Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Demise of The Quilter Magazine

In September 1999, All-American Crafts published an article in Traditional Quilter magazine that I wrote about a Temperance quilt top for which I provided the pattern. The editor told me that if I ever wanted to publish anything else to please let her know as she would be interested. The next issue found an article I wrote about an unusual potholder I found and re-created. It was the most clever thing I have ever seen to the point that it could never be duplicated exactly because of its unusual 19th century fabrics. Again, the editor mentioned that if I ever wanted to submit anything else she would like first dibs.

As time went on, I submitted more than 90 articles (in Traditional Quilter, The Quilter, Fabric Trends, and Scrap Quilt Favorites) and I loved researching old quilts and sharing what I found out about them. I wrote about other textiles, as well, such as hankies, Hmong work, and political quilt blocks, to name a few topics. Sometimes, I provided a pattern. To say that I was "invested" in All-American Crafts and in particular, The Quilter magazine, would be an understatement. I loved the magazine and had a great working relationship with the staff.

I was told that on 8-8-2014, the CEO called employees together and told them the magazine had declared bankruptcy. It was a sad day for many. In a small company such as that, the regular employees are also 'invested" and committed to making the enterprise a "go." However, in these trying financial times, there was no money to pay the printer and he decided not to print any more magazines on credit.

An article that I wrote about Grandma Moses and her quilts and needlework was to have run in two parts, Part 1 scheduled for that next issue. All of my work of research and a trip to Bennington Museum to photograph the artifacts was about to go down the tubes as was the high cost, already paid by the magazine, fees charged by Galerie St. Etienne who controls the legal right to any reproductions of Moses' work.

I wondered if Bennington Museum would be interested in featuring a research paper in their Walloomsack Review publication. The museum owns the lion share of most of Moses' paintings and most all of her other items. They were happy to include some of the information I'd uncovered and that will be published on or about April 21. So, not all is lost. I am just sorry that the photos will be fewer and will not be in color in the interior of the publication as is the case of most academic journals. Yet, the images will give you an idea of the diversity of Moses' work.

Still and all, I feel sorry that The Quilter folded. It was an honest publication with a hard-working team of editors who strove hard to "get it right" when it came to pattern directions and manuscripts. Personally, I had a good run of 15 years, nothing to sneeze at. I was able to write some wonderful articles, some of them ground-breaking. I am proud of my work and I hope it will be useful to future researchers.

This post reflects my opinions and information insofar as I know it to be true. In the course of human endeavors, everything is always more complicated that it first seems. I have presented this account in the interest of readers who may have wondered what happened to their subscriptions. We all loved the products of All-American Crafts and for a very long time, the magazine filled a gap by offering quilt history articles to the general public whereas most other magazines concentrated mostly on pattern offerings. We are sorry to see The Quilter's demise.

Patricia Cummings

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