[Note to readers: this post should have been published in early September but apparently disappeared. I’m posting it now hoping it is still of interest.]
We finished up the West Coast Road Trip and headed days later to Grand Rapids to the AQS show, which is our favorite show to do. We took our capable and fun assistant Vanessa with us, which made everything easier given the crowds we had in the booth. We took bolts of both Victorian Modern and Passport and cut fabric in the booth. Bill taught 4 classes while Vanessa and I vended in the booth. Mostly I remember the food. We ate every night at Marie Catrib’s which is one of our favorite restaurants anywhere in the world. It’s especially glorious if you’re gluten-free and missing wonderful, flavorful, imaginative sandwiches and desserts. If you’re ever within 100 miles of Grand Rapids and you’re an adventurous eater, see if Marie’s is open.
Before we head to Madison WI next week for Quilt Expo Bill and I have been rethinking every aspect of Modern Quilts Illustrated before we finalize content for issue #7 and the new subscription cycle. We had planned to add 4 more pages to each issue but are now considering every feature in the magazine. When you have advertisers, you have to have a predictable format so they know what they’re buying. Our assumption (tell us if this isn’t the case) is that our readers want content. In fact they want as much content as we can possibly jam into each issue.
So we’re taking the approach that every single thing in the magazine needs to earn its right to be in there. The customary letter from the editor/publisher? Would you rather have a tutorial in that space? How about the back cover? If you sell ads, that’s valuable real estate. But we don’t so what’s the best feature for that location? Our policy has always been that nothing is allowed to be included in the issue if it doesn’t make you a better quilter. Interviews and behind the scenes features would help you understand design and materials so that’s in. Tutorials and patterns that teach you new techniques? Absolutely. Some $12.95 gizmo that you don’t really need? No, because that’s not going to help you be a better, smarter or more efficient quilter. So rather than create a bunch of features and then look for content to fill them, our approach will be to see what’s inspiring and interesting and tailor each issue to the content or ideas that we think will delight and inspire you. There will be patterns, of course, but the structure of the magazine may change from issue to issue if we find that a visit to a thread factory or something deserves more of a page.
Although it was anything but a relaxing summer for us, the best part of the summer for us was seeing other parts of the country and seeing how quilting differs in different communities. Quilters on the West Coast used different fabrics and had a different approach to quilting than we’ve seen in the Midwest or East Coast for example. Shaking up our routine encouraged us to question our assumptions about how we should structure our magazine and our patterns. In other ways, it affirmed some things we’re already doing. Truly, lessons learned are the best souvenirs from any trip.