The Modern Quilt Goes Mainstream

by Weeks on 03/02/2007

in Quilting

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I once heard an editor of a cooking magazine say that she was always debating in her mind whether her magazine should reflect the taste of their readership or lead it. It’s no secret that the image on the front of a magazine dramatically affects the sales of the magazine, so it was with nervous excitement that we waited to see the response to the latest issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.

On the cover of the just-released April issue is Spice Market, a contemporary quilt designed and made by us with our latest line of fabric. There is also a 5-page article on FunQuilts, which is the nicest piece anyone has ever written about us in the magazine. There are also beautiful pictures of our studio. When this came out last week, we wondered how APQ’s readership would respond. By putting a modern quilt on the cover of a magazine with a traditional base readership, was APQ reflecting its readership or leading it? Would it attract any new readers?

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APQ listed our phone number and website so readers could purchase the fabrics used to make the Spice Market quilt. This is especially helpful to readers because it is so hard to track down all 13 fabrics used in the quilt, especially if you are making a large quilt and need lots of yardage from the same bolt.

So far daily traffic to our website has tripled and the phone is ringing constantly. The big surprise is that the demographics of the callers is so different from what we expected. We’re getting calls from octogenarians and bloggers, wives whose husbands especially like the quilt, moms who are making the quilt for their college-bound children and young, beginning quilters who are attracted to the simple construction. In the US we’ve received calls from Washington State to Florida, with both urban and rural post office box mailing addresses. We also have received calls from Canada. Our website statistics show us that there are times when groups of people all from the same server are on our website at the same time. We envision co-workers on a break looking at our website.

What we’ve learned this week is that the divisions between traditional quilters and contemporary quilters aren’t as clear-cut as we thought.

Finally, the editors of American Patchwork & Quilting have agreed to let me interview them about their magazine, what’s new in quilting and any other questions whipup’s readers would like to submit. They really want to know what interests you, so post your questions here, I’ll forward as many as I can, and get you some answers.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heels February 3, 2007 at 4:41 am

That’s a great picture of y’all and the quilts ain’t half-bad, either.

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2 Kim February 3, 2007 at 5:03 am

Yeeeeeeah! Congratulations! I’m going to pick up a copy right away.

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3 admin February 3, 2007 at 5:30 am

Hi Weeks and Bill
I am so excited for the you. The quilt is beautiful I can see why husbands would be especially interested in it. Especially if they are usually at the mercy of their quilting wives and are unsure about requesting a more unisex design. The photo of you both is wonderful. Yay congrats to you both.

mmm Questions… not sure really as I haven’t read American quilting but I think Australian quilting is probably quite similar. Lots of country style and vintage style with only something very occasional that interests a modern quilter. But maybe why did they choose to put a modern quilt on the cover – are they looking to change their readership – are they interested in the modern quilt way? are they planning more modern style quilting patterns and modern quilt fabric designers in the future?

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4 patti February 3, 2007 at 5:39 am

Oh how exciting! I saw it yesterday and wanted to get it but didn’t have my bank card with me….the quilt is so beautiful!!!! I love love love it.

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5 Angie February 3, 2007 at 8:15 am

Hey, Oh. My. Goodness! I had no idea this blog, that mag front and story were all one and the same!! I love your blog…and I loved this issue of AP&Q! Congratulations on a job well done and well received! :D

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6 colleen February 3, 2007 at 10:34 am

I used to get American Patchwork all the time but stopped getting it about a year ago. I thought there was too much applique and traditional things. While I like reproduction fabric — a lot — I found myself being drawn to brighter fabrics too and the quilts I was seeing in the magazine seemed to traditional. I just thought it was repeating itself too much. I’d like to see them use more modern fabrics like Kaffe Fassett, but like Heather Ross and Amy Butler, too. That seems to be where a lot of quilters are heading. When I go into local quilt shops, I see a lot of brights, a lot of nontraditional quilts. Anyway, that is so cool and I’ll definitely buy it to learn more about your shop. I see your posts all the time but never made the connection, I’m sorry to say! Beautiful quilt on the front — I’ve been looking for one to make my teenage daughter.

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7 colleen February 3, 2007 at 10:41 am

Doh! I just went to your website and realized that I have some of your fabric from the prism minerals line. I had no idea that you were they! I’m so excited to find out more about your shop and your quilts.

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8 Anita February 4, 2007 at 2:39 am

It seems like it’s only been fairly recent that the line between traditional and modern quilters has started to blur. And I think it’s a good thing. I love both sides. Sometimes I feel like working on something modern. And sometimes I feel like working on something traditional.

As for a magazine’s focus… I’m not sure which is better, to reflect the readers tastes or lead them. Leading is obviously much more risky. And I can’t think of even one question at the moment.

But, hurray for you on the great spread in American Patchwork & Quilting!

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9 joybucket February 4, 2007 at 11:41 pm

Yay! Congratulations! And it’s about time! I typically stay away from quilting/sewing magazines due to seeing the same stuff all of the time. It’s refreshing to see that they are willing to branch out. As for topics and questions…I’m interested in color theory and design.

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10 KM February 5, 2007 at 12:49 am

I would love to see your blog. I tried the magazine site but found it impossible to navigate. I really like those quilts, I would make a quilt like that.

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11 Sarah February 6, 2007 at 1:03 am

When I saw the cover of the magazine I got really excited for you. That is great exposure and maybe it will inspire more young quilters. Aside from the online blogging world, I feel like one of the few young quilters.

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12 Laura February 8, 2007 at 2:38 am

I just received the kit of fabrics in the mail today. I am so excited to make this quilt. I have very limited time and since I’m getting back into quilting, I opted to go with a kit to speed things along. The colors are interesting and lovely. Thank you!

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13 Tina February 9, 2007 at 11:47 pm

Hi, Weeks! Congratulations on the cover and article! I love APQ — it’s one of my favorite quilting magazines. I really like the projects, first of all, and the instructions. They are so easy to read. I also enjoy reading the stories about quilters and discovering their sources of inspiration. I always look forward to the “Color Option” that’s featured with each quilt. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of those. :) This magazine has it all. I guess all I can say is, “Keep up the great work!”

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14 Laura February 27, 2007 at 4:12 am

These fabrics are just gorgeous – eye candy! I love the rich, saturated colors and small prints.
But… I cancelled my subscription to that magazine a long time ago. The patterns are so easy that I have no interest in them. The patterns are TOO easy. Why would I pay money to buy patterns that consist of simple rectangles? I could make that quilt with no pattern at all. To me, this barely qualifies as piecing.
I noticed throughout the issues I did get that the most common pattern was a 8″ or 10″ “conversational” fabric square surrounded by some sashing, and that’s it! The fabric may be beautiful, but the patterns in this magazine are BORING. I guess the magazine just doesn’t appeal to intermediate or advanced quilters like me.
And for what it’s worth, I hate to see every color in the fabric line used to make what I call rainbow quilts. Yuck. I would love to see what these fabrics looked like in combinations of 2, 3, or 4 colors.
Just my $0.02. Can’t please everyone I suppose.
Love your blog!

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15 Cheri Stallsmith May 5, 2007 at 11:02 pm

Is this magazine still available for purchase? The quilt looks interesting and I am also interested in your applique techniques. Thanks.

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