I have had a few magazines that I wanted to review on my desk for awhile. This week was a good time to share the good and the not so good with you, mostly because I need to clear off my desk. The magazines that made it out of the ‘to read’ pile and into the ‘share with readers’ pile are:
American Quilter, July 2010
Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting, May/June 2010
Quilt, August/September 2010
Quilts & More, Summer 2010
The Quilt Life, June 2010
Quilt Sampler, Spring/Summer 2010
One of the big reasons I wanted to do this magazine review was because of the Quilt Sampler magazine. I read this late in the planning stages of my Long Beach trip. I used it to create a list of items I wanted to see at that see. You already read how well that went.
In case you haven’t seen this magazine, it is a showcase of various shops around the country. I have actually used this magazine in the past to visit shops in my vacation path. I enjoy seeing the different shops and, this time, also enjoyed reading about the owners and what they are trying to achieve. My Long Beach downfall came when I started listing different things I wanted to see. On page 11, I saw the Bella bag from Fig Tree & Co, which I still have not been able to see in person. I also like the tootsie roll/fan quilt on that same page. I would make it in different colors.
One of the nice things about this magazine is that I am able to get a glimpse of the different personalities of the shops. I am probably not going to be able to visit most of them, but I still enjoy seeing them and you just never know! One thing I noticed was that there were lots of non-quilt projects shown. I saw a lot of tote bags, aprons, pillow covers and basket related thingies.
I also appreciated the owners who said they did not cater to all quiltmakers. I appreciated them being upfront and proud of the choices they made about stocking their shop. One of the shops is relatively near me. I don’t need any fabric, but seeing the photos makes me want to go there. It is just far enough away so I haven’t yet made the pilgrimage.
Various pictures of shop displays all over the magazine showed lots of pre-cuts: jelly rolls, FQ packkits, s, etc.
There was also a page (ad??) of some samples of the Million Pillowcase Challenge pillowcases made from fabrics from different companies. It was interesting see that some people had pieced the cuff of their pillowcases. I am not going to do that, but I think it would be a great way to try out a block or other idea.
Quilt Sampler editors have included the obligatory patterns from each shop, which I don’t need. One was a nine patch with an hourglass alternate block. Very easy. Quilter’s Haven (pg.31) has an interesting design called Lotus Garden, which includes some Drunkard’s Path blocks. It is a more interesting and complicated design than some of the others. I also liked the Happy Days quilt (pg. 103-107. I think a lot of it was the fabrics: dots and cheery sherbety fabrics were used.
Quilts & More has a formula that works for them. It is the same every time with a couple of quilts, a tote bag (always claims to be easy) and some accessories. After I blow through it in 15 minutes, I wonder why I buy it. I am often attracted by the colors. In this case, I did like the bag and the quilt on the front was a circles quilting using positive and negative space.
I was pleased and surprised to find and read an interview with Bari J. Ackerman, a fabric designer. I had never heard of her before this article, but her bag pattern in the article looks interesting. She has a line of patterns called Keeping it Real Sewing Patterns by Bari J.
One of the accessories patterns was embellishing a purchased notebook. It isn’t a journal cover pattern per se, but in that vein. There seems to be a lot of this type of thing going around lately.
Quilts & More makes me think of sitting in a cottage on Nantucket for some reason. I have never been to Nantucket, but is a pleasant fantasy.
Quilt is the most recent magazine I have bought. I bought it simply because of the dot quilt on the front. I was pleasantly surprised to find a fantastic essay by Kaffe Fassett in there as well. There were a group of tote bag patterns and few other articles.
His essay is called Geometry in Patchwork. It is a well written homage to the geometry of classic blocks. He discusses how much he loves the geometry of classic quilts and how the stories and graphic pictures of art quilts fail to hold his interest. He considers art quilts (which he puts in quotations marks) to be a separate form and he questions bringing the art of drawing and painting to the “wonderful world of geometry.” This essay spoke to me after viewing some very graphic (as in full frontal nudity) quilts at the Long Beach show. I firmly believe people should make whatever quilts they feel moved to make. I, however, have a strong negative reaction to certain kinds of techniques in art quilts. Specifically, I am quite annoyed by artists who print a photograph very large on fabric, stitch it a little and call it a quilt. My reaction is why? Why not just frame a photograph and move on?
I appreciated Fassett’s essay, because he steps up and says that he likes geometry. He says it in a coherent way that makes sense in my crazy mind. I feel like I can step in line and say I like the geometry of classic quilts as well. I was very sorry to see this important essay hidden in this magazine. I hope some of you get to read it.
Quilt also has a feature on Dena Designs. I have never heard of this designer, but she has a cheerful and fresh view of the fabric world. She designs for Free Spirit.
Pressing Matters! is also a great article, because it gives the reader an overview of different issues around ironing and pressing. One great tip was to press seams open over a dowel! I can’t believe I never thought of that. It might solve the problems I have with getting my napkin seams to lie flat.
There are a couple of patterns that were intriguing. There are several tote bag patterns in this issue. One is a really cute ruffled tote bag. I saw a ruffled tote bag at Long Beach. TFQ thought I had lost my mind, especially when I showed her the second tote bag in this magazine. I also like the four patch row quilt pattern.
I am not sure I have ever read this magazine, but I will probably read it again.
Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson have added to their quiltmaking empire by creating The Quilt Life. I was completely prepared not to like it when TFQ shared the first issue with me. I wasn’t as enamored with that issue, but I have to admit there are parts of this issue that I do like. I thought the thread article in this issue was good. I read it on the heels of watching the QNN TV episode on thread, so I benefited from that unintended synergy. Jan Magee, also the editor of QNM, is the editor. I could do with someone new as editor just to get a different perspective. I don’t think this magazine is much different from QNM. Ricky Tims has a great essay about walking down the street to get a drink and all the people and experiences he encountered along the way.
They are copying Mark Lipinski’s Quilter’s Home format by having recipes and fewer patterns. I am glad. I have enough patterns to last me two lifetimes. I thought the articles were interesting, especially the one about the evolution of a quiltmaker’s work. All in all I thought this issue was worth the money. I will reserve judgement on future issues. 😉
American Quilter frequently has the winners of the AQS show in Paducah. This issue is not exception. I really liked the Best of Show. It was called Filigree by Marilyn Badger. I like a lot of the different quilts that won prizes.That isn’t even normal for me. Often I wonder why they won and assume that the technique was great. This issue has a lot of great quilts in it.
Frances from the Off Kilter Quilt podcast already said a lot about the packaging of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting in her essay about magazines in her third episode (part 1). This issue has an article called Sew Many Tips. One talks about wrapping the bottom of wire hangers with selvedges. I would also add some batting if I were one to use wire hangers. I always like the antique quilt article by Gerald Roy. This one talks about crazy quilts. There are mostly patterns in the rest of the issue. Some of the patterns have blocks that are interesting. None of the patterns are exciting enough for me to make one, though. There is an article by Jinny Beyer on Blending Colors. I have to admit that I do like the ads in this magazine.