Friday, December 17, 2010

Snide or Truthful?

There has been a discussion lately on a Yahoo Group for quilt designers about quilt magazines and whether they are worth buying anymore. Someone had criticized the magazines for lacking design inspiration. Another designer commented that if we, as designers, are looking to the magazines for inspiration we aren't working very hard at coming up with original and innovative ideas. Another designer took great offense to this statement and after I added my two cents (which maybe I should have kept it my pocket) personally emailed me and told me my reply was "snide" and she was leaving the group because she had had enough of snide comments. I simply stated that there are designers out there who change the color of a design and call it their own and there are designers out there who know a great design/idea when they steal it. But I think the kicker was when I said, "If the shoe fits, put it on." She took that as a personal attack, I think. I certainly didn't mean it that way and after we emailed back and forth several times, with me trying to apologize for offending her, I gave up. After all, the only people who would be offended by what I said are people with a guilty conscience or a lack of confidence in their design abilities.

I sent an apology to the group just in case others thought my reply was "snide" but I have gotten nothing but positive replies. I didn't apologize for what I said but more like how I said it.

Anyway, I'd love to hear what others outside of the design industry think about the quilting magazines. I think one magazine, in particular, has stepped up its game. The latest issue of Quiltmaker has some amazing quilts in it and their special issue, 100 Blocks From Today's Top Designers, is genius. I may be biased since I had a block in the first issue and might have one in the third, but either way, I think the concept is really great.

Do you still subscribe to magazines? Have you dropped some and picked up others? Are you more likely to buy a book or a pattern over a magazine? Do you scour the internet for free patterns? I would love to hear your thoughts.


  1. First of all, you can only apologize for offending someone and it is up to them to accept it and get over it. I totally agree with you that there are some really good designers, and others just re-purpose other designs. I tend to switch up the magazines I subscribe to since the flavor of the designs change over time (as do my tastes). I get magazines for the ideas. I seldom follow a pattern to the letter and make up most of my own, though I get a lot of ideas from others. I also a strong believer that I should share where I got the pattern when I use one. When I post a quilt on my blog I always attribute the designer (but not every time I do an update on the quilt). That is my $.02 and it has jumped out of my pocket :)

  2. I'm a magazine junkie but have stepped back on a few and only pick up the issues that have quilts or ideas that I like. I also think magazines are great one year and so so the next --all depends on the issue or their focus of that issue and if it interests me. As far as designing - I haven't a clue - you see a lot of the same things in a lot of magazines but those are the trendy looks or blocks and I'm sure magazines want to keep up with the trends. But really, how many new "blocks" are there? It's usually just the fabric that makes it different (values, etc.) or a combination of different blocks.

  3. Chris as long as you agree with me your 2 cents is always welcome! LOL I'm glad to hear you credit the original designer because I think that is important also. Thanks for taking the time to let me know what you think.

  4. Thanks for your comment Barbara! I think you're right about a lot of the same things being shown in magazines sometimes. Some designers work backwards in regards to being given a fabric line and asked to design a quilt around it. Personally, I think a good design should work with any fabric line. As far as how many new blocks are out there, I never use traditional blocks when I design a quilt. And I have many more designs in my computer than I will ever be able to sew out and publish as a pattern but I am doing my best to get them out there!

  5. CarlaSue7:47 PM

    Crawling out of the woodwork to say Yay! My sentiments exactly. My opinion surely won`t tilt the "designer world" one way or another, but as a designer, perhaps yours will. No way will I spend what they`re asking for quilt magazines to be assaulted with "new ideas" promoting the latest line of fabrics and age old patterns. Heck, I do that without the magazine. So I guess I`m a designer too?
    Lots of free ideas to peruse on the internet.
    Thank you for saying out loud what we, the peon consumers, are thinking!

  6. Hi CarlaSue! Unfortunately in the designer world I am still just a peon myself and saying what I REALLY think might just keep me here on the bottom rung forever but I think I'd rather be stuck at the bottom than say things I don't mean. It drives me crazy seeing big name designers putting out junk just because their name will sell it without having to work hard.

  7. I stopped buying magazines altogether about a year ago. I will buy the odd one if I see something in it that really intrigues me but, for the most part, now I just play with design ideas of my own. I was getting sick of seeing the magazines feature quilt after quilt made with all matchy-matchy lines of fabric.

  8. @Cathi,

    I totally agree with you about how boring the matchy-matchy quilts can be. There are some really good lines of fabric out there but that doesn't mean they have to be the only fabric in a great quilt. Unfortunately, the magazines sometimes pick the fabric line they want the designer to use and they are not always the best choice. I have been really lucky so far the times that has been the case for me but I would much prefer choosing the fabric myself. I hope that people check out my website for that reason and see what I do when I am in total control of a project.

    Thanks for your input!

  9. Anonymous5:12 AM

    Interesting that so many people are not buying magazines .... my reason for not buying any except when on holiday is the use of fabric lines too.

    Judy B

  10. I am also a person who subscribed to every quilting magazine out there! But I have given up almost all of them over the last year! As I find some uninspiring. Truth be told, I REALLY don't need another pattern or kit in my lifetime, I have more than enough fabric, patterns, tools, etc than I can EVER use/finish. I think mostly I bought the magazines for inspiration! I positively ADORED Helen Kelly's articles and since her passing, haven't enjoyed my favorite magazine since her articles are gone...she wa a lot older than me, but still so relevant
    Now I am more tempted to browse through a magazine and buy only the
    issues that appeal to me- or surf the quilting websites for my inspiration!
    I am SO glad I happened o to your website- I am an avid pp'r and finding pp patterns that are as cute as yours is difficult!
    Eileen Sullivan is my favorite pp artist, but she hasn't had any new patterns in a while!
    Please keep up the designing- I am going to get the angel kit today as soon as it is an appropriate time to call! will also order your star Santa today!
    On my blog, I have pssted a bunny that could probably be pp,if you design anything similar I would definitely buy it!

  11. Hi JoEllen! I must say I am very happy you happened upon my website too! Sometimes I feel I am designing just for myself and no one is actually seeing it so its nice to hear from people like you!

    Unfortunately, the original quilt shop that was offering the Lexa's Angel kit has had to stop. The owner of the shop that had been "helping" me with this project, and I use the word helping loosely since she was doing SO much more work than me, for about 4 months and needs to get back to regular business. But I have produced a pattern for Lexa's Angel and am sending it out for a donation to the fund. Just send me an email and I will send it and the Santa pattern out.