Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I am on a break from working on that jacket - it is going great - but I stitched a line that I shouldn't have. So, I am taking it out - the kind of task I like least.

There has been a lot of commenting on the Quilt Art email group this past week about the Quilting Arts magazine. It happens to be the one quilting magazine that I subscribe too. The thread of discussion has been long and has branched out in many directions not really related to the original post. That is the way most discussions evolve on the web it seems. The discussion of the magazine has sort of galvanized at this point into those that like the magazine as it is and those that wish it were different, perhaps more advanced, more relevant to their interests.

Since I am subscribing to it and intend to keep subscribing, I guess I fall into the group of those that appreciate the magazine. I see some interesting parallels between Quilting Arts another magazine that I receive - Runner's World - a magazine for distance runners. Some of you know that I am marathon runner. When my monthly copy of Runners' World arrives, I quickly scan through it. Some of the articles are always directed at new runners and how to run a 5k (3.2 miles and relatively short in the world of distance running). Sometimes there will be a feature on other length races like a 10K, a marathon or a really long distance run of 50 miles or more. Other articles deal with diet, supplemental training of interest to all runners like stretching, strength building exercises, equipment and usually there is a feature on an athlete.

Naturally, some of these articles are of more interest to me than others. I may pick up a few tips on diet or some stretches that I can use. I might just enjoy reading about another runner or some of the latest equipment or clothing that is available. I don't need to really know at this point about running a 5K or how to train for your first marathon (a popular topic) since I have already run quite a few. Still, it has never dawned on me to lament the fact that Runners' World has material in it that is way too basic or off topic for me. I just don't read those articles. I appreciate the fact that that material is helpful for others and quite honestly, I am not sure the magazine could survive financially if it focused only upon what interests a 63-year-old female marathoner.

Viewing Quilting Arts in the same vein, I am not surprised that not every article interests me. I do always enjoy the colors and design of the magazine. I often pick up tips and am intrigued by the many techniques that they share a glimpse of. I can't say that I am prone to actually doing a project that they offer but I usually read the directions to understand the process and see if there are any ideas that might be useful for me. I actually save the magazines as references on basic techniques for a quick review if I am going to use a process I haven't worked with in a while.  

I suspect the frustration with the content of Quilting Arts surfacing in the current Quiltarts discussion may come from those who want more support as 'advanced' quilt artists and wish Quilting Arts was a better source of that for them.  I wonder if a better discussion might have emerged if the emphasis had been on how to find better support for quilt artists who are not new to the field rather than debating a magazine which seems to be doing a good job at what it says is its mission.

Now I haven't said anything particularly profound or earth-shattering in this post. Just a thought that we all should keep in mind in discussing a topic online. In conflict resolution, there is a phrase, Hard on the issue, soft on the people. Discussions that focus more on what particular needs are and how they can be met, rather than focusing on why one particular vehicle is not meeting needs, create fewer hurt feelings and more solutions.

Just a thought. Now back to tearing out those seams!


  1. Judy, you express the occasional 'twinge' of thought that I have with QA magazine. I too am a long-time subscriber -- and yes, sometimes its nuggets of interest and knowledge are of particular interest to me, and sometimes not. Your comparison to RW is a good one. I was a marathoner for 20 years between my late 20s and my late 40s, back before woment were allowed to run competitively and when Avon sponsored marathons just for women. Then life got too fast, and I slowed to a bvisk walk. I pick up RW from time to time -- especially as nice weather approaches in the spring -- but find little or nothing there for the aging runner, but sometimes I purchase a copy simply for the inspiration.

    I would suggest that even when the articles in QA aren't tecnically 'advanced', they can still be a source of inspiration if we open ourselves to it. :-0

  2. I agree totally, Margaret. It has to do with an 'empty cup' approach. Which, I appreciate, is really hard when people are frustrated and not finding the support they need. I, of course, would prefer that we not blame someone or something, but focus instead in figuring out how to solve our own issues.
    Nice to know you were a marathoner. I did one while my kids were young and just returned to it, at the prompting of my daughter, about five years ago.

  3. Hi Judy, I'm so glad you shared your opinion. I too am a subscriber to Quilting Arts. It has been a favorite since I picked up my first issue. The magazine has helped me grow and I continue to find interesting and colorful content. I used to read it cover to cover, but now scan it because I now know some of the techniques are ones that I may not be interested in. I still read more of the articles in this magazine than most I subscribe to. Sometimes I look at the magazine as if I am taking a repeat class on quilting or color theory. Each time I take a class from different instructor I take something new home and I become a better artist.

    I do hope Quilting Arts continues to follow the path that they are on. The editors keep things fresh. I think the magazine will continue to appeal to a wide market and including younger quilters and mixed media artists.

  4. Thanks for your thoughts, Chris. It is a really good magazine.