Me on Love of Quilting... (or: "Who's That Girl?")

Posted Fri, Oct 29 2010 12:36 AM by Mary Fons

Hello, quilters. 

As time has gone on, I have done more and more co-hosting with my mom on her PBS quilting show, "Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting." For several decades now, my mom has been half of the "Fons & Porter" duo. She and Porter -- that's the other half -- made quite the names for themselves in the quilting industry. They're titans, really. Titans with thimbles. A while back, Porter decided that she wanted to spend more time with her grandchildren and play more golf. She was able to retire and chose to do so, a decision that wasn't sudden or unexpected, really. Time marches on and the woman had worked hard for years -- she earned the right to hang up her professional needle and thread.

When the producers of LOQ sat down to figure out what would be next for the show when the Porter half eventually moved on, it seemed pretty clear that:

a) I was becoming quite the little quilter
b) folks in the quilt world seemed to like me
c) mom and I had done the show together before, as I 
had appeared as a guest several times already
d) if one Fons was good, two might be completely awesome

And so it was decided that I would come on for at least a few series as the co-host of the show. I was thrilled. Mom and I love working together. In fact -- and I hope I'm not going to get in trouble for putting this out there -- Mom was unsure of <i>her</i> future with the show until I came onboard. She's kind of interested in retiring at this point too, you know. But once we started taping the show together, she was hooked. Totally. The crew, the floor director, the producers, the IPTV people -- we all have a blast working on the show and it was clear immediately that it was a new age. 

The good news is that we get lots and lots of emails and letters from quilters all over the country that say they really like the shows with Mom and me. Some of them/you even seek me out online personally and email me directly to tell me that you like what I'm doing and that you're happy to see me on the program. Really, most of the time the mail is good and it's so very, very helpful for me to hear that. Because I'll tell you, it ain't easy being the new kid. It's a lot of pressure and I have a lot to learn.

It doesn't help when I get an email that is not nice, which does happen from time to time. I got one today, which is why I'm bringing all this up. No one emails me to tell me I'm a terrible person, but one lady told me that as a retired costume designer, my clothes were all wrong. Another said that on the show she watched recently I mentioned my manicure too much -- which is true, in fact, because it was the second show I ever did and I was nervous as hell -- and several have asked me flat out when Porter would be back. That was the gist of the one today.

Quilters are wonderful people, in general. They are usually a titch more generous, kind, creative, and compassionate than the average person. But they're human. They like what they like and change can be frightening -- especially if the quilter facing change is over 65 or so, and it happens that many quilters today indeed hover somewhere around that age. Some of them won't like a young-ish upstart like me coming in and messing with their Saturday TV ritual. They'll continue to miss Porter and tsk-tsk at the Fons & Fons menu we're offering them. Some will stop watching the show and that is too bad. 

But others will start watching. I believe this like I believe in the other good things that are going to happen as a result of this change. 

Why? Because "Love of Quilting" is a really good show and I honestly think it's getting better. Fons & Porter had been doing their thing a long time. Without a change, a freshening up, a new guard to liven up the crowd, perhaps the show would've become stale as it went on. Perhaps it already was stale. All I know is that I am full of energy and enthusiasm for the American quilt and this thing is my family business, people. I'm like the next Godfather in the quilt mafia. The art form is in my blood and I feel passionately about its future, what I can contribute to the industry at large and my own community and family. I love working with my mother, I love working in Iowa twice a year, and I love to teach quilting techniques and make projects that inspire people all over the country. 

I can't be Porter. I can't be Fons The Elder, either. I can only be myself, and I will continue to be myself until my last breath, whether I'm blogging on PaperGirl, co-hosting a television show, spending the weekend in New York, making theater in Chicago, working, playing, or somehow otherwise engaged. 

Thank you, quilters, for watching the show. Keep watching.

[This was reposted, with permission of course, from a PaperGirl entry for 10-28-10 at]



# re: Me on Love of Quilting... (or: "Who's That Girl?")

Friday, October 29, 2010 2:59 AM by Barbara

Mary, I thnk its great that you are doing the show , Its good to have new ideas and your humor is awesome. Keep up the great job..Barbara

# re: Me on Love of Quilting... (or: "Who's That Girl?")

Friday, October 29, 2010 7:26 AM by Terri-Lynn

Good for you sweetie!  Don't let a few critiques get you down...there will always be somebody somewhere who wants to complain! Your doing a great job, and remember the people who run the show wouldn't have put you there if they didn't believe in you, regardless of who your Mom is.  Have fun and run with it!  

# re: Me on Love of Quilting... (or: "Who's That Girl?")

Friday, October 29, 2010 9:10 AM by

Constructive criticsm can be benificial but simply to pick on things that make no sense is unfair. I am on the younger side of 65 :) not quite out of my 40's yet and have been quilting for 10 years. I keep pushing to get the younger set involved so please keep it going otherwise before we know it the art will die

# re: Me on Love of Quilting... (or: "Who's That Girl?")

Friday, October 29, 2010 10:10 AM by Mary Fons

Thank you so much, all of you!

I truly, truly appreciate the kind words and -- most of all -- that you're fans of LOQ. My mom and Liz really built an amazing thing and if I can help keep the brand alive for the next generation, I'm going to try.

P.S., Tell your friends! ;)

# re: Me on Love of Quilting... (or: "Who's That Girl?")

Friday, October 29, 2010 10:27 AM by Jo

Mary, I think you are doing a fabulous job.  I think, however, that the show/Liz did a disservice to us all by not announcing what was going on.  Maybe I missed that show, I don't know.  Please keep up the good work, I'm learning alot.  Thanks, Jo

# re: Me on Love of Quilting... (or: "Who's That Girl?")

Friday, October 29, 2010 11:03 AM by Lorie

Mary, I think you're doing a great job!!

When people criticize, it's because they are used to how things were. But with progress, things have to change.  I just wish our local PBS showed your I have to watch online.  But I think you're doing great! Keep it up!!!


# re: Me on Love of Quilting... (or: "Who's That Girl?")

Friday, October 29, 2010 1:24 PM by Kathy

I thoroughly enjoy your working with your mother.  I enjoyed Liz too.  But time moves on and it is wonderful to see a mother and daughter working together as well as the two of you seem to work.  You keep doing what you are dong and I'll keep watching.

# re: Me on Love of Quilting... (or: "Who's That Girl?")

Friday, October 29, 2010 4:18 PM by Mary Fons

BTW: I forgot something important!

The first batch of episodes are shaky compared to the ones we got done taping last month -- really, they're like, 10,000 better already! I'm learning a lot pretty fast...

And I also just want to throw out there that I *do* like constructive criticism. It's so helpful when someone points out how the show could be better or what we could do to improve, as long as they're coming from a place of honesty and respect. Of course, most quilters have no problem with that.

So I just wanted to make sure it's clear that I don't think it's all going to be daisies and rainbows... I like getting feedback and know it won't always be "You're perfect! Change nothing!"

Thanks again, fellow quilters!



# re: Me on Love of Quilting... (or: "Who's That Girl?")

Friday, October 29, 2010 11:10 PM by Christy G.

Hi Mary:

I am a new quilter of 52 years old and only  discovered Fons and Porter on PBS a yr ago. Which I enjoy them. I want to say that I think it is great and wonderful to get some young blood in here too. It is like opening a window to let fresh air in.

Fons and Porter show great techniques. I wondered why there aren't any new shows airing on my PBS channel. However, I enjoyed watching you partner up with your mom. You go girl! There is a lot of ideas the youth can bring to the cutting table and fun!


Christy G.

Anchorage, AK

# re: Me on Love of Quilting... (or: "Who's That Girl?")

Saturday, October 30, 2010 2:12 AM by Nancy Clines

Hey Mary,  I love your humor and it works well on the show. I have only one complaint, you know the

Christmas Memories table quilt you did. I can't find any of the fabric to make one. I called for a kit and they were sold out and I was told there would be no more available. I called just after I saw the show and they told me they didn't have any in, oh well maybe you could tell the fabric makers next time to make more fabric. Love the show keep up the good work.

thank you

Nancy CLines

Athens Alabama


# re: Me on Love of Quilting... (or: "Who's That Girl?")

Sunday, October 31, 2010 8:52 PM by quiltingfool

I think you're a riot with your Mother. You are doing great and about the manicure? You inspired me to have my natural nails painted rather than the acrylic nails so that my hands will look nice and I can still quilt with some ease so there! :-)

# re: Me on Love of Quilting... (or: "Who's That Girl?")

Monday, November 1, 2010 10:27 AM by Teresa

If there are complaints about you on the show people should go back and look at your mother and Liz when they first started.  I recently watched some old episodes of the two of them when the show was called "Sew Many Quilts".  They were not always as polished as they are now.

I like you on Love of Quilting so much better than the parade of co-hosts they had in the past.  One thing that made the show so good with Liz was her style was similar but enough different from Marianne that you got exposed to more than you would with just one of them hosting.  It is looking as if you too will have your own style and like things different enough from your mom to make the show again interesting.

As you know from your theater background, there are always critics.

I love you on the show and I hope your youth will help usher in a whole new generation of quilters.  I for one am really looking forward to the new season!

# re: Me on Love of Quilting... (or: "Who's That Girl?")

Monday, November 8, 2010 11:05 AM by hdmoosie


  I am thoroughly enjoying your shows with your mother. I have my DVR set to tape them since it comes on a 6 am here and I don't want to miss any. I tell everyone I know about your show, there are so few available on tv any more and to have Fons still on and now so fresh and new it must be shared and treasured. I am 55 and recovering from an illness that leaves me relearning many of my quilting skills. I soak in everything you offer and enjoy all of your shows. It is a delight to see you teaching with your mom, I hope it draws more younger folks into quilting.

   I daresay anyone would be nervous starting out on a tv show, let alone one that they must teach yet while they are on air. Keep up the great work,  it is such a pleasure to watch.

# re: Me on Love of Quilting... (or: "Who's That Girl?")

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 8:56 AM by jpadden53

I really miss the F & P shows (my cable co dropped the shows and no amount of writing has brought them back) and was not aware that you have taken on new roles with the show.  You go girl.  I love younger blood in the business so keep at it.  I'd love to see a new F & F show of yours sometime.