General Reviews of MAGAZINES …. sorry ranting again

DISCLAIMER: I got a bunch of free magazines and books from my quilt shop friend. I am only mentioning this as I do not want anyone to think I am getting any money or sponsorship because I have been posting so many reviews lately. Anyways I did make out like a bandit got some really good magazines and a stinker…. I am going to be reviewing magazines in an entirety rather than individual issues.

FIRST off a couple of years ago I stopped subscribing to almost all my quilting magazines… they were so redundant and many of the quilts displayed in them besides being uninspiring were downright UGLY quilts. Most of the quilts shown were a mishmash from the same fabric collection and I considered them more advertisement for fabric companies then quilts I would want to make. The quilts lacked contrast, spark and focus, further more I saw the same quilt blocks being used over and over again… stars and monkey wrenches showed up repeatedly in all the magazines. WITH over 4000 known quilt blocks couldn’t the editors insist of different block patterns?

Since I save patterns and pictures of quilts for inspiration I found I was throwing out / giving away more and more magazines and keeping less and less patterns or pictures for inspiration. I also found I became a big PINTEREST USER and enjoyed the less clutter from getting rid of the magazines. Consequently I dropped all my magazine subscriptions. The only one I have kept for the last three years were FONS AND PORTER LOVE OF QUILTING. I would get the subscription as part of a package every time I bought a series DVD. I have recently subscribed to MACHINE QUILTING UNLIMITED which is actually for long-armers but has a lot of really good information about sewing machines, threads, batting etc. So far the majority of what they discuss in the magazine can be applied to my domestic machine quilting. I am going to maintain my subscription for a couple more years.

SO on to the reviews…

I like the new line of magazines that FONS AND PORTER are producing. I am finding I have less and less time to quilt so I want simpler patterns. I have also gotten away from the styling in the flagship magazine LOVE OF QUILTING … those quilts tend to be template heavy, F&P product heavy and very traditional and retro in their styling. They use a lot of Civil War and reproduction fabrics in their quilts. They occasionally have more contemporary fabrics but even then the pallets are more mature and muted in styling. Maybe because I had the magazine for over 10 years I am bored by it. My quilting style has changed and evolved over time and yes I enjoy antique quilts but usually not in my home. I will recommend this magazine to those people who like traditional style of quilts. The lessons in the magazine are well written and easy to understand. I always thought I got my money’s worth from the magazine. I did and do save a lot of their patterns for someday use.

I do love their new magazine lines QUILTY, QUILTING QUICKLY, and EASY QUILTS they reflect a more modern ascetic . I see fresher, more innovative styling to the quilts. I do not see a repeat of the same blocks and patterns. I had to make a series of baby quilts last year and those magazines were a gold mine of ideas, pattern and yes even instruction. Much of the techniques and instructions come from the parent magazine LOVE of Quilting. I recognize the writing styles and the articles. After all how many ways can you make half square triangles? ( ANSWER: over 16 methods) These magazines are also F&P product heavy but for some reason I do not seem to mind as much. Probably because I have found so much other useable information in the magazines. I feel I am getting my money’s worth. I have made a large number of these patterns when I need to make fast gifts. I find I have been saving these magazine intact for many years, usually I rip out what I want and toss the rest in my annual purge. These magazine are saved from that fate… so far.

One magazine I found I think you should not buy as it was not worth the money and it is very expensive ( $11.99 American for less than 100 pages) was PATCHWORK and QUILTING, Sharing your Passion for Fabrics, an English publication. I read three of the issues. The magazine is advertisement heavy, pattern and article light, did not have much substance. There were 6 block / quilt patterns, the rest of the projects were purses, and softies. There were 5 pages devoted to fabric collections but I consider that advertisement and of no use to me because I only buy from local quilt shops. ( HAVE to touch the fabric to love before I buy.) I did not see anything different or special about the ascetics of this magazine and you get more bang for your buck from other magazines.

I have several issues of INTERNATIONAL, IRISH and French ( English version) Quilting magazines from various publications and most of them were better developed. My cousin brought me an Italian sewing /quilt magazine and helped me translate some of it to English. I loved the pictures and the magazine is very stylized more like a coffee table book. It was heavy into quilts using trapunto done in silks and satins. I put the Italian away on my reference shelf as it reminds me of my mother and grandmother.

American Patchwork and Quilting use to be my favorite quilting magazine along with McCalls and I still love their special issues. Somewhere along the way I stopped liking them and dropped my subscriptions in 2011- 2012. Lately I have been picking them up again when I go to the quilt shop. I think the problem was that McCall’s and Patchwork both went to the dark side and had to many what I called MASHED up quilts where a single collection was used in the making of the quilt and it lacked contrast and spark. The special issues American, and Scrap Quilts did not have that problem but the flag ship magazine not only had lack luster fabric picks the pattern used where reparative. I once counted 4 monkey wrench patterns in the same magazine… boring. (I base all of what I am saying in one of my purges I only saved one or two patterns from an entire magazine. ) I am reconsidering my evaluation of these magazines because in the last couple of months I am finding them more diverse in their color selections, techniques used and block patterns.  I have been reading some information on techniques I have never done so I am learning a lot.

Too bad, I have become a PINTEREST fanatic and use that as my main source of inspiration. I now like developing my own designs rather than using patterns by other people.  I guess I have changed a lot in the last couple of years as a quilter.
This is all for now. I will be reviewing more books and magazines in the future. I just got saw some that I really want to look into. I also plan a big purge of 2 bins filled with older quilt magazine and that means I will have more opinions.





4 thoughts on “General Reviews of MAGAZINES …. sorry ranting again

  1. I am still a magazine junkie, but getting disillusioned. I get mad too, when I flip through a magazine and find essentially the same pattern in two different quilts. (I’ve never found four in one issue, though!)

    I am stopping my subscription to Quilters Newsletter. I went through old copies and realized there weren’t any quilts in them that I wanted to make, and the instructional parts were just too arty for me. I’m keeping on with Fons and Porter because I do like their instructional parts, and I almost always see one quilt I’d like to make.

    I always pick up the American Patchwork and Quilting special issues where they focus on the stores. I don’t know why they fascinate me, but I love reading the little stories about how they got started!

    I will keep subscribing to my Canadian magazines – Canadian Quilter and Quilters Connection. Because of our small market here, I want to support them so that they can stay in business. Besides, they are good magazines – more articles, and not such a focus on patterns.

    I also like some of the Australian magazines. They usually bundle up two outdated issues for about $10 on our big box bookstore. Their quilts are usually more intricate / complicated than those in American magazines. You might find some new ideas in them.

  2. I think I echo the gist of your feeling. When I retired I subscribed to every quilting magazine I could find, just to see what I liked. I have been letting many of them go. It’s good to mix it up and subscribe to something different. But I have evolved, like you, what I liked 10 or 15 years ago no longer speaks to me.
    Pinterest is fun, isn’t it?

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