How To Read A Quilt Magazine


Quilting Contessa gives some tips she uses to get the most out of quilt magazines. Enjoy and share these tips with the quilter you love.

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How To Read A Quilt Magazine

Your new issue of your favorite quilt magazine has just arrived. Oh, happy day! You just can't wait to see what new patterns are included. Looking all through the issue front to back isn't a bad thing, but when you are ready for the second reading, here are some tips and hints to make the most of the issue.

How To Read A Quilt Magazine


These tips will also help you select a quality magazine when browsing the shelves of your favorite quilt shop. A high score on these tips means more to see.



  • Read the cover – front and back. This is not looking at the photos, this is actually reading it.
  • Scan the table of contents for favorite authors/designers. On the first pass, you may not have realized that one of the patterns was by one of your favorites.
  • Don't miss the recurring columns. Sometimes they have the most "meat".
  • Read "tip boxes" even if you don't plan to make that pattern. You might learn a new technique or product.
  • Look for acronyms and abbreviations. This is a good way to teach yourself WOF, etc.
  • Look for URLs and video links. URL is a fancy abbreviation for a web address.
  • Examine tables and diagrams. Is there something new here?


  • Look for copyright statements. This will tell you how you may use the pattern. See the sample in this photo.


  • Check photos of quilts, even if you won't make them, for inspiration on how to quilt a quilt.


  • Notice the level of difficulty if there is one. Sometimes the symbol is small so you may have to look for it. By avoiding quilts that may be too difficult, you may avoid UFOs.


  • Look for statements of standards or general guidelines or design notes.
    • How do they announce corrections?
    • Don't skip over "see p. Z for general instructions."


  • Be aware of ways to participate such as contents, questions, photos, etc.
    • Look for project submissions guidelines.
    • Look for community service links that tell you about giving to others.


  • If there are pull out patterns, ask yourself if you will leave them in or pull them out and file them?
    • One reason to pull them out and file them is that you can attach an index card to each pattern with a list of what is available on it. It is easier to search a drawer of patterns for a rose applique than piles of magazines.
    • If you are a computer indexer, you can create a spreadsheet that indexes the magazines with the list of what they contain.


  • Write important page numbers with a note on the inside of the back cover. This will prompt your memory when you are looking for something you've seen – such as a neat quilting suggestion. You will only have to search the inside back covers for what you need.
  • First or last, do take time for the ads: you might see a color, a name, a tool, or another new idea.


Gotta Run! My new issue is here!


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Check out the most popular tool on QuiltingHub. Use the search 'Map Of Resources' or the 'Resources Trip Planner' to the right (or below).



Attaching individual pieces of fabric to a background to form a design.

Same As: Appliqué

See Also: Freezer Paper Applique, Needleturn Applique, Machine Applique, Reverse Applique, Shadow Applique
Debi Warner
Author and humorist, Debi Warner, retired after many years as a clinical librarian and information specialist. She has her Master’s in Library and Information Science and achieved a Distinguished level in the Medical Library Association’s Association of Health Information Professionals. She has worked on teaching physicians to use computers and electronic resources. She also worked on several grants teaching the public how to use the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus public database and is co-author of several articles on health literacy. She took up quilting after retirement in 2012 and chaired the Rio Grande Valley Quilt Show in 2019. She currently teaches several quilting classes over Zoom and writes for QuiltingHub.
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