I get just about everything I can from the cottage gear maker. I stopped getting Backpacker a few years back since they don not cover much that is relative to those with experience or those who are truly UL, or looking for functional high quality gear. As you pointed out, most of it just sucks. I have several Hammockgear quilts (under and over) and they are great, plus Adam has retro improved items for me at no cost. The designs are simple and practical and I deal with good folks, with great personal service, and I can support someone here in central Ohio. That is just one example, I could go on and on (hammocks, backpacks, cuben tarps, etc.). To me it is clear that the folks at Gossamer Gear actually use the backpacks they design as compared to a UL commercial product like Golite, not that they do not all have there place.
It is good to hear of the new direction of SD, hope it works out for you. Your new tent looks like some cottage gear makers (see Tarptent) designs we have seen for years, but nice to see it making it mainstream I suppose. The quilt looks a bit gimmicky to me, most here want practical and no frills. The hand pockets just do not make sense to me at all, you can't grab a regular quilt and move around with it? What quilts have you tested that are too small to do this? I can get the Hammockgear and other cottage makers to make it whatever specs I want for minimal charge, I have never had a problem moving around with my quilt as opposed to a bag (which is why I use a quilt) and as for a hood, why? the reason most of us do not like them is that they are confining and are always there, I like to be able to wear a fleece, down, both or none at all, the hood takes that versatility away from me.
The backpacking quilt should be like the quilt at home and move with you, with no pockets or hood IMO. I can also see hands getting a bit too sweaty in those pockets. Anyway, nice to see what is going on at SD, keep sharpening the pencil, I doubt many that use Cottage makers will switch, but the newbs and others out there reading the Backpacker gear guide in March may be the better for it.