Wasn’t that a wild Super Bowl game yesterday? I think that is what all the cool kids are saying today, so I am joining in. Truth be told, just a few days ago, I had to google who was going to be playing. We are not a football family. Like, not at all. Somehow though, Ray and Julia have developed a tradition of watching the game together. They each pick a team, based on scientific evidence, such as the color of their uniforms or the mascot on their helmet. The fighting begins just as soon as one team has scored. Let’s just say Julia was very cocky for the majority of the game, lording the success of her team over that of her father’s. The tables unexpectedly turned during the dramatic ending of the game. Ray was merciless this morning and will surely fit this into any conversation, as much as possible, over the next few days. As for me, once the nachos were gone, I was in the other room playing on my iPad.
Last night I spent quite a bit of time on-line meeting a new group of quilters. (Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?) Last week I received an email stating I was selected to be one of the ambassadors for Island Batik. Island Batik has been in business since 1997 and is located in Southern California. Their product is made in Bali. I am very impressed by the philosophy held at Island Batik. They diligently strive to enrich the community their employees live in. I can tell from the amount of communication and direction I have received from their Marketing department that this is going to be a good experience. She is so organized, very creative, and responsive. Ask a question and she is back with an answer within an hour or two.
Each year Island Batik accepts applications for their ambassador program. Once they make their selections (of about 30 quilt bloggers), a closed Facebook group is created so we can all work together on Island Batik promotions and blog hops. I felt like it was the first day of school. Would I know anyone? Would I make new friends? But everyone seems so nice and there were several names of bloggers I am very familiar with. I am really looking forward to the arrival of our box of supplies. It should be here this week.
This picture was posted on Facebook the other day – doesn’t that just run a chill down your spine? So much possibility is contained in that cardboard box. You can expect to see some fun projects, blog hops and giveaways as a result of that magical box that is headed my way.
On to other business. The name has been picked for the giveaway of the I Love Precut Quilts book. I used Random Number Generator this time because my amazing name-drawing daughter is at school this morning. Random Number Generator picked number 2!! So, Wendy of Piecefulthoughts.com, it is your lucky day! A copy of the book will be sent off to Wendy soon. Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway. Looks like I am not the only person hoarding charm squares and fat quarter bundles!
Time to go. I have a binding to make – I finished quilting my Knock Knock quilt the other day. I am volunteering in the See’s Candy Shop for Julia’s 4-H group this afternoon. It is pouring rain today which will likely keep the shoppers at home. Since I don’t expect to be terribly busy selling Valentine candy, I want to take some hand sewing with me. Hope to have a finish to share with you later this week.
I was recently given the opportunity to review a newly released book by Tricia Maloney. Having already published two quilting books, Maloney just authored her third, I Love Precut Quilts. Like many other quilters, I enjoy the ease of creating with precuts. Using a bundle of fat quarters or fat eighths, a set of charm squares or mini charms, or maybe a jelly roll makes fabric choice a quick decision. Using the bundle means you will have scale and color variation as the designer of that line meant it to be. Sometimes I do add a few solids or prints to the bundle and sometimes I use it as is. Precuts can be a lot of fun. Just take a look in my closet and you will find a large stack of charm squares, several fat quarter bundles, one fat eighth bundle and (just) one jelly roll.
Since I have never published a book, I posed a few questions to Tricia. I thought it might be interesting to hear about her experiences with the three books she has penned.
Q. How did you come up with the precut theme? What inspired this?
A. I originally pitched a slightly different idea, but with some give and take with C&T, we tweaked my original concept and came up with I Love Precut Quilts!. I did have to rework several designs, but it was definitely worth it because I am very proud of the final product. It wasn’t really a hard transition for me though because I was already in love with precuts.
Q. What is your writing process? Do you design the quilts first? How much direction does the publisher give you?
A. Once I have my design direction (basically my idea or focus) then I sit down in front of my computer and rev up my Electric Quilt 7 software because most of the time I start with a design first, add fabrics, make the project (taking notes as I make it), and then write the full instructions. Of course, there are times that my approach can vary like when I find an awesome fabric collection that really inspires me and I just have to create a quilt around the fabric (like Cocktail Party in my book).
I don’t know how my experiences translate to other designers as a whole, but by the time I’m working actively with a publisher I have already designed all of the quilts, selected the fabrics, probably already started making quilts and possibly writing basic instructions.
Q. How long does it take to write a book, from first pitching it to the publisher to release? You’ve got three under your belt so I bet you have a good idea here.
A. I would estimate about a year or so from beginning to end, more if there are any bumps along the way. Writing a quilt book is not for the feint of heart because you really have to be committed 100% to the project for a long period of time. It can be very stressful when you’re trying to balance your book project with family, work, and everything else.
Q. What is the best and worst part of a project like this?
A. The best part of writing a book is sharing your love of quilting with a broad spectrum of people. I also really love creating the concept and the designs, picking out the fabrics (who wouldn’t love that part?), and making the quilts. The “worst” part of the process is how long it takes from beginning to end.
Q. Any words of wisdom to a wanna-be writer out there?
A. If you think you’d like to be a writer, I would suggest you try out working with magazines and smaller publications before tackling “the book.” Find out if working within deadlines is for you. Can you write instructions that others can understand? Do you enjoy the whole process?
Once you’ve determined that YES! you want to write your own quilt book, find something that you’re passionate about that hasn’t been done before or a different way of doing something and then start researching possible publishers. When researching publishers, the first place to start is your own bookshelf — who publishes your favorite books? Once you have some publishers in mind, visit their websites to learn more about them. If they have submission guidelines available, follow them to create your book proposal.
I think Tricia provides valuable insight into the process of authoring a book. It gives me a solid appreciation for the designers out there who take the time to write books and patterns for us, the quilty consumers.
When I was reviewing the book, I decided I would make something with a set of Basic Grey mini-charms by Moda. They have been languishing on the shelf for a while now. Placemats or a tablecloth are used at our house each night. I chose to make the placemats from the Serenity Table Set. Rather than making two placemats and a table runner as the pattern suggests, I made four placemats. I think I will use them more often if I have more placemats. Actually, I have enough fabric for two more placemats so hopefully, I will get those done at some point for a total of six mats.
I think they are so pretty. This simple project took me very little time at all and gives the table a fresh look.
I did try something different. I wanted a thinner placemat so rather than batting, I chose to use a fusible interfacing which I fused to the top of the placemat. Next, I sewed the top and bottom with rights sides together, leaving a small (approximately three inch) opening to turn it right side out. After making sure the corners were crisp and everything was nicely pressed, I topstitched around the edge with a generous 1/8″ allowance. Using a narrow seam allowance ensured I caught both sides of the opening at the bottom of the mat. I also topstitched along both sides of the column of pieced mini charms. I think this gave the placemat a very polished look.
I Love Precut Quilts has a number of projects to be enjoyed by both the beginner and intermediate quilter. The instructions are clear enough for a novice and the designs are such that an intermediate quilter could build on them, making the quilt uniquely her own. Finally, I appreciate that Tricia shows her designs not only in the colorway she used but also in one or two other palettes that provide inspiration to the reader.
C&T Publishing and Tricia Maloney have generously provided a copy of this book as a giveaway! To enter the giveaway, please tell me about a certain precut you have been hoarding (we all do it!). Maybe now is the time to create something with it! The giveaway will remain open through Sunday, February 5th with the winner announced on Monday, February 6th. Domestic winner will receive a hard copy book, while international winners will receive an e-book. So, this is open to all!
Remember that all Needle and Foot readers are invited to shop for fabric, yardage orprecuts, at my shop. Use the code NANDFREADERS15 and receive 15% off your purchase of $5.00 or more. This code expires on February 13, 2017.
Here is the schedule for the blog hop. If you hop over to some of the other sites, you will find not only quilty inspiration, but also more chances to win a copy of Tricia’s new book.
Note: I was provided a copy of the book, I Love Precut Quilts, for this review. The opinions stated are my own. I am an affiliate of C&T Publishing which means if you make a purchase after clicking over to their site from my blog, I will receive a small compensation for purchases made.