Sherida Warner column Aug. 09, 2009

Internet show must-see TV for tuned-in quilters

If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in your favorite quilting celebrity’s home, here’s your chance.

A new Internet television show called “Quilt Out Loud!” is now airing on http://www.QNNtv.com. It debuted

July 30 and requires an annual membership fee of $24.99.

This is not your typical how-to program, but a quilting lifestyle show with hosts Jodie Davis, president of the online Quilters News Network, and Mark Lipinski, creator and editor of Quilter’s Home magazine.

“We’ll walk in unannounced to celebrity quilters’ homes and surprise them,” says Lipinski, who is known for his contemporary and edgy magazine. “We’re going to see what they’re working on, how many UFOs (unfinished objects in quilters’ parlance) they have, what they’re having for dinner …

“It’s like kamikaze quilting,” he says with a laugh.

Co-host Davis says “Quilt Out Loud!” is a way to connect with quilters and have fun, “like going to a retreat with no pressure to complete a project.”

They promise the show will be filled with humor, debate, inspiration, current events, pop culture, product reviews and money-saving tips.

“Quilters today have more interests than squares and triangles,” Lipinski says.

“Everything in their lives relates to quilting.”

For example, Davis and Lipinski will cook on the air — simple recipes that can simmer all day, allowing a quilter to be free to quilt all day.

“And, we’ll give you specifics on how to decorate cupcakes, which are really trendy right now,” Lipinski says.

Davis plans to challenge viewers to send photos and videos of their home sewing areas, which then will be rated on their degree of organization.

“My husband thinks I’m a slob” when it comes to my quilting space, Davis says. But in her opinion, “I’m way better than normal about staying organized.”

Truth be told, she wants to find out exactly where she does rank on the tidiness scale (and prove her orderliness to hubby?).

This segment of the show should be humorous, as quilters are renowned for their stacks of fabric, some even creating hazards with supplies “piled to their attic ceilings.”

The show’s production is “really entertainment, and we have to keep the energy going,” Davis says.

Energy seems to be the main ingredient shared by these co-hosts. She lives in Atlanta, and he lives in Califon, N.J. They meet quarterly to tape shows together, and each tapes individual segments. They also see each other at spring and fall quilt markets around the country.

All the rage at the most recent market in Pittsburgh was a new Bias Binding Maker by Simplicity.

“Mark’s going to demonstrate how to use it” on one of the “Quilt Out Loud!” segments, Davis says.

They want to be consumer friendly, “but we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Lipinski says.

He does, however, want the public to take quilters seriously. Lipinski deplores the stereotype of “little old ladies in church basements. That’s not who we are.”

“People don’t realize this is a billion dollar industry,” he says.

For Lipinski and Davis, quilting is their livelihood.

Davis, who has authored many books on quilting, has a staff to help with the QNNtv.com Web duties, but still she finds few hours anymore to quilt for fun or relaxation.

“Right now, I’m working on placemats with mitered binding” for a Quilters Club of America video, she says.

Davis jokingly calls herself the CQE, chief quilting enabler, yet she’s found contentment.

“I don’t want to do anything else in my life,” she says.

Likewise, Lipinski keeps a schedule that makes my head spin faster than the automatic bobbin winder on my Janome. 

Between publishing his magazine, designing fabric lines, teaching and traveling — and raising a 17-year-old son — he admits his life is challenging.

“But I’m a workaholic. I have lots of energy, and if you love something, it’s not work,” Lipinski says.

He tends to become “really engrossed” in whatever he’s doing at the time. “I just zone and do it.”

Maybe most importantly, Lipinski believes strongly in the worldwide quilting community.

“I want to see it prosper and grow,” he says.

This innovative and hard-working pair of quilt experts is motivated to make that happen.

Rather than sit silently by and bemoan a stereotype that no longer exists, Davis and Lipinski plan to shake up patchwork programming as they quilt out loud ... for everyone to hear and see. 

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