Craft Book Month: Expert Q&As

Did you miss some of our expert Q&As for Craft Book Month? Catch up with each of them below for some inspiring craft book stories!

Mary and Carol of Project Linus, Lark Crafts authors

Kristy Zacharias, Art Director for C&T Publishing / Stash Books

Cynara Geissler, Marketing Manager for Arsenal Pulp Press

Emily Neuburger

Emily Neuburger, Storey Publishing author

Angela Yosten, Stash Books author

Elizabeth Maxson, photographer for Quilts from the House of Tula Pink (F+W Media)

Nicole and Debra, Storey Publishing authors

It’s Sew Emma Patterns and Fat Quarter Shop authors, self-publishing

Anna Maria Horner

Anna Maria Horner, Wiley Craft author

Are you one of our lucky winners? Thanks for crafting and reading along with us!

Anna Maria’s Needleworks Notebook + Giveaway!

Today’s guest is none other than Anna Maria Horner, designer extraordinaire and author of the new book Anna Maria’s Needleworks Notebook (Wiley). The gorgeous hand-stitching book (I’ve seen it myself, and it is not to be missed!) releases mid-October, but you can pre-order now from Anna Maria or Amazon.

We’re excited to learn a little more about Anna Maria’s new book and her creative business! There’s also a giveaway at the end of this post.

Anna Maria Horner

Photo: Anna Maria Horner

Congrats on your third book release! Where did you find your inspiration for this project, and what do you love about hand stitching?

Thank you so much! I have been making embroidery and needlepoint since I was a little girl. The inspiration to collect projects for a book came about as I was just trying to figure out how I would want these disciplines presented to me as a reader/maker. It was important to me to make a book that could be just as inspiring for the novice as it is for the experienced needlecrafter. And doing that meant making sure there was lots of inspiration for the final usage of a worked piece, whether that be in a frame, a bag or a some fashionable application.

I love hand work. I love the slower pace and the connection that it has to drawing and painting. Simply said I know, but there are many crafts that I like, and only a few I love. Embroidery and other related needle crafts just happen to fall into the love category for me.

Is writing a book similar to designing a new fabric line?

Yes and not really. They are similar in the devotion I develop to each through out the process, but the language is all together different. The language of a fabric collection is almost entirely visual apart from the narrative style I attach to it with the collection name, then print and color names, and so on. I try to propel the story of the collection through those names. I think of a book as a literal conversation between myself and the reader, and in my category of sewing and how-to, it is of course also educational. The book as well has a visual element, which is in part the projects that I develop, but also the photography, how the pages feel, what the fonts look like, and all these things are speaking to the reader as well through the subconscious. So it’s important to me to get them right, so I am making my “story” unique and inspiring the reader.

Photo: Anna Maria Horner

Your designs and your career are inspiring to so many creative people. What lessons have you learned in your career that might help us?

I think having support is a huge bonus. If you have the luxury of not having to be the main bread winner in your house, then it might lighten your stress to take a few risks, or just spend a good amount of time developing your ideas. Then again, I have always found having to win a bit of bread can be pretty inspiring, too. We all work differently, so sometimes your productivity and creativity formulas are more or less a direct product of your environment. If you can, get to know what kind of conditions put you at your best and try to get there as often as possible. You might travel down a path the dries up after a while, but simply continuing to work on something will eventually bring you to what you were meant for, if you’re paying attention.

Photo: Anna Maria Horner

From reading your blog, it seems that you stay busy with family, design projects and teaching opportunities. Do you have any secrets to keeping a work/life balance?

It is not an easy balance, and I do get it wrong sometimes. The hardest thing for me to do is take time to take care of myself. Over this past summer though, I have demanded taking off on a run 3 to 4 times a week, which has left me feeling better than ever. Running has helped me keep my energy where it needs to be for work and for my family, even though it takes time out from both. But the payoff is much bigger than a couple of hours a week. I also find that saving slower-paced projects for evenings when I can work on them in the midst of my husband and kids is not only more enjoyable, but it lightens that daytime load.

Photos: Anna Maria Horner

Those are wise words! What’s next for you?

I always have a new fabric collection (or two) in the works as well as new sewing patterns. After the launch of the book, I will be introducing Field Study Rayons, Voiles and Velveteens, the Escape Artist bag pattern, the Flight Map quilt pattern and also some palettes of tapestry wool to continue growing my needleworks product. And there’s loads to look forward to next year, including some reprints of older fabric favorites and also linens!

Thanks for the sneak peek, Anna Maria! We can’t wait to make projects from your new book!

Giveaway!

Wiley Craft is generously giving away a copy of Anna Maria’s Needleworks Notebook. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below telling us one thing you’ve learned from our Q&A with Anna Maria. We’ll choose a random winner on 10/4/12.

Congrats to commenter #179, Lori!


Author Talk: Fat Quarter Shop + Giveaway!

Today we are thrilled to have the team at It’s Sew Emma Patterns and Fat Quarter Shop here to talk about their new book!

The book begins shipping today, and is called “Simply Fat Quarters.” With 10 quilt patterns that can each be made in four different sizes. Read on to learn more about the team’s self-published book and don’t forget to leave a comment at the end for your chance to win one of three copies!

It's Sew Emma (clockwise from top): Kim, Jocelyn, Sarah and Debbie

So many people have the bucket list dream to write a book, but not many realize what is involved in the process. Can you tell us a little bit about the book and your patterns business?

Here’s a little background about It’s Sew Emma! We are a dynamic team of four (Kimberly, Debbie, Jocelyn and Sarah) that design and publish patterns together. We each have different talents, tastes and specialties, which works really well. We have been publishing It’s Sew Emma patterns since 2011, which started out from one conversation in the back of a van during Quilt Market some years ago. Writing a book had always been on our minds, but it had to be the right time.

Is there a theme for the quilts/projects included in this book?

Simply Fat Quarters is geared towards using fat quarters to create quilts of all different styles and sizes. It seemed fitting to have our first book focus on fat quarters since our store is Fat Quarter Shop. There are 10 projects, and each can be made in four different sizes: crib, lap, twin and king. All are suitable for a confident beginner. Of course we think they appeal to all!

Did you work with a traditional publisher, or go the self-publishing route? What have you learned through the process?

We chose to self-publish mainly because we wanted to work on our own timeline and have complete creative control. Every step was a learning process. We researched copyrights, binding options, writing styles, distribution methods, you name it.

Establishing the pattern company while still running a fabric store did not leave much room for exploring the book idea, but we finally set a deadline for ourselves. It was a very fun and challenging process, and we like to do things fast. From idea to self-publishing, it all came together within nine months! After we decided to go the self-publishing route (very nerve-wracking to say the least), our concept, then we each submitted lots of designs to consider. After selecting our designs, we picked the fabrics for our samples, wrote instructions, did the photography, edited, tested, and edited some more. We have just finished the process, so it still feels like we’re in that dream!

Where do you find inspiration for writing new patterns? Do you have any ways to overcome the writer’s block that comes with creating designs from scratch?

Usually the inspiration for new patterns comes from fabric, a classic “chicken and the egg” situation! Sometimes you see one print that you know will be the starting point for a new quilt design, and then you take the seeds of design inspiration you’ve had sitting in your mind to do the rest. Some of us start with pencil and paper (or mouse and computer), and some start at the cutting table.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to write a craft book or design and sell patterns?

Research how the business works and invest in beautiful photos. A great book or pattern cover is paramount. Get together a team of great testers. Most importantly, set a deadline. You will mull over your options designs forever unless you stick to a date!

Giveaway!

Hot off the presses, Simply Fat Quarters has arrived in stock at Fat Quarter Shop, and they are generously giving away 3 copies of the new book!

Simply Fat Quarters

Leave a comment telling us something you’ve learned from this Q&A for your chance to win. We’ll choose 3 random winners on October 3, 2012. Good luck!

Congrats to our three winners, #19 Libby G., Diane and #90 Linda S.!

Author Talk: “Improv Sewing” + Giveaway!

Today, we are thrilled to have special guests Nicole Blum and Debra Immergut, authors of Improv Sewing: A Freeform Approach to Creative Techniques! Read on for an informative Q&A on what it takes to write a craft book, and leave a comment to win a copy of their book.

Can you tell me how you met and started blogging together?

We met at Family Fun Magazine where Debra is an editor and I am a freelance crafter and stylist. We collaborated on many features and knew we worked well together. Our blog came about after we started writing Improv Sewing – an idea initiated by Debra who likes to tell how she would often see me coming in with boxes of crafts wearing something I had stitched. Debra thought she might not be the only one who would want to learn how to make clothes for themselves so asked if I would like to pitch a sewing book with her. Well, yes ma’am, I did. Improv Diary is our shared space for talking about creativity and making lovely things, as well as a few other random ideas.

With a background in creative publishing, it seems a natural fit that you would work together to write a book. How did you go about the process of pitching the book proposal to a publisher (or did it work the other way around)? Can you describe that process?

Yes, you are right, it was a natural fit. After we agreed that we wanted to pitch a sewing book, I stitched up a dozen or so things, Debra wrote a fantastic introduction and then laid out the photographed projects in such a nice way, it appeared we already had a book completed. After one false start with a publisher in New York we pitched the book to Storey Publishing. They are small but have had some great success in sewing books so we knew they would understand what we were trying to achieve. Furthermore, they are all about creative self-reliance and our concept fit right in with that. We were so fortunate to have a very quick response from them – waiting can be a killer – and they wanted it! They wanted it but wondered if we would be interested in increasing the size and breadth of the book from 30 clothing projects to 101 sewing projects that would span garment making to quick gifts. Despite that large number, we didn’t really hesitate – more projects definitely meant more work, but it also meant more fun.

Once the book deal was official, how did you divvy up the work of writing the book? With 101 projects, this surely took a great deal of time. What do you recall about those days of making the actual book projects?

Divvying up the work was a natural process – something that was obvious as we entered into the project’s first stages. We brainstormed a big list to get started with – obviously my clothing designs and other fun things I had designed over the years – and then we went to our respective corners for a while. I went to my studio where I designed, developed, stitched, and photographed and Debra started writing the core message of the book and introductions to the individual projects. As I finished developing things, I would send notes and images to Debra so she could write the instructions. In the early days, Debra was just learning to sew, which was perfect. I had to be thoughtful about the steps and process and if I was unclear or something didn’t make sense, she would catch it right away and ask all the right clarifying questions. Sometimes I had to re-develop something and sometimes I just need to explain the steps more clearly. As our deadline creeped closer, we began to meet more regularly to go over the directions, sew together, and draw up rough art to give to our illustrator. Those days feel like a while ago and I mostly remember sewing for very long stretches of time. I can safely say that Debra most likely remembers many late nights writing. Of course we wanted to projects to stand out and inspire people, but we also wanted the book to be a good read – I think we were successful.

Fast forward to the day you received a copy of the finished book in your hands. Can you describe your reaction, and any reflections on the process?

I will never forget the day that the guy delivered my ONE copy of the book (we’d have to wait a whole month before we’d see any more). It was wrapped in brown paper with a lovely piece of natural paper twine and a very kind note from our fantastic editor. My family gathered around and we looked at it and I had so many emotions and thoughts I couldn’t pin any one down. It had taken so much work and time to get to that place and then the book was in my hand – and it looked so beautiful to me!

What’s next for you both?

We have some ideas for another book that we have been tossing around, but for now, we have a lot of work to do to get the word out about this book and think we should dedicate our free time to doing just that.

Improv Sewing book cover

Free Projects

Storey Publishing was gracious to share two free projects from the book, including the:

Reverse applique t-shirt

Reverse applique ottoman cover

 

Giveaway!

Storey is giving away a copy of Improv Sewing to one lucky Craft Buds reader. To enter to win, just leave a comment on this post about something you’ve learned from this Q&A. Giveaway limited to North America. We’ll choose one random winner a week from today’s post!

Congrats to commenter #30, Samantha!

Link Up Your Craft Book Project

All month long, we’ve been inspired by craft books. Now it’s your turn to show us what you’ve made!

1. Make It

Find a project from any craft book (sewing, knitting, baking–whatever craft inspires you), and make it. If you’ve completed a craft book project any time in 2012, you are eligible to enter! One entry per person.

2. Blog It

Create a NEW blog post or Flickr photo (dated September 1, 2012 or later) and tell us a little about the book, your project and how you personalized it! Link back to Craft Buds/Craft Book Month in your post or photo description. You can use the button code to the left.

3. Enter to Win

Link up the direct URL to your craft book post in the inlinkz widget below from Sept 23-30, and enter to win prizes. Winners will be announced on Monday, October, 1!



Prizes

From all entries, we’ll randomly choose 27 winners to take home a prize below, from our fabulous sponsors! International entries welcome.

4 winners! $25 Gift Certificate from Fat Quarter Shop

3 winners! Dual Duty XP Thread Set and Anniversary Tin from Coats & Clark

1 Winner! Anna Maria Pearl Cotton gift box, Anna Maria Embroidery Floss gift box and Anna Maria patterns courtesy of FreeSpirit

1 Winner! 6×12 Frosted Ruler, 45mm Ergonomic Rotary Cutter and a 12×18 Double-Sided Self-Healing Rotary Mat from OLFA

1 Winner!
Prize Pack from Pellon featuring:
1 pkg 70 Peltex® Sew-in
-1 pkg 805R Wonder-Under®
-1 pkg Cheesecloth (36″ x 3 yards)
-1 pkg Perfect Loft™ Cluster Fiber (16 oz.)
-1 pkg Fusible Fleece
-1 pkg Craft-Fuse®
1 Winner! Fat quarter bundle of Sweetwater’s new collection “Noteworthy” from Moda, United Notions

1 Winner! Fat quarter bundle of V&Co.’s new collection “Simply Color”  courtesy of Moda, United Notions

Simply Color fat quarter bundle Moda V&Co

1 winner! Complete collection of 10 sewing patterns from Amanda Murphy Design

1 winner! Scrap Basket Sensations book and fabric Wee Folks jelly roll courtesy of Fabric Seeds

1 Winner! Pieces of Hope fabric bundle from Riley Blake Designs

1 winner! Three patterns of your choice from SUCH Designs

1 winner! $25 Shop credit from Zipit

1  Winner! 100 Moo Mini Cards to advertise your handmade business

1 Winner! Three Modern Quilt Relish patterns of your choice

1 winner! Little Stitches book from Stash Books
1 Winner! Anna Maria’s Needleworks Notebook from Wiley Craft

1 winner! Pair of Generation T books from Workman Publishing

1 winner! Skip the Borders from Martingale & Co.
1 winner! Sew Merry and Bright from Martingale & Co.

1 Winner! Heart Felt Holidays and Stash Happy Applique books from Lark Crafts

1 Winner! Grow Your Handmade Business book from Storey
1 Winner! “Yarn Bombing” book from Arsenal Pulp Press

yarn bombing book

 

Sponsors: Amanda Murphy DesignAngela Yosten PatternsCoats & ClarkFabric SeedsFat Quarter ShopFreeSpirit FabricsMartingale & Co.Moda United NotionsOLFAPellonRiley BlakeStash BooksStoreySUCH Designs /  WileyWorkmanZipit

 

Craft Book Month at Craft Buds

 

There’s still time! Comment to Win:

A full set of Angela Yosten sewing patterns (ends Sept. 24)

The book “Quilts from the House of Tula Pink” (ends Sept. 26)

FreeSpirit Fabrics (ends Sept. 30)

Craft Book Month: Week Three in Review + Giveaway!

It’s the end of week three on the Craft Book Month blog hop, and we are celebrating with our third and final FreeSpirit Fridays giveaway! Let’s see what our friends have been making this week . . .

Sunday 9/16:

Modern Patchwork block

Megan @ Canoe Ridge Creations

Monday 9/17:

Garden Party Wristlet

Elizabeth @ Inspire Me Grey

Candy Coated quilt

Lee @ Freshly Pieced

Tuesday 9/18:

Lindsay Sews

Lindsay @ Lindsay Sews

The Cute Life

Amy @ The Cute Life

Wednesday 9/19:


Katy @ The Littlest Thistle

Grocery Totes @ Sew Crafty Jess

Jessica @ Sew Crafty Jess

Thursday 9/20:

Urban Stitches

Anna @ Urban Stitches

Improv Sewing Bath Mat

Rachael @ imagine gnats

Friday 9/21:

Sew Bittersweet Designs

Melissa @ Sew Bittersweet Designs + an Intrepid Thread giveaway!

Kaelin @ The Plaid Scottie

 

FreeSpirit Fridays Giveaway!

Visit this blog hop links this week, then tell us in the form below which of these statements is FALSE.

a) Canoe Ridge Creations has squares in her blog header.
b) Inspire Me Grey has a white and grey blog header.
c) Freshly Pieced has a bird in her blog header.
d) Lindsay Sews has three photos in her blog header.
e) The Cute Life has quilts in her blog header.
f) The Littlest Thistle has a solid blue blog header.
g) Sew Crafty Jess has dandelions in her blog header.
h) Urban Stitches has quilts in her blog header.
i) imagine gnats has a girl in her blog header.
j) Sew Bittersweet Designs has the sun in her blog header.
k) The Plaid Scottie has a dog in her blog header.

FreeSpirit Designer Solids

Answer correctly, and you’ll be entered to win the third and final mega fabric bundle from FreeSpirit (1 fat quarter bundle, 1 design roll and 2 charm packs of FreeSpirit Designer solids)! We’ll choose one winner one September 30th.

Congrats to last week’s FreeSpirit Friday’s winner #29, Natalia, with the correct answer “l) LRstitched has an umbrella in her blog header.” Natalia will win a fab bundle of FreeSpirit Fabrics!

Have you been inspired by this month’s blog hop and craft book projects? Now it’s your turn to show us what you’ve made! Link up your project on the blog between September 23-30 to the Craft Book Month party with prizes!

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