My name is Meg Cox and I’m the author of The Quilter’s Catalog: A Comprehensive Resource Guide, published last year. I was thrilled to accept Michele’s invitation to be a guest blogger because I’m looking for quilters to help me with my next book.
I’ve been quilting for 20 years, since my mother taught me, but I’m still a writer first and a quilter second. I’ve been a professional writer all my adult life, including 17 years as a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal in Chicago and New York. I left the Journal in 1994, when my son was born, and became a freelancer, contributing to a wide range of magazines. My first two books were about family traditions, and I’ve lectured widely on that topic.
Along the way, my passion for quilting deepened and I decided to use my journalistic skills to write a resource guide for quilters. I spent six years researching and writing The Quilter’s Catalog, and interviewing some of the top teachers in the country has definitely influenced my own quilting. I’m more confident and adventurous now, and I even designed 5 of the 12 projects for the book (the other 7 came from famous teachers). There’s no doubt that many, if not most, of you are more accomplished quilters than I am. I’m pretty laid back about my quilting and do it for pure joy.
I don’t aspire to be the next Alex Anderson or Eleanor Burns or Amy Butler, though I’ve interviewed and love them all. I’d like to be the Johnny Appleseed of quilting! Maybe it’s because I live in the northeast, between New York and Philadelphia, a part of the country where there aren’t any quilting shows on PBS. Almost everyone I meet is completely ignorant of the modern quilting scene. As far as they know, quilting is only done by little old ladies in church basements recycling old scraps. I want to show them the reality: I love to watch their jaws drop.
As a journalist, I feel like I’ve found the story of a lifetime, and I want everyone to know about the quilting revolution. I want people to know that quilting is high-tech, artistic, personal, fast (if you like it like that), and the fabric will make you drool.
Another way I put my writing skills to use is by volunteering with the nonprofit Alliance for American Quilts, whose board I’ve been on for three years so far. I write all the press releases and e-newsletters for the Alliance and have met so many amazing people on the board, including renowned quilt historians like Merikay Waldvogel and famous art quilters including Yvonne Porcella. The Alliance operates a website that works like the ultimate virtual quilt museum and is a great place to go for inspiration and education: go to www.allianceforamericanquilts.org to view four centuries of astonishing quilts.
As to my Johnny Appleseed adventures, I’m working with my publisher to offer Learn to Quilt parties in bookstores all over the country. But I’m also personally teaching and tempting as many people as possible. I recently offered my local library here in Princeton, NJ to host a monthly Start A Quilt open house one Saturday morning a month. I’ll put fabric squares into the hands of anybody and everybody who walks by, and show them some easy, fun quilts. I’ve got a deal with my great local fabric shop to supply the fabric, which people can use to start a simple tied quilt that’s in my book (if they don’t want to buy the book, the directions are available free on my website.)
How can you help? My next book is going to showcase projects by everyday quilters rather than quilt celebrities and I’ll be looking for certain types of quilts. I don’t want to broadcast that information widely, so if you want to learn what I’m looking for, the best way is to sign up for my free monthly e-mail newsletter, Meg Cox on Quilting Now, which is like a continuation of my book, a lively journalist’s report on the state of quilting. I’m just starting the research for this new book, and will soon begin requesting quilts. In addition to original quilt patterns that I’ll want to publish, I’m looking for personal stories about the quilts. To subscribe, just send a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, I’m doing a survey of quilters, asking about their personal quilt history. More than 400 quilters filled in a survey for The Quilter’s Catalog: about a dozen were quoted in the book and a few had their quilts published there (photos, not patterns). I’m distributing a new questionnaire now, which you can find on my website, under News.
When filling out the questionnaire, be sure to mention your blog, if you have one. My publisher has promised that if The Quilter’s Catalog continues to be successful, I’ll be able to update and add content later. I’ve got a section on blogs and that is definitely one of the areas that will require updating.
BOOK GIVEAWAY: I’m giving away two copies of The Quilter’s Catalog to quilters who fill in my online questionnaire. I’ll pick two random names out of all the surveys e-mailed to me by midnight next Monday, Feb. 2.
I hope you’ll tell all your quilting friends to take my survey and sign up for my newsletter. Even if they don’t win a book, they have a chance to be in the sequel. Stay in touch!
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