The 8-Minute Challenge.

In early 2010, the idea for Quilty was born.

I was at spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis and I looked around and thought, “There’s gotta be a show online that gives quilting instruction to beginners in little, friendly pieces. It’s got to look good, be entertaining, and teach basics and have guests… I think I can do it, if I have help from good people.”

And so it is — the good people part, and the help, and the short chunks of quilt-making information. Quilty is a thing! And a lot of people find it very helpful. For those who don’t, no problemo. I just hope those people will help teach in the way that they find helpful and we’ll all help keep quilting alive and strong.

The biggest challenge in making Quilty is getting each episode to share several teaching objectives in the time we have. We have about this much time:

We shoot for about 6-10 minutes for each episode, that is. And when you’re talking about making a quilt block or discussing the parts of the sewing machine, those minutes go really fast. It’s not that you can’t say a lot in that time — I hope that we do — but you gotta edit. And then edit a little more. And then (this is important) the whole, entire show overall needs to be enjoyable and engaging enough that the viewer will finish and episode and want to come back and watch another one to learn more. Because she’ll learn more.

We’ve got a shoot coming up next week and with 26 episodes to tape, I’ve got a lot of work to do, along with all the rest of the team. Thank you everyone, for watching Quilty. We strive to give you a good eight minutes of joy and information, every time.

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Hey Quilty Blog
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.

29 thoughts on “The 8-Minute Challenge.

  1. I love your episodes of quilty!!!!!!! This is how I am learning to quilt. Thank you so very much. I wish you could come to my house and spend time with me.. Florida is nice

  2. Hi! I’m a 100% Quilty taught quilter…it has literally changed my life! It totally gave me the courage to take my sewing machine out of the box and start sewing (thanks to your threading the sewing machine show and sawtooth star tutorial). A few months and about 5 quilt tops later, I’m never looking back, I know I will keep doing this forever. I’d love more sewing time with Mary, I love the Blocks-A-Go-Go episodes. I would also love it if you could tackle the basting and quilting side of things, I’ve had to look on blogs and things for direction on that. I know I’ll never be able to afford a long arm quilter, plus I really want to know how to do it all myself. I’m already dreaming of my next sewing machine…my $200 Brother isn’t going to hack it much longer. Thank you so much, Mary!

  3. I’m looking forward to your new episodes! Thank you and good luck/skill to you and your team – 26 episodes? That’s 12,480 minutes! Hang in there! 🙂

  4. I think the 8 minute time frame is all about perspective. To a person used to teaching 6 hour workshop style classes, that might seem really constricted and limiting. To someone used to teaching on YouTube videos, 8 minutes is an eternity!

    The point is to give freely from your heart. While it sounds like you’re in the crazy stress part of the job right now, just remember what the whole point is: to connect and teach beginners what you feel it’s important to know.

    Good luck!

    Leah Day

  5. When I want to look into a new technique or have a refresher I go to Quilty first (and usually it will be the last as well). I don’t even bother with youtube anymore. You’re Tops! Thanks for all the great episodes and hard work you guys do. Looking forward to new things to come as well.

  6. I love your episodes! You are adorable, informative, teacherly, funny, pretty, infectious (in a good way), enthusiastic, encouraging, and just doggone GOOD! Thanks.

  7. I look forward to them every week. You’re fun and bubbly and informative. Like I said before keep doing what you do because you do it well!!!

  8. I think you’re doing a great job making Quilty episodes. I’ve been sewing for over 40 years, but quilting for about 3 years. I feel like Quilty was made for me. Keep up the good work!

  9. Thank you for providing this information, I can watch a short episode in between things taking a break but not a 30 minute show. The information that you give in this format is excelent! Keep up the great work

  10. You. All. Are. Great. The Quilty team thanks you for watching — and BTW, we are doing a LOT more “quilting the quilt” instruction in all future episodes, so watch for it. Yippee! xo, Mar

  11. I love the quick info segments a lot and learn new things, or refresh memories of techniques, from them all. Thanks for doing them and making them available to all of us.

  12. You and your team are doing a fantastic job! You are Communicator extraordinaire! I really enjoy all the segments.
    May I suggest the following topic to be covered either via your blog or via an episode? Could you provide a check-list of what to take along when you attend a one week Quilting course away from home. I will be driving a full day to get to Quilting by the Lake in July. This is a first for me and I want to ensure I covered all my basis!
    Many thanks!
    Diane Ct

  13. Love Quilty! I learned to quilt from you and your Mom’s learn to quilt DVD and I was so excited when I discovered Quilty. You guys should redo the Learn to Quilt with your Quilty team!

    And just so you know, my 3-year-old son loves you! He frequently requests a “Mommy quilt show” and he makes it very clear that he means Quilty and not anything else. 🙂

  14. Mary you are doing a wonderful job with Quilty! I look forward to each and every episode. I learn from you and your guests even though I have been quilting for what seems like eons, since the ’70s. You are so much fun and bring a lift to my day!

  15. Is there an easy way to handle large amounts of fabric, say 3 or 4 yards? Do you suggest cutting the fabric into smaller sections? I have a small work space, and have not found a good way to smooth out my fabric to square it up and start cutting when you have more yards than you can hold at one time. How do you approach a loooong piece of fabric to begin the cutting? Hope you can help. I have thought of cutting it down to 1 1/2 yd pieces, but I think of the fabric I might lose by doing so. Any suggestions.

  16. I love Quilty! I have a question, when you go to cut strips and your alining the fabric so it is straight I can’t handle a yard of material anymore due to health issues can I cut it in half so I’m only handling a 1/2 yd instead of the full yard or yardsor cut 18 in off and cut that into my strips thanks Ruth

  17. I second the call for more machine quilting instruction. That’s my favorite part of making a quilt and I am fit to be proud when I see quilters doing their own machine quilting. I try to promote that on my blog and in my teaching as much as possible! And it’s amazing what you can do with a walking foot nowadays. 🙂

  18. Love, love, love Quilty! I am advancing to a Level 3 Beginner and credit your show (and magazine!) for teaching me just exactly what I needed to learn, when I needed to learn it. “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Thanks so much for all you do! So much inspiration, fun, and information in each episode. Can’t wait for the next round!

  19. Love the whole quilty process, blog, you tube and mag…I’ve been quilting for decades and started with your Mom And Liz’s first shows…they taught me how to quilt and now I’m so happy to learn from you as well. You do a great job!!

  20. Discovered Quilty about an hour ago. Finally a how to show that realizes “beginner” means you don’t already the basics! Like how to choose the right fabric – NOW I think I can make a serious attempt at quilting.