Sunday in the park.

Dear friends,


In the moments when I’m not actually quilting, I’ve been obsessively thinking about quilting.

I realize this is not a revelation, but contrary to what you might think, I’m not pondering the technicalities of the craft, but rather the marketing.

Communications and marketing fill a good bit of my day job, so I can’t help the way my brain works, I suppose. For example, I spent almost as much time thinking about the marketing of my latest quilt as I did constructing it. (Forget the fact that I have no real way to sell it at this moment given I’m awaiting my business ID number and I am so busy sewing that I’m not making much progress on the long list of action items required to actually launch Magpie Quilts.)

I’ve been thinking that quilts have a functional use, of course. But given how much they cost — unless they’re made in China and you buy them at Wal-Mart — they’re also a lifestyle choice, on the one hand, and an expression of what we love and value, on the other hand.

And so given the assumption that a quilt is much more than a blanket, I’ve been thinking of quilt design names and advertising copy that support investing in a lifestyle choice (versus making an inexpensive purchase at a big box retailer).

My latest creation, photographed above, is “Sunday is the Park.” I even wrote sales copy because, you know, I can’t help myself.

Sunday in the Park

(Gone Fishing, #1 in a series)

A picnic basket. A shady spot under an oak tree. And a beautiful whole-cloth quilt on which to stretch out and spend a lazy afternoon with your sweetheart. These are the elements of a relaxing Sunday in the park, and Magpie Quilts’ latest design creates the perfect landing spot for your next outdoor excursion.

Gone Fishing is the first in a series of Sunday in the Park quilts. It is made from 100% cotton fabric and features charming pink and green prints. The front is whole cloth, which highlights the full beauty of a pastoral scene depicting a young brother and sister at their favorite fishing hole.  The back features four large panels in two coordinating prints with window-frame sashing. The quilt is entirely hand-made — pieced, quilted and bound by a single artisan in her Missouri studio — and measures 58″ X 58″, making it suitable for covering your lap as well as your picnic spot.

All Magpie Quilts are safe for the washing machine if laundered in cold water with a gentle detergent and dried on a low-to-medium setting. The batting is an 80/20 cotton-polyester blend, which gives the quilt an exceptional drape and a light weight.

Magpie Quilts is the brainchild of a woman who grew up in a heartland town she calls Mayberry, where catching fireflies on summer nights, sleeping under quilts hand-stitched by the local quilting bee, and sharing the bounty of a backyard vegetable patch never went out of vogue. Her quilt designs combine both vintage-inspired and contemporary fabrics in unfussy patterns that evoke a simpler time, a slower pace, and a love for the creature comforts of home.

I know, I know. Hyperbole is also my talent. When Joan equals “artisan” and her dining room equals “studio,” you know my sales pitch is on overdrive.

Maybe I don’t really want to sew as much as I want to design and market quilts. I’ve got two additional quilt lines already percolating in my brain: “Gram’s Porch,” featuring quilts reminiscent of summer nights spent on your grandmother’s sleeping porch; and “Aunt Hazel’s House,” featuring quilts reminiscent of your favorite aunt’s welcoming hospitality. I may sew them one at a time for the rest of my life, but I’m enjoying daydreaming about a vast creative enterprise. So, thank you, friends, for indulging me as I pretend to be the world’s next quilt auteur.

With gratitude {for an obsessive brain I can’t shut off if I try},

Joan, who knows Martha Stewart/Laura Ashley-empire aspirations might create Donald Trump-style hubris and vows to avoid pomposity and bad hair



  1. Gorgeous fabric in your quilt. 🙂

  2. Another set of enticing fabric choices. I hear you saying you aren’t ready to start shipping quilts out (yet!) but I can barely wait. I figure having a closet exploding with quilts and other artisanal handmade fabric creations is an authentic expression of who I am and how I see my place in the world (as opposed to stacks of newspapers which would just be hoard-y).

    I agree the cost of a quilt large enough to cover a bed is an investment that might give folks pause. But throws! Are throws easy enough to make/market that you could give folks a stepping stone purchase? I rarely change up the bedspreads but I’m always rotating throws and we have some in nearly every room we spend much time in. (Pillow covers? Are those enough of a quilting fix for you? Easy to ship as well? Now you’ve gone and done it – I’m all drawn in to imagining how your shop will work!)

  3. Sharon Lewis says:

    I love the names for the lines of quilts especially Gram’s porch. I can envision lots of names, etc. Like Uncle Red’s shirts, Apple butter time, you get the drift. I think lots of people will not flinch at prices, if they know what quilts go for at craft shows and quilt shows.

  4. You might even push your copy a little more in the J. Peterman direction, although I know that’s wandering into parody territory.

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