“We’ve gotta have a great show, with a million laughs… and color… and a lot of lights to make it sparkle. And songs – wonderful songs. And after we get the people in that hall, we’ve gotta start em in laughing right away. Oh, can’t you just see it… ?”— Judy Garland, “Babes In Arms”, 1939.
This is kind of how it started. Bill and I have been dreaming for years about starting a magazine for modern quilters. There were always other things on our plates so it got pushed to the side. Finally this summer we decided to make it our top priority.
Like Judy Garland in “Babes in Arms,” we dreamed about how to make it captivating for you the reader. We wanted it to be a totally different reading experience. Most importantly, we wanted it to inspire you and make the process of quiltmaking easier and more fun.
Being visual people we thought about and discussed in great depth the mental process of reading a pattern and then trying to visualize the construction being described with words. What if we threw all of the standard formats for pattern writing out the window and developed a graphic approach unique to each pattern? What if you could look at a glance and see how many steps and how many blocks/pieces/units you needed to assemble the whole quilt? There would be no advertising in this magazine so rather than have to flip from page to page with ads in between, you could have one glorious spread after another. It didn’t need to be a huge magazine, we reasoned, but it had to be on nice quality paper so it would feel special. In 2012, we will offer digital downloads of each issue but for now, it will be in print.
And like Judy in “Babes in Arms,” we wanted it to sparkle. Pretty styled photography for each project, multiple color variations, fun graphics, lots of tips, three larger projects and one small one per issue. There’s a Palette Chasing column in each issue in which we feature a palette with specific fabric names and style numbers inspired by a beautiful destination.
Every fabric shown in each project is listed by manufacturer and style number so you can assemble your own kit if you want. We’ll also have a limited number of kits as well of every project in each issue. There will be projects with hand work and machine stitching in a variety of techniques. Still Life with Pears, a project in our first issue is a combination of hand and machine techniques, but we explain how you can adapt it to exclusively machine stitching if you prefer that. All patterns have been designed by us and tested by us. Our first issue is 20 pages (18 + cover). Our guess is that future issues will be about that length as well.
Modern Quilts Illustrated will be published three times a year and the issues will be numbered not dated because a good project is just as good in April as it was in January. We will be printing in small runs with a fast turnaround time. So if a great new fabric line comes out in February, we can review it in the issue that comes out in March. Jim White, who did the photography in both Quilts Made Modern and Transparency Quilts did the styled shot photography for the first issue and we hope will continue to work with us on future issues.
I head to Houston to Quilt Market on October 27 to promote Modern Quilts Illustrated to quilt shop owners who might be interested in carrying it in their shops. Although we will be selling it through our website, we hope that shop owners will also carry individual issues as well. If you want your local shop to carry Modern Quilts Illustrated, let them know because it’s unlikely that our little indie publication will find its way onto a shelf at your local newsstand.
Each issue will retail for $14. If you would like to purchase it from us directly, you can either come to our launch party on December 4 (more details to follow) or you can give us a call and we’ll mail you a copy for $15 (which includes postage). If you would like a subscription for three issues for $30 (+ tax for subscribers in Illinois), please call us at (708) 445-1817 and we’ll get an account set up for you. Our first issue will ship the week of November 3. Issue #2 will ship in late March 2012 and #3 will be printed in July 2012.
This is a huge new adventure for us. We have worked nights and weekends for months to refine our vision and figure out the logistics of making this happen. We’d love your feedback and thoughts. We’re so proud of what we’ve put together and hope that it delights you.