Sunday, May 2, 2010

Quilting Magazine's Unsolicited DVD Review

I subscribe to two print quilting magazines at this moment; Quilt and Quilting (probably because I got them confused when filling out the cards). I have been pretty happy with both of them (The latest Quilt contained a bag pattern that I'm modifying for a commissioned bag I'm working on, and was a very timely arrival).

What I didn't expect to get in the mail last week was an unsolicited DVD from them - the first DVD in a series called Inspire - Design - Create - Quilting DVD Collection. I get annoyed with stuff like this - if I don't return the DVD, I'll get billed 12.95 for it and they'll ship me MORE DVDs that I didn't ask for. I suppose that I could keep it and not pay, utilizing the same legal strategy that almost bankrupted the Musical Heritage Society (and caused them to re-think their scheme of sending out vinyl records and hoping people are honest enough to pay for them), but I am a grown up now, and I'm not going to do that.

I did pop it in the DVD player in my sewing room today and watched it as I was ripping seams, hemming pants and skirts and resetting zippers (I'm still in costume mode  for a high school production of Arsenic & Old Lace - I have 4 more skirts to make, but they will have to wait till tomorrow after a trip to the fabric store, since my stash doesn't include navy wool suiting any more). The DVD contained 8 segments, and 3 free PDF patterns.

Segment 1, Color Inspirations: Introduction to the Color Wheel - This was a very basic lesson in color, with one interesting tip: using a kaleidoscope viewer (without any color chips in it) as a way to audition fabrics together. I'll have to try that (yes, I own a small collection of kaleidoscopes - I think they are fabulous).

Segment 2, Reaching Out: Organizing and Participating in Exchanges was a nice introduction to various swaps from charm square to block-of-the-month, and good for people who don't have active and experienced guilds in their locality.

Segment 3, Tool Center: Using Your Rotary Tools to Create Templates presented some nice ideas for how to cut both symmetric and asymmetrical shapes, and this segment was actually useful to me, and showed me something I hadn't seen or thought of before.

Segment 4: Try Something New: English Paper Piecing explained in detail how to go about doing this, and maybe someday in the fullness of time, I might.

Segment 5: Fun & Fanciful: Fussy Cutting explained about various things to be fussy about and showed some lovely quilts as examples. I did figure out striped bindings on my own, though, and I learned about the kaleidoscope effect of cutting identical pieces from a striped fabric from an episode of Simply Quilts a while back (and I even bought the hinged mirrors from Marti Mitchell to preview the cuts).

Segment 6: Techniques Revealed: Stenciling with Shiva Paintsticks had a demonstration of stencil making and using the paint sticks on fabric to make a block, and also some stunning examples of finished quilts. I found this segment most intriguing because I had seen the sticks at the last show I attended but I was dubious about using paint that is in paste form. I'm not convinced yet, but I feel a lot more informed about this method of surface embellishment. Personally, I still have a lot of Tsukeniko ink to work with, and I'm not ready to move on to oil paint just yet. The inks are more forgiving - you can completely wash them out until you heat set them, so you can fix mistakes (a big plus with me!), and they act like watercolors rather than oil paints, which permit you to use a lot of watercolor painting techniques on fabric.

Segment 7: Design Workshop: Free Motion Quilting was a good beginner introduction to free motion quilting with some nice examples. I would have really loved this segment if I hadn't taken a workshop in free motion quilting at a quilt show last summer.

Segment 8: Shop Talk Thread Tension Troubleshooting: this might have been my favorite segment in the entire DVD. I was amused that the only man on the DVD was the sewing machine repair person, but I was fascinated with his explanation of how a sewing machine works, and the fact that he used a Singer Featherweight to illustrate the thread pathways was also really interesting to a technology geek like me.

I forgot to check out the free pattern PDF files before I packaged the DVD up for return. The patterns are cute, from the photos I saw on the menu.

I am not keeping the DVD for myself, for budget reasons - I already bought a quilt book online this week, and things are generally tight - and I don't want to get into a subscription thing with a 13.00/month price tag on it. The DVDs are very good for people starting out and who don't have access to live workshops or guilds where there are quilters who are willing to share their knowledge, but for advanced quilters, I don't think it's really worth it. I'd rather take the 156 dollars a year's worth of these DVDs would cost me and pay for a few workshops.

If you haven't seen the Cats on Quilts blog, please do - and if you have a photo of your pet helping you with a quilt project, please send it in!

Till next week, keep on quilting!


  1. I just had the same thing happen but my husband inadvertently tossed the return envelope and I don't know where to return it. Do you have the return address? My email is

  2. Bonnie, this is almost 3 years ago... I don't have the return address anymore, sorry.

  3. Return address for this DVD is:
    Quilting CS
    P.O. Box 1592
    Minneapolis, MN 55440

    I returned mine back in February 2013 and I am still getting notices to either return or pay up. Now I am going to have to call them to find out why I am getting these notices when I know that I returned the DVD. Just as many of you, I did not solicit this product. I hate when they send the product, they should just send the card, saying, hey if you want this, return the card and we will ship for your to review, if you don't want it, then send back. Not the other way around.

    1. Reda, I don't know if the law is still in force or not, but back in the 1970's, you were perfectly within your rights to keep any unsolicited merchandise sent to you and were under no obligation to pay. The Musical Heritage Society sent out thousands of records of Pachelbel's Canon in C Major and they couldn't collect the money for them. The subsequent bulk mailings consisted of a reply card.

      I may have received "pay up" notices which I might have ignored, also having returned the DVDs. If you by chance get another package from them, send it back unopened.

  4. Thank you Reda KennonApril 4, 2013 at 9:30 PM.
    This is just what I needed, contacted McCall's
    for this address, but won't hear back until next