We wanted to start a new tradition that encourages quilters to reflect on their year of quilting, to celebrate each other’s successes and to encourage each other to try something new in the New Year. We envisioned an online holiday party of sorts (that you can attend in your pajamas!) in which quilters around the world would share what they’ve been working on and what they’ve learned in 2018.
So we launched #MyYearinQuilts on December 1 on Instagram and Facebook. If you haven’t joined us yet, all you have to do is to post a picture relating to the daily prompts above and share it on any social media platform using the hashtag #MyYearinQuilts. You can also follow the same hashtag to see what others are posting. If you miss a day or a week, no worries. Just post when you can.
We hope you’ve had a good year. Thanks to all of you for the encouragement and enthusiasm for our work this year. Next year marks 20 years for our business and we have a LOT of fun in store for you!
We were saddened to read today that publisher F&W is shuttering four craft magazines including Modern Patchwork and Quilty. In the past few years, we’ve watched one quilting magazine after another close. It’s heartbreaking to see so many talented writers, photographers, art directors and staff lose their livelihoods. However, those who follow industry statistics know that quilting industry growth has remained statistically flat for the past few years. Fabric designers know that the notoriously long production schedules for traditional magazines mean that it’s extremely unlikely that by the time the magazine is printed that the fabrics shown will still be available. Many fabric lines have a life span of under a year and magazines book quilt features over a year in advance. Advertisers know that they must divide their ad budgets among a variety of sources that didn’t exist when most of these magazines began.
Although we are sad to lose beloved publications, we want to reassure our readers that Modern Quilts Illustrated and all of our other publications have very different business models and continue to enjoy robust sales. Modern Quilt Studio has a project in an upcoming issue of Modern Patchwork and we hope that the company’s plans to finish issues already in production before they cease includes the issue that will feature our quilt project. Either way, we have three publications already in the pipeline to share with you in the coming few months so stay tuned.
We’ve watched with sadness the shuttering of quilt shops, fabric companies and quilt magazines in the past few years and fear that we haven’t seen the end of industry consolidation. Hearing yesterday that Modern Quilts Unlimited and Machine Quilting Unlimited are ceasing publication was disappointing indeed. As retail and publishing environments experience structural changes, owners will be forced to adjust their business models to survive and in some cases it just won’t be possible.
Our business model has always been different. We’ve never relied on advertising for our publications and have never had a large staff, high overhead, debt or investors to please. We started our business 19 years ago this week with our own savings in a studio in our home with just the two of us. Our only goal has been to design and make quilts that are expressive of the time in which we live. Along the way we added a studio manager, an e-commerce site, began designing fabrics, wrote six books, collaborated with a job training facility for developmentally disabled adults and became publishers as well. We’ve adopted a child, dealt with illness, moved and fostered 84 homeless animals.
Occasionally we’ve wondered if we should close our business and pursue more lucrative lines of work but we found our sweet spot when we took the risk to put what’s in our heads on paper. If you had been up at 6am on a hot summer Saturday morning last August you would have seen us dragging a leather sofa out of our van and onto a sidewalk adjacent to an industrial pallet yard in Chicago with 18-wheelers whizzing by just because we wanted the patina of a rusted iron door of the pallet yard in the shot for our Reclaimed quilt. If we’ve just had a foot of snow and it’s 5 degrees out, chances are that we’re packing up quilts to shoot for our calendar while the snow is fresh. No sane editor would ask her staff to refinish a beaten up table found in the alley because it’s the perfect curve for the cover shot of Modern Quilts Illustrated 8. Several years ago we abandoned the subscription model almost all magazines use in favor of just putting out the best possible publications we can and taking the time we need to do that. We believe that if we’re excited about every detail of our publications that you will sense that as you flip through the pages and that you will want more.
In the future we may offer digital versions of our publications and patterns. However, just as there will always be a place in the world for books, there will also be people who love flipping through an ad-free quilting magazine on high-quality paper with beautiful photos and detailed diagrams. It saddens us to lose talented colleagues and inspiring publications, but we take these industry consolidations as marching orders to put out only our best ideas and our most inspiring work. Right now we are working on a project for fall that’s been in the works for six years because we believe that our best work is yet to come. Sincere thanks to those of you who have supported us for the past 19 years. Without you, we wouldn’t be here. Onward!