Fons and Porter, The Early Years

I was looking for a pattern the other day and I found this in my magazine stacks:

They look mahhhvelous.
Impossibly great. 

That’s my mom, on the left there. And on the right, it’s Liz Porter. Above their heads, we see the magazine title, “Sew Many Quilts” — which, if you’ve been around for a minute, switched to “Love of Quilting” not terribly long after this magazine was on newsstands. Long story.

But just look at ’em. Young. Full of ambition and ideas. Wearing denim shirts, the both of them, which is a funny story: for a minute on TV, Mom and Liz decided to wear matching denim shirts because they were so sick of having to buy a zillion outfits that worked on camera. I think that lasted one season. Then there was the season with the aprons. That didn’t last long, either.

Looking back to Mom and Liz’s early days is really heartening — and not just for me, I hope. We all start somewhere. We all start differently. Some of us have awesome upbringings and love our family; other people can’t wait to get out. Some people are good in school, some people…well, can’t wait to get out. Some folks have a head start, some don’t; some people take a head start and waste it, some people don’t; some people take a chance, some people take a bigger one, etc., etc.

I hope today you go for it. Maybe it’s patchwork. Maybe it’s something at work. Maybe it’s a friendship that needs a tweak or a relationship that needs a goose. (That’s supposed to be funny!) Whatever it is, just go for it. Mom and Liz sure did. They had families to feed and great ideas to share. They really did “sew many quilts” and they really did have a “love of quilting.”

And aren’t we all glad they did?

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Mary Fons

About Mary Fons

Mary Fons hails from a prominent quilt mafia family. A professional writer and performer, Mary co-hosted the nationally-airing PBS program "Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting" along with her mom, famed quilter and educator Marianne Fons. In 2010, Mary began hosting Quilty, an online show offered weekly on In 2012, Mary became editor of Quilty magazine. She holds a Theater Arts BA from the University of Iowa.

15 thoughts on “Fons and Porter, The Early Years

  1. I was there for the first show and had a subscription to the magazine. I, for one, am very glad they did what they did, denim and all. These are two great ladies! And well-cherished in the quilting community.

  2. This made me dig out my old magazines, some of which featured these 2 pioneers. Now waiting on my coffee to finish brewing, got my glasses and soon I will be settling down for an evening of memories and maybe planning another project.

  3. Ha! *giggle* 1996 is not the early days of Fons & Porter for me. I was taking their classes at Quilt Markets and Festivals in the 1980s. 🙂 Here, they’re “old hands.” Lots of great memories. Their hand drawn feathers were my favorite. Much Love, Fondly, Robin

  4. There was a selection of “vintage” SMQ issues on the giveaway table at our guild meeting last week. I scooped them up! Some I’d had when they were new; a couple I’d gotten over the years; yet there were several issues that I hadn’t seen. I have a commission quilt to make for a family of Pittsburgh Steelers fans — that’s black, gold, and white. I’d been mulling over designs. Eureka! Ph.D. Stars from the Nov/Dec , 1998, issue will be perfect!!

  5. Boy what fun to look back. Sure wish I had that pattern of Moon over Madison County. I am awool applicate nut. If it was made in wool what a wonderful way to do it. At that time I was not a quilter but oh boy now!!!

  6. I have stacks of Love of Quilting in my sewing room and taped all the TV shows. The first magazine I go for when I need a project. Attended you and Mary Ann’s presentations at the Cincinnati OH Sew/Quilt Show this year and it was great seeing you both in person. I miss Liz but so glad you joined you mom on the show.

  7. I am looking for the “quiet books” pattern. Have two new great-
    granddaughters who I would lie to make one for. Unfortunatly
    I have lost mine. Can anyone help!!!

  8. I do enjoy you on Love Of Quilting, and look forward to finding QuiltyQNNtv on the web.
    It’s good to catch Liz Porter as a “guest” on your Love Of Quilting programs. What is she doing as she has “retired,” probably like some of us busy, retirees are busy.
    Louise Sweet

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