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Monday, July 18, 2016

Today I read several posts about Quilter's Newsletter Magazine closing its doors. I have some thoughts about quilting magazines that I'll share. First, I did really enjoy many of the magazines I subscribed to for the last 20 years or so. I looked forward to getting them and carried them around for perusing during stolen moments in a busy life. I'd use tiny post-its to mark designs I liked or techniques or tips that seemed smart and helpful. There was a time when I received 5 or 6 different publications, some by subscription, some picked up at bookstores. I fervently wished during those days that I could magically multiply my sewing time so I could make the beautiful projects I saw or try out new techniques.

As time progressed, I began to see fewer and fewer new ideas and patterns. Most projects were reinventions of old designs, albeit combined differently, made with new fabrics or made with time-saving techniques for accurate cutting and piecing. While I learned a lot about more modern patchworking and tools, it seemed like I was paying for the same designs over and over. Since I began to draft my own designs about 15 years ago with the fabrics I had in mind, I could use the old pattern ideas myself. I realize that not everyone does that and for many, specific directions for any pattern are really helpful, no matter your experience level. But for me, it became more an issue of more magazines that I had to store or dispose of rather than one of new knowledge gained.

Second, in the past couple of years, some quilting publications have switched over to a more art quilt focus and there is at least one dedicated to it. I liked that also since part of my sewing includes wall pieces that have a more artistic focus. What doesn't fit my own style is lots of surface design with paint and stencils and hand dyeing. When I get a magazine that heralds these techniques on the cover, I know I won't be very interested when I open it. That's my personal preference. However, it has caused me to let several subscriptions lapse. I check as often as I can and then decide from the contents whether or not I'll purchase an individual issue.

It's the lapsed subscriptions that spell disaster for these publications. I understand that. But the reality is that I can't afford to continue to purchase periodicals that don't have enough new material for me to incorporate into my quilting life. It's kind of the same reason I stopped buying quilting books. I just can't store all that material that repeats information I have elsewhere.

There is no real answer as I see it. But perhaps magazine editors could do a bit more exploration of the needs of their target audiences. Unless I reach a condition in my life where money is no longer a concern, I anticipate that my mailbox will bring fewer and fewer quilting magazines each month.

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