The Best Art Director Ever?

Detail from p. 73, Layout 1 of the Sep/Oct '14 issue of Quilty.

Detail from p. 73, Layout 1 of the Sep/Oct ’14 issue of Quilty.

 

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!”

Indeed.

July 23, 2014   1 Comment

“Dear Quilty” book — call for entries!

Internet postage is pretty! And free.

Internet postage is pretty! And free.

Hi, gang.

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!

Cheers,
Mary

June 17, 2014   5 Comments

Quilty, Ireland.

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.

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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   7 Comments

Quilty Giveaway!

SpoolyColourPeople, it’s that time again. Time to clean out my back bedroom.

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 4, 2014   36 Comments

Marianne Fons, J.Crew, and patchwork everywhere!

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:

Mom and that shoe!

Mom and that shoe!

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.

So chic, so patchworky.

So chic, so patchworky.

 

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)

Katy Jones is host of Quilt Monkey, the new show on QNNtv.com. Welcome, Ms. Jones!

Katy Jones is host of Quilt Monkey, the new show on QNNtv.com. Welcome, Ms. Jones!

“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!

Love,
Mary”

March 13, 2014   4 Comments

Calling Chicagoland Quilty-ers!

Aw, yeah!

Hi, everyone.

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.

Happy Saturday,
Mary

February 16, 2014   9 Comments

Quilt Magazines: The Agony of An Error

Stare at this delicious cupcake and remember: you love magazines. You do!

Stare at this delicious cupcake and remember: you love magazines. You do!

 

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:

Materials
3 1/4 yards green solid (not 2 yards)

Cutting
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’re sorry.

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   22 Comments

Sew It All, Volume 7: Mary + Ellen = Potholder Magic!

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!

Cute, right? And it keeps your paws safe!

Cute, right? And it keeps your paws safe!

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:

Loving the purple, Ellen!

Loving the purple, Ellen!

 

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. :)

These girls are sewing machines. Get it?? "Sewing MACHINES"?? LOL

These girls are sewing machines. Get it?? “Sewing MACHINES”?? tee hee

January 24, 2014   11 Comments

Spooly Lives! (And so does the Quilty blog…)

A match made in heaven! (Please ignore my hair.)

A match made in heaven! (Please ignore my hair.)

Folks, I’ve been gone and it’s not okay. But there’s a reason.

Spooly and I are in love. We escaped to Mexico. We eloped. It was very romantic and very crazy of us, of course. But what could we do? Our love isn’t anything that our families would accept. And society! What will society think?? Posting this is terrifying, but we will not live in the shadows any longer! I love you, Spooly!

Okay. Enough of that nonsense.

The picture above is one I just took here at my desk. It’s Monday, January 6th, and the holiday party is officially over. Everyone is at their respective places with sunshiney faces, hopefully, and we’re all getting back into the swing of things. Personally, I like it. After awhile, the holiday malaise sets in and a person just wants to have a few emails to send. Yes, I just said that I wanted to send emails. I blame all the eggnog.

Perhaps one of the best moments of the entire holiday was when I got a package from Courtney Kraig, the Quilty art director. Somehow, inexplicably, she fabricated a Spooly. It’s a plushie Spooly for heaven’s sake!!! I cried when I opened it, I really did. I love it so much, Courtney! You’re amazing and so is this little toy, which is no sitting in a place of honor, just above my computer. Thank you.

Please ignore my hair in this picture. I can’t blame it on the eggnog, but I work from home so these things are acceptable. Sorry it took me a minute on the blog, y’all. We’ll be seeing more of you now. Spooly and I are settled into our love nest.

:)
Mary

January 6, 2014   9 Comments