Hard Times in Publishing-World

This week I received notice from Meander Publishing that both Modern Quilts Unlimited and Machine Quilting Unlimited are to cease publication immediately. I am a little surprised, given the ever-increasing popularity of both machine quilting and modern quilting. The notice cites the “soft market” for magazines as well as the costs of producing a print magazine.

For me personally this is a disappointment, both because I have enjoyed reading Modern Quilts Unlimited and because the magazine has published several articles by me.  My most recent submission was to have been published in the upcoming July issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited, but they will be returning the quilt to me instead.  The July issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited will not be published at all, and the July issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited will be digital only.

The front page of the Meander Publishing website hasn’t caught up with the news as I write this, so I’m not sure how widely it is known.  I predict that this will leave a vacuum in the modern quilt magazine market that will be filled shortly by something from the Modern Quilt Guild.  Their agenda seems to be to own the definition of modern quilting, and a magazine would further that aim.

I expect this is disappointing to Vicki Anderson, the CEO and editor of the Meander Publishing magazines.  She has put a lot of effort (and probably money) into these publications.  I am sorry to see these magazines go.

What do you make of it?

You may be a modern quilter if…

I’ve always thought the Amish were the original modern quilters, with their solid fabrics and striking designs.

Amish design quilt

I made this quilt when we lived in Pennsylvania

Still, there is a lot of discussion of the definition of modern quilting, and there are some financial issues at stake because there is (a little) money to be made in quilting.

There are lots of definitions that I like, including the one offered by the Modern Quilt Guild website. Individual modern quilters have their own definitions, too.  I’ll tell you mine at the end, but meanwhile, here’s a list to consider:

You may be a modern quilter if

…you’ve ever said, “This is the LAST TIME I’m making a quilt with a lot of blocks exactly

36 patch block

I’ve seen quilts like this defined as modern–no kidding!


…you like to design quilts inspired by the mid 20th century aesthetic

…you like the look of quilts with a variety of different size blocks

…or you like your quilts with no identifiable individual blocks at all

…you like quilts with lots of negative space

improvisational blocks

Improvisational blocks made from scraps of the quilt shown at the top

…you enjoy working with solid (or almost solid) fabrics

…you often use improvisational piecing

…you like to challenge yourself to create something new rather than following a pattern …you are drawn to “low volume” fabric with a lot of background showing

Here’s my first stab at a definition:   Modern quilting is about good design first.  Many traditional quilts are good designs, but the emphasis is too often on how many tedious piecing techniques can be used perfectly.  Modern quilts are more like “modern” art–technique must be good, but design is paramount.

Finally, of course, you’re a modern quilter if YOU SAY you are!  You get to define yourself.