Quilt Journalist Tells All 
A Newsletter From Meg CoxMarch,  2012

Calling All Modern Quilters!!

Need more proof that the Modern Quilt Guild movement is hot and getting hotter?

They recently announced their first convention and show, and even before they named half the teachers, the hotel started filling up.  Because they are cool and wanna show it, they are having the convention in hip Austin, Texas. And they are calling it a "con," rather than a convention, after wildly successful shows like the annual Comics Con. 

The website, with many gaps still to fill, can be found at www.QuiltCon.com.

Of course I'll be there!!

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Who is Meg Cox? 


Traditions Expert
Alliance for American Quilts
Hire Meg to speak to your guild!
Pick up the book that Alex Anderson says "every quilter needs."
 Click on the book cover to find out more at Amazon.com. 
book cover
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When You Need Custom HandQuilting

My book is totally stuffed with great resources and information for quilters, and one of the terrific services I list is Ruby Nelsen's hand-quilting business.
Ruby is a "worldly" Mennonite (meaning she has a telephone, computer and such) living near Minneapolis who coordinates quilt jobs for about 90 Amish and Mennonite ladies in the midwest. She just contacted me recently to let me know her business, which is celebrating its 19th anniversary, just put up a new website. 
Click on the photo above to get to Ruby's website and learn more!

New Dates for
Vermont Quilt Retreats

click for info

I apologize for the fact that I got some of you all jazzed for a quilt retreat in quaint Grafton, Vermont, and then it got postponed!!

Here is the scoop:
The 210-year old Grafton Inn will be running a quilt retreat next fall, November 8 to 11.

Then, in May of 2013, they will have another retreat tied to a local quilt show. 

Click on the photo above for more about the Inn, and these events.  


Join the Alliance for American Quilts  
Click to learn more!

The Quilt Alliance has a very sweet deal to encourage everyone to join this awesome nonprofit -- or renew your membership. 

Not only will you help the Alliance to preserve and share the stories of quilts and their makers, but you have a chance to win AMAZING prizes this year. For one, if your name is picked, bestselling novelist Marie Bostwick has to name a character after you!!!  

Click on the icon above to sign up for membership, starting at just $25.

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The fine print:
This free newsletter is written and copyrighted by journalist Meg Cox, who protects her mailing list like a Mama Grizzly. If you are getting weird emails, it is not her fault. 
If you like this issue, please feel free to share it as widely as you wish, but in its entirety. 
If you have story ideas or scoops or something fresh and unsung that you'd like Meg to write about, just send her an email, meg@megcox.com. 
Find her on FB at www.facebook.com/meg.cox1


     What is not to love about March? It is my birthday month, and I always look forward to that big birthday coupon at my local quilt shop. The timing was perfect, because I was finishing a large red and white schoolhouse quilt to benefit my son's high school, and I was able to pick up red and white polka dot backing fabric for a song. 
     Thanks to all of you who responded to February's "Quilt Shop Love Song" contest and told me about the amazing thing your quilt shop did for you. The winner has been contacted and the $300 basket of Moda goodies is now riding in a UPS truck somewhere on the way to her house. Below, you can read the winner's tale, and see what some of the other quilters shared about their favorite shops.
     I had so much fun with the giveaway that I'm offering something else this month: a chance to win a brand new copy of Denyse Schmidt's fabulous book -- read the review below.

Click to see more of Harmony's organic fabrics!
Game-Changer Profile: Harmony Susalla

     If you don't know about the staggeringly beautiful organic fabrics designed by Harmony Susalla, then this is your lucky day. 
     A textile designer who doesn't quilt or even sew, Harmony started out as a financial planner/securities dealer in San Francisco. She bailed out of that world, however profitable, to study textile design and her first job included designing home dec textiles and pajamas for tween girls. She was good at that too, but it didn't feel right.
     "I learned that cotton was one of the most heavily sprayed crops, and that 25% of all insecticides are sprayed on cotton," she says. "I had an epiphany moment when I felt: I make beautiful landfill (for a living)! I can't do that anymore and poison the planet."
     This was about 2004, and Harmony (yes, her real name) poured herself into the study of organic fabric: how it is made, and how she could begin designing it. At the time, she jokes, organic cotton was available to sewers and quilters "in beautiful shades of oatmeal and granola," and she set out to create the first company offering colorful organic cottons to the home sewer.
     It took her 8 months to find a source of good organic cotton and to get her first print run completed. That was in early 2005. Since then, Harmony Art Organic Design has released over 40 fabrics. She began with organic sateen, slightly heavier than traditional quilter's cotton, and has added knits, jersey, flannel and more. Over 200 small businesses sell her fabric or use it in their product lines in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia. 
     Harmony's designs are truly fresh and striking, and to anyone who says that all quilt fabric looks alike, I would just say, go look at her website! (click on the photo above). One of the reasons her stuff looks so bold and unusual, is that she doesn't spend any time studying what other designers are making, especially in the quilt market. And, she doesn't work like typical quilt fabric companies, constantly bringing out new fabrics, but then discontinuing them just as fast.
     "I sort of made my own rules," she says. "We release new fabrics whenever we can, and continue to reprint the fabrics that sell well: our customers have told us it was a pet peeve that as soon as a fabric got popular, it went out of print! Our goal is to create timeless fabrics."
     Because her operation is small and works so far out of the box, you won't find Harmony's luscious fabrics at your local shop. Mostly, they are carried at online shops, such as Stitch Simple. If you go to Harmony's website, you can find a fabric you like, and then find out where it can be purchased. 
     Also on the website: lots of helpful information about how organic cotton is made. Harmony is completely jazzed to see more and more designers and fabric companies jump on the organic bandwagon, and I believe she deserves credit for helping build the bandwagon!
     She is still dreaming big: "My goal is not to own the whole thing," she says, "But to change the textile world to be less harmful. And I am very open with sharing my knowledge and resources."
Quilt Shop Love Songs

     Since I always blather away about how much I love my own local quilt shop, Pennington Quilt Works, here is a photo. 
     I'm happy to say -- and not at all surprised-- that my request for explanations about why you all love YOUR local shops resulted in a tidal wave of e-mails. I realize that was partly because you wanted to win the basket of Moda goodies, but really, what a passionate outpouring!
     The winner was Denise Panter, an Alabama quilter who told me about a bad car accident in May of 2010 that injured her right foot, so she couldn't use her Janome. Cindy Anderson of Hooked on Quilting, a shop in Fayetteville, Tennessee, read on Denise's blog that she was laid up and unable to quilt, so she put together a little package of fabric, floss, needles and more, so her customer could try out a new craft while recuperating: redwork. 
      It was tough picking a winner, because so many shared stories of shop owners who went way, way beyond the call of duty to track down matching fabrics or patterns, teach new techniques with epic patience, entertain mischievous children and grumbling husbands, and so much more. As quilter Karen Matheson wrote: "Too bad I can only send you 100 words. I would like to write thousands!"
     To quote excerpts from just a handful of the dozens of contest entries, here are some of my favorite responses. "My quilt shop is the best because....
*they never once rushed me (even though it was closing time when I got there, and I had never been there before)
*they call me by my name when I walk in the door, and make me feel like I am the only customer there.
*because they are so welcoming to my two kids (7&8), even when my daughter dropped a whole jar of buttons...
*they care. They listen. Whatever our needs, they fulfill them.
* it totally lives up to its name: Sew Inspired.
*in times of stress, they keep me sane.
* they taught me there is a difference between fabrics! I used to buy fabric at WalMart thinking I was smart and saving money. But a quilt that I made 10 years ago (with WalMart fabric) and used very little is now shredding in the border!

Thanks to all of you!
This went so well, I plan to do it again next year. 

Review & Giveaway: Denyse Schmidt's New Book 
Denyse quilt
click for Denyse Schmidt's website

     It's been 7 years since Denyse Schmidt's first book, and believe me, this new volume was well worth the wait.
     Although the first book helped cement her reputation as the "It" girl of hip, modern quilting, there were a few quibbles about it, including the fact that it was padded out with small non-quilt projects like aprons.
     I'm happy to say that the new book, Denyse Schmidt: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration is ALL quilts, and all 20 of them deliver in some way on her exceptional promise. 
     Whether you consider yourself a traditional or modern quilter, there is plenty of inspiration here, in projects that play with the tantalizing pairing of vintage patterns and contemporary colors. Although Denyse explains the origins and alternate names of many of the patterns, she rarely offers them straight: she riffs off old patterns like Mariner's Compass and Wagon Wheel and strips them down to stark basics.
     Typical is the striking Tobacco Leaf quilt shown in the photo above: the author/designer explains that it was inspired by a Virginia quilt from 1895 she saw in an old book. But no 19th century quilter would have had, or used, this citrus-ey green fabric. 
     Some of these, like her Basketweave quilt and a simple Churn Dash will be totally doable for beginners, while others like her delicate Hawaiian Style Applique will appeal more to experienced quilters. There are half a dozen that I can't wait to try, including her way of making an appliqued Broderie Perse with a wild burst of cut flowers on a black background, and her bold Compass variation. Modern quilters will delight in her sweet Ocean Waves quilt, done on a white background with mostly dark triangles and a tiny burst of brightly colored ones. 
     Denyse is just about to embark on a tour promoting the book, and she'll be making appearances from Maine to Oregon in coming months. The launch party happens next week, at Purl Patchwork in New York's SoHo. For all the details, click on the quilt above, to get to the DS website.

     Now about that book giveway: since I accidentally bought 2 copies at Amazon and also received a review copy, I would like to share the wealth. I'll give away one of my extra copies this week. Just send an email to me, meg@megcox.com, and tell me why you want the book. I will pick a name on Friday from the pile, and you'll have your copy by early next week!
Go Ahead, Give 'Em a Kick, er, Hand!
Gen Q
      Just a heads up, peeps, that the quirky and witty online publication known as Generation Q is making the leap into print, and you can help!
       If you don't know about how Kickstarter works, its an online way of collecting funds from lots of individuals to fund a new venture. I've given to a number of causes this way, including a friend's rock album, and it's a way to give a relative pittance but get treated like a billionaire SuperPac donor.  You choose what level of contribution is right for you, and what goodies you would like in return. (In this case, you can choose fat quarters, along with a copy of the first issue...)
     The magazine will reach out to contemporary and modern quilters who are young at heart, and as editor Jake Finch says, don't want to hear from the Quilt Police. 
     I'm delighted to announce that Gen Q has already exceeded its original goal of raising $20,000 from backers, but the campaign will continue into April, so you still have a chance to contribute. Like the sign says, click on the pants to learn more about the magazine, and donate if you are so moved. 
Thanks for hanging out here again!!
If you have not yet visited the website of my advertiser, Urban-Amish, I hope you will check it out. The fabrics created by designer Yolanda Fundora are exceptional, and she is providing my readers with a very sweet deal in the coupon below.
Quilt on!
Meg Cox

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