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.