Saturday, June 2, 2012

What's in your mailbox?

The new stand overflows with quilting magazines, both the regular bimonthly editions but also the plethora of special issues that are so abundant these days. How to choose which ones are the best and deserve your subscription dollars? It is a quandary that every quilter including myself faces. Certainly none of us has luxury of a bottomless wallet or unending storage space to be able to buy them all, not to mention the time to actually read them.

I started with a subscription to McCall's Quilting.
 It was part of my birthday present from my mom. I like it but I don't love it. Ya know what I mean?  There are definitely a bunch of fresh new ideas in it but also a lot of traditional quilts just made with current fabrics. I still have another year on this subscription before I have to decide whether or not to renew it.

With more of my birthday money last year from Mom, I took advantage of a 2 for 1 deal. The first was for Quilters Newsletter.
It is a really nice magazine....but.....it focuses mostly on art type quilts and that is just not me. At all. Granted some of the quilts are stunning, like the one on the current issue's cover as you can see in the picture, but overall I just don't get much out of it myself. This is one I won't be renewing.

The other subscription of the 2 for 1 deal was Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting.
 I'm not sure how I feel about this one yet. Yes it has some new ideas but it is heavy on traditional quilts/blocks/layouts. I don't like that it seems like a catalog for their kits that they sell themselves. A decision about whether or not to continue having this delivered by my mailman will need to be made soon but I'm going to percolate on it for a bit first. If I were to guess today, this one will get cancelled too.

Knowing that I'm definitely not renewing at least one of the above magazines, I started checking out the other options. Forget about Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims' Quilt Life. Boring. I don't need their recipes thank you very much and the rest of it.....nothing to hold my interest. I've read American Patchwork and Quilting but since I can get practically all of its contents for free on their website, it doesn't make sense to pay for a print copy.

Recently I sent in my check for a year of Quiltmaker.
From the single issue I bought, this one could be promising. Final judgement will have to wait though until I have read at least 3 of the coming months' offerings. But it does bug me that I received a renewal notice already before my first copy even arrived.

Others under consideration are: Quilt, The Quilter and Quilter's World. 

So what do you read and more importantly why? What do you want in a quilt magazine?

For me I want insights into new fabric lines coming out, great info on cool must have tools and quilting gift items (there isn't nearly enough of this), book reviews, new quilt block designs and layouts along with old time blocks made and set in innovative new ways. Plus I love seeing out-of-the box ideas like the one I saved for painting quilt blocks on a wall. It is much better if the magazine includes techniques, not just those for beginners but others for those of us who are beyond the basics. That is how I learned what Trapunto is. I've even saved a few articles on such things as how to prepare your quilt for your long arm quilter, the differences in the various long arm machines (in case I ever delve into that arena) and how to plan to make a quilt for raffling success. It is these sorts of articles that sets one magazine apart from the others. I want more, oh so much more, than just a bunch of patterns.

So talk to me gang! Tell me what your mail carrier delivers to  your mailbox. Are there any other worthy contenders that I'm leaving out? Is there a perfect magazine for me? I have yet to find it.

10 of you added your own colorful comments:

  1. You are not going to love my answer :-) None. I am no longer subscribed to any of them. I found that I almost never went back to look for a project, or if I did it turned out I was remembering the color combo that I loved, not the quilt. I have (seriously) found that the internet and a quick search yields more info and/or inspiration for me. In fact, on my blog I posted a while ago that I was giving away all of my magazines...so, ya want some? I still have 2 or 3 priority mail boxes worth...

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  2. I do not subscribe to any magazines - never did. They have way too many advertisements for the money and I hate making a quilt that 200+ others are. Most fabric companies have their own websites with free patterns - I rather see what they do with their own fabric - and then play with it my way.

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  3. I'm with the others. I don't subscribe to any quilting magazines, although I have considered it and appreciate your overview of the major ones. I tend to browse the magazines in the bookstore or craft store and decide on an issue-by-issue basis whether or not to buy. There really has to be something in there that I can't figure out on my own to make me want to buy it. I know subscriptions are the more economical way to go, but like you, the major magazines don't really hold my interest. I have liked Stitch magazine, although this is a sewing magazine that usually has a few quilts. But really, the internet has so much to offer, and often at no cost, so there is no shortage of inspiration out there.

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  4. I subscribe to some Australian magazines. I'd love to get my hands on some US publications, but they're super super expensive to buy here.

    Happy sewing!

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  5. I have a subscriptin to Popular Patchwork (British mag) that was a present... I find it boring and repetative... wont be carrying that one on! Also Fabrications (British!.. I know but I live here! He-He).. I like this one as it changes all the time, the articles are varied and they do reviews of shows as well. I occasionaly buy American mags but agree with your comments on them.. I do try and get Australian ones when I can (subscription SOOO expensive) as they tend to be intersting xx

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  6. I'm really enjoying reading all of your comments on this subject. As for me, I guess I am a hybrid quilter....I do make some quilts using patterns designed by others but I also create my own designs based on an idea, whether it be something I've seen somewhere or something my brain concocts.

    Since I still consider myself a relative newbie in the quilting world, there is so much still to learn and magazines are just one way that I do that. Some articles/patterns I take not of because of a block that I've never seen before, some for the interesting layout idea, some for the different border treatment and some for the color combinations, many that I might not have considered before.

    I totally agree that there is a huge ton of ideas and inspiration on the net, mostly for free but I still like to have a few magazines too. That is just one reason I limit myself. I like being able to read them while a passenger or while waiting at the docs office. I don't have a smart phone yet (soon hopefully) so I can't use that instead of the magazines. I also scan them in the evenings if I'm too bushed to sew or surf the net.

    I'm sure there will come a day when I cancel all my subscriptions too but for now I'd rather get fun mail like this instead of just more bills.

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  7. I only receive Quiltmaker because it was a Chrisrmas gift. Sometimes I would just purchase it at the store until I received it as a gift. There are so many free patterns on the Internet that I want to make that I don't see a reason to subscribe to magazines.

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  8. I have no subs coming in the mail at the moment. Quilter's World just came to an end. I'm not falling for my old tricks again. I would buy a mag off the newstand, love a couple of things in it. So, being excited over that, I'd subscribe. Only to be let down issue after issue of boredom.

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  9. None for me too. I have on rare occasion bought a magazine or even a book, but I find that I don't usually go back to them and I have yet to DO anything I've found in them. I do all my research online or from going to the quilting guild meetings.

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  10. I'm on the opposite end. I love Quiltmaker and Quilter's Newsletter completely. I am totally into their projects and ideas. American Patchwork & quilting, McCalls, The Quilter and the most boring Quilt Life I find completely unusable. I have every Quilting Arts mag. published and get most of the Quiltmania magazines for traditional inspiration and some of the Magic Patchwork mags. from England. I enjoy cuddling up with a good magazine, the colors and inspiration. I used to like Patchwork & Quilting from AU, but that's nothing special anymore either. A lot of the mags. from overseas have nice paper, but the price is not justified. I love the web, but it doesn't feel the same as holding something.

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I enjoy reading each and every comment that you share. And isn't that what it is all about....sharing.