Thursday, June 7, 2012

Magazines Revisited and some Housekeeping

Good morning! It looks like I am not alone in my feelings for quilt magazines.

One of my readers went so far as to direct the editor of AP&Q to my blog and here is her response:

Thank you for taking the time to write us and share your comments. I am sorry we failed to meet your expectations with this issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, and I would love to hear from you regarding the quilt designers or types of patterns you’d enjoy seeing featured in upcoming issues. If you are like many of the posters on the blog post you’re referring to, perhaps primitive projects would be something you’d like us to include more of? Sincerely, Elizabeth

Maybe it is time we start a email campaign to our favorite quilt magazines and let them know what we want.

I found this online as well: I design quilts and would like to submit ideas to your magazine for possible publication. What process do you follow? All submitted projects must be original, never before published. If the quilt has already been constructed, please send a photograph and 2" square swatches of the fabrics used in the quilt. If you are still in the design stage, please e-mail or send a sketch or computer drawing, a description of the project, and 2" fabric swatches of the fabrics you may choose for the project. Please do not send the finished quilt or instructions for re-creating the quilt until a contract has been offered to you. Do note any special techniques or tools needed to complete your project in a cover letter.
 Please send all submissions along with your mailing address, telephone number, and mail to:
 American Patchwork & Quilting® Project Planning Mtg.
1716 Locust St., LN-418
Des Moines, IA 50309-3023

 It is possible that same-O, same-O quilt magazines may start to be as obsolete as a newspaper subscription?

I loved hearing the variety of comments on the subject.....

Speaking of comments. I made it so I can reply directly into the comment field as a reply. So many of you are on "no-reply" and then ask a question. This is where you may find my response.

Also,  this is "my" blog. I do try and be sensitive, but I've never been one to be politically correct.(never claimed to either!) If you leave a comment it is my prerogative to publish, respond, or outright delete.
Thank you and have a nice day... This concludes my  service announcement.


  1. Ha! 'Service announcement'.....too funny!

    I do like that the mag contacted you! Awesome! Sometimes I forget that there are 'real' people who work at these places, and they might actually care! Imagine!

  2. Interesting response from the magazine!
    So, are you going to submit something for publication in AP&Q? : )

  3. Hi Lori!
    I just had this same discussion with a quilting buddy just the other day. We both agree with you!! We no longer subscribe to APQ or Quilt Sample...and both use to be our favourites...I have not bought either in over a year!! This year I bought most of Quiltmania's magazines and Primitive Projects (subscribe to this it!) I use to be addicted to Quilt Magazines...and I still go every week to the news stands and flip through all of the Q.magazines hoping for something (ANYTHING!)good...and always go away disappointed and without a magazine! What's with that??? I WANT to buy a good magazine..they just aren't out there!!

  4. I used to subscribe to APQ, but over the years, the content seems to have changed. So much so that it just doesn't interest me anymore. My friend says that there has to be at least two projects in a magazine that she likes before she will buy it. Unfortunately, I very seldom see any. I love Civil War fabric and the patterns that they are adapted to, but most magazines now seem to be more about modern fabrics and patterns. And while I love some of the new fabric collections, I'll always favour the reproduction and vintage fabrics and the patterns that use them.

  5. Love this! Yes, it is your blog. YOU are the boss of it!

  6. "Also, this is "my" blog. I do try and be sensitive, but I've never been one to be politically correct.(never claimed to either!) If you leave a comment it is my prerogative to publish, respond, or outright delete."


  7. Love your service announcement!

    On magazines, I think you are on to something with the statement that magazines may well become obsolete. With so many blogs, pattern websites, designer sites, tutorials and the like on the internet - it is much easier, timely and economical in many cases to just do a little 'surfing' and then get to stitching.

  8. I agree with so many of the comments. I get most of my inspiration thru blogging and I do love Quiltmania. I find lots of inspiration on blogs out of Australia, they seem to be using bright colors in new and interesting ways and are still using lots of techniques that require time and patience. Not everything has to be finished in a weekend or use just one line of fabric which is what the magazines seem to focus on these days.

  9. Long time reader, first time comment-leaver. :)

    It pains me greatly to say this, but the last issue of APQ was truly disappointing. I'm a long-time APQ subscriber and while I get that there will always be issues that don't have anything that interests or excites me, I am no longer excited to see a new issue in the mailbox.

    Still, it seems that every magazine has been declining in the overall quality of their content. Like many others, I glance through the magazines at the grocery store or bookstore, but APQ is the only magazine I still subscribe to. I have been an off-and-on subscriber to Quiltmania, but that's only when I can get an awesome deal on the subscription while at Quilt Market or Festival. Otherwise, I look before I buy those issues. I had a subscription to Primitive Quilts but I let that lapse after the first year was over and will buy issues only after getting to look through it first.

    I think the comments to this post and the other are correct when they state that the Internet is largely responsible for the decline in the magazines. With fabric companies that will pay for quilts/projects made with their new, upcoming fabric and the sponsored/advertising-laden blogs that earn money based on traffic, the benefits of publishing a good-quality project in a magazine are questionable. Publishing a quilt or project in a magazine will earn you between $300.00 and $600.00, depending on the size of the project and the publication. Seeing that project in print takes at least six months, sometimes as long as a year.

    If you have a really good design, the reality is that you can make more money by writing the pattern yourself and selling it online through Etsy or Big Cartel. Or you can get a couple of good designs and put them together for a book ~ just look at how many quilters and sewers have turned a successful blog into a book contract.

    And then there is the whole issue of the continuing, baffling popularity of "fast and easy". That 33" block-ShooFly quilt in the recent issue? (I mean, really? Are you kidding?) It will appeal to the demographic group that is driving so much of the quilting/sewing industry right now - the young, modern quilter who doesn't have time to make a more complicated project. (That's a whole other discussion for another day... oy vey.)

    So thank you for a terrific post. And a terrific PSA. ("Political correctness" is boring and overrated.)

  10. It is the same with our British magazines too. My favourite is Quiltmania. It just really appeals.

  11. Happy to hear that someone with the power to make change is actually reading all of these comments. At least we have the satisfaction of being heard. Lets see if it leads to any changes. I'm kind of skeptical. Thank you Lori for at least letting us all vent our frustration with the industry and with certain magazines that seem to be missing the mark. I agree with everything that Carrie stated. I don't care for the "fast, easy and done" quilts- sometimes I feel like it is insulting to our intelligence as artists and creators. Those are the quilts where the fabric does all the work because the pattern is so simple. It is obvious that many of these magazines are catering to younger and less experienced quilters. I know that everyone has to start somewhere, but they are doing it at the expense of the more experienced and long term subscribers. I wish there were more designers like Edyta Sitar. She knows how to find a balance with her patterns. Some are fairly difficult and some require some skills, but a beginner can do them. Quilting is fun when it challenges your skills and requires thought and decision making. So anyway Lori, thanks again for bringing up a great discussion.

  12. I've let most of my subscriptions go too. The patterns seem to be using just one line of fabric, or certain rulers, and are super easy. The mags are selling kits for the quilts too. It almost seems like I'm paying for a catalog of things to order? :(

    Is it too much to hope that the mags will remember it's long time followers..and give us something a bit more traditional, intricate, or scrappy? With the economy I want to work from my stash more. Some of the new lines of fabric are very nice, and I won't stop buying and stashing, but I'm not going to order great big batches of new fabric for every quilt I make!

    Maybe that's why Bonnie's contribution to the mag is so well liked? It lets us use what we've got and supplement a bit?

    It will be interesting to see if the editors are listening.

  13. what an interesting discussion. i have long (over 10 yr.) subscriptions to Fon's & Porter and AP&Q magazines and have noticed certain cycles of inspiration and then drought months. i would also have a subscription for Quiltmania but i can't afford more than about 2 or 3 issues a yr. honestly, the main thing that keeps me from giving up Fon's & Porter is the Gerald Roy collection of old quilts--love that! and AP&Q's saving grace is the occasional traditional pattern with a twist quilt that gets me thinking! i think the key difference between internet and magazine inspiration is that i can rip pictures out of the magazine and put it into my inspiration binder (of which i frequently refer to). so yeah, if the magazines won't give me that, and all i get are dumbed down quilts pushing fabric lines, i'll give up the subscriptions forever.

  14. What an interesting discussion! I find magazines more disappointing than I used to, but I still subscribe to a few. When one issue has three different patterns in it for a 9-patch quilt it makes me wonder if the editors are talking to each other. And I subscribe to more than one magazine, thinking that one would arrive every week or so. Wrong. They all seem to arrive in the same 4-5 day period. There must be something about bulk mailing that I don't know. It's time for some conceptual changes at the big magazine HQs, I think.

  15. Lori,
    VERY interesting topic! Well done, you non-political one!

  16. Oh I so Agree w the above! i only buy a mag anymore if there is something I want to make. Cleaning out my sewing rm this spring (1st time in yrs!) I threw out bags full But not before pulling out anything I had wanted to make, put it in a binder... maybe to look at again someday.

  17. I think this is great that American Patchwork & Quilting is listening. Good for you to get their ear, maybe change will come.

  18. I thought it was just me feeling that way, thank you!

  19. I just subscribed to AP&Q magazine and this was the first issue I received. It's funny that you mentioned your disappointment in this issue. I thought the same. I don't buy a lot of new magazines, and received the subscription as a gift. I enjoy finding them in yard sales fro 25 cents. LOL!!! I was bored last week, and decide to redesign the pattern for the front cover of the magazine using a totally different colour scheme and making it more symmetrical. I was happier with the new design and I think I might make it this summer as a queen size quilt. I'll share it on my blog next week.

  20. Oh and another thing - while the letter from Elizabeth was nice and supportive, I have to say that months back when I called to cancel my subscription the operator couldn't have cared less that I was stopping my long-time subscription. A perfunctory run through of all the particulars to send the refund and good bye.
    Another subscription that we cancelled (to Sunset magazine because at the time we were not living in the region) was met with 'what can we do to keep you with us?' There's something to be said for wanting to keep customers, isn't there?

  21. I echo what so many others have said. I've quilted for well over 20 years and have subscribed to all of the 'popular' magazines over that time period. It has been amazing to see how they've changed in that time. I, too have let those subscriptions run out and from what I'm seeing in the grocery store when I stop and leaf through them, I'm not missing anything.

    Variety would be nice, just for starters. Like others have said, not everyone is into the modern look or something that can be made in an hour. Remember the quilt mag that use to show just antique quilts? They put that out for a couple of years and then stopped. *sigh*

    Loved your thoughts on this, Lori. Sadly, I'd be surprised if things changed...


  22. Very interesting discussion. For years and years I gobbled up Quilters Newsletter Magazine... found that I wasn't really making practical use of it ... Still loved reading it "just because." I let my subscription lapse when I started working full time but will still enjoy looking through back issues. Most of the quilts I've made I've just sort of figured out with an inspiration quilt or photo and graph paper and pencil! Like some of the other commenters I would love to see a magazine dedicated to reproductions. Meanwhile I am having a great time discovering blog after blog after blog! There is room in quilting for all kinds of sensibilities and styles.

  23. can we say something about fabric as well? It seems like the manufacturers all pass around paint chips of what's going to be "in" this year. Turquoise and red? Okay but all the same hues too? I will not be paying $10 a yard for fabric either. And this issue of copyright has set my teeth on edge. Wow. Thanks for letting me be grumpy.

  24. Wow, you really hit a nerve, didn't you? I had no idea so many quilters were dissatisfied with quilt magazines - I thought it was just me!

    I still subscribe to AP&Q, but I'm not too happy with it. I used to love this magazine - I've still got the very first issue! (and most of the others too) Stopped Quilters Newsletter recently, after 20+ years subscription. Quilting Arts and AP&Q are the only 2 magazines I subscribe to currently, and QA still excites me most months. But I miss the antique quilts that so many magazines used to show. They were a great source of inspiration.

    The internet has changed things for me. I get most of the news of the quilt world on-line, and blogs have taken the place of the magazines. I can see more interesting things in a few hours on-line than I can in all of the recent magazine issues put together. *sigh* It kind of makes me sad - I used to be so excited to get a new issue in the mail.

    So, very interesting discussion. I wonder if the magazines are aware of this issue? If they don't do something, they'll all be out of business before too long. What with the economy the way it is, expenses have to be cut, and if the magazines are no longer serving my needs, guess where the cuts will be made?

  25. interesting subject lori -
    I saw a new magazine at Joannes which is the worst sort, i fell and it was titled "Fast Quilts".
    I guess I'm just too old fashioned these days.
    happy friday

  26. Hi Lori--I am also disappointed in magazines; it seems to me that all the patterns do is advertise Fabric lines--the patterns are pretty "ho-hum". Now, I know I shouldn't put down the pattern designers, but really--I can't help thinking that I see a lot more innovative work online..just my thoughts..Julierose

  27. Good fo you!!! It is your blog!
    These days it feels as if you always have to tiptoe not to hurt anyones feelings and be politically correct. I think if everyone would be honest without the intent to hurt, and without being scared of saying the wrong thing (again) it would make life a lot easier.
    And why does every quilt have to be 'fast' and 'suitable for beginners'?

  28. You are the Queen of your own blog-castle! Off with their heads -- errm ---- comments! LOL!

    Had a nasty on my own this morning ----guess she had her chicken wire panties in a bunch!

  29. Great post. You really got everyone talking, even the editor.

  30. I think it's a case of quilt overload. Those of us who have been quilting for years have had magazines, quilt shows, internet blogs and store sites, patterns galore and quilt shops everywhere and online. Bi-monthly subscriptions have been joined by a plethora of other magazines, including samplers, Americana quilts, easy quilts, children's quilts, vintage quilts, and on and on. I have so many ideas floating around in my head, and so much fabric on my shelves, all of which are wonderful, that it's just hard to WOW me anymore.

  31. Good job to get this out in the open...I honestly believe the cover of AP&Q is so much the same each month, I can't tell if I have it already! I think putting people on the cover or quilters and their pets, children, etc. might be a good look. The same o same o of the cover makes me less interested in the content. I know I feel this way about other quilting mags too. When there are some at guild that are "free" or a quarter from the past year, etc. I gather up a few, not expecting anything special...and then, some times I find a real sweet quilt inside. The old saying about you can't read a book by it's cover is true in some cases, but for me, if the cover is fun, I am more tempted to take a peek. For instance, the old Mark Lipinksi mag with him doing zany things. I cracked up and actually I liked that mag quite alot. The other thing about Better Homes and Gardens magazines in general, is that they don't let subscriptions to the special issues like Quilt Sampler. Maybe they should as a plus. okay my 2 cents.

    1. I really, really miss Mark's Quilters Home. No magazine is the same after that one.

  32. I thought it was just nice to find a support group! :0) I gave up subscriptions ages ago. However, I did get a subscription to Primitive when it came - a totally brilliant magazine and I'm never disappointed! When I look at quilt magazines in B&N I have a rule of thumb for purchasing them - there must be 3 projects I'd consider making - I have to make the purchase worthwhile. I do get Homespun (Australian) and that has never disappointed. I like Quiltmania, but it is so expensive, I really have to find a number of projects to justify the cost. I do think there is too much emphasis on selling lines of fabric and I do understand and appreciate the economics behind it, but maybe it's time for the fabric companies to take a breather and let us see the lines of fabric for a longer period of time (thank 6 months) to decide which pieces we want for a quilt, instead of trying to pressure us into buying a whole line. Precuts are nice and sometimes a great solution, but patterns are focused more and more on those. I remember making my first "nickel" quilt and using the fabrics in my stash - I was quite capable of cutting 5" squares. Bonnie at Quiltville has wonderful quilt patterns to use up a stash - but try to find a particular piece of fabric in a line...assuming you have $10+ hanging around... I also agree with the commenter who complained about the box in a box stuff - seriously?
    BTW - your blog, your way! thanks for giving us a chance to vent!

  33. I nad been a long-time subscriber to Country Home magazine. When it ended, I was given a choice of magazine to complete my subscription. I finally selected AP&Q. I have yet to make one quilt; my subscription is finally running out and I will not be renewing this subscription. I am even getting tired of Primitive Quilts and "holding on the subscription renewal for this one."

    Glad I am not the only one with these feelings.

  34. I am so glad that Nicole of Sister's Choice Quilts blog steered me here! I feel the same way lately! I don't care to renew any quilting mag subscriptions! They are BORING. I thought maybe I had just seen too much over 10 years. Also, I now want to see modern quilts represented.

    What I would really like to see offered is a digital version that is affordable. I want to be able to save the projects into folders so that all the same type patterns are where I can find them, instead of having a million post-its sticking out of magazines. Anyone else like this idea?

    Also, I feel that all the advertising for big money quilting trips abroad is insensitive. Who really has the money for that these days? The magazines would do better covering quilt SHOWS instead of quilt SHOPS. They could find out about quilt charity groups and share that with us. And definitely stop driving everyone to the latest fabrics when so many of us are making do with our "old" stash and scraps!

  35. Could not agree with you more! I have been debating renewing my BHG Patchwork magazine, which is my last subscription left! I do not count my Prim magazine, that one is amazing and already renewed for 2 years. I love it not just because it is prim, but because it is refreshing. So tired of seeing the same thing made in a different colour ways. Thanks for sharing! Perhaps this post will get things moving for quilting magazine front!

  36. Same patterns. Different fabrics. Usually I mean. I do love the Apple quilt in the McCall's Quilting mag this month. That is the FIRST quilt in a very long time that I've seen in a mag that actually WILL make. I'd rather blog and choose my patterns from a wide variety of designers(most out of their homes).

    JMO, Amie in Tn.

  37. I get Quiltmaker because I like to get Bonnie's Addicted to Scraps column. I have been telling myself that I am going to quit AP&Q but then some kid comes selling magazines. All in all the magazine is BORING. I think Quiltmaker is boring too. It seems they pick quilts for the same designers over and over again. Let's see something from someone new....The price magazines pay for a design is pitiful too. A designer barely makes minimum wage if that. I do like Quiltmania...the Primitve Quilts was good too.


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