I worked for her for many years, and I wouldn't be a writer without her.
Me and Merikay Waldvogel
at the Southern Quilt Symposium in 1982
I was a kindergarten teacher who made quilts and loved quilt patterns. I started thinking up ideas.
I sent them to Bonnie, the editor on the masthead.
She told me what she liked and what she didn't, and accepted a few of my pattern history articles.
I was a published writer!
She invited me out to see the plant near Denver.
The Lemans in 1972
I was surprised to find the average age of the staff was about 10, and work really didn't get started till after school. The three-year old on the premises had no job but it seemed like everyone else did.
Matthew, born the month the first issue came out.
Pretty soon she'd upped the average age by hiring my friends Louise Townsend and Marie Shirer, who moved to Denver.
She hired a lot of other competent people too.
I was their roving reporter with the title Contributing Editor. I liked to say, "Last year I couldn't spell Contributing Editor but now I are one." She taught me what to write and how to write it.
The new office in 1978
I traveled a lot to quilt events and told them what was going on. Bonnie stayed home and put out an ever-improving magazine once a month.
Art Quilts on the cover!!!!
When we went to quilt trade shows she'd ask me to trade name tags with her. Nobody knew who I was and she could be anonymous wearing my name tag. We could see what quilters were doing, what they were buying, what they were talking about and figure out what the trends were without anyone knowing who we were. Quilt detectives, so to speak.
This was all a long time ago. I still write for Quilters Newsletter (they've dropped the word Magazine from the title) but only once a year instead of once a month.
See Karen Alexander's blog post about Bonnie at the Quilters Hall of Fame blog.
Daughter Mary writes that they'd appreciate your leaving a message there. "It would be a comfort to the family to see that she is remembered fondly."
Many of the photos here are from the Alliance for American Quilts pages on Bonnie. See an interview and photo gallery here: