Magazine Issues

I enjoy magazines! They help me keep in touch with what’s going on in the quilt world. They place beautiful pictures and great patterns at my fingertips. They often have heartwarming stories. They are a wonderful resource, but there is another side to it.

A while back Kris made this comment to one of my posts:

“I have piles of quilting magazines and am looking for some suggestions on how to store them. I am trying to go more digital and am thinking about scanning the patterns I like. I just don’t know how I would organize them once scanned. Saw an ad for a program called Paperport. Has anyone tried this?”

I want to thank Kris for bringing this topic up. I have my own magazine issues (no pun intended). In fact, I blogged about this in October of 2010. I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t made much progress. Here’s my system as written in that post:

“Here’s my storage system: I leave many scattered around the house and then put them in boxes with the pages I like dog-earred. Then I seldom ever go back through the boxes (I didn’t say it was a good system :-)) .  A dear friend helped us move into this home 6 years ago and at one point, a lid fell off the box of quilt magazines he was carrying. When he realized what he was lugging, he set the box down and said he was happy to help, but he drew the line at old mags! That should have been a hint, but I’ve continued to pack them in boxes anyways.

I’m not sure when I’ll get to my many old boxes, but I have a new plan for future arrivals:

When I’ve finished with a new issue I’ll copy those articles I’m interested in and donate the entire magazine to my guild or give it away in my classes. That way no quilter will be disappointed by  missing pages (thanks Char!). It sounds good, now to actually put it into practice.”


Re-reading that post was a bit disappointing. I’m still dog-earring, but now I just pile them on top of the boxes we moved 9 years ago! UGH!!!


Actually, as I was taking this shot I began to feel a little better that there was still room in this area of the closet. Perhaps it’s not that bad. Then I remembered that I recently had begun placing my Quilting Arts and Machine Quilting Unlimited on the bookshelf in the hall (well, at least they’re neat).


Just so you don’t think I’m completely hopeless, the one change I have made since the writing of that previous post is – whenever I finish a magazine and there are no dog-ears (rare – I must admit), I put it in my guild bag and give it away at the next meeting – I really do :-)!

I’m sure there are many of us who need a better system. I’ve thought about getting my subscriptions on line, but I don’t really enjoy doing all my reading on the computer (I like the feel of holding a magazine and my favorite place to read is still the bathtub – difficult to do with a computer). This “Paperport” sounds interesting. Has anyone tried it?

Helpppppppp! How do you handle magazines? Please comment and let us know!


And here’s a “parting picture” of a fiber art piece from Debra Crivello, she writes:

“I finished my first wall hanging from your class in Madison.  I get lots of positive comments from those that have seen it.”

fiber artThanks Debra!


21 Opinions

  • Cathy Koester said:

    I have just moved (to Canada) in the last month and as I was packing my sewing room I had to deal with ten years of magazines. I went through all of them and if I saw two patterns that I would conceivably do, I kept the magazine. If there weren’t 2 I tossed it. And yes, I could have given them away at guild (which I did with over half of all the patterns I had accumulated) but by that point I didn’t have enough time. We ended up having to do a great deal of packing in a week and a half!

  • Gail Davenport said:

    I bought a NOOK HD+ over the summer and have been trying to use digital subscriptions to magazines when available (and affordable). Also, if I find a pattern online I think I’m going to make, I save it as pdf and then transfer it to my NOOK. Having it on the tablet makes it easy to bring the pattern right to my sewing table without wasting paper and ink printing it.

  • Jeannine said:

    I have binders, by category (quilt patterns, block patterns, baby quilts, small projects, tips). As I’m done with a magazine I remove whatever I want to keep, put it in a plastic sleeve in the binder it fits with and recycle the rest of the magazine. If I don’t want anything in the magazine, I pass it on to a friend.

    • Lorraine said:

      I do the same thing that Jeannine does. When I want to make a quilt for someone I will give them one of my binders and tell them to pick out a few patterns they like. I ask them for color suggestions, if they like flowers, stripes, bold colors or pastels and anything else to help select fabrics. Sometimes when the person is very special I take them with me to a quilt store and have them pick out the fabrics. Then as I make the quilt for that person I know I am making something they will like and I actually USE a pattern I have kept in my file. Then I can move the pattern into my “Finished Projects” binder. What a wonderful feeling THAT is!

    • Tari Hammons said:

      I do the same thing. I have gotten a little pickier over the years as to what really goes into the binders now. Realisticly, will I make the quilt?
      I used to love having them around for inspiration, but then it got to be too much to “read” through even for that. So, picky came into being.
      I also had a problem as to what to do with those old Quilting Arts calendars. Now I tear out the quilts I love and use them as wallpaper border around the top of my studio!!

  • Erna admin

    The wall hanging with “BELIEVE” on it is great! Is there a pattern available?
    We are in Arizona for the winter with sewing machine. Appreciate hearing from you and have learned a lot from your emails!

    • clkquilt admin

      Debra made her “Believe” art quilt in one of my classes. All of the techniques from that class are in my new book “Where Do I Start With Fiber Art”, Which is available on my website/blog. Once you know how, you can create your own unique work of art just like Debra did.

  • Cheryl said:

    I really don’t have a ‘better way’ but, when I go thru a magazine again, years later, I discover what I’ve put a post it note on, but, also, sometimes new things jump out at me, that didn’t jump out years before. We grow and change over the years, and so do our tastes and interests. I do have several magazine holders that I’ll one day organize my magazines into. At the moment, they are still just jumbled together in the holders. Still better than boxes, since I can easily pull out a small holder.

  • Mary admin

    I go one step further than you. I have gone to writing the page number and what is on that page, with a marker, on the front of the magazine, so I don’t have to page through the whole thing again.

  • Jacquie admin

    Just read your latest blog while recovering from another hip replacement, I went through 6 yrs of magazines and tore out the dogeared patterns and info. Put them in colored binders, sorting them somewhat into categories: baby and children, holidays, magazine patterns, and downloaded patterns. I put them in clear page protectors. Then I discarded the magazines. It helped clear shelves.

  • Rosemary said:

    While it is very difficult to get rid of magazines, keep in mind your friends, and your quilt club members will always take them. You would be surprised how fast they disappear from the table. Go through the magazines and decide about those dog eared patterns. Are you really going to make it….some day? Another option is to take those specific patterns out of the magazine and put them in a binder.

    I know quilt magazines are sometimes just as precious as our fabric collection, but there’s always someone else who can benefit from them.

  • Nancy Johnson said:

    I’ve been taking them out of the magazines and putting the patterns and ideas in binders for years. Now I have a problem with storing the binders…so I’m scanning everything and putting the articles in files (named by subject) on my computer. It’s a big job to scan everything, but it sure eliminates the storage problems I’m having with binders and magazines.

  • Joyce said:

    I mark the patterns/articles I want with a Post-It note and keep the entire magazine in magazine holders by title in my sewing room. Eventually, I go through them again (it’s kinda like reading a favorite novel for the second time) and I tear out and keep what I really love. If the magazine is intact or there’s not part of a pattern missing, I pass it on to my fellow guild members. I took a box to a retreat and they were gone within an hour and will be in someone else’s sewing room!

  • Linda admin

    ah.. the magazine issue ! sorry.. but my system is very similar to yours. I can enjoy old mags any time. any where. and leave them laying around .. in my house, office, car , my quilt shop.. where ever . so no matter where… I have a magazine close by. I never have to read plain mags at the hair dresser or doctor or waiting in the car line at school. Quilt mags are my friends. hee he.

  • Carmen Sommers said:

    I pick out what I want from my magazines then recycle the rest. I hate clutter and after saving boxes of them this was the only logical solution.

  • Anna admin

    Hi, Enjoyed your presentation at Empire and friends enjoyed seeing my picture in your blog (back row, row of head, blonde–sitting up front makes me claustrophobic). I subscribe to QNM and buy quilt mags as I see one that takes my fancy. Otherwise buy at Empire for 5 for $1 and they pile up fast. With a three room apartment, space is at a premium and pull out the pages I want and sort them by type–4 patch, 9 patch, triangles, curves, scrap, applique, etc. When there’s a lot of one type, say flying geese, Baltimore Album, sampler, floral, I make another group. Local 99-cent store has 3ring loose leaf binders with clear covers. I recycle dividers or advertisements (election flyers are great) and create a tab with 1/2″ x 2″ piece of paper (Animals, Fruit, Buildings, etc). You may wind up with a dozen versions of, say, monkey wrench. Keep the best directions and then the pictures of the others. Cover tab with 2′ wide clear packing tape: cut the tape 2″ long, tape from edge, over the tab and cover back and back edge of divider. Easier than it sounds. Glad to send you a sample. From the looks of your mag stash, you need a really snowy week/weekend to tackle this and a lot of floor space, no pets.

  • Judy admin

    I know magazines become overwelming at times. Right now I have a hanging file that I put each different quilt magazines in alpha order. I know that I will run out of room in the future. I don’t know that there is an easy answer to this.

  • Lynn admin

    My friend looks through each issue, removes only the tips or quilt patterns she is interested in and then files them in a three ring binder under catagories.
    She has done this for years and doesn’t have the accumulation I have after just a couple of years.

  • Jan admin

    I either cut out pictures from the magazines for inspiration and save them in my sketch book or save the magazines until I get a new issue…then I read through it a second time and if there Is nothing I need I recycle it. I have found over the years that I don’t actually go back and reread them…. Too much clutter is not a good thing.

    I think clothing and magazines should go by the same rule. If you have not used it in a year it is time to recycle. That being said I do not use that rule for my fabric stash!

  • Joanne said:

    I guess I’m anti-magazine. I get one magazine about my home state South Dakota in total & that’s a gift from my mom. I occasionally pick up one when I’m someplace where there happens to be one laying around, but I never buy it or get very far, mostly because everything looks the same. I have 1 how-to booklet on crocheting and knitting; my Electric Quilt manual; a folder on my laptop with all kinds of crochet patterns to try and my own sewing file with my designs, works in progress, notes and completions. That’s all I have on sewing or quilting.
    My reasons for not getting magazines is quite simple…I don’t want to get design ideas from anyone else and there’s storage space ‘issues’. If I have problems with sewing techniques I either make something up or have a look online at the hundreds of how-tos out there. I poke around online and go to a show once in awhile to see if there is really anything new out there. Just my 2 cents.


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