140th issue of the Magazine

At our last committee meeting it was pointed out that this issue of the magazine would be the 140th.

It all started back in 1983 when members of the Quilters’ Guild formed South West Quilters as a separate group for the South West region. The Guild’s Executive Committee felt that the organisation was not ready to take responsibility for regional activities, so Southwest Quilters was born. There was no membership fee – just the £1 per year for the Newsheet.

Newsheet No. 1 ‘Quilting Events in the Southwest’ was printed in January 1984 which listed quilting groups, classes, workshops, suppliers and exhibitions in Devon and Cornwall – it all fitted on two sides of A4 paper and there were only five groups across the two counties!

The September 1986 Newsletter was the first to have a cover sheet with our now familiar logo and South West Quilters name. It had 12 pages and a format we would all recognise with a Chairman’s letter, reports from exhibitions and workshops, listings of courses, workshops, suppliers and groups, and ‘how-to’.

In May 1988 Pamela McDowell became the first Editor of the Newsletter – she energetically continued its development increasing the size to 24 pages.

In 1992 the Chairman at the time, Dorrie Shorthose, asked for volunteers to “help” with the newsletter. Joan Smith and I volunteered to help with the typing as we had access to computers which was rare in those far off days. We then discovered that Dorrie’s idea of ‘helping’ was for us to become the editors and we took over from the previous editor for the Autumn 1992 issue, so there have only been three editors since the beginning.

We typed up the handwritten articles received from members and the pictures were cut and pasted (the old fashioned way with scissors and glue) into the newsletter pages and then photocopied, collated by volunteers and posted to members.

In 2003 it was decided to get the newsletter professionally printed by Carthew Printers of Newton Abbot who also arranged for the collation and distribution of the finished newsletter. In Autumn 2004 we had the first cover with coloured photographs and the newsletter became a magazine.

Despite the advances in the process there is still the dilemma of not receiving enough articles by the deadline date and having to ask for more, or having too much and having to re-arrange everything, which is the reason why the deadline may seem a long time in advance of the date you receive your magazine.
Here is an article from 1996

by Pip Hawkins

Getting the South West Quilters’ Newsletter for any particular issue is rather like a rehearsal and performance of a large concert orchestra. Say a rehearsal is scheduled for 10 a.m. (deadline date for contributions), by that time perhaps the piccolo player has turned up and maybe a couple of violinists – the organisers begin to panic – will there be a performance this time? Panic subsides as little by little the rest of the orchestra arrives, and arrives, and arrives. Panic stations again, have we got too many?

No, but we are waiting for the big drums to arrive and then the concert can commence. There can be no orchestra worth listening to without the big drums. These at last arrive and it is all down now to the conductor, who takes over and brings everything to fruition. The concert begins. The Newsletter is on our doorstep!

What a lot of changes we have seen over the last 35 years, from typing articles – cutting out and pasting pictures and sending out photocopy newsletters, to computers and emails and digital images taken on phones and our website. But the fundamentals still apply – we rely on YOU to send in information and articles to fill the pages.

I look forward to hearing from You.

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