Nostalgia: 22 Books & 4,338 Pages – July/August 2006

22 Books & 4,338 Pages
Marianne and Liz donating a copy of one of their books to the Winterset Public Library in 1984. At right is librarian Mariam Brown. The manuscript for the Quilter’s Complete Guide weighed thirteen pounds!
When we began writing quilting books in the early 1980s, the only word processor either of us had was a #2 lead pencil. Our objective has always been to offer clear, concise instructions.
Believe it or not, when we started teaching classes in the early 1980s, only about three quilting books were available. Each time Quilter’s Newsletter reviewed a new book, we’d use some of our teaching money to order it.
Writing a book ourselves seemed a natural progression from teaching.
Our first book, Classic Quilted Vests, was published in 1982, by Yours Truly, Inc. It was a success for its time, selling almost 100,000 copies during the years it was in print.
We lived 13 miles apart when we co-authored that first book. We’d each write a section, then one of us would pile the kids in the car and drive to the other’s house so we could trade pages and edit one another’s work.
We were lucky enough to get acquainted with people in the editorial department of Oxmoor House, a terrific book publisher in Birmingham, Alabama. When we suggested a basic quilting how-to book, they were enthusiastic. Three years of writing and eighteen months of book preparation later, Quilter’s Complete Guide was published in 1993. Often referred to as “the quilter’s bible,” it has sold over half a million copies to date and is still in print. Clear visuals and easy-to-follow instructions make it a great resource to this day.
The relationship we forged with Oxmoor House while writing Quilter’s Complete Guide eventually led to the launch of our magazine in March of 1996. It started its life as Sew Many Quilts and has become Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting.

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