Quilt Journalist Tells All

A Newsletter from Meg Cox                                  May 2011

Who is Meg Cox?
at benartex judging
Judging a Quilt Contest at Benartex Headquarters

President, Alliance for American Quilts


Author: The Quilter's Catalog: A Comprehensive Resource Guide    

56,000 copies in print

The Quilt Life
Quilter's Home
Fab Shop News

Quilter for 20+ years

Former staff writer,
The Wall Street Journal

Lauded lecturer, teacher, networker, and the Johnny Appleseed of quilting.

For more, go to 

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June issue -- read The Skinny!

  This issue is really good.
   Hope you will check
   out my gossip column,
   The Skinny.
   In this column, you
   can read about a guy
   who writes love songs
   to thread, and a
   100 year old quilter
   who has one arm.
   I don't make this stuff
   up, you know.

    Also, while you are
   out browsing in the 
   magazine racks, pick
   up the June issue of
   The Quilt Life.
     I love writing for
   Alex and Ricky, and 
   my column about
   unexpected quilters
   this month features
   Joan Raciti, whose
   quilting path will
   surprise and inspire

     Proof that The Quilt
  Life is worth your time--
        Library Journal
   just voted it one of the
   top 10 new magazines
        of 2010!

Hey, guys!

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Dear Friend:
     As I write this, Quilt Market just ended in Salt Lake City, and everyone is still buzzing about how the folks from AQS in Paducah scrambled valiantly to put on their usual fine show last month while the winds howled and the flood waters surged. I would say they pulled off a miracle, but that's what quilters do, right?
     One of the things that keeps me glued to the quilt scene today is the consuming patience, strong work ethic and endless compassion of the folks who inhabit this world. I sometimes feel like I'm bi-lingual and multi-national, because I live in the so-called real world, but I escape whenever I can to the parallel universe, the stimulating, welcoming sisterhood of quilters.
     This month, I'm inviting you to join me for an awesome quilters' weekend in the Big Apple, and giving you the latest scoop on what's happening at the struggling American Folk Art Museum. Their latest quilt exhibit is not to be missed -- as long as the museum's doors are still open.
      I hope you will keep coming back for more fresh news and reviews, and that you'll forward this e-newsletter to anybody else who might enjoy it.    
Big Fun Manhattan Adventure in August
Join Me There, OK?
jay with pillow
Project Runway winner Jay McCarroll
     "Quilters Take Manhattan" is the name of a 3-part fundraiser for the nonprofit Alliance for American Quilts, which will take place at three very different venues in New York City on August 5 and 6.
     I've been working on this program for months, and i'm so excited to announce the complete details, and to tell you that tickets just went on sale TODAY at the Alliance website!
     This is a series of fun, fabulous and affordable events that you won't want to miss! Wherever you live, now is the time to start planning an ultimate quilters' getaway weekend this summer in the Big Apple. Grab some of your quilter pals or guild mates. Reserve a (discounted) room at the new Fashion District Hilton and come to play and learn and shop and get inspired. 
     Let me briefly sketch out the 3 events:

     Friday night, August 5, attend an intimate evening in a Garment District loft for "Modern Stories: Documenting the Modern Quilt Movement." There will be a panel of in-the-know bloggers, popular fabric designers and A-list quilters, including Victoria Findlay Wolfe, co-founder of the NYC Modern Quilt Guild. (Limited to 100 seats.)

     Saturday afternoon, August 6: the weekend's main event is "Marianne & Jay on the Runway: A Quilter's Alliance of Fashion & Fabric," a packed afternoon at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Speakers include beloved TV host Marianne Fons, and her daughter Mary, who has her own funky internet TV show, Quilty. Then, the irreverent Jay McCarroll, winner of Project Runway's first season, now designing quilt fabric, will be interviewed for the Alliance's oral history project, Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories. This afternoon has it all: door prizes, refreshments, goody bags, and an amazing silent auction. (Mark Lipinski will make a special appearance, but my lips are sealed about the details.)

     Saturday night, August 6: change into your strappy sandals and summer party dress, and walk over to the final event, "NY's Ultimate Block Party" Cocktails at the City Quilter." How better to end the day then a cocktail party at the best and biggest quilt shop in Manhattan? Nibble on appetizers, drink wine, rub elbows with quilt celebrities, and then, bid on quilts made by board members of the AAQ, including Mark Lipinski, Jodie Davis, Luke Haynes, and moi.

     Have I sold you yet? Believe me, this is going to be a blast, and with tickets starting at just $10, how can you afford not to go?
      We expect tickets to sell out well ahead of August, so really, you should get organized and make your reservations now. The events are a la carte so you can pick what you want, and then figure out what play you want to see, what stores you need to shop, and which restaurants you want to try.
     This would not be happening without an amazing group of sponsors who are the cream of the crop in the quilt biz, companies of integrity who make great products and care about quilt history:

*New Track Media/Creative Crafts Group/Keepsake Quilting
*AURIfil thread
*Benartex fabric

     Because of them, we can afford to keep ticket prices low, and still raise money for a great organization, whose mission is to document, preserve and share the stories of quilts and their makers.
     Will I see you there?

     Go here for more info, and to buy tickets today:


Review of NEW Masterpiece Quilt Show at Folk Art Museum & Sad News
afam quilt
Soldier's Quilt at the American Folk Art Museum


     In case you missed it, the tragic news last week was that the wonderful American Folk Art Museum has been forced to sell its building on 53rd Street. The buyer is MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, AFAM's next-door neighbor. The museum had defaulted on interest payments for $32 million of bonds, debt incurred when they erected the building in 2001. The museum was done in, they say, by poor management, the recession, and the building itself, which was shoe-horned awkwardly into a too-small space.
     Nonetheless, this was a fine institution with terrific staff and a stellar collection, that didn't deserve this fate. According to one news report, some board members dressed in black for the meeting at which they voted for this drastic step. 
    I can relate. I feel like I'm in mourning too, after working closely with the staff this year on various aspects of their Year of the Quilt programs.
    The director resigned last Tuesday and many staffers have left or expect to soon. What's left will regroup at the museum's branch near Lincoln Center, which at 5,000 square feet is only one sixth the size of the building they vacate. There is talk of organizing future traveling exhibits from AFAM's outstanding folk art collection, working with other institutions. Let's hope for the best. 

      But the show must go on, as they say. Last month, AFAM took down part one of their show Quilts: Masterworks from the Collection of the American Folk Art Museum, an outstanding exhibit of 35 exquisite quilts that opened last October.
      Just this week, the same day the director resigned and the board voted to sell the building, AFAM held the opening of the second half of the show. I'm happy to report that it's just as breathtaking as the earlier exhibit, which is why the headline on Roberta Smith's review in the New York Times Friday read: "Downsizing in a Burst of Glory."
      Like the first show, Masterworks II functions as a survey, showing the progression of quilt techniques and materials through different historical periods. One of the museum's oldest quilts, a pieced wool quilt from around 1810 that is rarely shown is here, as well as a 2001 quilt by Setsuko Obi.
      In between, are stunning examples of every major style movement. There is a lavish, flawless white wholecloth piece, several beautifully made Amish quilts, some log cabin quilts, and an exquisite if worn Baltimore Album top.
      While the standard pieces are wonderful, what I loved best about this show and the previous exhibit were the truly eccentric pieces with unusual back stories, or mysterious ones. 
      Such as the quilt shown above. Dated to the second half of the 19th century, very little is known about this Soldier's Quilt, even whether it came from the U.S., Great Britain or Canada. There were many quilts made by soldiers, including during the Civil War, but most I've seen are pretty scrappy and simple. 
      This quilt, on the other hand, is one of the most meticulous and elaborate I've seen. It clearly wasn't made by a wounded soldier killing time in a battlefield hospital, but by someone with serious needle skills and access to fine scissors and new materials. The delicate flowers are constructed from up to six layers of wool, with embroidered centers. The design is quite complex. 
      Overall, this is a show that it's worth making an effort to see and knowing it's one of the last Folk Art exhibits here makes it doubly so.         Currently, this show is schedule to run until October 16, but because the situation is fluid, I would recommend checking the museum's website before coming: www.folkartmuseum.org

     P.S. Museum insiders say the bad news about the main building should not affect plans for the book and future tour of the fabulous red and white Infinite Variety show seen at the Armory in March. Although AFAM curators worked on that show, it was completely funded by private collector Joanna Rose, who is eager to see it travel. Stay tuned here for any future news on these matters!  
Quilt Gardens in Indiana's Amish Country
amish quilt garden

     Ever since someone told me to "think like a quilter" when I plant my garden, I've had more fun in planning my colors and spatial designs. I'm no expert, but there are plenty of people who know flowers the way I know my favorite fabric designers, and they do some amazing things.
     If you live in the midwest or are headed there this summer, you might want to spend some time exploring Indiana's Quilt Gardens Along the Heritage Trail. Starting Memorial Day weekend, you can view 18 large quilt-patterned gardens in Northern Indiana's Amish country, as well as 18 quilt murals across 7 communities. The quilt gardens can be viewed until October.
     To get directions and lots of other information, including where to eat and shop in the area, go to www.QuiltGardensTour.com.
     Even my reading will be quilty as summer nears: I'm dying to read the new Cobbled Court quilt book by Marie Bostwick, due out in late May.
      See you next month, with a June issue that will include scoops on the latest trends from Quilt Market and a behind-the-scenes look at two brand new ambitious craft sites. If you want to know what's really happening in Quiltlandia, you will want to meet me here.


Quilt on!


Meg Cox
Quilt Journalist Tells All

Tiny print:  This free newsletter is written, published and copyrighted by journalist Meg Cox, who protects her mailing list like a Mama grizzly. If you are getting weird e-mails, look elsewhere for the cause. If you liked this newsletter, tell her. If you want to become a sponsor, let's talk.