
    However like most quilters I am behind in my work. doing a UFO right now. 4 quilts ready to be quilted and 2 more fabric bought for…. can not start one more thing.

  52. Bravo!!!! I am sure that Pintrest and the “web” have cut into the pattern industry–as well as the “I can figure out how to do that” folk who have been sewing/quilting for to many years to count! But the thoughtful comments of my fellow followers of the Junction must confirm that we enjoy the way you share your lives with us!

  53. Last year I subscribed to GRIT magazine because of the quilt patterns they used to publish in their paper . So excited to get my first issue , but guess what? No quilt pattern or article about quilts. Needless to say I won’t be renewing.

  54. Janelle Merillat

    Wow, Jo! Do you see all of these comments?! Wow! I think you hit a nerve! I feel the same as the rest. You need to follow your own dreams, and maybe participating with the quilting magazines has run it’s course. You have your own course to follow, do what makes you happy! We will be here cheering you on!

  55. I am not going to renew my magazine subscriptions because they have dumbed down the patterns and they are all the same. Everything is bright and modern. Nothing traditional and the price of material will eliminate many from the industry. Corporate control.

  56. I have a checkered past…..wildlife biology/fine art dual major in college. Worked in retail buying, research….lots of unrelated things and 30 years or more ago I found quilting pulled everything I enjoyed together….I had grown up textile sewing, woo woo sailor pants with real buttonholes just in the style of the navy….knitting because it was the thing to do in college, make your own sweaters, my mom embroidered and started cross stitch….hey neat me too. Newly married with minimal $$$ the bicentennial comes with the amazing quilting challenge. “Wow wow wow!!! Quilting is amazing!” And so I preceded to buy the fabric that could exfoliate your skin…I finally stripped it all a number of years back and made string utility quilts..

    Worked at 3 quilt stores over the years besides being a master of too many trades. Quilting and handwork was magic. I met all sorts of people from different work backgrounds…we all loved fabric and to quilt.

    I hate the consolidation of the magazines BUT I love all the new independent fabric lines and hope as today’s quilters we learne one thing. All those magazines you shared and didn’t buy slowly but surely started the consolidation. The patterns that were everywhere aren’t coming as often. We have the power to support and control the industry. Perhaps blogs will be able to strike back. I just found your blog again because of a loyal fan of yours who happens to love quilting and is a serious consumer.

    Your link is back live I hope on my computer….it’s never too late it’s just too bad if we complain and don’t support those trying to keep the quilter involved too…more than wanting our money and no feedback…you go ladies. I too will support what you do Both reading and purchasing.

  57. WEll, said Jo. I agree, start your own website with your own patterns. So many designers are doing that now. Listing their patterns on their own sites. That in itself has a learning curve and I wish I knew how to do it easily and not have to pay someone to set it all up. Something will open up for you. I have noticed that most quilt magazines now seem to have quilts that have white backgrounds with just strips of colored fabric. I don’t particularly want white background on every quilt I make. I have pared my magazines collection down to two, Quiltmaker and Today’s Quilter. Today’s is a British publication and it is still wonderful. I subscribed to it when I was in England 2 years ago at the International Quilt Festival. They quite often interview a USA or canadian celebrity and I bet they would love to have you. Originally I got the mag sent from England but you can order it through the US. Each issue includes a goodie, this recent one had 3 border templates with chalk marker wrapped up in it. Angela Walters is featured quite often. Tiny Hexagon rulers came one month. Check it out. Definitely worth the price.

  58. I haven’t bought a quilt magazine in a long long time. They are all the same… I don’t want my quilt to be the excact same as the next quilt. I need to do my own thing. Friends will ask what is the pattern I used for a quilt, purse or what ever, I will tell them. However I almost always change something, in the pattern. I guess I am a rebel and love being one! You have to do things that make You happy. Life is way to short.

  59. As you gather quilt ideas, why don’t you write a book? You could use an independent publisher or connect with Lisa Bongean to publish.

  60. Your points have great merit and validity. I’d like to add, if I may, I’m one of those quilters who doesn’t have a sizeable stash. I don’t tend to have many scraps to keep on hand. I honestly don’t have but a few hours a week to sew and quilt. Nor yet the funding to accumulate fabric, thread, and other delights. I work full time outside the home and for years have come home to take care of two small girls, which that also ate into my designing and sewing time. I’m fortunate enough to have access to AutoCAD and design quilts on that. But this younger generation, who we need, to continue the art of quilting, tend also to be working full time outside the home and actively raising children at the same time, with or without a partner, permanent or otherwise. They need simple projects, that don’t take ages of dedicated sewing time to complete. I started two very basic fat quarter quilts for my kiddos when they were 7 and 9, that was 10 years ago, and they’re only just now getting completed, sad, right? While the current crop of magazines tend to be a bit of drivel with a few marvelous exceptions, magazines of decades past, prior to Mark Lipinsky, whos magazine had brilliant wit going for it, no, going back further, to the 70s-80s, there was horrifyingly little of artistic merit, aside from Quilters Newsletter. It’s a dry world designwise out there, and newbie, time-challenged quilters like me desperately need folks like you to light the path of potential for us.

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