Aftermath, 1-6-23

After Martingale announced their demise yesterday my plans for $5.00 Friday patterns have been cancelled/postponed for now.

Here is Connie’s quilt called “Say Please” from our first charm book called Country Threads Goes To Charm School. This entire book of patterns was a compilation of our Charm School club that customers joined and received a new charm pack and a new pattern each month. The entire club and process is explained on Page 5 of the book.

This book is still available from Martingale for $7.65 and can be found on p. 29 of their online store. For $7.65 you will receive the entire book instead of paying me $5.00 for one pattern that I would mail to you. It’s a much better deal but our $5.00 Friday income has been lost to us and it isn’t just about the money – it’s the fact that our pattens and designs are lost to us in the future since most Martingale books are being sold as Ebooks.

I remember the late 1980’s when we would visit with Dan and Nancy Martin, the creators of the publishing giant Martingale, at Quilt Market twice a year. It was a different world all those years ago.

Here is Connie’s quilt intended for our first $5.00 Friday called “Say Please” from our first charm book, Country Threads Goes To Charm School. The book can be purchased for $7.65 from Martingale.

Do you remember our blog discussion several years ago when another company published our Bullseye pattern? All of you suggested enlisting Martingale for help – you probably also remember how that turned out.

So if I sound resentful, sad and upset this morning you’d be right. These are my thoughts only – none from Connie who is much more tolerant and accepting of life in general. This blog has always been an honest chat from the Country Threads farm written by me and remains so today thus my thoughts about all our patterns published by Martingale that are no longer our property —- as I understand it.

Now the bright side – Connie and I are quilt designers and have designed hundreds and hundreds of quilts over the past 45 years which means we are very capable of designing more quilt patterns – new patterns that obviously will put us back in the pattern business. And we only thought we retired in 2014 – haha!

And I’ll end with a fun mystery photo. Do you know what this is?

Tell me your guess and I’ll confirm in tomorrows post. These photos came from our friend Gloria in Charles City who just this week told me there’s a new quilt shop near her home located on Hwy. 18 but I don’t have the name of the shop.

It’s a cold morning in North Iowa and my plan for today is cleaning my sewing room. I’ll find an audio book to help pass the time. That’s another thing I need to address – read any good books lately?

Signing off from the farm –

69 thoughts on “Aftermath, 1-6-23

  1. Emily Pittenger

    I believe the quilt shop by Charles City is Sew That! 3013 US-18, Charles City, IA 50616

    I haven’t been there yet. If you go, Mary, please let me know – would love to see you!!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Emily – thanks for that info – I did see that name but didn’t realize it was the actual name of the shop. That would be fun to meet up! Why don’t you email me your phone number so I can just text you. It won’t be when it’s bitterly cold. How are your kids?

  2. Sandy

    Hi Mary..I don’t comment often, but I do enjoy your conversations with us every day. I just finished the book I Know an Old Lady..I highly recommend it. Also finished Fox Crossing by William Kent Krueger..have you read any of his books set on the Iron Range in Minnesota?

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sandy – I love Kent Kruger’s books and own many of them – glad to know you liked this one.

  3. susie Q

    the charm school book is only available as an e-book……. as are many of the book they show on their web site…..

  4. Diane in Maryland

    So..because Martingale published YOUR patterns, you no longer own them?? Doesn’t sound right but what do I know.
    That is a strange looking thing in the snow. An alligator frozen in the snow in North Iowa? 😂

  5. Karen Chaudoin

    Best wishes on your new but old business of designing quilt patterns! You have had a ride with Martingale. The pattern in the snow reminds me of my yard which is snowless. Yep, I have moles. And they leave raised patterns like this in my yard!

  6. Moe in NE Wisconsin (normally Illinois)

    Hi Mary, I was sorry to hear about Martingale going out of business. You certainly did have a great ride with them. I’m also sorry that your patterns are not your own, you are sew creative that you’ll just keep on doing what you are doing…creating! The snow does look like an alligator. Or a snake that has been dancing around. Jay and I are “stranded” in Door County, northern Wisconsin. Our truck broke down. We have a loaner car that’s as big as a go-cart. We are laughing. At least we are together, and we have our cottage to stay at while the dealership finds a mechanic who can fix the truck.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      MOE – what happened to your truck??? I can’t think of a nicer place to be stranded however – unless it’s a virtual ghost town and then I’m sorry.

      1. Moe in NE Wisconsin (Normally in Illinois)

        It is the alternator, they had to order it, and then get someone to install it. It is a ghost town in Door County this time of year but that’s ok, we are hanging out at our cottage. I must have had a premonition because I grabbed an extra sewing project as we were going out the door to come here. This is the longest we have ever stayed at our cottage. I could get used to this! I love retirement!

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Moe – well, I’m sorry about your alternator but glad you grabbed an extra project – rest and enjoy! Yes, retirement is the best thing ever!

  7. Jo in Wyoming

    After you announced the demise of Martingale, my first thought was how they treated you when you needed them. What a bunch of jerks!
    No clue what made that snow print….your next winter pattern could be called “Snow Prints”
    Have a great day and weekend.

  8. Pam in NC

    Mary, I was wondering how the Martingale business would affect the designers/authors. I’m so sorry that it appears you’ve lost your property rights. This is a huge blow to all of you! Yesterday I was looking at my collection of martingale books and about flipped! I have SOOO many and to think that is all gone from all of you. I assumed someone would step up and we would hear about a buyout, but maybe not. I guess at my age, I don’t like so much change either! I liked that ALL of martingale books were printed /edited the same with regard to instructions. I guess I’ll be sewing from what I have but books to me are like a fabric stash-I can’t have enough! BTW, that photo looks like a shed snake skin under the snow. Hope you day goes well and thanks for all you do for our entertainment!

  9. Susie Kepley

    I just finished Becoming Mrs. Lewis. It is about Joy Lewis, C S Lewis’s wife. I really enjoyed it but now have moved on to The Tobacco Wifes. Both are available on your local library app.

  10. Jan Hebert

    Hmm, I can’t even imagine with that is in/on the snow! Vole or moles under the ground? I give up! I am still in shock that Martingale is going out of business! Sad that you’ve lost that income (possibly) but I look forward to new patterns that you most talented gals dream up! I’m sure you’re checking with the contract you signed with them to see what you are and aren’t entitled to. I’m sorry if this is disjointed, my head is foggy – Covid, ugh! Like a nasty cold, thank goodness. Not sure if we got it at the wedding last week or brought it to the wedding but a few people have tested positive since. Hopefully I’ll feel like doing something with my hands, either sewing or rug hooking. Something besides blowing my nose, haha! Jan in MA where it’s 33 degrees, gloomy and drizzly yet again.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jan – oh dear, you’ve got Covid! Dang. Becky has it, too, and the best thing for both of you is rest. I remember having it last May and I was very tired.

  11. Bonny

    Ref reading material: Nothing to do but Stay: My Pioneer Mother. By Carrie Young. 1991 copyright. A small volume of growing up in North Dakota. A good tonic for times we feel we have it rough!

  12. Elizabeth

    I love your posts. Always honest, funny, down to earth. Reminds me of reading Jan Karon’s Mitford books.
    Enjoy the sewing room!

  13. JustGail

    Oh no! Dare I hope that another publisher will pick up where Martingale has left off? I have purchased lots of books from them over the years. Sorry about the problems this has caused you and Connie with loss of income and rights to your work.

    I haven’t read much other than books about sewing, quilting, and needlework of all sorts in years, so I’m of no help there.

  14. Kathy in western NY

    I honestly have more of your individual patterns than I do of your books. I looked at them and it appears you published those yourself so Martingale can’t take those rights from you, can they? If so, that just stinks. I have always loved you and Connie’s style so I have faith you will be designing some nice ones we will all have first dibs on to purchase.
    I went to a going out of business sale at a JoAnns about 45 minutes away from me, so not one I shop closest to if I need something. But I had a gift card and thought I could find some low volume fabric for backgrounds at a good price. There was nothing hardly left in the store! Lots of storage and shelving units at a good price if anyone had a place to use them. I only bought two navy blue batik remnants that I put through in the washer last night with jeans cause you know me and the dye running and I knew jeans could take it on. Well Betty was right and I am a believer now that it is the way to go as my white handy is only a tinted blue. I talked to a lady who checked us out who seemed very knowledgeable about local JoAnns stores and she said there’s was the only one in New York State closing only due to a rent increase and it needed remodeling so they are hoping to find a new more ideal location in the area and reopen eventually. In the meantime, most workers can opt to drive further west to Buffalo stores which aren’t a huge distance for them.

  15. Sue In Oregon

    That print does look like a shed snake’s skin, so I vote for that. It sure is odd looking.
    I can’t wait to see what new patterns you and Connie come up with. That said, I don’t understand why you can’t sell your own patterns even though they appeared in books you wrote. Is it because you sold the books to Martingale and then they owned them? I am so dense about things like this. Good thing my husband can read law. All the quilt book writers must be in the same boat. How sad. I have never ordered an E-book and never will. I like books I can hold in my hand and put in my Quilt library. So…I won’t even bother to go to their sale if most are EBooks.
    Hazel, the Wonder Dog. She should be wearing a cape. HaHa

  16. Lynne from NJ

    I would guess moles or voles tunneling under the snow. They’ve been busy making a mess of my lawn.
    Sorry to hear you may have lost the rights to your patterns – that just doesn’t seem right. Looking forward to more of your quilt patterns.

  17. MartyCae

    I love that picture of Hazel! Made my day.
    Regarding Martingale – I sure hope they release the patterns back to the original designers. I have every one of your books and enjoy looking at them over and over. I can only imagine that there is a whole generation of quilters out that that would enjoy your patterns and with all the lovely fabric choices out there many new wonderful things can be made.
    Keep warm.

  18. Carol at Pin Oak Quilting

    Disappointed, angry, frustrated… any feelings you have are thoroughly justified!
    I was disappointed yesterday to read that Martingale is going out of business, although I assumed it was going out of the “hard copy” business and would only be selling e-copies. Which to me translates to “e-z- money” because… no shipping, no production, press a couple buttons and boom! They have $ and we can look at books on our screen.
    That, however, is not the same experience for me. My tiny phone is my screen. Plus, printing copies of patterns off my screen, I guess it’s ok but honestly, if it’s the same cost for an e-book as a hardcover book and I’m providing the ink and paper, who’s benefitting the most here?
    Sign of the times, I guess, but I’m probably not buying e-books any time soon. I’ll be getting paper patterns, and when they go electronic… well, it’ll be time to use what I have. Because I have PLENTY to pick from!

  19. Gloria B.

    First I saw snake..,then mermaid (lol)…now I see quilt design! Your issues with Martingale remind me of what I read is happening in music industry – singers that don’t own their own songs. Your talents are your own and you deserve the rewards of sharing them with us. I’m thrilled you two are even considering designing new ones. I look forward to that!

  20. Earlene Springs

    Dear Mary,
    So sorry to hear of the latest publishing fiasco. You are right about you and Connie writing new patterns. Your creativity has not been stolen. Just keep on keeping on as the saying goes.
    As for good books, I am reading The Rose Code by Kate Quinn. Smart women helping break German code during World War II. It’s been out for awhile so you may have it already.
    Keep warm and thanks for making my day a little brighter each morning when I read your blog.
    Earlene in Arizona
    PS. I have snow here too! but it will be gone by tomorrow

  21. Elaine Kopischke-Trejo

    Mary. I am so sorry this has happened with your patterns. I also do not understand why they still are not yours, but I look forward to new patterns coming.
    Love seeing Hazel. Such a cute dog.

  22. Katherine Gourley

    Hi Mary — I am not pleased about Martingale. Fortunately I purchased all of your newer books. I have a few of your very country applique books that were published under That Patchwork Place and a bunch of your individual self-published books. I have been trying to save the PDF versions of books I have purchased and the website keeps kicking me off.

    Since the are going out of business, I do not understand why the designers do not get ownership of their patterns to republish. It seems very unfair if not unethical.

    I love quilt books and even if I will never make the patterns in them, I consider them to be quilt shows in my lap and just enjoy them. I wish they had given everyone at least a month or so to retrieve their electronic copies.

    I am going to guess the picture is of voles under the snow.

  23. Colleen in Oregon

    So sorry to hear about Martingale and the rights to your patterns. What does happen to the rights? Do they go to someone else if Martingale gets bought out?
    Your mystery picture looks like an alligator paver in a yard covered by a bit of snow.

  24. Rhoda Ebersole

    So you and Connie designed the patterns and Martingale printed them in a book and now they own the copyright
    To the patterns and not you and Connie? That does seem counterintuitive. Is it legal????
    If you did the pattern with one new change would it belong to you again? Suppose you would have to copyright the new version.
    My niece is a book editor and is involved with a good book publisher in Kansas.

  25. Joyce from NY

    Sorry about your Martingale problem, just not fair! Looking forward to your new designs!
    Just finished reading Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boyland, good mystery!

  26. Sherry Whalen

    I’m sorry about the demise of Martingale…it seems unfair that since the books will no longer be printed – that patterns now can’t be sold. Business sometimes really confounds me. I guess I understand if they are in business, printing and selling books, but if they are out of business and can’t supply hard copies of books that they were – I am sure contracted with you and Connie (and many other designers) to do – then they have broken the contract.

    My guess is a snake that was on the move, until it became cold too quickly for it to keep moving so it is now in ‘hibernation’ until it gets warm enough to continue its travels.

  27. Catherine

    You don’t get royalties on your books?
    I think it’s hens and chicks in a garden bed!!

  28. Nancy

    That business with Martingale stinks! Wouldn’t it be generous of them if they transferred the copyright back to the rightful owner? It seems like you practically sell your soul when you have a pattern published in a book….

  29. Donna Sproston

    A quilt fell off the clothesline?

    I am curious at what point a classical.block becomes the private property of Martingale. Yes, some patterns are highly original but many are not, and it is the cutting nstructions we really need, or how big the snowballed corner squares need to be. In the case of the original charm school books, that is how I learned to quilt. I also joined your charm club but it was those two books that taught me everything I needed to know to get started. I just can’t understand how they can keep your intellectual property if they are out of business.

    Remarkable Bright Creatures was my favorite last year.

  30. Carolyn in GA

    So many things have been lost in the past few years, the ability of being able to trust people thinking that they will be looking out for your best interest being one of them. Know that you must feel betrayed but would bet that better things will come your way.

  31. Charlotte S in No. California

    I want a book I can hold in my hands!! No e-books for me either. So sorry to hear about Martingale no longer in business and you have no rights to your patterns. Businesses are catering to the cell phone generation and not us baby boomers. I understand your frustration.
    I also thing that is a snakeskin in the picture.
    Have a great weekend! I am enjoying a day of no rain!

  32. Cathie

    So sorry things didn’t work out with the publisher. BUT we look forward to all your
    “new” patterns which they can’t turn away. Love Hazel’s picture and have no idea
    what the pattern is in the snow. Luckily in my part of VA we have not had snow
    this year. Have a good weekend!!

  33. Susan

    I am sorry for the way Martingale is doing business with you, but I am not surprised. You will come back better and stronger with your new patterns.
    If a company is going out of business, what are they going to do with the books and patterns? Most likely end up burning them and for what gain? They sound like a hard-hearted business–“If we can’t make money on this stuff, no one else is either.”
    I know I quit buying from them several years ago as they messed up my order and wouldn’t make it right. I ordered hard copies and they sent me e-books which I detest.

  34. Pat in Michigan

    So sorry to hear about Martingale going out of business. As someone said, it’s a sign of the times.
    Could the impression in the snow be a piece of bubble wrap?
    Love the pictures of Hazel and your cats. Stay warm

  35. Kim from TN

    Moles in the snow would be my guess. I’m sorry about the situation with Martingale, ugly for sure. I truly hate downloading and printing E books, I pay for the ink and the paper, and they do what??? nope, not for me. I would rather pay you $5 for the pattern and have you mail it to me.
    It has been 50 hear all week and nice walking weather. Lovely for sure.

  36. Jackie in NY

    Hi Mary – I don’t know anything about publishing or intellectual property rights, but I hope there’s a way you can continue to earn money from your designs. I already own hard copy versions of both your charm school books. I’d love to see quilt patterns you have that aren’t in either of those books. I wish you the best of luck.

  37. Heidi

    When checking with Martingale, all I could find was an e-book version. Was there another place to look. Too bad at their demise the rights didn’t go back to the Authors for them to decide what to do with their creation. Martingale already made their profit.

  38. Debra L Reber

    I am so sorry to hear about Martingale going out of business. I always knew if I bought a Martingale book, it would have well written instructions & beautiful pictures. I am sorry it has affected you & many other great designers. I didn’t realize that when something like this happened, the pattern writers lost their rights to their patterns, which doesn’t make sense to me, but I don’t know anything about publishing. Luckily, I already have a bunch of your books! I don’t like e-books!! Give me a paper book to turn pages & hold in my hands!! Hang in there, I know you will write many more amazing patterns!! Is the picture in the snow mole hill tracks? We have really been having trouble with moles the last few years, but ours didn’t leave the patterns in the snow like that!!

  39. Kris in WI

    The Mister guesses your mystery picture is pine cones under the snow. I’m guessing a rug that got away from you in that wind. Please, anything but a snake! Ugh. I know they are useful creatures, but they give me the willies.

    I’m so sorry you couldn’t retain the rights to your patterns. Go right ahead and stomp your feet!

    I agree that e-books are not for me. How do you put sticky notes on an e-book?! I know you can mark pages, but it’s just not the same as seeing all those yellow, pink, green flags telling you, “Look at me again!”
    Latest books…Dana Stabenow’s Liam Campbell series: Love the quirky characters and descriptions of the Alaska wilderness.

    Went grocery shopping today…$5.00 for a dozen eggs!

  40. Sue in Oregon

    I forgot to mention recent books I have read. I just finished Mad Honey by Jodi Picault and I highly recommend it. Also…West With Giraffes is very good.
    Come on, chickens. Hope mine start laying again soon but they are aging and probably won’t start until sometime in Feb. $5 a dozen is jaw-dropping!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sue – actually my chickens are laying like crazy – why aren’t yours laying? Mine went through a very unproductive time late fall but today I got a dozen eggs!

  41. Linda Schluchter

    Martingale’s going out of business is sad but with everything else, our world is changing and in many, many aspects, not in a good way. It’s like the cost of everything increasing so radically, life goes on and we adapt. I will continue to love the pattern books I have from Martingales and be thankful I had the opportunity to have them.

    The pattern in the snow, I’m thinking it is a vole. This time of year with ground frost moles are making just a pile of dirt everywhere because they burrow under the frost line and voles run under the snow. My now passed English white golden used to hunt them under the snow. It was fun watching her leap from spot to spot and burry her head down in the snow to try to snatch them up.

    Have a wonderful day Mary. Here in mid-Michigan the weatherman is saying we may get a glimpse of the sun today for the first time in weeks! Exciting and my horse and donkeys will love standing next to the barn absorbing the sun’s heat for a change.

  42. Janet S

    It seems Martingale isn’t going out of business, just out of publishing books. As far as I’m concerned, everyone should boycott Martingale. Why give them any money at all?
    A great book that I just read is “The Day the World Came to Town” by Jim Defede. Louise Penny has a series of books about a small village way off the beaten path in Canada with some fun, quirky characters.

  43. Nancy K Walker

    My guess is pine cones in the snow. Best book is “a woman of no importance “ by Sonia Parnell. The untold story of the American spy who helped win ww2. It’s a real barn burner! I couldn’t put it down!

  44. Marcia Rocheleau

    I recently listened to this book and found it fascinating. It’s the story of a woman who rides her horse across the USA in 1954 with her dog as traveling companion.
    The historical minutiae sprinkled throughout is a bonus. It’s based on a true story: The Ride of Her Life bu Elizabeth Letts.

  45. Marcia Rocheleau

    I got this as an audio book: The Ride of Her Life. True story of a woman, her horse, and her dog. You’ll love it.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Marcia – I read this last summer and have said several times it rates among my top 10 books ever read.

  46. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

    I agree, Mary. It must be so hard to think something you created belongs to you and then, it doesn’t? I don’t understand it because it seems like you and Connie created it and Martingale just “ rented” it for the book!?!? I guess I don’t know much about publishing. I do know I have that book and I am happy I paid more than $7.65 for it so you and Connie got something! Of course, it is not in the Country Threads section on the book shelf so where the heck is it? Sigh. I will find it😀. I think that photo is of those snow bombs or whatever they are called! Or, maybe moles? Hang in there, Mary. This, too, shall pass. Off to find my book

  47. Jan Smith

    Playing catch-up again. Martingale printed such nice quality books, but I didn’t like how they would use patterns from a variety of their publications into a compilation. If I were that person that put all the work into writing, along with sewing I would not be pleased. And it would happen so fast – a book that had just come out! It makes me sad that you don’t own your patterns. Is there an expiration on their use of them since they are going out of business?
    Sure glad I bought all of your books at the time!

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