Quilt Magazines & Economy

There’s been a discussion on the quilt designers’ list for a while about designers not getting paid by magazines. It’s been a very respectful discussion and no names of magazines have been mentioned, though it was easy to google the names of the designers who hadn’t been paid and see which in magazines their articles/designs have recently been published.

This morning, this link was shared.  As far as quilters, they publish Quilter’s Newsletter, Quiltmaker, Quick Quilting, and several others.  I’m certainly not saying don’t subscribe to these magazines.  They need us now more than ever but  . . I’d be careful about long term subscriptions.  They may be in business longer than any of us are around or, they may not.

Recently XM Radio called me and wanted to extend my subsciption.  They were offering a hard to believe deal but I declined.  Just a few days later, I heard about their economic problems.  They also may be in business forever but they also may not.

Except for American Quilter which comes with my membership to AQS, I’ve let all my magazine subscriptions expire except for the few that will expire within the next few issues.  I do look through the magazines while at Wal-Mart or on the occasional trip to a bookstore and I get anything that interests me then.

Hopefully CK will be able to pare down the number of magazines they publish and continue to provide great magazines to the quilting, scrapbooking and sewing community.

On another issue a bit similar that you may want to be aware of — my credit card cycle closes near the first of the month and payment is due around the 20th.  I always check my statement online and pay it online and never open my statements that come in the mail.  Because my credit card is through one of the banks that we’re not hearing a lot of good news about, I went in last month and cashed out all my points for cash.  But, yesterday, the 24th, I received a statement which was not the time of month I should be receiving a statement so I opened it to see what was going on.  It was the statement that was due the 20th!  If I had not been keeping up with that – checking it online and paying it early, I would have been stuck with late fees and interest.  This was the statement that had tuition, dorm, meal plan and books!  I would not have wanted to have been stuck with interest on that amount!  Not sure if the statement had been lost in the mail . . it didn’t look like it had been damaged; or if the bank is behind in sending out statements.

But . . please be aware of things like this.  It could cost you . . even if I had been able to call and explain and convince them it wasn’t my fault and they had agreed to waive fees, it would have wasted a bunch of my time.

This is really the time to be responsible for your own self and family and not depend on others to do what they’ve always done or even what we think they should be doing!

One last thing . . when you are dealing with companies who have having financial problems, don’t forget you’re probably talking to someone who is in great fear of losing their own job, didn’t have any responsibility in whatever got the company in whatever mess they may be in, and that employee is probably receiving calls from irate, frustrated and fearful people all day.  Be a bright spot in their day and understand that they are probably doing all for you that they can do . . no matter how inadequate it may seem.  These people who are in “customer service”, though we see far too little of it these days, are in a rough spot when the companies dictate what they can and cannot do for us.


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    I cancelled all my subscriptions since I’m lucky enough to live where my library has them. That’s a big chunk of change(did someone say fabric shopping?) For Christmas my two best friend and i all got each other subscriptions to various different cooking mags and now we pass them on to each other when done. Recycling and new recipe ideas!
    I like your sampler quilt very much. Amazing what you can do with such varried blocks.Of course your quilting makes it amazing.

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    Peg says

    I had to comment after your story about your credit card. I had a 0% interest for 1 year card. Always paid full balance, early. When it got to be about the 11th month of the year cycle I stopped receiving my statements. If I didn’t know when they were due and sent payment anyway I would also have been stuck with late fees. When I called the CC Co. they said it was the post office’s fault. I should allow 2 weeks between when they issued the statement & when I received it and they would issue a new statement immediately. Funny thing is I received the duplicate in about 2 days! Same thing happened with the “last of the 0% interest.”
    Needless to say after having the same conversation 2 months in a row and all the SUDDEN problems with my address and the post office I cancelled the card. I do receive a lovely invitation at least once a month to open an account with them. There is alot more scheming and fraud associated with credit cards than one would like to think and it’s from the company itself.

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    I have just “read” a ton of back issues of magazines, flagging the tips, ideas, quilts & machine quilting patterns that I think I might want to refer to later. I have to say, I think my money is well spent on quilt magazines, and I have long term subscriptions. If a magazine folds — well, I’ll be a creditor to the tune of $10 or so. About the cost of a yard of Moda fabric, know what I’m saying? I would rather risk that small amount of money to support an industry I enjoy than pull my support and just shrug.

    Of course, I’m lucky. The extent to which the economy has hurt me is that our investments have been cut in value. I’m lucky to have investments. I’ve actually been thinking about things I should be doing with my money (home improvements, etc.) that need doing and by doing them now, I can support the local economy. I’ve also been buying fabric — for all the reasons that we ever buy fabric, but also knowing that I can and someone should. I don’t pat myself on the back — it’s an indulgence! — but I do think about how it’s good to spend money when others can’t if it means that quilt shops have a better chance of survival.

    I’m all for frugality — I’ll happily refrain from supporting a megabusiness like Wal*Mart, which is going to survive no matter what — but I want my quilt shops and magazines to survive. So that’s where my money goes.

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    Just a few weekends ago we noticed that our FIXED 3.9% for the life of the amount had been changed on our statement. Like you we have it automatically set up with our online banking – we set it and forget it. Have been doing that for nearly 2 years.. anyway, thankfully I noticed the intresxt rate had jumped up suddenly so we called. Apparently they had sent a Notification of Terms recently where they changed the minimum amount due. We always pay this card’s min. b/c of the super low rate – while we pay off another higher rate card fist.. then we’ll knock this debt out…

    anyway, b/c they had changed the minimum amount due, we LOST our fixed rate b/c they didn’t reveive the correct amount and therefore it meant we had faulted on the agreement.

    after about 20 min. on the phone and talking to a supervisor we learned we could “REJECT” the new terms, and get back our super low rate – and it would be for th elife of the amount (same as before) only that after the card’s expiration date, the account would be closed and we will never be able to make another purchase on it. Which is FINE with us, b/c we haven’t carried that card in our wallets for years anyway. We know better than that b/c new purchases go to a high % and we don’t want to add to this debt.

    so for people out there – with CHASE or CITIBANK – beware! Read ALL statements closely… the terms can change without you even noticing if you aren’t careful!

    The above happened with Citibank – but recently David noticed on his CHASE card they were charging $10/month as a service fee!!$#@$#@!@ He called and got that resolved but just think of how many people who don’t notice. We have to be careful in times like these.

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    Glenda in Florida says

    I got burned in 2004 when another quilt magazine publisher folded–I had subscriptions to Miniature Quilts, plus one other, which did some reorganizing, consolidating before it all folded. I did learn months later that we could have contacted the publisher and gotten free back issues, or copies of some of their older books, but I didn’t find out about that offer in time. Seemed to me that if they could be mailing offers to renew/subscribe the week before they closed, that they could have contacted people with that offer. I don’t hold any ill will towards the people involved, as I LOVED their magazines, and I truly believe that they were hurt worse than any of their creditors by losing their dream.

    But…to curb my hoarding tendencies, I have let all of my subscriptions lapse, except for those that come with memberships– AQS, and NQA. I can’t bear to part with the back issues, so I have to slow down the inflow! I do miss the magazines a bit, but I seldom used any of their patterns. I can get info on-line about shows. I might miss hearing about new products or new fabric lines, but I blog surf a lot, and when I see something on a blog that I want, I ask my LQS to order it.

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    I don’t subscribe to any magazines at this time. Instead, I can go to my local bookstore and flip through the magazines. (There’s 4 chairs right in front of the magazine display!) If there’s a couple of patterns in it that catch my eye, I’ll likely buy it. If there’s nothing, I’m not stuck with a dud. 🙂

    As for the credit card bill, it’s due around the 10th of each month. I make a trip to the bank in the beginning of the month, and I know if I haven’t paid the credit card by then, some thing’s up. Thankfully I can pay the credit card at the bank.

    I can’t stand online banking. I WILL forget. I need the physical act of actually writing out a check to register that I’ve taken care of the bill. But almost every month, I’m scratching my head at a missing $120 because I forgot about the car insurance automatically being withdrawn.

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    Evelyn says

    If you subscribe to AQS, you probably will also enjoy Canadian Quilter… the magazine is part of the membership program perks – it is not a magazine you can buy at the magazine racks. It is a very lovely magazine with lots of interesting articles/photos/etc! I think the payment is Canadian $, which right now is a good deal for US paying people.
    Cheers! Evelyn

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    Like many of you I have gradually let my magazine subscriptions expire and not renewed. I found that I would receive the magazine, flip through to see if something caught my eye and that was usually the last time I picked it up except to put into the pile of other magazines. Speaking of credit cards–watch the amount of interest you are being charged. I pay my cards off every month. And what encouraged me to get into that practice was watching the amount of interest I was being charged each month. I started asking myself, what could I have purchased with that interest money. It wasn’t long before I paid off every card we had and now have limited myself to two charge cards. With that interest money, naturally more fabric I can buy! Happy Quilting.

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    I was a sewing show in Novi MI last September and I purchased 2 magazine subscriptions for $50 US for a 2 year subscription for both. If there are any duds that’s okay I’ll just donate them to someone and if the magazines ever fold I still have received a great deal. Here in Canada a magazine can run anywhere from $6- to $15- per issue. Usually a subscrition costs a lot more than $50-. I think it was money well spent. After the subscritions expire I won’t be renewing them.

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    I only subscribe to Bernina’s “Through the Needle”, because I always learn something from it. Otherwise, I visit the local bookstore and browse the magazines. If there’s something in one that catches my eye (happens maybe 3-4 time a year?) I’ll buy it.

    I keep a single credit card that I use a couple times per year for large purchases (like my new Bernina 830!) strictly to keep my credit current and in good standing. I send the balance in the same day I use it 🙂

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    Bobbie says

    I only have 1 subscription now, when I used to have about 4 or 5. Found my self wanting to make more quilts a person could if they lived forever. I have 2 book shelves with quilt magazines and then 2 shelves with quilting books. A lot of my UFO’s have come about because of this—Oh and then the single patterns-QUITE a stack of them. No more magazines for me or patterns. -until I see something i’ve just GOT to make-2 0r 3 years later the instructions are still over there <<<<<< And I have a few credit cards and maybe use them at Christmas time, but pay the whole amount the 1st. payment. I have a bank debit and charge card-use it as a charge card and it is taken right from my checking account that day. I hate to write checks and a lot of bills are paid that way too aoutmatically. Hugs, Bobbie

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    Leslie says

    Judy thank you for such a thoughtful article today. Yours is the first blog I read each day and you always have interesting and inspiring things to say. I have been letting subscriptions expire and if I miss them I will pick them up again after 6 months or so. We always check our bank activity daily because we have had “curious” charges appear – not often and not large, but often enough. We have recently received new cards with even more security built in. I do trust our bank – USAA but we watch it nevertheless. We don’t carry charges ever. If we can’t afford to pay for it we don’t charge it either. We do charge when we are on the road in our motor home to avoid carrying lots of cash and when we want that extra warranty that our bank card offers but we could live without the card.

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    OK, Judy, I’m not going to renew my subscriptions any more either. I have been thinking about it for some time now and you just convinced me.

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    Susan ~ Patchkat says

    One of my favorite Home magazines just folded…and in place of that mag for the last few issues, they’re substituting Family Circle. Wow. NOT. I’m so disappointed. I’m at the point where I’d rather they just keep it all…but I’ll pass them along to a co-worker who occassionally buys them. I’m only out 12.95.

    I noticed the interest thingie on several CCs…all it usually takes is a phone call to their Customer Svc dept. They may cancel the card on you, but…that’s okay. It’s time to become independent from the banking industry anyway. I’m all for going back to the old values…if you can’t pay cash…you don’t need it right now. This coming from someone whose meds are all 90 day mail order, lol….so on a CC. We do keep one card just for the meds. And one for travel, and one for the vet. Other than that, it’s cash, cash, cash.

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    mckie2 says

    I wonder how we think we are helping the already poor economy by canceling our subscriptions? I enjoy the magazines I subscribe to and I will continue to subscribe for at least a year at a time to each, in hopes the economy gets better. Like anyone, I would not like to lose a lot of money, if the magazine folds, but I think we need to be supportive of businesses where we can. If a person can no longer afford to subscribe, that is one thing, but if the recession has not hit your family yet, then there is no need.

    I was laid off this month and I am the only wage earner in this house (the other inhabitants are 4 cats, so that explains that). Those quilt magazines are a comfort to me now.

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    I always try to be really nice to those customer service folks on the phone. Judging from the connections and accent, I seriously doubt the majority of them are Americans worried about keeping their jobs …

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    I check my credit cards and my bank account online every day. I like the ease of online banking and it saves me from buying stamps and worrying about the letters getting lost in the mail. I do subscribe to 4 quilt mags and will continue to get them because I do like them, but I only subscribe for 1 year at a time. The economy is a pretty fearful topic right now….and it is not hard to get a little frantic sometimes.

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    Judy, thanks for writing such a thought provoking note. I had just written a post about the magazine issue also. Thanks too for reminding us to be watchful with our credit cards. It’s something we need to be mindful of. DH has a personal cc and one for work which of course is rarely used. I only have my debit card. If I don’t have the funds to pay for it at time of purchase, I just don’t buy. That’s what works best for me.

    I look forward to your writings every day!
    Sheryl aka Quiltingtizzy

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    Norma says

    Judy, please don’t quit blogging and please don’t make your blog private. I enjoy your site each day and always learn something from it.
    I am glad for the information you share but in regard to the magazines, I have been letting mine expire except for one. This is for different reasons. First, I can read more interesting things on the computer than I find in the magazines recently. Second, it seems that the magazines contain more ads than actual articles. Thirdly, it seems that the articles are regressing as far as new ideas, etc.
    I have read 3 blogs lately where the writer is commenting about angry comments. I think there are some unhappy, worried people out there and I can understand why they are feeling that way. I admire you for the way you contribute to charity and we all should follow your example. I have been working all day on a chariy quilt and hope to do more. I had been kinda lagging on that until I read your blog. Thanks

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    Some people just have to spread their misery. As I said before you are a great American and you can do just what you want. That is until they take that freedom away from us also.

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    Like you, I have been letting my subscriptions lapse as they expire. I will keep Quilter’s Home because I just love Mark Lipinski’s take on quilting, and I usually find things I want to make in Quiltmaker and Quick Quilts–if they last. The others, nope. I only have so much storage space and I would rather use it for something besides magazines. There is so much available on the internet now, magazines would be well-advised to just go online.