When I first got into quilting in the late 70's there weren't many magazines - or books for that matter - about quilting. Quilters Newsletter was the first magazine I found. I subscribed immediately and devoured every issue. I bought back issues when I had the chance. I subscribed to Quiltmaker as soon as I discovered it, and had all but a couple of the first few issues. I subscribed to Quilting Today, and had every single issue of Traditional Quiltworks. I tried a couple magazines that I didn't care for, and let my subscription lapse after a year. I subscribed to new magazines as they were introduced to the public. At the height of my quilting magazine mania I believe I had eleven or twelve different subscriptions! Most of them came either quarterly, or semi-annually, with two or three coming every other month. As quilting became more and more popular the magazines increased the number of issues per year. After about 10 years I had at least ten to twelve linear feet of shelf space devoted to quilt magazines. Something had to go!
My solution was to ask my husband for a filing cabinet, hanging files and file folders for Christmas. Happy to oblige - it makes his shopping very easy when I know just what I want - we picked up the cabinet the day after Christmas. For the next several months I went through my magazines, saving everything I thought I might ever want to make or read again. These were carefully sorted and filed by technique and subject matter. I also filed all my patterns, which freed up more shelf space. This filled three drawers of the filing cabinet. Doll and teddy bear patterns and cross stitch charts and magazines filled the last drawer. I kept intact only the current year of quilt magazines.
Fast forward to today. I didn't keep up with my sorting and filing, so once again I have large stacks of magazines to go through. In the meantime I've filled up the space that used to contain magazines and patterns with more fabric. Doll and bear patterns, cross stitch charts and more have moved next door into the filing cabinet in the computer room to make room for more and more quilt patterns. Magazines keep coming in the mail every month, and quilt patterns continue to sing me their siren song until I can't help but put them in my shopping basket.
It's time to bring this senseless accumulation to a screeching halt. I've not renewed a single one of my quilt magazines. I'm not keeping any at all. I can peruse the latest issue of each magazine at Barnes and Noble and will allow myself to buy one now and then if I must. If I decide I have to have something arriving in my mailbox I'll subscribe to one of the great Australian magazines. Or maybe Quiltmania, though I can get it at the bookstore also.
Just like I'll never use up all my fabric, I'll never make even a fraction of the quilt patterns that I've so carefully torn from magazines or brought home from the quilt store. Or even a fraction of the quilts in all my quilt books. And the people on the Stashbusters list are right. Many of the quilts in magazines these days feature a single line of fabric - they DO look like big shiny ads for those lines. It's been a LONG time since I saw anything really original in a magazine either. That's great - beginning quilters are buying those magazines and all those patterns are new to them. Quilt magazines definitely serve an important purpose for many, many quilters - I'm just not one of them any more.
So while I'm out of commission - unable to sew or quilt - I'm going through all the magazines on my shelf and trying to be very particular about what I save. When I finish doing that I will file what I save - along with the stack of previously ripped out things and purchased patterns that aren't filed - into the already-very-full filing cabinet. This will give me a chance to look at everything there and ask myself whether or not I'm really going to make each one. I know I'll still keep a good many of them, but I'm willing to bet there are lots more I will now be tossing in the recycle bin.
1. Delightful dinner with Rebecca and Rick
2. More range of motion in my right arm
3. Wonderful friends and neighbors who are stepping in to drive me around when Fred can't
4. Weight Watchers ice cream bars
5. Payday tomorrow!