craft books

Craft publisher Martingale announced yesterday that the company will be closing in mid-2023.

CEO and president Jennifer Keltner said in an email, “Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, Martingale has been operating in a state of constant change. We’ve shifted resources as necessary to manage supply chain disruptions, paper shortages, double-digit increases in freight costs and printing, mandatory shutdowns, a shift to remote work, and more.

Through it all, our skilled team of employee-owners has gone above and beyond to pivot to a remote work model, to control costs, and to consistently problem-solve, all while creating stellar, best-in-class content for quilters.”

“Unfortunately, with continued cost pressures across the supply chain, and a shift in how consumers seek and purchase content, the Martingale Board of Directors adopted a formal resolution to dissolve the company by mid-2023.”

Martingale, which was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Bothell, Washington, is an Employee Stock Ownership Plan company (ESOP) meaning employees own shares in Martingale. According to Keltner, “an orderly wind-down means that the assets will be divided between the participants who own stock in the company. For many, that equates to their retirement savings.”

Authors reflect 

Many prominent designers have published books with Martingale over its 40+ year history. Bag pattern designer Sara Lawson authored Big City Bags published by Martingale in 2013. Lawson says about her time working on these titles, “I really enjoyed my time with Martingale. They really made me feel special – for my first book, they photographed me with the bags for the pages within the book, and my mom got to go with me on this trip. They took me on a tour of Martingale and also drove us to visit quilt shops in the area.”

“It was an amazing experience, and I’m so grateful to my editor and all of the staff there,” Lawson says.

Quilt pattern designer Linzee McCray says the news of the closure also saddens her. “it’s a tremendous loss,” McCray says. “Martingale fills a particular niche well—I’ve had quilt patterns in several Moda books and they reprinted my book, Feed Sacks: The Colourful History of a Frugal Fabric, originally published by UPPERCASE, as well. In each case they’ve been lovely to work with at every level—responsive, kind, helpful, and fun—and I will miss working with those folks. There’s nothing like holding and paging through a print book—the digital world is no substitute.”

About the authors, Keltner said, “Martingale authors can be proud of the high-quality books that we produced together for more than four decades. As we close the business in an orderly process, we do so with our heads held high and our reputation for top quality intact. We have greatly appreciated our partnership with our talented authors, and our many loyal customers, business partners, and shop owners.”

According to the New York Times this week, 2022 has been a challenging year for the publishing industry and publishers are worried about what 2023 may bring.

Crochet designer Stacey Trock published three amigurumi books with Martingale including Modern Baby Crochet which came out in 2014. In reaction to the news of the closure, Trock commented, “Martingale’s model was to publish books according to a fairly standard template, which allowed them to be published quickly and sell them through big box stores. Unfortunately, this mass market approach left little development of brand or differentiation.”

Learn more about Martingale in our 2016 podcast interview with Jennifer.

Abby Glassenberg

Abby Glassenberg


Abby co-founded Craft Industry Alliance and now serves as its president. She’s a sewing pattern designer, teacher, and journalist. She’s dedicated to creating an outstanding trade association for the crafts industry. Abby lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

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