In an email sent on Thursday, July 14 to contributors, Editorial Director Bill Gardner delivered some difficult news about the fate of the magazine Quilters Newsletter. “Quilters Newsletter has held a very special place in the hearts of quilting enthusiasts for 47 years, and has been a source of inspiration and learning for quilters around the world. However, the magazine will no longer be published after the October/November 2016 issue,” the email reads.
The announcement came in a week marked by a series of layoffs at F+W, the magazine’s parent company which included President Sara Domville, a 17 year veteran of the company, as well as many employees who worked remotely.
Quilters Newsletter was a beloved magazine with an impressive legacy. As Gardner noted in his email to contributors, “Quilters Newsletter began publication in September 1969 and was founded by Bonnie and George Leman. It was the first – and for many years the only – magazine devoted solely to the interests of quiltmakers. Bonnie composed the first issue on a manual typewriter at her kitchen table, and the day it was published was the same day she gave birth to the youngest of her seven children.”
Bonnie Leman talks about the first issue of the magazine and her vision for it in this 2002 video created by Quilt Treasures.
He went on to write, “That day marked the beginning of an international phenomenon. Many quilt historians agree that Bonnie almost single-handedly launched a quilting revival around the time of the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976 by researching and publishing information about a domestic pastime that had fallen out of vogue since the end of the Great Depression and the onset of World War II. No one can deny that she shaped and guided that revival during subsequent decades. Bonnie Leman and Quilters Newsletter will forever be linked to the history of quiltmaking in the U.S. and abroad. It’s a legacy that will never be forgotten.” Bonnie Leman passed away in 2010.
Of all the quilting magazines on the market today Quilters Newsletter stood out its ability to appeal to both the hobbyist and the academic. Its readership included collectors, dealers, designers, teachers, and historians. “QN is regarded as a leader, authority, and primary resource in the quilt field,” reads the magazine’s website.
Quilt collector and historian, Bill Volckening, was a frequent contributor to the magazine in recent years. He noted that it is sad to see it shuttered three years short of the 50th anniversary, describing the Quilters Newsletter as F+W’s “crown jewel.”
Gardner’s email ends with this statement by F+W about the future of their quilting publications and events. “F + W is committed to the quilt industry and will continue to serve the community by publishing magazines, creating videos, online education, books, in-person events, ecommerce products, and more under the brands of Fons & Porter, McCall’s Quilting, Quiltmaker, Quilting Arts, Keepsake Quilting, and Original Sewing & Quilt Expo. We will continue to evolve in order to serve a community with ever-changing habits and media preferences.”
Quilters Newsletter subscribers will receive Quilting Arts magazine beginning with the December/January 2017 issue.