Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What Should Quilters Read?

I was just reading Deborah's blog on the Artful Quilter's ring, and saw her post about the new magazine Quilter's Home. Several people thought it was interesting, but I strongly disagree. I thought it was a weak example of a "lifestyle" magazine, thin on real content, including quilting ideas. Other people commented on other magazines, not too favorably, and that led me to think about the question of quilting magazines in general. What are the good ones? This is, of course, a matter of opinion, and depends on what you read a quilting magazine for, but here are my ideas.

Quilting Arts Some one described this as "stuff globbed on the surface", and I do agree that the works in here look very repetitious after a while. But I do like the articles about new techniques and products, and many works are beautiful, or just plain fun. I'm thinking in particular of the self-portrait challenge entries in the last issue I read.

Good if you like simple patterns with big pieces and clear directions. (It used to be more interesting than it is now.)

Quilter's Newletter
This used to be an excellent blend of projects both difficult and simple, design lessons, how-to articles on things like bindings, and evaluative articles on subjects like batting and stabilizers. Under the new editor, however, I think it is becoming indistinguishable from Quiltmaker.

McCall's Quilting Not much to say--completely traditional.

American Patchwork & Quilting
Very much like McCall's except the patterns are more challenging and they include art and designer information that I think raises it a cut above. I also like the way every pattern is shown in an alternate "colorway". (Hate that phrase!) It's my favorite of the mainstream, traditional magazines.

Disquised advertising. All patterns seem to be designed for a particular fabric line. UGH!

American Quilter
This is the main reason I belong to the AQS. The technical information is excellent, and so are the design articles. It has few patterns, except for the project issue, a good thing.

I can't comment on Fons and Porter's magazine since I've only seen it once or twice, and the $100,000 Quilting Challenge is also not familiar enough. There are others also that I don't read, so I haven't included them.

I hope people will comment. I'd really like to hear opinions. Perhaps people who are serious about quilting as art or self-expression shouldn't be reading quilt magazines at all, but looking at other art forms, painting, drawing, photography or whatever. What do you think?


The Calico Cat said...

I have very similar feelings about magazines.... I understand that there is another new on that I have yet to see - something with cotton...

I have come to the conclusion that when I have time to kill - or when I feel like killing time, which is more like it, I iwll peruse those available at B&N and buy if I want based on what is in the magazine... Ditto older magazines at yard sales... I got a great one on landscapes that way & several cat patterns... :o)

Allison said...

Please don't forget that pioneer in grassroots self-publishing,
It is the only publication devoted to crazy quilting, is ad-free, and was begun 3 years ago so the editor knows what she is is very professionally done.

It was started in response to the uproar among crazy quilters when Quilting Arts changed its focus from CQ to more experimental embellishment type stuff.

The 100K Quilting magazine has actually been very high caliber so far.

SewUniqueCreationsQuilting said...

Good subject! I did like Quilters Home but hope for more patterns in the future. I love American Patchwork & Quilting, Fons and Porter and McCalls. Quilts - same here I don't care for the quilts all done in one fabric line. Quiltmaker - very simple quilt patterns but I enjoy using them when I teach quilting. Quiltmaker - I like it more than I did a few years ago. Isn't it interesting how we all differ! I wish they would bring back Miniature quilts, Quilting Today and Traditional Quiltworks!

Miriam said...

what an interesting post. i am happy to hear that i'm not the only one who dislikes the direction QNM is taking. i've written them a couple of times and especially lament the lack of Wow! quilts that used to grace the cover and the last page. everyone wants patterns for what they see, they say. well, there are too many magazines that do that. i agree with what you said about quilting arts, too. alot of gloop, nice new techniques - but don't you wish they gave some step-by-step pictures?

Deb Geyer said...

I added some comments on Quilting International on my blog. Published during the early nineties it was the best quilt magazine I've seen.

Deb H said...

I have stopped renewing most of my quilting magazines because they don't seem to growing with me. I continue to get Quilting Arts, AQS, & Quilter's Newsletter (primarily for the news part of it). I used to get 4 others, but have dropped them as they don't offer anything new.

I have started taking Somerset Studio, & Belle Amore, not quilting, but inspiring.

Granny Fran said...

Such an interesting and informative post you've done. I find that most of the quilt magazines I used to gobble up have become boring and repetitive to me; I'm going in a different direction. QA's articles on techniques helps me a lot and I really like Somerset's "Legacy." It pulls together my interests in fiber arts and family history. I have to get QNM to keep up on what is happening in the world of quilting.

My Brain on Quilts said...

I enjoy Quilting Arts, FiberArts, Cloth Paper Scissors, Belle Armoire and Ornament Magazines. I don't subscribe to a single one. Rather I stand at Borders and browse the issues, deciding if I want to spend the money on a magazine or a book, or fabric and supplies.

I have found myself reading more about art and creativity. Ted Orland's book The View from the Studio Door was fabulous and as inspiring and comforting to me as any magazine I have read this year.

kathy said...

QA is the only one I subscribe to now...the others don't seeem to be heading in the direction I want to go...even Quilting Arts tends to come up with some very bizarre stuff, but every time I open it I'm hopeful something will be there I'll want to try.

Tonya R said...

I find just about all the quilting magazines today very uninspiring and dull. I've let my subscription to QNM lapse and I'll let Quilting Arts go when it's up. I'm still reasonably (sometimes) happy with the AQS mag. And that's it. I find the blogs so much more interesting in content. Partly it's the interaction but it's not just pattern, pattern, pattern.

Pixie said...

Come down under and check out NZ Quilter magazine.

It's beautiful. I buy that and Quilting Arts, but QA does seem not so fresh or exciting these days. We're just spoilt I suspect!
Welcome to the AQ ring.

Deborah said...

Well, I'm glad to have inspired your post. Honestly, I wrote another post that was much less flattering of the new Quilter's Home Magazine, then I rewrote it and toned it down. I'll give it one more issue. I also love FiberArts. One of my criteria is: If the library has it, I'm not subscribing.

Elle said...

The only one I subscribe to is Quilting Arts (I get my quarterly ones from AQS and NQA too). Sure, some of the things in QA are not my thing, but I like the new techniques that I might be able to adapt for my own use.

Jessica said...

Have you seen either of the two amazing Japanese quilting magazines, Quilts Japan or Patchwork Quilt Tsushin? I speak Japanese but usually don't have the patience to sit and read an entire article (i'd need a dictionary), but the photos alone are enough to stimulate and inspire even the most jaded quilter. Some quilt shops carry them, or you can order through the two main Japanese book shops-- Kinokuniya and Asahiya (a simple search will turn up phone numbers. Kinokuniya has mailed craft books to me in the past). I've got quite a collection (3 recent aquisitions last week, details in my blog) and I don't waste my money on American quilt mags anymore.