A Newsletter from Meg Cox                                March, 2015

Deadline: May 1

     It's totally OK if you haven't had time to start a quilt for the Animals We Love contest. You have time, dear ones! And you are going to have so much lovely fun. 
       You have all of April, and the quilts are only 16 inches by 16 inches. Your quilt can be about ANY animal at all -- real or imaginary. It could be a robotic bee, or a Wookie, or your pet. 
       The quilt above by Pauline Salzman is typical of her work. A dog-lover and skilled quilter, Pauline has contributed wonderful dog portraits for previous Alliance contests. 
        The uber-talented art quilter Susan Brubaker Knapp, has made the glorious fish quilt below for this year's Animal contest. 
        Remember, there are many benefits to entering the annual Quilt Alliance contest, over and above the creative rush you get. Your quilt will be permanently archived on the Quilt Index here, and you'll help a valuable non-profit continue its mission. You could also win awesome prizes. 
        Download entry forms and get more info at the Alliance website

Click on the link to learn about Creativebug's new 5-part series on Fabric Design. While there, you can sign up for a 2-week FREE trial period on the site. The regular subscription fee has just been lowered 50% to $4.95 per month, for access to the entire site. 

"This is the only e-newsletter that actually has news," says quilting icon Denyse Schmidt. 
Every month, this space is full of news and reviews, an insider's look at the quilt world prepared by a former Wall Street Journal reporter.  Readers learn what's new, cool and important -- ahead of the pack. 

For the 2nd year in a row, this newsletter won a coveted All Star Award from Constant Contact because it ranks in the top 10% for reader satisfaction.
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Who is Meg Cox?  

Journalist /Author/Teacher



 President, Quilt Alliance

Book an inspiring lecture for your guild.

Openings in 2015 and 2016.



  book cover


 600 pages, $13.23 at Amazon









March Giveaway!!!
6 Month Pass to Creativebug plus
Victoria Findlay Wolfe Book & Templates


One lucky subscriber is going to win a six-month pass to any and all classes on Creativebug, plus Victoria Findlay Wolfe's glorious new book. Included in the prize is a set of Victoria's own large hexagon/triangle acrylic templates, and a diamond template to make four different sized blocks. 

 The winner will be chosen at random from e-mails received by midnight March 31. To enter, send an e-mail to [email protected]. (Only subscribers are eligible to win.) 
The February winner of the Creativebug pass, Heather Givans fat quarter bundle and EZ Quilting templates was Judy Tucker. 

Dear Friends--      
Now that Spring has finally come, it's time to think about hitting the road for quilt adventures.
        I've been getting ready for the first ever Slow Stitching Movement Getaway next month, which I'm co-hosting with Mark Lipinski. We're busy laying in goodies and dreaming up fresh ways to entertain our 30 quilters. I'm looking forward to the retreat myself, hoping to learn some new techniques and finish my own quilt for the Quilt Alliance 2015 contest. 
         In this month's Cash for Your Craft feature, I interview Victoria Findlay Wolfe about her dazzling rise and career advice. We also talk about her new book on double wedding ring quilts: she contributed a free copy to this month's giveaway.
         I'm a big fan of my lead sponsor Creativebug, but I had never met anybody in charge there until QuiltCon. I got a chance to speak to the company's editorial director Kelly Wilkinson, and learn about some exciting new developments at the company. Keep reading!

Cash for Your Craft: 
Victoria Findlay Wolfe Follows Her Bliss

       From the moment I met Victoria about 5 years ago, I could tell there was something extraordinary about her. Her passion and expertise as a quilter combine with a deep-seated authenticity. Although she has the looks and grace of a model (seriously, I watched designer Jay McCarroll try to talk her into working as a fitting model at the first Quilters Take Manhattan in 2011), she is the opposite of vain. She came to the Big Apple as a young woman wanting to make her name as an artist, but it's her farm roots in Minnesota that have helped make her one of the most prominent figures in quilting today. 

        As she travels the world teaching, lecturing and promoting her second book, I grabbed a chance to talk to Victoria about her star-power career. This book is remarkable and unusual, and I'm happy to say that Victoria gave me a copy of it, along with some of her templates, as part of this month's giveaway.

click image for VFW's website

         Q: To me, the most exciting aspect of your book, Double Wedding Ring Quilts: Traditions Made Modern is how personal it is. You really share not just lovely patterns, but how these quilts emerged from your life's story.  I didn't know the origin story of your powerful quilt "Double Edged Love" that won Best of Show at the first QuiltCon in 2013. It was about addressing both your city self and your farm self, and the whited out areas represent times when you were struggling to find yourself. I was really drawn to the "Farm Girl" quilt (photos above and below) which includes a giant star from your "made fabric," but there are so many other design elements. Can you talk about that quilt?

          A: While taking creative writing in college in Minnesota, my professor's father died. He was Native American and asked the class to come to the sitting. The body was in a pine box and he was wrapped in a morning star quilt, their traditional big star quilt. I was raised Catholic, and I was shocked. I thought about what would the quilt be like that I will be buried in. I keep trying to make that quilt, and right now this is the one. I started it four years ago, making the star in the center. It includes some of my husband's clothes, my clothes. I cut the star, but put it away and while working on this book, I pulled it out of a box. I wanted to incorporate all my family inside that quilt. And I had it quilted by Karen McTavish, who is part Native American. 

            Q: In addition to providing actual patterns, a lot of what this book does is share the principles that guide your quilting. You urge quilters to make mistakes, not even try to be perfect, and to try one new thing in each quilt. You go so far as to say, "Turn that mistake into a design decision. Take that 'oopsie' and make it the star of the quilt." Does this also describe how you've built your career?

            A: It wasn't my intention to make this a career. I was excited about making paintings and selling them to someone who would appreciate them, and the same with quilts. Quilting was an easier art with a kid at home, and I started blogging in 2007-08. I just wanted to sit in my studio and make stuff, and blogging was safe. I didn't have to get out there and push stuff and meet people. My friend was the one who started the Mod guild branch in the NY, and I volunteered to have the meeting in my loft. She walked off, and there I was. I was shy, and would never have done it alone! Stuff like how to give a good lecture, that was all learned, not innate. All of this has been an accident, as I searched for joy in my quilting. It only dawned on me at tax season when I saw how much
money I made that this is actually a job!

             Q: How have you made decisions on what opportunities to take, and which to pass on? What guides your decision-making?

             A: A lot of the things I've done, I didn't go looking for. I think if you continue to do the part you love, some of those things will come to you. And when they do, it's easy to get excited and say Yes, Yes, Yes. But it has to fit your ultimate goal. I only want to do things that bring me joy. I say No if it is going to take too much time away from what I really want to do, which is making quilts. I don't write patterns because my brain doesn't work that way. Never say never, but I don't want to design fabric. I did want to make my own templates, something that is mine that I can sell when I teach. I have a good time teaching and lecturing now, and the products I sell can help the business grow: I outgrew my own studio at home, so I rented another, and I have to work to pay for that.

             Q: Do you have any advice?
             A: You have to be true to making what YOU need to make. Instead of looking at 50 other people online, you have to figure out who you are and what you are doing that is different. Nothing happened for me until I started figuring that out. 

             Go to Victoria's website for her full schedule, You can see some of her double wedding ring quilts at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Nebraska from March 31 to June 28. She'll be lecturing and giving a trunk show on September 26, as part of the Alliance benefit Quilters Take Manhattan. And get the book! Even if you don't follow these patterns precisely, it will inspire whatever quilting you do. 
Much Ado About Creativebug

       I've been honored to have Creativebug as a lead sponsor for some time because their online craft classes are done with such a high level of quality and depth. They don't just show you how to make something: you get a real glimpse into the personal life of the craftsperson teaching you.

         So, I was excited to finally get to meet Kelly Wilkinson, the editorial director and a co-founder of Creativebug while I was at QuiltCon last month. She shared some news that I'm excited to share with you.

      One of the things that sets Creativebug apart is the subscription system: they encourage their audience to subscribe to the entire platform, which means you can take a really wide range of classes and take your time at it. They've been providing free trials so people could get a taste of their quality, but now they are really making it irresistible: the monthly subscription fee has dropped 50%, to $4.95 from $9.95. 

          And, Creativebug is committed to creating exciting and original new content. Kelly told me about a special series that she unveiled publicly at QuiltCon, a 5-part series on fabric design, with A-list designers Heather Ross, Denyse Schmidt and Lizzy House. You can watch a trailer on the series here

         The first couple episodes have already been released, to much acclaim. And what's especially cool about this series, is the way it combines a mix of documentary and instruction. You learn how these ladies think and work, as well as techniques. 

           "That is our identity," explains Kelly. "We tell people's stories, and go beyond just how-to. It feels very close and personal."

             The series was produced with Spoonflower, and part of the documentary aspect is a trip to Spoonflower's headquarters in North Carolina. Look for that segment in the fifth and final installment of the series. 

             So, give Creativebug a chance to wow you. Go to the site and sign up now for a free 2-week trail. And don't forget to enter for my regular monthly giveaway, another opportunity to win a full 6-month free pass to Creativebug. Meanwhile, you can read a blog post by Deborah Hathaway Hunter about the fun she had when she won the 6-month pass (note: she was frustrated that the pass ran out before she finished a sweater  project: but as she explains at the end, Creativebug now has an option to let you own a class forever.)

Learn to Tell Your Quilt Story: Come to the Not Fade Away conference

        Quilt history is not something that ended in the 19th century, or during the Great Depression. Just as long as quilters keep making quilts, they will make new history, and that history is worth preserving. 

         What's really exciting about the Quilt Alliance's educational event, the Not Fade Away conference, is the focus on documenting stories that are happening right now. The photo above shows a young adopted Chinese girl, sitting on her "100 Good Wishes quilt." This is a very old tradition in northern China, but as more and more Chinese orphans have been adopted in the U.S., this quilt tradition has traveled here.

           The keynote lecture at Not Fade Away on Saturday, July 18, will be given by historian Marin Hanson, a curator for the International Quilt Study Center. Marin's PhD thesis is about the tradition of 100 Good Wishes quilts. Her fresh research includes recent interviews with many adoptive mothers, and Marin Hanson will share their stories and her findings. Also attending the conference will be some of the mothers she interviewed, and their daughters, including the girl above. 

         Please check out this special day of lectures, workshops and quilts at Not Fade Away, at a venue near Washington, D.C. Workshops will include one on self-publishing with Kyra Hicks, and others on using the Quilt Alliance's impressive online resources. A panel discussion with curators will talk about how a family tree can be used to help solve a quilt's mysteries. A huge bonus: the conference shares the venue with the amazing Sacred Threads quilt exhibit. (As I have said before, there is a fantastic exhibit up now at the DAR Museum, and there will be a bus trip there on Friday afternoon.)

         And there's much more: on Friday night, July 17, a special video program will preview an excerpt from the documentary "Pieced Together" about the history of the barn quilt movement (yet another example of the conference's up-to-the moment focus). The film's maker, Julianne Donofrio, will discuss the making of the movie, and the Kickstarter campaign that funded it.

         Finally, on Saturday night, there will be a good-bye party for ME, as I get ready to leave after 10 years on the Alliance board, six years as president. I've had a glorious time and met amazing people, and you can meet many of them by coming along to this fun event. I hope to see you there!!!

         Buy your tickets now, and get more details, here.

    A million thanks to all my loyal readers and subscribers. I hope this has been a worthwhile experience for you, and I look forward to seeing you back here in April.   
     Quilt on!
     Love, Meg