Tag Archive for embroidery

Introducing the Baby Lock Sewlebrity Love of Sewing Challenge

Baby Lock Destiny II sewing machine

Today, I have something amazing to share! My new sewing machine. It’s the Baby Lock Destiny II embroidery machine, and it does absolutely everything a sewing machine should do, and more!

  • Sewing
  • Quilting
  • Embroidery (that means machine applique, too!)

 

Sewlebrity Love of Sewing Challenge

I’m taking part in the Sewlebrity Love of Sewing Challenge, and that means I’ll be back next week with a free mini quilt pattern that was inspired by my love of sewing. One of the things I enjoy most about being a creator is the chance to teach others how to learn new techniques and make their own projects. This project will show you how to make your own applique with an embroidery machine, as well as piecing patchwork blocks and making prairie points.

My project is called “Home Sweet Home,” and I can’t wait to share it with you. Here’s a sneak peek!

Home Sweet Home mini quilt sneak peek

To learn more about the Destiny II, visit Baby Lock’s Sewlebrity Love of Sewing Challenge, chock full of project ideas and free tutorials from my friends! And I’ll be back in a few days with more on my project and some of my favorite features on the machine!

Here’s my sewing challenge posting schedule so you can follow along!
3/16: Introducing the Baby Lock Sewlebrity Love of Sewing Challenge
3/20: Delivery Day + “Home Sweet Home” Mini Quilt Supply List + Video
3/22: Sewing an Applique with the Destiny II + Video
3/24: Free Pattern for the “Home Sweet Home” Mini Quilt + Video (IQ Designer How-to)
3/28: Bonus Project! Hope Throw Pillow

Fabric Design Q&A with Alison Glass + Giveaway!

Fabric designer Alison Glass Today we’re excited to welcome surface and space designer Alison Glass! Many of you know from her work with Andover Fabrics, and she is here today to chat about her journey in the industry and how she balances her creative work with family time. Read on, and be sure to enter the fabulous giveaway at the end of this post!

Alison, we’re so excited to have you as a guest at Craft Buds. Can you tell us a little bit about your career background how you got started as a licensed designer with Andover?

Thanks so much! I really appreciate it.

My background is actually in education. I was an art and classroom teacher before my daughter was born. I have always loved art, fabric, sewing, creating, and especially color. I started my home dec business when my second child was three. I was doing a lot of sewing and reupholstery for clients, using beautiful fabrics from the quilting industry, and at some point in that process realized that people make the designs that get printed on fabric. I became fascinated with the idea of creating those designs, especially the repeat and color part, and just started drawing. Chalk on the dining room walls was my favorite outlet!

It was a bit of a journey designing that first collection and figuring out how to present it to manufactures, and thinking back seems so wild to just show up at Quilt Market not knowing anyone, but that’s how it happened. It’s one of the best things I have ever done, just showing up. I met with a bunch of people and after much consideration ended up with Andover, which I am thrilled about. I adore working with them and appreciate their dedication.

Alison Glass quilt with fence

What is your design process like and where do you most often find inspiration?

As I reflect about what I’ve designed up to this point, I would say that I find a ton of inspiration in the details that surround me. There is so much beauty and interest in the world, making a conscious decision to see it creates a nearly endless stream of ideas and thoughts. I love the process of taking these glimpses of detail and translating them into my own ideas, colors, and patterns.

With each design I almost always start out with a sketch on paper, finalize the lines and repeat using tracing paper, then hand trace and color digitally. I like this process, and though it takes a bit longer, I feel that I have complete control over the art work and where each line is placed and how it moves. This is my favorite part of the work, the art.

There is a lot of new fabric on it’s way at this point: Sun Print, Clover Sunshine, Field Day, and some unnamed work that I hope will be super for garment sewing! I am really excited to get to see what people will make with these new designs.

Turtle Embroidery by Alison Glass

I know many fabric designers do other types of creative work as well. Do you have other crafts, hobbies or business ventures that help supplement your work?

Up until the last year I ran a small, local design business designing spaces and custom home dec pieces for clients. There was about a year or more overlap when I was doing both. Then last summer we moved to a new state, so I wrapped up that local business to concentrate on surface design and the quilting industry. I am definitely still in the process of figuring this out as a business, but I feel like things are moving forward pretty well. I am very lucky in that my true interests are very tied to this work, so what I am making for work and for fun are the same.

I have recently started selling super high-quality art prints, kits, and patterns through my online shop, which is something that has been in the works for a while. I plan to expand the shop, and am so happy to have it up and running. I am especially excited about the art prints, which I’ve wanted to do for a number of years, and a number of new patterns will release in July, including embroidery! As for freelance graphic design, although it’s not official, when people ask I am happy to help! I do love the artwork part the most!

Fabric designer Alison Glass

Is it hard to find a balance between your creative work and your personal or family time?

Well, the kids are just now out of school for the summer, so maybe check back with how I’m feeling about this next month! The noise-canceling headphones are helping at this particular moment! Seriously though, it’s a tricky thing, balancing work and home life.

I think good communication with the family is really important and necessary to make this sort of job work, and an honest assessment about the reality of one’s situation. If something isn’t working, you talk about it and make adjustments. Chris and I are both incredibly supportive of each other’s work and life goals, and we are also very lucky to have two fairly independent, responsible, and quiet/introverted kids. Anna is 11 and Jack is 9, so they are not so little anymore, which to me makes it easier. They have grown up watching both of us working very hard to create the life we want for us and for them. We have been very open and honest about that, and they seem to have a pretty deep understanding that to create the life you want takes a huge commitment paired with continual decisions to keep moving forward and live in the new/present with as much personal integrity as possible. “Live in the New” is a favorite phrase of mine. It’s about letting go of things that are holding you back and a deep focus on the current reality and what can be done with it.

These three that surround me are amazing individuals and truly make me want to work in a way that they will be proud of. This also means I can’t just ignore them and work all the time, which is my bent. I adore working, however even more than that my greatest desire is deep and good relationships with people, especially the ones I am with most of the time. For me, managing this is just taking things day by day and knowing that if something takes longer than I’d like, it’s probably for a good-and-larger-picture reason. I do get wound about stuff, and I’m working on getting better at letting things go.

Based on lessons you’ve learned in the industry, what is your best advice for an aspiring fabric designer?

Gosh, that’s hard, it depends so much on what someone is wondering. Generally, though I would have a two-part thought, which is a combination of diligently pursuing one’s interest in fabric design and also knowing that it’s not for the faint of heart. No one will ever know if it’s going to work or not if they don’t try, and though that sounds so obvious, it’s true. I spent longer than I should have wondering if a company would pick up my work. If anyone is serious about fabric design and wants to do it for the right kind of reasons, then it is worth trying.

That being said, it is a ton of work and time, and even more once fabric is in production. The commitment is huge, and knowing why you want to design fabric and where you want to go with it is key. If it is just kind of a fun goal for someone, that is one thing. If a person sees it as a career they are professionally pursuing, it is an entirely different commitment. I feel that overall fabric design needs to start with great artwork, repeat, and colors, and putting one’s best work forward it always key.

Text fabric by Alison Glass

Giveaway!

Alison is generously giving away a prize pack of goodies that are not yet available in stores! One lucky winner will receive:

– Fat quarter bundle of the new Feathers print from the Sun Print line
– Feathers Quilt Pattern
– Embroidery Pattern – Winner’s Choice
– Alison Glass Art Print – Winner’s Choice

Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Alison glass fabric and prints

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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!


Craft Book Marketing: Arsenal Pulp Press + Giveaway!

Today we are happy to welcome Cynara Geissler, Marketing Manager for Arsenal Pulp Press! A Canadian-based publisher that’s relatively new to the craft books scene (the first craft title released in 2009), Arsenal Pulp Press is a specialty craft publisher with titles that stand out as edgy or subversive.

Read on for a glimpse at how a marketing team goes about promoting your favorite craft books!

Cynara, welcome to Craft Book Month! Can you tell me a little bit about how you entered the craft publishing business and how Arsenal Pulp Press came to be?

Arsenal was founded in 1971 as Pulp Press and published push-the-envelope literary fiction and irreverent pamphlets. Publisher Brian Lam took over the company in 1992 and broadened the scope to fiction/non-fiction, cookbooks, art books, and visual and cultural studies titles.

The first craft book we acquired at Arsenal Pulp Press was Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain. Leanne Prain (a graphic artist, writer, knitter, and crafter) conceived of the title as part of a book-publishing simulation project in Simon Fraser University’s Master of Publishing Program. Our associate publisher, Robert Ballantyne, attended the book project presentations and was impressed with Leanne and her (then hypothetical) book on knit graffiti.

Because Yarn Bombing has a strong civic/social dimension (the streets serve as the gallery and the art becomes public) and is quite playful in tone and content, it stood out as a good fit for Arsenal. Leanne brought Mandy Moore into the project, who is well-known in the knitting community, and it worked out perfectly. That was our gateway into the glamorous world of craft book publishing.

Wow, so your first craft book author was actually “discovered” while working on a classroom project. Can you tell me more about where you work? What does a typical work day look like for you?

There are five of us in our office, which is open-concept, so it’s easy to communicate with one another. If I were to take a snapshot of my physical work area right now you’d see a two desks (arranged in an L) covered in files and post-it notes. If you were to zoom in on my computer, you’d note that I have an inadvisable amount of tabs open in both Firefox and Chrome. I’ve also got Excel spreadsheets, Google docs and various InDesign files on the go. If my computer were the Enterprise, Montgomery Scott would probably be yelling at me that I’ve “pushed her as far as she can go,” and that we have “a shortage of dilithium crystals!” right about now.

When I arrive, the first thing I do is read my email (but if I’m being honest, I actually read it all the time: the blessing/curse of smart phone ownership). I respond to media requests for things like book covers, excerpts, interviews and media copies of books. If we have a large review copy mailing going out that day, I try and tackle it early in the day so it’s all ready to go when our mail pick-up arrives.

A typical day in Arsenal’s marketing department involves everything from:

– Editing/creating media lists
– Meetings or phone calls with authors
– Pitching and following up with media about our books
– Speaking with bookstores/venues (to set up events)
– Designing/creating press kits
– Writing event listings and invitations
– Sending out tweets and setting up facebook events
– Posting review copies or awards submissions

(You were all picturing me smoking a cigar, barking orders to interns, and pulling whiskey out of a drawer, before heading off to a booze-soaked book launch followed by a cocktail party on a yacht, right?)

Publicity, as I am sure most publicists will tell you, expands infinitely (like the universe). There is always more that can be done.

“Yarn Boming” book promo, blogged at The New Yorker

That’s quite a list of duties. About how long before a book’s release does a publicist start thinking about creative ways to promote the book?

We think carefully about a book’s audience/community from the acquisition stage, when we’re deciding if the book is right for Arsenal. Our craft books are rich community objects. We’re attracted to books that grow out of craft and artistic communities and speak with and belong to those communities as well. Both Yarn Bombing and Hoopla are books that collect, explore and showcase the work of a vibrant community of artists, creators, crafters and makers: They include patterns and profiles from a wide range of fabric and textile artists from all over the globe.

I usually meet with authors quite early in the publication process (when the book is still in editorial, so months and months before it will be a real, spiney book),  especially if we’re going to be planning a tour. We talk about the book launch and events, tabling/speaking opportunities, who should receive review copies, contest ideas, book-related swag.

I’m a one-woman marketing department on most of our titles, so it’s always the best when I can be a tightly-knit publicity tag team with our authors.

Hoopla book

What are some examples of ways that you might use online or traditional marketing to promote books vs. non-traditional or relationship marketing?

In terms of traditional marketing we send out review copies to media, take out print/digital ads and we also produce print and digital catalogues in fall and spring which get sent out to libraries, bookstores and the media. We have all of our titles available for direct order on our website and we also maintain a blog, YouTube channel, Twitter account, Flickr stream, and Facebook page. We have monthly e-newsletter. It’s always ideal when our authors have a strong web presence as well.

I think of publicity as what Shannon Emerson at Canada Wide Media refers to as “being in all spaces: online, in print and in person.” You want to create as many opportunities for a reader to discover a book as possible.

Those sound like wise words. So, can you explain how that all plays out?

In Person: For Hoopla we did a multi-city author tour. Because the books are visual and the subject is tactile/about creating Leanne’s in-person events included a slideshow and a craft for people to create as part of the event. For Hoopla, Leanne gocco-printed hoops with a design from the book and we did buttons with subversive embroidery sayings like “Crewel Intentions” and “Boss of Floss” for giveaways at events and book fairs as well as buttons for craft bags and jean jackets. Leanne is very active in the craft/art community she leads (and continues to lead) crafting/embroidery workshops; coordinates knit nights and /craft meet-ups (some of which result in certain public structures sporting unsolicited sweaters). She also attends/presents/tables at craft shows like Vancouver’s Mini Maker Faire.

In Print: With craft books you are less likely to receive “traditional” book review coverage, so we pitched the book for trend pieces, profiles, interviews, Q & As and excerpts.

Online: We (myself, Leanne, and the wonderful contributors) spread the word about the book through our websites, Twitter, Facebook and blogs as well as forums like Ravelry. Global and local craft communities were very supportive with letting us post about upcoming events, hosting giveaways and offering pattern downloads to spread the word about Hoopla. When Leanne brought the Yarn Bombing book to us she was already connected, engaged, and involved with the craft community. She built on those connections through the process of writing her books (and interviewing artists) and the websites for Hoopla and Yarn Bombing and also tweets about crafts, graphic design, and art from her twitter account @LeannePrain.

Hoopla author Leanne Prain signing books, blogged at Unanimous Craft

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 the job?

I deeply value my brilliant colleagues, our talented authors and the brave books we publish at Arsenal. We publish books that challenge, incite and provoke, books that take risks and trouble and subvert norms. I feel lucky to be surrounded by so many creative, professional and intelligent people.

It can be tough–and, to be frank–kind of heartbreaking when a book doesn’t catch on. You have all the ingredients for a success: clever and original content, smart and thoughtful design, an intelligent, charming and energetic author. All that and a dedicated publishing house, and for whatever reason (the sheer number of pitches, bookings being published and books already out there in the wild?) people take a pass.

A bestseller or breakaway is about the book being great (which you can control), but also luck: which you can try to harness by bottling lightning, stroking pink rabbit’s feet, or . . . well, ultimately that part is quite out of your control.

Thanks for the vivid glimpse into your career and craft book marketing, Cynara! You can visit the Arsenal Pulp Press blog or check them out on Twitter or Facebook.

 

Giveaway!

Today, Arsenal Pulp Press is giving away a copy of the book Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery to one lucky Craft Buds reader.

To enter to win, leave a comment on this post telling us something you’ve learned from our Q&A with Cynara. We’ll choose one random winner in a week. (Giveaway limited to North America.)

Congrats to commenter #9, Nicole G!

And remember, you can still enter to win:

Beginner’s Guide to Free-Motion Quilting (ends 9/12)

FreeSpirit Designer Solids fabric (ends 9/14)


Review: Stitch Craft Create Magazine + Winner

Stitch Craft Create

If you love playing with buttons, fabric, paper and found objects, the pages of Stitch Craft Create magazine will be a welcome retreat for the senses. The premier issue of this magazine releases today, October 18th! It’s themed around the holidays, which is the perfect setting for creative gift ideas and wrapping trends like those featured on the cover.

Remember these handcrafted beauties from our Q&A with Shannon Miller last week? After hearing about all the preparation that goes into starting a new magazine from scratch, I was so excited to preview an advance copy last week! I’d actually read about this magazine on a couple other blogs, and you can tell that each of the contributors is especially grateful to be featured here. From cover to cover, the magazine is filled with fresh, holiday inspiration.

Isn’t it fun to make crafty things for a fellow crafter? If you’re involved in a creative group like a quilting bee and are looking for holiday gifts, there are lots of ideas in this issue for handmade collections (like the color jars, below) that are so beautiful, they’ll produce more handmade gifts! But they are actually pretty enough to just sit out on the table.

Although I love paper crafts and can often be found pinning creative gift-wrap ideas, I am most inspired by creative sewing projects. And the variety of fabric crafts in Stitch Craft Create does not disappoint.

Favorites include the Winter Mint Jersey Shag Pillows from Vanessa Christenson of V and Co. and the Felt Flowers Fabric Wreath by Danielle Burkleo of Take Heart.

Photo: V and Co.

When I interviewed editor Shannon Miller about the new magazine, she explained that the projects were tied together with a color palette of a “fresh, vintage-inspired collection of mint green, light blue, red with lots of white and touches of golden yellow.” The color scheme is very fresh, and makes me want to bypass fall and head straight to winter. And that NEVER happens.

The variety of projects inside ranges from holiday decorating to papercrafts, sewing and embroidery, entertaining and party ideas, yarn crafts, handmade gifts, accessories and packaging ideas. It’s enough to interest a variety of multi-crafters without scaring anyone away with too-technical projects. Overall, I’m very hopeful that this magazine makes it to issue number two (which will depend on initial response to newsstand sales and online orders), because I’d love to become a subscriber.

Craft Supplies Winner!

Out of 566 entries (wow), the winner of a copy of Stitch Craft Create magazine plus a bundle of crafting supplies is…

Entry #144, Liz Taylor! Congrats Liz, and please check your e-mail!

If you’d like to snag a copy, the magazine releases to craft stores TODAY, October 18. Or you can order a copy online right here. Thanks for all of your entries and the feedback on Rafflecopter.

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