March 24, 2009

A Little History about Quilting Books

A nice bonus of my trip to Maryland was having a chance to catch up with Susan McKelvey. Our friendship goes back a long time. Today, quilters are easily overwhelmed by the enormous quantity of books available. Back in 1969, when I started quilting, there were virtually no current books about quilting. In 1972, my husband Richard and I started a patchwork kit company called Yours Truly, Inc. It quickly mushroomed into a full quilting supply company with fabrics, notions, batting, patterns and kits made under the brand name "Yours Truly".

The few quilting books published in the early ’70s by traditional publishing houses were not available to quilt shops. In 1975 Gail Giberson’s father, who published tole-painting books, published Primarily Patchwork by Gail and Marjorie Puckett, and it could be bought by quilt shops and fabric stores. Inspired by that book, we felt we could do the same. After all, at Yours Truly, we had Richard’s knowledge of the printing industry, my journalism degree and eye for talent, and Pat Wilens’ technical and editing skills. Pat was our graphics supervisor at the time.

By early 1978, we had become the first company to publish quilting books exclusively for quilt and fabric stores. Our first book was Successful Machine Appliqué by Barbara Lee.

Susan McKelvey was one of “our authors” with her first book, Color for Quilters.

We were also the first publishers of Marianne Fons and Liz Porter, Mary Ellen Hopkins, Jean Wells, Cheryl Bradkin, and Chris Wolf Edmonds, as well as several other talented quilters who are no longer active in the industry.

In the years from 1978 until 1985, when Yours Truly was sold, we printed and sold close to 2 million copies of books. Several of the titles remained available for another 10 or 15 years. We have always been very proud of the Yours Truly books and their impact on the quilt world.


  1. My neighbor just gave me her quilting supplies and among them I found a set of unopened 'Yours Truly' templates. New to quilting , I had never heard of this brand, so now I know!

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  3. One never knows what they may come across on the internet... I was so please to see so many posts about Successful Machine Applique by Barbara Lee. I knew, worked with, and learned applique from Barbara Lee in the mid-70's. It was in an artist's co-op in Hermosa Beach, CA. There were a variety of colorful characters in
    the shop, mostly hippies.... I still use the techniques I learned from her in those day
    s. So wonderful to take this trip down memory lane.

    1. What a fun comment to read! I bet that was an interesting shop full of characters! Nice that you are still doing applique, too!