I’m working on planning the first half of Season 5 for Quilty. It’s takes a tremendous amount of brainpower to coordinate the show and the magazine — and believe me, I have made mistakes. But we’ve all done this Quilty “thing” long enough to know a little about how to do it. And as I set up episodes and plan quilts, I get very excited to be on set with the crew, including our newest addition: the BabyLock Tiara.
I have one. And Quilty the show has one. And it’s funny to watch guests and the crew go, “Woooah… What is that??” when she’s all unveiled and has all her doo-dads on and the TruStitch Regulator glowing nearby. (I have a little cloth doll that I stuck on the top of mine and I’ll make sure to put Spooly on top of the set’s machine this season; Rebecca, remind me!)
When I learned to make quilts, I learned piecing first. Quilting came later and that’s okay. Many of my quilts are finished by a longarmer, simply because I am usually working under publication/editorial deadlines and several quilts have to be done and turned in at once. But when I quilt at home, I use my Tiara. It’s a free-motion mid-arm machine, which means that you move the quilt under the stationary needle, as opposed to a long arm, which works by moving the needle around on the stationary quilt (nice if you can get one, but a longarm hardly fits in my apartment in Chicago, much less where I am in NYC right now.)
We haven’t gotten Matt Hyland, sound engineer, to make a quilt, yet, but I’m going to make sure he practices a bit more on the Tiara when we shoot in a couple months. It’s very, very fun to quilt on the machine; “addictive” doesn’t quite cover it. We’ll get him, yet!
August 26, 2014 No Comments
There’s no question that Team Quilty is pretty great. From the sound engineer on the show to Heather, Magnificent Step-Out Helper, to Sheyenne, who does all the crazy linking and url’ing from show to page and back, to Diane, who gets contracts to every last person who has a quilt featured in the magazine to — well, I could go on.
Our art director, Courtney, makes the pages of Quilty look pretty and make sense. But she does much more than that. She handles photography deadlines with grace while trying to make them square with deadlines for layouts, all while suggesting cool ideas (e.g., “Let’s take a picture of a quilt on a chain link fence!”) She also deals with silly requests from the editor — ahem — who, when editing the Sep/Oct ’14 issue, for example, decides that Spooly needs to be featured in a Halloween costume.
She doesn’t have the time to draw it, so… Courtney? Could you? Could you puleease??
Are you seeing what she did??
SPOOLY IS AN ALLIGATOR.
Or a dinosaur.
Maybe a toothy frog??
It doesn’t matter. He’s wonderful. And ladies and gentlemen, this is Courtney Kraig for you. Brilliant, talented, and she like, “gets it.” Which is a pretty rare thing. I mean, this is a talking spool of thread we’re looking at. Oh, and when I freaked out on her for doing such an amazing job and making me squeal out loud with glee when I saw it, Courtney replied, “lol — I think Spooly’s just really stoked to have feet!”
July 23, 2014 2 Comments
I’m working on a neat Quilty book called “Dear Quilty.” Wanna be in it? Okay, here’s the deal.
Quilty’s been existence for four years, now. We’ve grown, we’ve improved, we’ve learned. And we know that you, dear Quilty reader/watcher/quilter have done the same. We know because you write to me (Mary), or Spooly, or Team Quilty in general and you tell us so.
I want to include letters from readers in the book. Because you’re just as important as the shows and the magazine and the whole Quilty “thing.” I mean, without you…we don’t get very far. Besides, Spooly likes the attention.
And so, I’m looking for great letters to Quilty. Shoot for 50-150 words, with images or without, and post them here in a comment field, or, if you’d like more privacy, you can send a message via the Quilty Facebook page or email Mary at mary.fons @ fwmedia .com (no spaces.) Okay? Pictures are great, as long as they’re high-resolution (300dpi or above.) At this time, we’re only doing email or posted comment letters; no regular mail entries.
Just tell Mary, Spooly, and/or the Team how Quilty has affected your life as a quilter. We know for a fact some people are 100% Quilty-taught quilters. Is that you? Tell us about it. Love the show/mag? What is it about the Quilty style that appeals to you? The more specific you can be — and if there’s a funny story that you think is good — all the better. Just telling us you like the show or the magazine is great (and appreciated), but to make it into the book…your letter’s gotta be extra sparkly.
We’ll get your picture in there. And it’ll be awesome. I can wrangle you a free copy. I’m not sure how many letters can be included, but I’ll gather 20 and then go from there.
Cool? Cool. I look forward to reading your letters!
June 17, 2014 6 Comments
Okay, get ready for this. I found my escape, my runaway hiding place. There is a Quilty, Ireland. It’s a real town. It’s in Ireland. And there’s a cottage for rent.
Goodbye, cruel world.
By the way, it’s rented pretty much through the end of forever, according to the online calendar thingy. But you can try!
May 20, 2014 9 Comments
As an editor and host of a couple TV shows, I do get a measure of gratis stuff. Quash those pangs of jealousy — it’s not that much stuff (and it’s not like I spend time rolling around in it like Scrooge McDuck.) But the odd fat quarter bundle, tool, or newest book release does cross the transom here at ol’ Quilty HQ and those goodies have been piling up for far too long.
It’s time to pass the freebies onto you!
I have created 12 totally random, totally mish-mashed (but great) Quilty Goodie Giveaway Boxes of varying sizes and you, yes you, Quilty fan, can enter to win one. All you have to do is answer a question about a Quilty magazine subscription. Answer honestly — your answer holds exactly zero bearing on your chances to win. We just want to take the temperature on this one.
If you tweet about the contest and like us on Facebook, you get more virtual raffle tickets/chances to win! Neat, huh?
I enlisted help in getting this Rafflecopter thingamajig to work, so if you just click on this thingy down here, you’ll go through the entry. This will keep everything randomized and raffle-ized so there’s no need for me to print out all your entries and select names from a bag. I did that once. It took a long time.
The giveaway starts tomorrow at 10 am and goes till Wednesday. Once we’ve got our winners, you’ll be contacted via email. Good luck!
May 4, 2014 36 Comments
Yesterday, my mom and I were in a J.Crew in Chicago. We were there because my younger sister (and Mom’s youngest daughter and Quilty producer) Rebecca Fons was looking at…wedding dresses! She did find a dress yesterday, but not at “the Crew.” The trip was hardly a waste. I mean, look at this:
Those are quarter-square triangles!
I love it when patchwork motifs show up in the outside world. These shoes are too expensive at $300, so I think waiting for a sale is the way to go. But Mom made me try them on — seriously, she made me — and then she needed to take a picture.
Nice one, J.Crew.
Maybe if I get married someday…
April 1, 2014 7 Comments
10 Tips For Hosting a Quilting How-To Show On the Internet (For Katy Jones, Who Is Doing Great Already)
“Dear Katy Jones:
Mary Fons, here, welcoming you to QNNtv.com! You have a new show, “Quilt Monkey” on the site. I’ve watched several of the preview episodes and you’re doing a great job straight out of the gate. I love your crisp, clear instruction and your sense of color and pattern. Fully awesome, all around. Of course, I also love your accent; to you, it’s just your voice, but to those of us across the pond, it’s an accent.
But I’m here to give you a few words of extremely unsolicited advice. Hosting a quilting show is a big responsibility! Thousands and thousands of people watch the great how-to videos on QNNtv.com. That’s a lot of eyeballs. And because our viewers are smart (not to mention extremely attractive) they demand nothing but the best. So here are a few tips to make the show even better and help you further enjoy the job. I’ve done this job for a number of years now, so I feel qualified to share my “Ten Tips For Hosting a Quilting How-To Show On the Internet.” Let’s do this.
1. Coffee. Drink it.
2. Make sure you have a toothbrush and toothpaste on set. (See #1.)
3. No matter what you wear or how you do your hair, someone will hate it or think you’re insane. Being insane is fine, but it’s impossible to please everyone. You think you know that and you may tell yourself that you don’t try, but if you’re like me you still kinda try and then you feel sad when you fail to please everyone. Don’t feel sad. You’re perfect.
4. Always, always get more closeups than you think you need. You can’t go back and get them later. This is an extremely painful lesson to learn the hard way.
5. It’s okay to do lots of shows on half-square triangles. People will always need help with them, there are always new quilters out there, and even if a seasoned quilter knows all about HSTs, she can still be refreshed or see things differently for the project she’s working on presently.
6. Candy. The crew loves it, you love it, right? Bonus: candy can’t leave negative comments!
7. Watching yourself on camera during your post-production work may not be hard for you; for me, it is like having hot bamboo shoots stuck under my fingernails. If this sounds familiar, the only thing I can tell you is that I am with you, my sister. No human being should have to watch hours of footage of themselves. It’s pretty agonizing. You’re beautiful, you’re smart, you’re doing a good job. Just keep telling yourself that. (See #8.)
8. It will get easier. (See opening paragraph about how you’re doing an amazing job already.)
9. My “dressing room” has been and likely always will be a tiny bathroom. If you manage to get an actual dressing room, please tell me how you managed it.
10. The last tip is always where people say, “Have fun!” so I’m not going to say that. Of course you’ll have fun. And of course it’s a tremendous amount of work, but you already know that. This last tip is my phone number. Call me anytime to talk about the new gig: 773-793-XXXX.
…Kristi can give you the last four digits. Go get ‘em, Quilt Monkey!
March 13, 2014 4 Comments
We’ve got a Quilty taping coming up at the end of March — that’s next month. If you’re in the Chicagoland area, let me know. I’m looking for several guests for the “This Is My Quilt” feature and a quilter or two to hang out and make a block with me on the show.
The shoot takes place in Chicago (Pilsen neighborhood.) We’re taping on March 28th, 29th, and 30th. Episodes have a magazine component (and vice versa.) We’re interested in beginners, advanced quilters, and quilters in between. Taping a show takes about an hour and you’ll sign a release form. It’s really fun to be on Quilty.
Wanna do it? If you’re available and in town, email me at Mary @ QnnTV.com and let’s talk it over.
February 16, 2014 9 Comments
Donna, this one’s for you.
I got an email the other day from a delightful lady who alerted me to a possible error in the Jan/Feb ’14 issue of Quilty. Here’s what she had to say — and I’ll tell you right now, she was right.
“I decided to make the quilt entitled Twists & Turns on pages 28 thru 31. I cut as instructed, but discovered an error when I attempted to join the blocks.
The directions tell you to cut the E rectangles at 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″. I did that, but came up with a block that is too short. The block produced by the E rectangles (cut as you directed) produces a 4″ x 8″ finished block. It should produce an 8″ square block. THE DIRECTIONS SHOULD HAVE YOU CUT THE E RECTANGLE AT 4 1/2″ x 8 1/2″.
The square section which is joined to the E rectangles uses four Bs and one 4 1/2″ square and produces an 8″ finished square.”
Drat. I sent this along to the technical team and indeed, Miss Donna had discovered an error. Before I share the message (and the lesson) we take from errors, here are the two corrections pertaining to the green solid in Twists & Turns on p. 28 of the Jan/Feb ’14 issue:
3 1/4 yards green solid (not 2 yards)
From green solid, cut:
10 (8 1/2″-wide) strips. From strips, cut 80 (4 1/2″ x 8 1/2″) E rectangles.
First, note that we post any and all corrections to patterns on the HeyQuilty.com website. Click the Magazine tab and drop down to “Corrections.” There, you’ll find any errata that has occurred in Quilty. There isn’t much, but as we’ve just seen, it happens. This correction will be posted there, too, but it’s even quicker for me to blog about it, so I’m taking the opportunity to do so and to talk about published errors.
I’ve made a lot of quilts, and there have been plenty of occasions when I couldn’t get something to fit or go or otherwise look pretty so I pursed my lips and put my hands on my hips and declared with conviction — and not a little anger: “There is something wrong with this pattern!” I did this, loudly, only to find when I came back to the sewing table the next day the problem was me and my brain, not the directions. Thus, I usually look at a problem with a quilt pattern as an opportunity to sit still, put down the rotary cutter and slowly go through the pattern again to make sure I understand what’s being instructed. I also take sample blocks very seriously; I don’t cut out a whole quilt until I make a sample block. Aside from making sure I like my fabric choices, I ensure I can make one of the darned things at all.
A quilt pattern magazine like Quilty or Love of Quilting is in the business of publishing perfect patterns. That’s our job. Getting incorrect patterns is like going to a nice hotel and finding you have no hot water in your shower. A hotel’s job is to give you a bed and a shower with hot water – that’s their business model. It’s safe to say that 100% of nice hotels pride themselves in being able to guarantee a hot shower 99% of the time. Well, 100% quilt pattern magazines promise perfect patterns 99% of the time, too.
But we’re human. Robots don’t write patterns; people do. And computers can only calculate the numbers that humans give them. Every so often, you turn on the shower in your (nice) hotel room at 5am and there’s no hot water and you have to go down to the lobby in your bathrobe and glasses and speak very sternly to the night desk lady who is scared of you.** Sometimes you find that there’s a typo in a quilt pattern and you spend two hours going nuts before you realize that yes, there’s actually something wrong in the pattern, and you write to the company and they post a blog about it and update the corrections page.
We are! That’s the truth. Whenever a mistake happens, we feel more than bad. We feel sheepish and lame. We feel worse than you do and we know you feel lousy as all get-out, what with the cut fabric and the time spent, etc.
It’s not an excuse, but I do want to play PR gal for a second and mention the fact (!) that F&P publishes hundreds of patterns each year. Hundreds! That’s a lot of seam allowances, friends. We do our utmost and our very best to set the industry standard, and I think we do. It’s honestly a point of personal pride, if I may say so for two seconds: that’s my family name up there, after all. Nice to know it means something.
Donna? I hope you’re still reading. You might’ve just gotten the correction and gotten back to sewing. We support that decision, as always.
January 30, 2014 23 Comments
Do you know Sew It All?
Sew It All is a show on PBS and a magazine, too. Created and hosted by the lovely, delightful, and talented Ellen March, Sew It All strives to help sewists everywhere a) get better at what they love to do and b) get inspired by great projects. Sew It All does a great job at both of these pursuits and I had the great pleasure to get involved with Sew It All not too long ago. I took Ellen through a cute potholder project: it’s a real neat, fast project that helps teach quilting skills and did I mention it can be made real fast? It can. Here she is!
If you wanna make it, I highly recommend doing so — it was fun to make. And not only are the directions in the magazine, Ellen and I did an episode on the Sew It All show, so if you wanna watch it going together, there’s that, too. Does this sound like a plug? IT TOTALLY IS! Quilty is just one of the neat shows in the family around here that wants to help you be better at sewing and quilting. When a magazine and a show work together (like Quilty, and like Sew It All) it’s a great duo for teaching. You’ve got two resources. Two = better than one. Right? Right.
Here’s what Volume 7 of Sew It All looks like so you can make a beeline for it at the newsstand or at your LQS:
And here’s me and Ellen hangin’ out on the set. I’m telling you, this March lady is pretty cool. Thank you so much for having me on the show, Sew It All. I’d love to come back — and Ellen, when are you going to be on Quilty?? The invitation stands.
January 24, 2014 11 Comments