Tag Archive for c&t publishing

TRAWRzers: Sew Adorkable Book Review + Giveaway!

Dino Pants and Sew Adorkable Book Review

Welcome to our stop on the blog tour for the new book Sew Adorkable by Samarra Khaja (Stash Books). Here’s a peek at a project I made from the book… but more on that in a minute!

Candy Dots quilt from the book Sew Adorkable

Sew Adorkable is a sewing book that’s truly like nothing you’ve ever seen. From fast and fun projects for your home to things to wear and clever quilts, each sewing pattern is infused with author Samarra’s signatures style and humor. One of my favorite projects is the Candy Dots quilt! So cute and clever!

Braille Alphabet Quilt from the book Sew Adorkable

The Braille Alphabet quilt is another favorite of mine. I really enjoy Samarra’s color pairings here! Check out a video trailer of the book here.

Pants from Sew Adorkable book

My Project

I decided to make the TRAWRzers!, a cute project from the beginning of the book (pictured above), for my little boy. With Halloween coming up, I thought it could double as an dino costume that’s easy to make and fun to wear!

Dino Pants - Craft Buds

By using the templates from the book (there three kinds of spikes!) and some of my son’s own pants, this was a super quick project to sew up while watching TV. And paired with a dino T-shirt, I think we’re ready for trick-or-treating!

Dino Pants - Craft Buds

If you have a good sense of humor and you love to sew, I highly recommend this book! There is a wide range of projects, from wearables to home decor and quilts, with plenty of options for beginners.

Sew Adorkable

Giveaway!

Would you like to win a copy of Samarra’s book Sew Adorkable? To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling us something you love that may be considered nerdy, geeky or even embarrassing. We’ll pick one random winner at the close of the blog tour (Oct. 26) to win a copy of the book. Good luck!

Congrats to our winner, Teri!

09/14/15: C&T/Stash Books
09/18/15: Sew Timeless
09/25/15: Craft Buds
09/28/15: Pellon
09/30/15: Crafty Planner
10/05/15: Imagine Gnats
10/07/15: May Chappell
10/09/15: Nancy Zieman
10/12/15: Dritz
10/14/15: Spoonflower
10/16/15: Sew Sweetness
10/19/15: Aurifil
10/21/15: Accuquilt
10/23/15: Schmancy Toys
10/26/15: Samarra Khaja
One book per winner. Open internationally, however if winner lives outside of the U.S., they will receive a promo code to purchase the ebook version free of charge. U.S. winner will receive a hard copy. 

 

‘Modern Rainbow’ Q&A with Author Rebecca Bryan + Giveaway!

Today, we are so excited to feature creative quilter Rebecca Bryan, author of the new book Modern Rainbow: 14 Imaginative Quilts That Play with Color. (Stash Books). Rebecca blogs at Bryan House Quilts.

Rebecca Bryan
1) Becca, thanks for visiting us at Craft Buds today! Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started writing your book? How did you go about the very first steps of getting your book published?

Thanks for having me! After the initial inspiration to write a book about rainbow quilts, I really had little idea of how exactly one gets a book published. On top of not knowing how to publish a book, I knew it would be a lot of work and take a lot of time. Instead of being discouraged, I just started.

The bulk of the work in a quilting book is the quilts right? So I began by making the quilts I knew I wanted to be in the book. While I was making quilts, I also sketched ideas on graph paper and took notes in my journals. I also researched the whole book publishing process by reading blogs and articles and attending the “getting published” lecture at QuiltCon in 2013. Finally, I began learning graphic design programs (TouchDraw for iPad and Illustrator); each sketch taught me at least one new trick. There was a lot to learn!

At the time, this poem really encouraged me:

Persevere
[Author Unknown]
The fisher who draws in his net too soon,
Won’t have any fish to sell;
The child who shuts up his book too soon,
Won’t learn any lessons well.
If you would have your learning stay,
Be patient – don’t learn too fast;
The man who travels a mile each day,
May get round the world at last.
Rainbow Remix quilt by Rebecca Bryan

“Rainbow Remix” quilt by Rebecca Bryan (Photo C&T Publishing)

 

2) The rainbow quilts in your book are really stunning! Where do you find your design inspiration?

Thanks so much! I’d say that the quilts are a collection of inspiration over the course of that 6 to 9 month period I described above. Knowing I wanted to create quilts that showed off the glow and radiant goodness of the spectrum, I sketched and sketched while I researched how to submit a book proposal. Some of the designs I started making right away – Rainbow Streak, Rainbow Remix, and Invisible Rainbow. After I had 20 or so designs, I choose what I thought were the 15 best designs for the proposal.

Some of my ideas were for improvisational quilts, some were traditionally inspired, and some I felt were modern. But when I started choosing the top 15 quilt designs, I felt it was necessary to choose a genre. But had I chose one genre, some of my best quilt designs would not have made the cut. I found that to be stressful and wrong. Finally, it dawned on me that I didn’t have to choose one genre and maybe multiple genres could be a strength (or at least a unique aspect) of the book. Then I felt better.

Happy Easter cake and eggs

Via Instagram / BryanHouseQuilts

3) With four kids at home, how did you find time to write a book, create and sew?

While I was writing the book, I was able to work only in small bits during the day, and mostly during nap time. Much of the work occurred after bedtime, from 8pm – 2am. So basically I just stayed up until 2 in the morning to meet my weekly deadlines! NO BIG DEAL! <insert slightly crazy giggling> My weekly deadlines were self-imposed and a big part of how I kept myself on track. My goal was to finish a quilt – top and instructions – each week. It was a delirious couple of months!

Now that the kids are a bit older and the big kids are in school, I have more time to work during the day. Of course, I’m not in book writing mode so things are more balanced. I still try to work only while the littles are napping; in the morning we will hang out and play, or run errands, or go to the gym, etc. And then a couple of nights a week I’ll spend sewing. Right now, I’m trying to cap my working hours to 20 hours a week, but that really depends on deadlines.

"Rainbow Streak" quilt by Rebecca Bryan

“Rainbow Streak” quilt by Rebecca Bryan (Photo C&T Publishing)

4) Do you have a favorite quilt in the book? What’s the story behind it?

I have several favorites! I shared about Wavelength, the cover quilt, in the most recent issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting, so I can share about another favorite. Really I have a bunch of favorites – I hope that’s ok!? As an aside, I remember in art class in high school I couldn’t stand my work.

So let me tell you about Rainbow Streak. Rainbow Streak (pictured above) was one of the first quilts I completed for the book and it was the written project sample I submitted in my proposal. The inspiration comes from the traditional Streak of Lightning quilt pattern; I thought it would be fun if each streak was a rainbow. Using enough fabrics, you can capture a nearly seamless transition from color to color. There’s something about that seamless rainbow that makes it just jump off that gray stormy background. Choosing the fabrics for this quilt was fun fun fun. Also, the quilt is unique and a bit challenging, but not overly difficult. So it was fun to make but not a booger to piece. Plus, did you see the binding? Special bindings always add a special touch.

5) What’s next for you?

Apart from the staying up until 2 am, I really enjoyed the whole book writing process so I’d love to write another book. I’ve been publishing a few patterns independently, so I’m working on adding to my pattern business. Also, I’d like to expand my teaching.

ModernRainbowBlogTourButton

Follow the blog tour!

March 23rd             C&T/ Stash Books
March 24th             Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt
March 25th             Generation Q Magazine
March 26th             Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane
March 27th             Sally Keller of Sally’s Angel Works
March 30th            Amy Garro of 13 Spools
March 31st            Angela Walters of Quilting is my Therapy
April 1st                Rebecca over at Craft Buds
April 2nd               Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness
April 3rd               Sarah Craig of Confessions of a Fabric Addict
April 6th                Janice Zeller Ryan of Better Off Thread
April 7th                Beth Vassalo of Plum and June
April 8th                Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft
April 9th                Giuseppe Ribaudo @giucy_giuce
April 9th                Shannon Brinkley of Bottle Tree Quilts
April 10th              Rebecca Bryan at Bryan House Quilts

Modern Rainbow book cover

Giveaway!

Stash Books would like to offer a copy of Rebecca’s Modern Rainbow book to one lucky winner! To enter the drawing, please leave a comment with one thing you’ve learned from this Q&A (about quilting, Rebecca, or the book publishing process). I’ll choose a random winner one week from the date of this post. If located outside the U.S., the winner will receive an e-copy of the book.
Congrats to the lucky winner, #37, Marilyn S.!

Cultural Fusion Quilts: Q&A with Sujata Shah + Giveaway!

It’s been a little while since Craft Book Month, but throughout the year, we like to keep in touch with authors who are celebrating new releases! This time, we are here with Sujata Shah, author of the new book Cultural Fusion Quilts: A Melting Pot of Piecing Traditions 15 Free-Form Block Projects (C&T Publishing).

Let’s take a look at how Sujata came to write this inspiring book, and learn more about what she’s got up her sleeve next! Don’t forget to leave a comment at the end for your chance to win a copy of her new book.

Sujata Shah

Sujata, can you tell us the story of how your decided to take your ideas on world-culture-inspired quilts and write a book?

Up until 2002, I made quilts with traditional blocks. They were precise, perfect and different than what I knew as quilts. Back in India we called them Godharis. When I saw the quilts of Gee’s bend, my focus shifted from making every quilt perfect to “just make quilts.” For the first time, I connected my roots and quilting. The Quilts of Gee’s Bend were simple, utilitarian quilts made for everyday life, from everyday materials, the same as Godharis from India. I discovered a connection between the two cultures.

During the past 29 years of life in this country, I have had many opportunities to live in different cities and meet people from around the world. Many trips to import stores and arts and crafts fairs also led to my fascinations with distant places. It is easy to find the same geometric patterns in woven baskets as well as in prints and patterns seen in textiles and quilts. Basic traditional quilt blocks are not limited to quilts, but they are also found on walls and windows of forts and palaces in India. Although, there are several books written based on the influence of specific cultures on quilting, my ideas changed from time to time with each piece of inspiration. Objects that had nothing to do with my background or heritage would remind me of places and things from home.

My process became more about the shapes, forms and textures than fabric and traditional patterns. Although not new, I felt there was a place for this concept in modern quilting.

Cultural Fusion Quilts

How does your childhood growing up in India influence your quilting designs today? What about your family’s current home in Pennsylvania?

It is next to impossible to escape colors when you are in India. If you were born and raised there like me, colors are going to stay with you for rest of your life. At least that is how I see it. Whether it is the kite festival with thousands of colorful kites in the sky or the festival of colors celebrated in early spring, or the festival of lights to celebrate the new year with bright and colorful new clothes, Indians know how to live in colors. Whether it was six yards of beautiful print in a sari or the streamers made from fabrics over the walkway to a temple, woven fabrics or beautiful silks, colors and prints were part of my daily life. I think it has everything to do with how I design my quilts. I generally shy away from defining myself as one kind of quilter and move from scrap quilts to simple and bold quilts. But it would be very difficult to limit myself with choices. I love experimenting with colors. I find the best color inspirations and accidental surprises from the floor of my messy sewing room.

My current home in Pennsylvania is painted with neutral tones. I believe that the grey tones gives the best background for my colorful quilts. I have quilts hanging in every room, hallway and nook of the house. The oldest quilts and a few textiles from India adorn the walls of my home. I also like to decorate with arts and crafts from India and some from around the world. Some are bought from import chain stores. I surround myself with things that inspire me. Sometimes they are as simple as rocks, pebbles and plants.

Cultural Fusion Quilts

What do you love about piecing a quilt from free-form techniques?

With traditional quilting, most of the times during the design process, I start seeing the final result way before the quilt is made. Once that happens, I lose interest in finishing that project.

I am usually drawn to textures, patterns, imperfections and irregularities of handmade crafts. As much as I like traditional quilts, the accuracy required in cutting and piecing a quilt top is unappealing. After seeing the quilts of Gee’s bend and experimenting with free-form blocks, every step of the quilt-making process has been exciting. To me, free-form blocks are like ever-changing colors of sunrise or sunset. They keep me engaged till the last stitch.

Cultural Fusion Quilts

What was the most surprising or challenging part of the book-writing process for you? The most rewarding part?

Well, I realized writing a book is not as easy as making the quilts. I could come up with 10 different ideas while I was working on one quilt. To break down every step that comes naturally to you is a very difficult process. To learn the technical aspect of writing a book was hard. Having said that, I knew I had something different to offer to the quilting world. I wanted my blog readers and other quilters to feel same excitement as I was feeling when making the quilts.

For a girl who never wanted to sew, who learned English as fourth language in school, publishing a book at age 51 is a great sense of accomplishment. Hearing all the quilters from around the world and how excited they are to read the book makes up for all those challenging times.

 

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Tuesday December 2 Sujata Shah @ C&T Publishing
Wednesday December 3 LeeAnn Decker @ Nifty Quilts
Thursday December 4 Victoria Gertenbach @ The Silly Boodilly
Friday December 5 Rachaeldaisy @ Blue Mountain Daisy
Saturday December 6 Lori Dejarnett @ Humble Quilts
Sunday December 7 Casey York @ The Studiolo
Monday December 8 Malka Dubrawsky @ A Stitch in Dye
Tuesday December 9 Sherri Lynn Wood @ daintytime
Wednesday December10 Bonnie Hunter @ Quiltville’s Quips and Snips
Thursday December 11 Jake Finch @ Generation Q
Friday December 12 Jan Burgwinkle @ Be*mused
Saturday December 13 Janet Treen @ Quiltsalott
Sunday December 14 Lindsay Conner @ Craft Buds

Giveaway!

Would you like to win a copy of the book Cultural Fusion Quilts? For your chance to win, leave a comment on this post and tell us what country or world culture inspires you, or just somewhere you dream of visiting! We’ll pick a winner one week from the date of this post. (U.S. winner will receive a hard copy of the book and non-U.S. winner will receive an e-book.) Good luck!

Craft Book Author Shirley McLauchlan Q&A + Giveaway!

Have you been enjoying Craft Book Month 2013?

We couldn’t help but feature an expert Q&A from Shirley McLauchlan, author of the new book Girls Get Stitching (FunStitch Studios / C&T). Read more about what this author has to say about writing a craft book.

Shirley, welcome to Craft Buds! Can you tell me a little bit about how your got started in the craft industry?

I studied Textiles at The Glasgow School of Art, then went on to study fashion and textiles at St Martin’s London. I then worked in a commercial textile design studio for several years before setting up own studio with two partners. We ran a commercially successful design studio. During my time, I traveled and helped to manage the studio, which was successful for over 10 years.

After closing the studio, I returned to Scotland to be near my family. I became a mother and helped look after my lovely mum who sadly was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. At this point, I would say my need to design had to be a balanced with family life.  I love cooking and being at home. So the change from painting to stitching became quite an easy process. I was very keen to work around my daughter Kitty and husband Rory. I had to also make sure I had time to spend with my sick mum who was right to the end of her life planning a new project. She was the inspiration to “make something.” My mum was always sewing/baking.

I have inherited this passion. I genuinely love stitching and making something that will last. It is a response to the commercial background that I came from. I now love creating something that will last forever, to be passed from generation to generation. The actual starting point was when a very dear friend was getting married. She was passionately Scottish. I wanted to make her something special, so I stitched a wedding blanket for her, which was full of places they went and all their favorite things.

How did you become interested in writing a book and what made you decide to work with C&T  and FunStitch Studio?

I was looking for another way of working, and a friend of mine said I should write/design a book! I contacted Susan Berry and we then worked together to produce this first book. I was keen to design a book that was visual and inspiring. I wanted to encourage the reader to “have a go” and not be put off with too much technique.

What was your process for writing the book and making all the projects?

The design process was first thinking of some projects that girls would like to make. I had lots of discussions with my daughter Kits. Then, it meant getting the artwork ready. My lovely husband was hugely supportive and was able to help with the actual drawings. I had lots of encouragement from Susan Berry, as this was the first time I had worked in this medium.

Time-wise, I started the initial work in August 2012. The sample pieces were to be complete by that December. The illustrations  were the most difficult, and they were to be completed by February 2013. But again, I had great support from my family and Susan. I was very keen to keep it simple and to allow the reader to interpret their way instead of exactly copying what I have done.

Is there anything about writing a sewing book that you’ve discovered which might surprise the average person?

The most surprising thing about this process was… I did it!  I have never been formally trained in embroidery I am self taught. My back ground is printed textiles.

Shirley, what’s next for you?

Whats next? My new website is up, and I am also very keen to write another book. I am just about to start another semester at Edinburgh College of Art tutoring textile students from first year to Masters Level. I am currently working on three private commissions, which all need to be finished ASAP! Then I really must launch my Christmas campaign, which will involve hand-stitched, personalized stockings.

Giveaway!

Would you like to win a copy of Shirley’s sewing book? Leave a comment telling us one thing you’ve learned from our Q&A with Shirley, and we’ll choose one random winner a week from the date of this post. Good luck! Giveaway open to U.S. only.

Craft Book Author Angela Yosten + Giveaway!

Today we are excited to welcome Angela Yosten, author of the new book “Stop. Go. Quilt. Sew!” Read on to learn more about how she got started writing a book, as well as some creative ways she went about promoting the new release. There’s also a great giveaway at the end of this post!

Angela, congrats on the release of your new book, “Stop. Go. Quilt. Sew!” Can you tell me how you began a relationship with C&T Publishing?

I first came in contact with C&T Publishing when I designed a project for Moda Bake Shop’s book, “Fresh Fabric Treats” which was published by Stash Books/C&T Publishing. I had several ideas swimming around in my head for books and decided I would send in a couple of book proposals. “Stop. Go. Quilt. Sew!” was actually my second book proposal submitted to Stash. After that, I contributed two block designs to “Modern Blocks” and I am now working on my second book.

Sewing for boys is often a challenge. Do you have any tips for how to choose colors and fabrics that will appeal to boys of all ages?

I like to stick with the KISS method for boys’ fabrics: Keep It Sew Simple. Geometric prints, dots, stripes, zig zags, plaids are all great options for boys prints. I especially like to find the grunge and raw styled prints for boys, something with texture. Absolutely no florals of any kind. You don’t want them to be embarrassed; it must have that “cool” look to it if it is handmade.

Stop Go Quilt Sew

Do you have a favorite part of the book writing process? How did you handle the long wait from the time you created the projects until the book was released and you could finally talk about it?

I actually love the entire process of writing a book. It is amazing to me how much actually goes into creating a book. If I had to pick one particular part, it would have to be coming up with all the designs. I love sketching out ideas and figuring out how a project will come together. It is that “Ah ha” moment that really gets me going.

The wait from the time all the projects have been created and sent to the publisher to the time you can actually mention the book’s name, what it is about, or even a sneak peek is unbelievably hard. You want to be able to share with everyone what you are working on every night and weekend, and you can’t. I was recruiting my kids and even my husband to critique my work just so I could show someone. As soon as I would finish a project, I would run into the living room late at night, grab my husband, and say, “Come look! Come look! Tell me what you think!”

Once the projects are sent to the publisher, it is a little easier to keep quiet… out of sight, out of mind. That is until the design layout of the book comes, and then it starts all over again. But it is not that long after that you can start talking about it.

Angela Yosten Book release

After a book releases, there is quite a bit of promotion involved, both on the part of the publisher and the author. What kinds of things have you done to help get the word out about your book?

Being that this was my first book, all my own, I wanted to have a big party to celebrate the launch of my book, so I held a Book Launch and Signing Party at a local coffee shop in our town. I also held a blog tour and invited some friends in the industry to review my book. C&T does a lot for their authors as well to help promote the book which has been awesome!

Stop Go Quilt Sew

Giveaway!

We have a big giveaway today, courtesy of Angela! The prize is a complete collection of 7 patterns from Angela Yosten Patterns. Leave a comment with something you’ve learned about our Q&A with Angela for your chance to win!

Congrats to winner #29, Tonia J!

International entries welcome, and we’ll choose a winner one week from today!

Don’t forget to work on your craft book project and link it up the last week of September for our Craft Book Month party with prizes!

Craft Book Design with C&T Publishing + Giveaway!

Craft Book Month

Welcome to our second Experts Q&A of Craft Book Month! Kristy Zacharias is the Art Director for C&T Publishing as well as the company’s modern sewing and quilting imprint, Stash Books. We are so happy to have Kristy here to chat with us about her part in the book creation process! Don’t miss out on the great book giveaway at the end of this post.

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Kristy, can you tell me a little bit about how you entered the craft publishing business and when you started in your current role as Art Director for C&T?

In 2001, I was a art/design student just out of school that needed a job and I came across an ad for a Production Assistant at a family-owned publisher. I didn’t know anything about quilting or sewing, but I loved the idea of making books. I interviewed with Amy Marson, who was the Director of Production at the time, and thankfully she gave me the job.

Right away I fell in love with the process of making a book. The planning, the vision, the possibilities, the teamwork…all of it. I could not have asked for a more exciting just-out-of-school job. And even better than that, I was introduced to sewing and quiltmaking by an extraordinary group of women. I was hooked.

I worked as a Production Assistant for a few years and then moved on to the Designer role. As our book list grew and we started producing more ancillary products, the Creative Department needed a core team of managers to keep our processes running smoothly, so I took on the Design Manager role where I represented the in-house and freelance designers. A few years after the Stash Books imprint was developed and our list grew even more, our book production, photography and marketing efforts all started to evolve. We identified a need for someone to represent the distinct C&T and Stash Books brands amongst all of the departments and efforts, so I stepped in to the Art Director role earlier this year.


What a great job to land right out of college! So, what does a typical work day look like for you?

Typical day…well, I don’t really have a typical day! Sometimes I really wish I did, but in the end I think that it’s the ever-changing aspect of my job that keeps me excited about what I do. Having said that, I suppose each day is sprinkled with similar kinds of tasks. My day might involve some project planning with book teams, some brainstorming with the Creative team managers, reviewing and approving book and cover photography, maybe sending an author a finished set of sample pages, spending an hour or two working on book or cover design, chatting with the Marketing Manager about the upcoming catalog, sneaking in a moment at the sewing machine to work on my office quilting bee block, and cleaning out my inbox (ha!). However, some days I am on location at a photo shoot and other days I might be at my desk working on a book design for 9 straight hours. No matter what my schedule is like, each day requires a lot of flexible, creative thinking.

That sounds like a lot of variety. About how long does it take for a book to go from the author’s manuscript to a finished product, and what does your role look like in that process?

Eleven months go by from the time the package (manuscript, sample illustrations and photos) arrives from the author to when the printed book arrives at our warehouse. My involvement in the process varies from book to book. Sometimes the direction for the book is clear at the start and the team has a focus and can forge ahead without a ton of input from me. On these types of projects I will be involved in reviewing the cover and sample page design with the book designer.

Other projects might not be as straightforward and I work closely with the developmental editor on creating the book map in order to determine the structure and flow of the book. This type of project almost always includes styled photography so I will develop a mood board and work with the author, book designer, and photographers on planning the shot list for the book. If I happen to be the book designer, I will design the cover and the interior pages. This kind of project will be on my schedule for about 6 months.

It’s hard to say how many books are on my schedule at a time, but if I have to estimate, I’d say that I have my hand in about 20 books at a time throughout the year.

What are some ways that you work with authors to help turn their creative vision into a finished book?

We understand that these books are our author’s babies! It is important to us that the author feels like the book accurately represents who they are as authors, teachers, quilters and artists. We also have a responsibility to readers to present an inspirational book that is easy to use and that gives them success in their quilting/sewing/crafting project. In order to achieve both of these important goals, the book designer works with the author using various memos throughout the project phases. We offer a chance for the authors to give us input early in the photography and book design stage so that we are on the same page as far as styling goes.

We ask questions about the author’s style, for example, do they lean more towards “vintage” or “retro”…there is a big difference style-wise! The question that I learn the most from is when we ask what they DON’T want to see. Knowing that gives us a boundary, some parameters to work with. The book designer has the task of marrying the ideals from the author with the direction given by the book team. In the end, if the design decisions are good for the book, then the author and the team are happy.

Our cover designs involve a broader group of people. Members of the executive team and sales and marketing review the covers. However, while the author and cover team ultimately have the final say on the cover design, we have an unofficial group of reviewers that offer feedback. In order to get a good glimpse of the most current titles, we post 2 seasons worth of covers in our main conference room. This is also the room where a group of us each our lunch everyday. It’s always a little nerve-wracking as one of the cover designers to sit in there for lunch on the day new covers are posted because inevitably the conversation will turn to the new cover designs.

It’s nerve-wracking but great because WE are our audience. C&T is made up of sewers and quilters and we’re publishing books that we stand behind and get excited about. So we not only look at the books as work, but we also are able to look at the books as consumers. If someone in the lunch room says that they as a quilter aren’t feeling the cover design, that feedback is taken seriously and will be considered as a way to improve on the cover.

What do you appreciate most about your job and/or working in the craft publishing industry? Can you tell us the most challenging part of your job?

Wow, this seems like it should be easy to answer, turns out that this is a big question! As a person that is always making something: a drawing, composing a photograph, sculpting a shape out of twisty ties, sewing up a tooth fairy pillow for my 5-year-old. Whatever it is, the act of taking an idea and turning it into an object has always been compelling to me. To be able to come to “work” and make books that are sold in such a creative industry is beyond inspiring for a few reasons:

1) Our books and products make people happy and get people excited about making something. Our books allow people to slow down and take some creative time for themselves. Our books give people the chance to think up new ideas and at the same time, reflect on past traditions that can sometimes bring them closer to their families.

2) I work in a super-innovative industry at a super-innovative company. Media is changing and the way our audience consumes information is changing. It’s exciting and challenging and at times intimidating to come to work knowing that I work for a company that embraces change and makes a point to be in front of the change instead of following behind it. I know that every day I come to work that there will be some type of brainstorming around how we can improve a process, how we can deliver information more effectively to our audience, how we can work more efficiently as a team.

3) I get to make books! At the end of the day I have something that I can hold in my hands and say, “A group of really dedicated people and I made this.” I’m proud of that.

Giveaway!

C&T Publishing/Stash Books is giving away a copy of the new book Beginner’s Guide to Free-Motion Quilting by Natalia Bonner!

Enter to win by leaving a comment on this post, telling us something you’ve learned from this Q&A with Kristy.

Giveaway now closed. Out of 227, comments, congrats to random winner #139, Heidi!


We’ll pick a random winner in one week.

Also, if you are hopping with us this week, check out the craft book projects below. On Friday, we’ll post our blog hop “week in review” and tell you how you can win an amazing fabric bundle from FreeSpirit just for hopping along!

Tuesday 9/4: Olive & OllieSew Sweetness
Wednesday 9/5: Fabric SeedsThe Busy Bean



How to Host a Sew-Along

Today, I’m excited to have Lindsey and Sukie here to chat about their Zakka Style Sew Along, which is happening right now and runs through September! It’s a leisurely sew along, with one project each week, and you can join in at any time.

I really wanted to know how they decided on this sew along, and asked them to share some tips with fellow bloggers interested in doing something similar.

Zakka Style Sew Along banner

Can you tell me a little bit about the Zakka Style Sew Along and how it got started?

Lindsey: Rashida visited the Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild in February of this year to talk about Washi and her book, Zakka Style (C&T Publishing). We meet at a quilt shop and I hadn’t seen a copy of the book until that day. After hearing her speak and getting a chance to quickly look through the book, I knew I had to have it. I bought an extra to give away since Rashida was autographing copies that day. The response when I gave away the copy on my blog was amazing. So many people either had the book already or had it on their wishlist. I knew that I wasn’t the only one who thought it was awesome. One of my readers Duff suggested a sew along. I had already planned to sew through the book and share each project on my blog, but the thought of doing it together with others sounded fantastic. A few weeks later Amy emailed me and said, hey, I think you need to make this sew along bigger! There wasn’t a blog/book tour for Zakka Style when it was first released so we decided to do a different version of a book tour with bloggers actually showing a finished project from the book and then the participants and I would sew along from project 1 through 24.

Sukie: As Lindsey mentioned above, I read about her idea of the sew along on her blog and thought of making it bigger. Bigger meaning, “Let’s showcase different bloggers and how they would make the project.” It’s a slight twist on a book blog hop, the ones where they give you sneak peeks of the book. This way, folks get to see the finished projects while working on theirs at their own pace.

Book Review: Zakka Style, cover

That sounds fantastic! Have you participated in any sew alongs in the past? What are some things you like about being in a sew along?

Lindsey: This is actually my first sew along, and I can’t believe I haven’t done it before. I really like the camaraderie of sewing with other people. Everyone is really encouraging and it’s a good chance to interact and learn new tips and tricks or get advice on fabric choices, etc. Plus you have a kind of accountability. Not that you would be in trouble if you didn’t keep up, but you’re more motivated knowing that you have others to share the process with.

Sukie: I’ve participate in a couple sew alongs. I love seeing everyone’s style come out of their project or even seeing a different way of doing something, especially something that I wouldn’t have thought of. The community feel of being in a sew along is the best. If you have issues or run into problems, just ask the group. That’s one thing I’ve grown to love about the sewing community – we’re all really supportive of each other and there’s no wrong way of doing something.

Zakka Style book, sweet sugar cookie sack

You have some great prizes for your sew along! Can you tell us a little bit about how to approach a company about sponsoring a blogging event?

Lindsey: Amy handled the sponsorship for this event, but my experience in previous sponsorships is to reach out to those shops/businesses that you’re loyal to. Most of the shops I’ve dealt with really love to support the sewing and quilting community but they don’t know about opportunities unless you ask. Tell the business how the event can benefit them, you kind of need to sell yourself! It can be intimidating, but with anything, the worst they can say is no.

Zakka Style book, quilt block magnets

So, there’s a new project each week of the Zakka Style Sew Along, with different bloggers featured each Monday. Do you have any tips for deciding on the timing or format for an online sew along?

Lindsey: For this sew along, timing felt a bit challenging. I knew I wanted to sew through the entire book, so with 24 projects the event would be a long one. I wanted participants to have enough time to get the projects done, but not so much time that you began to lose interest. I also needed to coordinate 24 different bloggers to make sure we were all on the same page. Weekly seemed like the best fit and so once the start date was chosen, we just went from there. I had to decide early on not to stress about other events that might come along or whether anyone would signup. There truly is room for everyone, so don’t allow yourself to be discouraged. As long as you’re hosting a sew along that you’re passionate about, it doesn’t matter if it’s just you and one other person! Doing something you love is the important part!

Sukie: An important aspect of a sew along is first seeing the finished product. You want to show readers, “Hey, it’s worth it to do this, and here’s what you’ll get after all your hard work.” I agree with what Lindsey. We looked at each project and they all seem fairly simple and decided that a week’s timeframe wasn’t asking too much. So if reader sees on Monday how the project looks when it’s done, then they’ll have the whole week to motivate them to finish. But also, if you can’t finish in the week time frame, don’t worry! Finish at your own pace. We have prizes at the end of each week but we also have a big prize pack at the end of each 6 weeks that we’re doing a random prize drawing for. The most important thing about planning a sew along is not to rush it or make it too long. You’ll lose readers because they can’t follow along or they’re anxious to move on the next step.

Zakka Style book, happy garland message board

I’m sure it’s a challenge to stay organized through a big project like this, and I bet teaming up helps! Any advice for how you stay organized as a blogger, or how to balance creative projects with the other parts of life?

Lindsey: My best advice is to plan in advance. A well organized event takes time to coordinate so you need to give yourself time to work out all of the details. I try to write and schedule blog posts in advance so that I can stay ahead. That way if life happens, I’m not stressing out. Teaming up absolutely helps, too! Along with sharing the work load, you have someone to be your cheerleader on bad days and to bounce ideas off of. We also created a Flickr group for the contributing bloggers as a place to discuss plans and to ask/answer questions easily. This was really helpful in helping us all stay connected.

Sukie: Once you have your sew along idea, start planning! Give yourself plenty of time to organize. The more help you ask for – especially from friends that you trust – the easier it is on you. Make sure to keep a list and tick items off as they’re handled, or when issues come up, write them down. I would say one of the most important things to remember is: Don’t kill yourself with stress over a sew along.

Thanks for the tips, ladies! Week one’s project was a cute zig-zag tote, and here are some of the entries from participants:

Zakka Style Zig Zag Totes

1. Zakka style tote, 2. Zakka sew-along Zig-Zag-Tote 1, 3. ZigzagZakkaTote10, 4. Zakka tote – outside 2, 5. Zig Zag Tote – Zakka Style, 6. zigzag tote, 7. Zakka Style Zigzag Tote, 8. zigzag tote bag, 9. Zakka Style Zig Zag with Streptocarpus

As you can see below, there’s still plenty of time to grab a copy of the book and join in! Also, Lindsey is hosting link parties for each project on her blog, so follow along to see the latest projects, sew along and enter to win fantastic prizes.

Zakka Style Sew Along

Book Review: Modern Blocks

99 Modern Blocks book cover

Over the last few months, I’ve had the chance to really dig into a modern quilt block compilation from C&T Publishing: Modern Blocks: 99 Quilt Blocks from Your Favorite Designers compiled by Susanne Woods.

This book was at the top of my Christmas wishlist, and has moved with me from sewing room to every other room in the house while I figure out which block to make. After all, there are 99 blocks to choose from! The blocks represent a wide variety of styles, from patchwork to paper-pieced, appliqued and embroidered. Each block in the book is an original design or a fresh take on a traditional block.

Binary: Modern Blocks

Some of my favorite blocks in the book, including “Binary” (above) and “It’s a Stretch” (on the cover), were designed by the very talented Angela Pingel of Cut to Pieces. Angela was the winner of the recent Moda Bake Shop SLICED competition, and you might have seen winning project, an adorable owl backpack.

Saturn's Rings: Modern Blocks

“Saturn’s Rings,” designed by Latifah Saafir of The Quilt Engineer,  uses bias-cut strips appliqued to a base block. The bold colors really pop and it’s easy to imagine a whole quilt made from this simple yet stunning block.

House on the Hill: Modern Blocks

“House on the Hill” pairs patchwork with applique and creative machine-embroidery. It’s designed by Monika Wintermantel. There are so many blocks in the book that I want to make when I find the time, and they range from beginner to advanced skill levels.

There is also a Flickr group dedicated to this book, so you can go there to add your blocks or see the blocks that others have sewn up in a variety of fabrics! Here are some recent blocks from that group (photos by Seamed Up).

My creation

As you can see, the book has a staggering variety of blocks! So how did I ever choose which one to make first?

My Blocks

Four Acres Block: Modern Blocks

As part of an online quilting bee I participate in, I’m always looking for a good 12.5″ square block to make in a variety of colors. I whipped up these blocks (plus one more) from the “Four Acres” pattern above, designed by Solidia Hubbard. The book gives specific measurements for each cut, so there is no guesswork, and I was happy to be able to pre-cut all of my fabric one night, and sew the blocks the next day following the block assembly instructions.

4x5 Blocks, 1st Qtr

Although I’ve been known to spend as long as 6 hours designing blocks for this bee, I’m happy to report that this book helped me shave 2 hours off of my production time! Whether you are part of a quilting bee or just looking for a way to build your quilting skills, Modern Blocks is an excellent resource for your quilting library.

Have you checked out Modern Blocks yet? If so, what blocks really caught your eye?

From Blog to Book Deal: Q&A with Jessica Levitt

Please welcome Jessica Levitt to Craft Buds! Jessica is a first-time author of a new book about modern quilting. You may have also read her popular blog, Juicy Bits, where she shows of quilted creations and her fabric lines.

The book is titled Modern Mix: 16 Sewing Projects that Combine Designer Prints & Solid Fabrics (Stash / C&T Publishing) and includes 7 quilt projects plus 7 Quilts + pillows, bags and gifts.

Jessica Levitt

Jessica, you must be thrilled to see your first book in print. Was this the fulfillment of a long-standing dream, or something that just transpired over time?

Yes, I’m absolutely thrilled, but funny enough, it was never my dream in life to write a book. In fact, in school I kinda hated writing. I was never bad at it, but it wasn’t my thing and I have a degree in engineering so I didn’t have to do that much in college. But when I started my blog, all that changed. I love writing there because I can write like I’m having a conversation with my readers. And it’s so rewarding to be able to share all the work, that I would do anyway, with the world. So, now I’m hooked. And the idea of making beautiful projects and having a real, live, printed book in my hand that I wrote is amazing. I can’t wait until I see some of the projects people make from my patterns!

Pebble Road Quilt

Can you tell us about the process of pitching your book? How did you go about choosing your theme and communicating that vision to a publisher?

Certainly. The theme of my book was pretty obvious to me since I love modern quilts and sewing projects that use solid fabrics. I wanted to show readers many different ways to use them in their projects while still enjoying their favorite prints. Although quilting is my first sewing love, I knew I didn’t want a book that was only quilts because I love variety. I think it’s nice to have a cohesive theme that neatly ties all the projects together and makes your book different from all the general sewing books out there, but I do know it’s not 100% necessary. If you simply have a distinct style of your own, that can be enough.

When it came to pitching the idea to a publisher, I treated it a bit like a book report. I know every author does a totally different type of proposal, so this is just one approach, but it is important to know the publisher’s guidelines. For mine, I wrote a summary introduction of the book concept. I had the potential projects already divided into chapters. I completed one full quilt top (the one that ended up on the cover) and wrote out the full directions for it, including illustrations to show that I was capable of writing clearly. For the other projects I included computer sketches or pictures of similar previous work that I had done with a short description. The publisher had a couple of questionnaires to fill out, and I also included a small photographic portfolio of my work to give them an idea of my style and potential.

I sent all this information in as a hard copy, but I think many publishers prefer them electronically now. Then it becomes a waiting game. In the end, they didn’t want to include every project I pitched and I was free to alter some as needed, so the final book didn’t look just like the proposal. For some projects, they even asked for more information, like fabric selections, etc.

I was reading about your trip to quilt market when you pitched your fabric line Timber to several manufacturers, and you said it was a bit nerve-wracking. Did you feel that way with the book as well?

Honestly, not really. That’s because I didn’t have to pitch it cold to a bunch of publishers. In fact, my publisher, Stash Books, an imprint of C&T, approached me. Their acquisitions editor noticed my blog and asked if I was interested in writing a book. I probably wouldn’t have done it if she hadn’t made me think of the idea. So I met with her when I was at quilt market and talked about the process, and when I was finally ready, I submitted only to her. And don’t think I’m super-special or anything. They ask plenty of designers for submissions and then can choose from amongst those. A blog is a great way to get known and also to direct them back somewhere when you do submit a proposal.

I know that it often takes more than a year to publish a book. What parts of the process were you most involved with, and what has the waiting game been like?

Yes, it seems to take forever. I did the bulk of the writing and sewing last summer so it does feel like along time ago. Obviously I was most involved in the writing and sewing. I had more that 6 months to do that all that, but it’s never enough time! I think next time I’ll probably do more projects up front before I even submit a proposal, so there is less work to do. It made for a crazy, busy summer. After I sent in all the projects and text, then the editing begins. Stash is excellent at reviewing the text and illustrations to make sure they are both clear and easy to follow, and technically accurate. There are several rounds of edits, and for each one, we went back and forth, making it the best book possible. At the same time, they take the photos and start the design. I had input into both processes. Basically I gave them guidelines and lots of examples of my vision for the book. But they took it from there and did the photos and design on their own. Finally I requested changes or reshoots as necessary. It’s so cool to see the basic Word document turned into a pretty picture book, but waiting for your advance copy is torture!

Modern Mix Book

Can you tell me about one of your favorite projects in the book, and how you came up with the idea?

That’s a tough one. I get inspiration from anywhere and everywhere.

The cover quilt, called Pebble Road, actually came the from the quilting idea first. I love round “pebble” quilting like that. I wanted to make a really big quilt (it’s king size!) that had a lot of impact but that was relatively easy to piece, so I got the idea to do a stripe of circles that really pop. I love the bright Kaffe Fassat fabrics with the grey background.

Another favorite is the Diamond Strands quilt. For that one I wanted to feature large pieces of large-scale print fabrics, so I made them into vertical stripes. And, I’m usually not one to use templates, but I loved the idea of diamond shapes rather than squares because it’s more unusual.

There are also a lot of fun smaller projects. I love bags, and in this book the Essentials Bag is one of my favorite. It’s a great size for carrying a wallet and a few other essentials. I wanted something that came together relatively easy and was a fun showcase for some print fabrics.

Modern Mix bag

Do you have any advice for an aspiring author or fabric designer?

Oh boy, if someone has the answer to balance, I want to hear it. I struggle with that constantly, but when I get it right, it can be so rewarding. I guess my advice it that you don’t have to rush into anything. Figure out what your goals are, and then give yourself some time to get there. I took my time submitting a book proposal, waiting until I was ready to make it a real priority, and I’m so glad I did. I want to make sure I get enough time with my kids as they’re growing up, so that means sometimes passing up on a work opportunity. But I can’t say enough good things about blogging. Sometimes it can be a chore and I neglect it (like this summer), but it has helped me so much. There is a ton of inspiration out there as a reader, and if you get a decent following, it can open you up to a lot of opportunities. To get yourself more known, my advice is to offer something for free. I’m not talking just giveaways, but patterns, etc., that people will keep coming back to. And devote some time to communicating with other bloggers.

 

Giveaway!

Stash Books is generously giving away a copy of the book Modern Mix to one lucky Craft Buds reader. Leave a comment with something you learned from this interview for a chance to win. We’ll pick one winner on Friday, September 30th. If located outside the U.S., winner will receive an eBook. This giveaway is now closed, congrats to #23, Jenelle!

September is Craft Book Month!

It’s back-to-school season, and September is time to hit the books. Craft books, that is! Big, beautiful craft books. Stunning photography. Crisp, glossy pages. Hard covers or soft. We just love craft books, and we know you do, too. All month long, we will celebrate modern craft books by reviewing new releases, interviewing authors and editors who make the magic happen, and crafting projects from the books we spotlight.

What’s in Store?

Weekly craft book giveaways, a month-long linky party for craft book projects (see below), and a chance for you to learn from our experts. If you’ve ever dreamed of writing a craft book, we also have some fantastic tips on how to get your book published!

The Experts

Find out what catches an editor’s eye from Allison Korleski, Acquisitions Editor for Interweave Books. It may be simpler than you think!

Stay true to your vision while working agents and publishers. See how Shelly and Karen from Patterns by Figgy’s did just that with their first book, Sewing for Boys (Wiley Publishing).

Sewing for Boys book

Learn how to pitch a book with Tonia Davenport, Acquisitions Editor for North Light Craft / F+W Media. She’s got some great tips for aspiring craft book authors.

From blog to book deal. How did she do it? Ask Jessica Levitt, author of new release Modern Mix (Stash Books / C&T).

Modern Mix book

Thinking about opening your own patterns shop, and maybe writing a book, too? Meet Kay Whitt, author of the new book Sew Serendipity Bags (North Light).

Linky Party with Giveaways!

In honor of Craft Book Month, we are hosting a linky party all month long to celebrate. From September 1st through 30th, you may link up one of your favorite craft book projects below for a chance to win some fabric, books, patterns and more. The prizes include:

One winner: Doodle Stitching book + Japanese fabric from Craft Buds
One winner:
Autographed CosmoGIRL Cool Room book + Kona Charm Pack from Craft Buds

Doodle Stitching + Japanese fabric Autographed book + Kona charm pack

One winner: Cloth Paper Scissors book (from Interweave), Paper + Craft book and Fiskars decorative-edged scissors from Craft Buds

Paper Crafting Books + Scissors

One winner: Girl’s World book by Jennifer Paganelli, courtesy of Sis Boom.

One winner: The Practical Guide to Patchwork book courtesy of Dewberry Lane.  (Dewberry Lane is also offering free U.S. shipping on all orders placed during September with the code FREESHIP. Check out her books and patterns.)

One winner: $25 shop credit to My Little Sunshine Handmade

My Little Sunshine Handmade BWS tips button

One winner: 2 sewing patterns of your choice from Pattern Patti
One winner:
Three vintage sewing patterns; selections from Goofing Off

Pattern Patti on Etsy

 

Ready to share your craft book project? Here’s what you need to do to participate:  (Please read carefully)

  1. Create a NEW blog post. Share one project you’ve made from a sewing or general craft book and let us know which book it came from. The project doesn’t have to be brand new, never seen before on your blog – just something you’ve whipped up in the past that you love.
  2. One entry per person. Everyone who links up to the party with the Craft Book Month button will be eligible for our sponsored giveaways!
  3. Link back to Craft Book Month in your post.  You can do this with a button, just copy and paste the HTML code into your post. 
  4. Share the direct link to your post in the linky below. Right click on your post URL to copy link address, then paste it in the linky.
  5. Visit some of the other craft book projects and be inspired! If you are on Flickr, you may also add your photos to the Craft Buds group pool; however, you must also link up the URL of your Flickr post to this linky to be eligible for prizes.
  6. Random winners from the linky party will be announced on October 1, 2011. Giveaways open worldwide. Stay tuned for additional craft book giveaways to be held each week in September (winners announced on Fridays) which will be open to both bloggers and non-bloggers.
  7.  

Subscribe to Craft Buds Subscribe to Craft Buds now so you don’t miss any Q&As, projects, or giveaways! We’ll also update this page with links to each interview, so feel free to bookmark or pin it. Pin It

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