A Newsletter from Meg Cox                October, 2019

Moda News:
Grunge Colors

Click the ad to check out all the new colors in this popular and versatile fabric line. 


For four years in a row, Constant Contact has given me an "All Star Award." Quilt Journalist ranks in the top 10% of CC's newsletters, based on the numbers of people who open and read the content. 
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. 

Plus, there are juicy giveaways every month, including precuts from the wonderful folks at Moda.

Click below where it says: Join Our Mailing List and become a quilt world insider today.  (To read testimonials from subscribers, go to www.megcox.com.) If you already subscribe and are a fan, share your testimonial and I may post it on my website. 

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Click on the ad to visit Sheila Frampton Cooper's online store. 

 And don't forget to enter to win this month's giveaway, which includes one of SFC's stylish backpacks. 

Triple October 

There will be 3 fabulous prizes going to ONE lucky person this month. 

That's right, we're going back to the regular method of entering to win. If you would like to have a chance to win all 3 items, hit reply to this email and add the word CONTEST to the subject line (not to the body of the email.) Or email Meg directly at [email protected] with the word Contest in the subject line. 

Feel free to add a message to me if you wish, using either method. I love to get feedback!

The first item is this month's Moda fabric, Painted Meadow by Robin Pickens. I'm in love with this collection and I think you will be too.  Go here to see the fabrics in a blog post about the fabric line shared by the designer. 

The second item is a gorgeous backpack based on a quilt design by our newest sponsor, Sheila Frampton Cooper. The winner will receive her Indian Summer backpack (below). I bought the blue Crystal Mer backpack months ago and I like it because it's roomy enough but not bulky and I get tons of compliments because it's so unusual. To see all her backpacks and other merchandise, including stunning yoga mats, go to her retail site HERE.

And the third awesome item is a Dream Big panel from Hoffman Fabrics. The color scheme takes my breath away and I took a photo with my feet so you can see the scale. (note: the grid lines are fold lines. I ran out of time to iron the thing.)

Entries must be received by November 10. 

The winner will be chosen using a random number generator. You   must be a subscriber to win, and the fabric will only be shipped within the U.S. Previous winners cannot win again. 


The winners of the September  prizes were: Dianne Cane won 40 fat quarters of Moda's Northport fabric. I picked a winner of the 2 tickets to Quilters Take Manhattan but she hasn't responded to my "You Won" email yet. If she does not by the time I pick the October winners, I will pick another name from those who already entered. Got it?

Where Will I Meet You?

I 've got a full schedule of lectures coming up and I hope our paths will cross. 

I'm lecturing in Houston at Quilt Market at the Threads of Success symposium, but I'll only be at Market a few days, and won't be at Festival at all this year. Stop by and say hello if you see me!!!

And if you're anywhere near San Jose, come hear me speak at the San Jose Textile Museum on Sunday, October 27 at 3 pm. I'll be giving my talk "Success Stories: What It Takes to Make It Big in Quilts."
Go to the museum website for details. 

Want to hire me to lecture? I've got lots of dates open in 2019 and 2020. Learn about my various lectures at  

Dear Friends-- 
       As I get ready to  deliver  8 lectures (three different topics) in 3 states on a road trip, I'm very excited for the chance to meet new quilters and see exciting quilts, starting at  International  Quilt  Market in Houston. I hope I meet some of you guys on my journey.
       For this issue I did some reporting about the phenomenal popularity of the Big Dream panels made by Hoffman Fabrics and the way they're being used. Including an interview with the designer. 
       I almost didn't have time to write this newsletter because I dove headfirst into two new books, and I didn't want to come up for air. 
       Finally, I'm delighted to introduce our new sponsor Sheila Frampton Cooper. Her vivid abstract quilts are crowd-pleasers and award-winners and Sheila has agreed to add one of the backpacks inspired by her work to this month's giveaway. ( I'll reveal now that she is giving away something in November as well.) 
       And I can't resist sharing something that has left me cackling hysterically at my desk this morning. I haven't Googled my 2008 book The Quilter's Catalog in ages so I was startled to discover that some PBS show in Indiana called "Dinner & A Book" taped an episode last year in which they cooked food while discussing my book, in the Wellfield Botanic Gardens of Elkhart, which sometimes features flower plantings arranged to mimic quilt block patterns. The show's concept is clever (I wonder what they ate while discussing Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe?), but it would have been more helpful when the book was still in print. 
       Quilt on!!!!


        In my lecture Quilt Journalist Tells All! I'm always bringing my audiences up to date on quilt world trends. So lately I've been talking about the rise of digital printing. One of my favorite examples of a dazzling digital panel that has captivated quilters is called Dream Big. It's the digitally printed image of a single dahlia flower on a 44 inch by 44 inch panel produced by Hoffman Fabrics, a leader in the digital movement. There are 36 color ways at this point, and the company has sold more than 220,000 yards of this. 
        Hailey Hoffman, head of marketing at the company put me in touch with the panel's creator, Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero. A fabric designer and former software engineer, Jeanie had a previous hit with a digital panel called Supernova, which was introduced in 2016. "It's a square of fabric that goes from a light yellow in the center to almost black on the edges, so it looks like an exploding star," she explained. 
        A year later, someone at Hoffman saw a photograph Jeanie had taken of a dahlia in the shade and said, "You should print it really big" for another panel series. Jeanie said there are three layers to the finished image: one layer is the black and white photograph. Over that is a layer of texture she created to distract from tiny imperfections that would stand out from an image blown up to large scale. Under the photo is a layer of color. All of this helps create an appealing depth and richness, and Jeanie has done a masterful job of blending different colors and tones in each panel. 
         Hailey said the company expected this product to be popular because it is striking and unusual. What they didn't predict is that "it would literally become EVERYONE'S canvas to practice and perfect both digital quilting patterns and free motion quilting. The shape of the petals give a quilter a great 'outline' but the texture of the print is forgiving in the sense that they can freely quilt without their mistakes being quite so obvious." The panel is used frequently in free motion quilting classes and demos at quilt shops. For less than $20 and without having to piece a background, quilters have an open field in which to experiment, sampling a wide range of decorative quilting patterns to fill in the many leaf shapes, without feeling the boredom of a rote exercise.  
          Some people are creating patterns that cut up the fabric or use it as a background for appliqué. 
         And some people love it so much, they hire top tier professional quilters to finish a panel for them to display (see the staggering example above by longarmer  Margaret Solomon Gunn.)
         I'll leave you with some Instagram eye candy that will demonstrate how wildly different the colors are and the ways in which people quilt them. Or you could see dozens of these things on a Pinterest page. 
      Are you thinking the same thing I am: guild challenge!!!!
       Look for the next size: a 60 inch by 60 inch panel called Keep Dreaming, coming soon.

Two New Books About WHY We Do It

     About 15 years ago, after I'd become a passionate quilter and had begun applying my journalistic skills to the craft, I approached Peter Workman, founder of Workman Publishing. I told him that hundreds of quilters all over the country had responded to my Why I Quilt survey and I wanted to put together a small, beautiful book titled Why We Quilt: A Book of Inspiration for 21st Century Quilters. 
       Peter, a publisher so good at predicting what book-buyers craved that I had profiled him in the Wall Street Journal, gave me an indulgent smile and said, "I love to golf, but I don't want to read about why other people love it." It took me two more years of reporting to convince him to publish The Quilter's Catalog, my 600-page resource guide, which was a far cry from my original impulse. 
       Thank goodness there are publishers who think differently from PW, because my favorite two books of the season tackle this question. I'm pretty confident there is an army of quilters out there who will agree with me. 

       Thomas's book is compact, square and stunningly designed. There are thoughtful essays by about 40 quilters, mixing big names in modern quilting like Victoria Findlay Wolfe and Sherri Lynn Wood with lesser known quilt makers. Mini-essays called Statements are sometimes just a paragraph, while longer pieces by established makers like Heather Jones and Denyse Schmidt are labeled Voices of Quilting. The essays have been divided into sections such as "We Quilt to Create a Connection With Loved Ones" and "We Quilt to Change the World." I love the way TK has mixed in short history lessons, like "The Role of Signature Quilts in Reform Movements." He's picked a wide range of really appealing quilt makers and the whole package is irresistible to me.
        In his epilogue, TK writes, "Now that I have begun quilting, I cannot imagine not quilting." Yes!!!!

       Melanie Falick's book is a far bigger, broader and more ambitious affair and I just want to burrow into it and live among the amazing creative souls she visits. Less than half of the dozens of people celebrated make quilts, but they're all deeply compelling, with quirky back stories and drool-worthy workshops. The rest work with wool or metal or willow branches or clay. They make art out of knots or block print textiles or fashion leather into simple, stunning bags. 
       A knitter, writer and esteemed book editor who formerly ran her own craft imprint at Abrams, MF was overwhelmed at first when she thought about how to cover the topic of "why we make and why it matters." She said in an interview, "People have been making things by hand from the beginning of time and every corner of the Earth: how could I cover that?"
       She covered it by spending several years seeking out people whose work and stories spoke to her and going to meet with them -- and often craft with them -- in India, Mexico, France, Finland, England and all over the U.S. In the picture above, Melanie is at left, sitting with Tif Fussell in her Sammamish, Washington house: TF is new to me, and I'm in complete thrall to her Boho charms. (For a peek, check out the website she runs with her younger son:  www.curious.and.coe.com. )  
       This book sucked me right in with an introductory Q & A with Ellen Dissanayake, a scholar on the topic of art and evolution who was also new to me. ED says that making things with our hands goes back to our roots as hunter-gatherers: making things well was a survival skill and a source of emotional sustenance for humans to this day. 
      If you love to make things with your hands, you will LOVE this book: it feels like a manifesto and I believe it will affect what I make next --and how. If you know anyone who really wants to start making things with her/his hands but hasn't quite been able to take those first steps, buy your friend this book as a gift. They will love you forever. 

Meet the New Sponsor:  Sheila Frampton Cooper

       I met Sheila Frampton Cooper at Quilt Festival some years ago and was immediately attracted not just to her vibrant quilts, but to her quietly fierce spirit. Before starting to work in fiber about a decade ago, SFC worked in oil, acrylic and watercolor painting as well as making jewelry and taking photographs. Born in Los Angeles, she has spent the past 5 years living in France and has taught and exhibited worldwide.
      I'm excited about the merchandise she is selling now, which is based (in part) on her quilting designs. I think these items fully embody the intensity and creative dexterity of her quilts and are well crafted. (Which her prices reflect.) They are a bolt of joy in in a mundane world. She'll be adding more products soon to her website ArtLifeColor, such as duvet covers, curtains and throws. 
      Sheila is slowly shifting back to the U.S. and will be more available as a teacher in this country. Her improv block classes are accessible to quilters at every level and she teaches a workshop in how to combine appliqué and piecing in your own abstract designs. 
       "Many people have asked me about writing a book, but that doesn't interest me at this time," said SFC. "I prefer to actually be with my students. I like to observe each one and adjust myself accordingly because this is not a cookie cutter process. It's not about a technique but more a different way of thinking and I like to support my students individually."
       Here is a link to her Facebook artist page, and testimonials from past students
       Bienvenue a la maison, Sheila! And thank you for sponsoring Quilt Journalist Tells All.

Important Quilt Collection Finds a Home

        Being a world-class appreciator of something wonderful is a special kind of service to the world, if the passion is shared. Eli Leon was a passionate collector and scholar of African-American quilts who died last year. 

        Recently, the Berkeley Art Museum in California announced that EL bequeathed to them some 3,000 quilts from his collection, a staggering gift. Among these treasures are more than 500 quilts made by Rosie Lee Tompkins, including the one pictured above, "Three Sixes" made in 1987. To learn more about Eli Leon, read his colorful obituary here (with photos of quilts), and go here to read about the gift to the Berkeley museum.