The Changing Face of Quilting

Several months ago I picked up a bunch of old quilting magazines on freecycle. I haven’t looked at them because it seemed overwhelming, but we are about to move so I need to figure out if I really want them or not. I’m thinking not.

You wouldn’t think that quilting would change much over the years, but the magazines from the early ’90s haven’t wowed me yet. The colors are really dull and . . . well. . . old fashioned. You’d think that quilting is a timeless art. You wouldn’t think modern colors would make such a difference. But they do! Oh how they do. I am not into reproduction fabrics, and I guess I’m not into late 20th century colors.

Most of quilts they show are just tied. You would almost never see a tied quilt in a modern quilting magazine. I posted about this over at my regular blog and had a reader explain that back in the day the quilt police refused to let you machine piece. I wonder how many of those self-same quilt police now own a long arm machine? I tried tying a quilt once to make it go faster, but after two ties I ran to my machine and stitched in the ditch.

Most of the patterns say you should use polyester batting, which was cracking me up. You will REALLY never see a quilting magazine say that these days. Polyester is the evil step-child that everyone turns their nose up at. I saw a small ad for Hobbs Heirloom wool batting, explaining that it was a unique product that would change the way people quilted. I guess they were right!

There are no rotary cutting directions. Instead there are directions on how to make templates out of plastic or card stock. As if I am going to make templates for squares and rectangles. I had no idea rotary cutting was such a new concept. I can guarantee I never would have became a quilter if I had to cut things out the old fashioned way. Quilts of yesteryear must have really been a work of love. Not that they aren’t now, but even the simplest of quilts must have taken at least twice, if not four times as long as quilts of today. All that scissor cutting *shudder*.

The biggest laugh had to come from an article about the “future of quilting.” It was actually pretty accurate, but it missed a major concept: the Internet. It predicted that in the year 2010 we would all wake up in the morning, log onto our computers and video teleconference with our quilting friends from around the world. Pretty accurate. We could do that if we wanted.

It also predicted that quilt shops and other companies would send out CD-ROMS (very carefully explaining what a CD-ROM was) that would contain their entire catalog. Sort of true. We use websites. Can you imagine all the waste we’d produce if we got CDs from every online quilt shop we like to visit?

It had a lot of ideas about how the computer could be used to store pattern data. We could buy CD-ROMS with patterns and magically search for a pattern, calling up the pattern and pictures of completed quilts. Again, close call, only no CD-ROMS. The funniest bit had to be a little paragraph about how quilters might be able to talk to each other “on-line” with Prodigy, CompuServe or Internet. I admit, I was giggling at the Internet just being Internet and on par with Prodigy and CompuServe. Back in 1994 I had no clue about the Internet and how it would change my life. I couldn’t even imagine meeting people all over the world, buying stuff on the computer, writing about my daily dramas.

It did hit one nail square on the head. It said we would be able to buy software to draft patterns for us. Most serious quilters own at least one type of quilting software. I really need to buy something if I am going to continue the round robin I’m in. I have the Dear Jane software, but usually just depend on Quilters Cache or books and magazines for patterns.

I found the whole thing very amusing, but not amusing enough to keep the three foot high stack of magazines.

4 Responses to “The Changing Face of Quilting

  • Michelle
    February 13th, 2009 09:52

    That’s funny!

  • viridian61
    May 12th, 2009 10:06

    Maybe keep that one article, and throw the rest away. I have some of those old mags too. I like the ads for the quilting stores: “we have *500* bolts of fabric!”

  • Jean
    May 19th, 2009 23:31

    I would have died for those magazines. I tear out what I want and put them in vinyl sleeves in binders and then try to use some of those patterns, using modern colors, fabrics and other things. I still tie my quilts, can’t afford a long arm, but I am getting more bolder with free hand machine quilting.

  • Hedgehog
    June 1st, 2009 06:53

    Love this post! I’ve picked up a lot of old magazines from the shop at the New England quilt museum. The ads are especially fun!