The Big Secret

Last year, I wrote a book.

You won’t find it in any quilt shop, or at the bookstore, or online.

Back in October of 2013, I read an amazing blog post about one bloggers experience writing her first book. I had been sketching and playing with ideas for a while, and I was so inspired that I finally wrote up a proposal and submitted it to a publisher. The Aquisitions Editor at the company was wonderful. She was encouraging, friendly, and very helpful. She took my proposal to the submissions team, and came back with some suggestions and changes. More designs, and a change of topic. My first idea, while solid, was too niche. They asked if I could adjust the topic. So I did. After a month of back and forth, I has a contract, a book to write and 15 quilts to make. In  6 months. It was a very short time, given that most books are given 12-18 months for a deadline. But I had lots of support, lots of energy, and agreed.

Fast forward to May 2014. My manuscript was done, the quilts were in the binding stages, and I had planned my trip to bring everything to the publisher and finally meet everyone in person. My deadline had come, and I had met it.

And then I got the phone call.

During the months that I had been busy writing, sewing, writing, and sewing some more, the company had been purchased by a larger book publisher. Which meant changes to the direction of the company, replacement of almost all of the upper management , and a slash to the number titles being produced that year. Unfortunately, my book did not fit with the new image and direction of the company. It was cut from production.

Sitting on the other end of the line, trying to stay positive and keep the frustration, confusion, and sadness out of my voice was one of the most difficult things I have done as a quilter. Fortunately, the call came during one of the rare visits I am able to have with my grandparents. My Grandma, who taught me to quilt and encouraged me to try anything and everything, stood there and held me as I cried.

My son came running over at that moment and gave me a huge hug. And just like that, tears turned to smiles. We started brainstorming about what I was going to do with 15 full sized quilts.

My awesome Grandparents and little H

My awesome Grandparents and little H

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It still took time to regain some of my confidence. Although intellectually I knew it was nothing personal, because we put so much of ourselves into our craft as quilters, it was hard not to sometimes think why wasn’t I good enough. It was when I started actively looking for the silver lining that must be there somewhere that I started to really grow as a quilter and a designer. During my writing period, I was put into contact with several fabric companies. I reached out to them again, this time asking about designing the free projects used to promote new fabric lines. I also started shopping the patterns around individually and basically cold calling other fabric companies about designing for them as well. It was a HUGE learning curve. I suddenly found myself awash in technical writing, trying to produce professional quality illustrations and drawings, and full scale templates from scratch. I purchased the Adobe Creative Suite and learned to use Illustrator and InDesign. Am still learning to use them. And along the way, I found my creative voice.

A huge boost to my personal growth was joining the Quilt Design a Day facebook group, and meeting a wonderful group of creative, talented, like minded individuals. On a bid for advice, I opened a group chat with four other individuals from QDAD. That chat group now has almost 51,000 messages in it between the five of us. Everything from technical support to just shooting the breeze, we have covered almost everything in that chat. We have all gotten to know each other very well, and are looking forward to finally meeting at Quiltcon this year. I have been able to build a good reputation with the fabric companies- you can find many free patterns on the affiliate sites. Just look under the Free Patterns on my menu bar. And I have a few patterns coming out in magazines throughout the year.

I have been able to pull myself back together, but I never did get the chance to properly thank those who were a part of the process when I wrote my book. I want to take the time to do this now.

My wonderful husband for his unwavering support, taking care of the laundry and cooking, and reminding me to eat and sleep on occasion.

My grandmother for teaching me to quilt, and being the first person to tell me there are more ways than the “right” way to sew something.

My parents for being my biggest fans, cheerleaders, babysitters, and personal PR reps. (If a strange lady on the street hits you in the face with a quilting magazine, its probably my mom!)

Christine Osmers of Michael Miller Fabrics, Hayden Lees of Timeless Treasures Fabrics, and the team at Warm Company batting, for their support and for not fainting dead away at my requests.

Holly Broadland, Felicity Ronaghan, Amy Dame, Matt Wheeler, Stacey Murton, and Arita Rai, for making quilts and testing out my patterns and providing some very valuable support and feedback. I never would have made my deadline without all your help!

Joan Nicholson of Maple Leaf Quilters, for taking on the huge amount of quilting in such a short time, being there last minute when I really needed it, and continuing to be there for me.

Finally, my son, who inspires me so much I can’t put it into words.

Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for your love and support and inspiration on this journey.

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I also wanted to pay back the support and sponsorship shown to me by Michael Miller Fabrics, Timeless Treasures, and Warm Company. They provided most of the materials for the book quilts. So I have decided that any quilt made with the sponsored materials will be a FREE PATTERN. I will be releasing them throughout the year. The first will be today.

Linked In- Fabric provided by Michael Miller Fabrics, Batting from the Warm Company

Linked In- Fabric provided by Michael Miller Fabrics, Batting from the Warm Company

Linked In is a beginner friendly quilt that uses rotation in the blocks to create the interlocking squares. I love interlocking blocks and was so happy to be able to come up with my own.

Quilting by Joan Nicholson of Maple Leaf Quilters

Quilting by Joan Nicholson of Maple Leaf Quilters

 

The pattern is available for free in my Craftsy Shop. I am working on a platform for patterns here on the blog, but for now, enjoy! Just CLICK HERE.

 

Thank you to all of you as well, for reading along with me over the years. I look forward to the next few, they are going to be awesome!

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Quilt Design a Day and a Giveaway*winner chosen*

Welcome to another QDAD day here at Stacey in Stitches!

If you are here visiting from the Sew Mama Sew interview, welcome! I have a lot of fun making a Quilt Design a Day. Today marks day 140 of designing for me. I am happy to say I haven’t missed a day. QDAD is one of my favorite exercises, and the group is so happy and friendly and a whole lot of fun! We’ve had an influx of new members, many of whom are participating. It’s great to see everyone’s interpretation of the inspiration photo. I hope everyone gets a change to try it at least twice. The first time for practice, the second time to get hooked!

I use EQ7 for my designs, though I did download a new program to try. I am playing with Corel Draw, and I want to try Adobe Illustrator. Sometimes there are things in my head that need a drawing board rather than a grid to work on. I have discovered many new features in EQ7 in the meantime, and I am having a blast playing with different layouts and blocks.

July 2 Tap

July 2-Faucet

This design reminded me of a video game, so I called it The Dark Castle. The inspiration photo had an outdoor faucet topped with a fanciful castle. Soe days a literal interpretation is in order, and I love how it came out!

July 6-Buttons

July 6-Buttons

This particular inspiration was a bowl full of buttons. It evoked so many different memories in people, for me it was the button jars at my grandma’s house when they lived down the road from us. We used to play with those hundreds of buttons, and I’m sure many of them saw the inside of a vacuum when we went home. Not on purpose either.

July 4 Ice Cream

July 4 Ice Cream

July 4th marked our 200th member, and the 200 member challenge. l chose the color rich ice cream inspiration photo for my 200 quilt. I haven’t counted them, but I am pretty sure there is enough ice cream in this photo for all our members, including the new ones! I love the navy as a background, I think its my new favorite! I recently bought a whole lot of navy solids, so I am going to have to make something with it soon.

Anne’s 200 member quilt  ended in hilarity and this picture as a result.

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STACEY THE BOLD WELCOMES ALL NEW QDADERS!

You know how hard it is to take a selfie wearing a tinfoil helmet and holding a rotary cutter?? Its not easy…..and that tinfoil is HOT!

July 12 Antiquity

July 12 Antiquity

The photo for this one was of an antique door knob and keyhole. I was planning to make something around the shape of the keyhole, but then I noticed the scuffed and faded pattern carved into teh doorframebehind it. It was a little nine patch interspersed with lines and diamonds. I did my best to recreate it and ended up in a Gatsby-era art deco world. I added the tiny coral diamonds and it really added dimension to the design. I am very happy with it and may work it into a pattern.

Run, Zombi Run!

Run, Zombi Run!

This design started out happy and fun, but there is a running joke about the zombie apocalypse in QDAD, sparked by a series of abandoned looking building with random diamond shapes in them, and chihuahuas. Someone mentioned this looked like people running from something, probably zombies. So I turned some of my happy little petal pluses into zombies. Minus the whole Z.A theme, I like the grayscale graduating into color. It definitely sparked a conversation or two!

July 13 Raspberry

July 13- Raspberry

This inspirtion was a bowl of raspberry swirl frozen yogurt. It looked so yummy! I decided to do a cross section of the swirl, which has sparked a series of cross sectional designs. Mostly fruits and veggies, and every so often ice cream. I am going to do a couple up as patterns so I will save them for a surprise!

May 24 feathers

I did do up a foundation pattern for my feather blocks, you can download it here for free! If you make one ( or a dozen) send me a picture, I would love to see it!

Feather Block Feather String

I hope you enjoyed your visit today! Make sure to visit Amy Gunson at Badskirt, and Anne Sullivan at Play-Crafts, both have QDAD giveaways running!

Now for my Giveaway! The giveaway is now closed! You can see the winner in my next post!

The giveaway is open to anyone, including international visitors! Simply leave a comment. That’s all! Tell me your favorite color, your favorite quilt design, what you’re going to make with the feather block or the bundle, what the weather is like at your house today, tell me a joke ( the punnier the better!) ANYTHING!

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I am giving away a Fat quarter bundle of 5 cool colors of my new Colorworks Premium Solids by Northcott. I picked these up on vacation, and I got a ton of yardage, so I thought I would share with everyone. The colors are deep and rich, more so than in the photo. The colors are perfect for making a QDAD of your own! The Giveaway will be open until Wednesday at 8pm PST, and I will pick the winner using Random.org

Happy Stitching!!

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Hoppy Easter

I hope everyone has a happy long Easter weekend! I took a solo road trip with the little monkey up to see my parents, and to presumably get some work done. So far I have actually managed to get some sewing done! AND my QDAD designs for yesterday. I am still very much enjoying the Quilt Design a Day challenge, although there are some days where I feel like I am doing the same thing over and over. I am not the only one however, so that makes me feel better. There are also a lot of repeating themes; macrons, fancy birds, doors….and some of the palettes make me cringe. That’s why it is a challenge right?

 

This weekend I am hoping to finished up my Modern Metallics quilt. The top is done, now I need to baste and quilt it. My grandma is going to be here, so I know she will be happy to help me figure out how I want to quilt it.

It feels strange to be sewing on a machine that isn’t mine. I keep automatically reaching for buttons that just aren’t there!

I will leave you with my designs from yesterday, inspired by this Design Seed.

Happy Stitching!

Stacey

Wheat Fields for April 17

Wheat Fields 

Amber Waves

Amber Waves

WIP’s and other fun things

Our household has been a busy one the last few days. With a pair of birthdays coming up (mine included!) this weekend there has been little time to just sit and sew. When I do sew during the daylight hours, I have my little helper right there with me winding bobbins and cutting threads.

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The other day he pulled a couple pieces of fabric from the scrap bin and wanted to sew them together. He was so proud of his quilt! He ran around the house all day with those two strips of fabric clutched in his hand, showing Daddy and his stuffed toys that “Harry sew too!” *sniff*

When I do get some alone time, I have been working on my Modern Metallics challenge quilt.  I happily borrowed a design idea from Anne @ Play-Crafts for this one. She runs the Quilt Design a Day group, and its so much fun! Her 03-19 design was an instant favorite of mine, and I knew I had to make it. On a much smaller scale of course.

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Each of those little blocks is 3″ square. All paper pieced. Its been fun. I still have to make my center squares, but I should hopefully have something to show you by the end of the month.

I also received my quilts back from AQS Quilt Week in Lancaster. I was thrilled to see my blue ribbon in person. Harry found it first, pulled it out of the box, and shoved it in the door of the fridge. How knows that the fridge is where Mommy puts his special art. It was adorable and heartwarming that he knew how special that ribbon is to me. Don’t mind my smudgy fridge =) Those little fingerprints are there with love!

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I also got my package from Craftsy for the Tula Pink Mystery Quilt. I am looking forward to this one! I wasn’t sure how I felt about the FoxField collection, but now that I have seen it in person I love it. The colors are happy and bright, and the prints are a much smaller scale than I thought they would be, which I love. I promptly ordered more of my favorites. Yet more squishy goodness to look forward to! There are still kits available for anyone who want to join in. Knowing Tula Pinks style, its going to be one good mystery quilt!

Linking up with Lee@ Freshly Pieced!

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Happy Stitching!

 

Stacey