Tag Archive for quilting

‘Sew Place Like Home’ Gift Idea for Sewists

Are you looking for a gift for your best sewing friend? Something to warm her heart this holiday season?

I’m excited to share with you a brand new book filled with sewing-related stories, essays, tutorials, recipes and more! The e-book can be downloaded instantly to your Kindle, or a free Kindle reading app on your smartphone or computer.

Sew Place Like Home

Sew Place Like Home: A Collection of Essays and Projects for People Who Love to Sew is edited by my sewing friends Jessica Abbott and Melissa Mora, and includes contributions from Stacey Byrne, Elizabeth Evans and Liz Evans, Shannon Clarke, Deborah Moebes, Jenny Rushmore and me!

To give you a little taste of what’s inside, I’m sharing a free excerpt of one of my favorite essays from the book. As I grow into motherhood myself, I am drawn to Jess’s story about sewing for her daughter:

Sew Place Like Home eBook

Excerpt from “She’ll Thank Me For This Someday,” by Jessica Abbott

It’s 1a.m., and here I sit. In front of my sewing machine, trying to desperately finish up the dress needed for tomorrow’s big school recital. The quiet whir of the machine, the feel of the satin as it slips through my fingers, a silent house, it almost has a dream like quality as my eyes start to blur from sleepiness. I stopped saying ‘5 more minutes’ hours ago.

You see, the thing is, the dress is not desperately needed. Truth be told, I could have easily gone to our local department store and picked up something similar for under $30. It would have saved me hours of time, and probably sanity.

But I am a seamstress. Do I really need to say any more than that?

My love for sewing is in my bones. And the thought of my daughter up on that stage in anything other than a handmade dress keeps me up at night…sewing.

Tomorrow morning I might wake up bleary eyed, regretting my life decisions as I reach for my third cup of coffee. But for now, all I can think of is the joy I will feel as I watch my daughter up on that stage. Walking down the center aisle, knowing that she draped in love.


Sew Place Like Home Kindle

I can’t wait for you to read the rest of her story, and the other wonderful pieces in the Sew Place Like Home e-book! I’ve downloaded it to a Kindle app on my phone for late-night reading.

There is so much to be thankful for in this life, and I’m very proud to be this book because it shares some of life’s simply beautiful moments. Sewists will appreciate it the most, but it’s also great for those who love to bake, craft or create in their own ways. In addition to the essays, there are several holiday gift tutorials and recipes that are perfect for giving! I can’t wait to try the Quilt-As-You-Go Pot Holder project and the Spiced Hot Chocolate recipe mix.

Get the book

Disclaimer: Affiliate ads are included in this post, but all opinions are my own. Happy reading!

Quilt-As-You-Go Pot Holder Tutorial

Quilt-As-You-Go Pot Holder - Craft Buds

Quilt-as-you-go pot holder tutorial - Craft Buds

Guess what arrived in my mailbox last week? This bright and happy Kaffe Fassett sewing kit from Craftsy! (affiliate link)

Craftsy Kit

As you can see from the link, I never got around to making the pretty Three-Quarter Patch Tote, but I decided what I did need was some new pot holders in my life. Want to make a pair?

Here’s what you’ll need for 1 pot holder (double this if you want to make a pair):

  • Front fabric: 6 fabric strips 2 1/2″ wide and 14″ long
  • Backing fabric: (1) 10 1/2″ square
  • Binding fabric: bias cut fabric strips to make 1-2/3 yards of 2 1/2″-wide double fold quilt binding
  • Insulated batting: (1) 10 1/2″ square Insul-Fleece
  • Quilt batting scraps: (2) 10 1/2″ squares
  • Rotary cutter and drinking glass to round corners

QAYG Pot Holder

1. Stack your pot holder materials like this: Backing fabric, right side down. On top of that, place a 10 1/2″ batting square, then insulated batting, then another layer of batting. Spray baste these together, or pin in a few places if you prefer.

QAYG Pot Holder tutorial

2. Place one of your fabric strips right side up on the batting, going from corner to corner. Place another strip on top of that, right side down. Hold these in place while you run over to your sewing machine. Stitch a straight line 1/4″ from one long edge of the strips, sewing through the entire stack.

QAYG Pot holder

3. Press that top fabric strip over to the side so both strips are facing right side up. Take another strip and place it right side down on top of the last strip you sewed. Stitch 1/4″ from the edge, and fold this strip open. Repeat this process until you’ve covered the entire front of your pot holder in strips. You’ll be working from both the right and the left of the center strip you started with.

QAYG Pot Holder

4. Your pot holder should look something like this. Now take your ruler and trim it to 10″ square.

QAYG pot holder tutorial

5. Take a drinking glass, Mason jar lid or other round object and use it to round off 3 corners using your rotary cutter.

Quilt as you go pot holder tutorial Craft Buds

6. Refer to my Quilted Pot Holder tutorial over on the Craftsy blog to learn how to finish your QAYG pot holder with the binding and hanging loop. Since there is no pocket panel in this version, you’ll just start at step 6 and ignore the pocket directions.

I hope you enjoyed this quilt-as-you-go pot holder tutorial, and if you are in need of some new, cute fabric, check out Craftsy’s sewing kits! They come with a fabric and pattern…so convenient!

Patchwork Potholder Tutorial with Sewing Mama RaeAnna

My friend RaeAnna, who I have the pleasure of seeing in real life as well as following her sewing blog, has whipped up a fun tutorial for Craft Buds readers today! It’s a pretty patchwork hot pad featuring the Clementine line of fabrics in the Anna Griffin shop. You can make this project with fat quarters or scraps, and it makes a great housewarming gift!

Head over to Sewing Mama RaeAnna for the tutorial!

January’s Baby Quilt: Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along

Today’s guest poster is January from Sew Sew Go with her take on the Mosaic Tiles quilt block! Here’s what she had to say:

My sweet friend Lindsay from Lindsay Sews got her first book published and is doing a blog hop. I hope you guys have been following along.  The book is amazing and has beautiful quilts in it. I met Lindsay at Sewing Summit a couple of years ago in her creative journey class.

 She was such a sweet person and so easy to talk to. I really enjoyed hearing her story and the journey she had been on with wanting to publish a book. At that moment her book wasn’t green lighted yet. I got to hang out with her again last Feb. at QuiltCon and heard the exciting news that she was being published!!! You can order your own copy here.



I’m so happy and proud of her and her accomplishments. I was honored when she asked me to join her hop. She asked us to make anything we wanted out of the Mosaic Tiles Pattern. I chose to make a baby quilt because it seems like everyone I know is having babies. I picked a bunch of blues/turquoise and gray fabrics and got right to work.  It was such an easy patten and the directions were great. I had so much fun sewing this up.


On the design wall trying to randomize the prints.  

I liked using the 2 different grays. I really thought it made the blocks pop out. 

I love the back just as much. Simple, clean and modern. It was really fun being apart of her hop and I can’t wait to make this quilt again. Go check out her book and join a bee.


Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along
This post is part of the Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along, which you can read about here! You can enter your project any time between now and February 14, 2014 for a chance to win some great prizes. We hope you’ll join us in this beginner-friendly and stress-free quilt along.

Katy’s Teeny Tiny Mosaic Tiles Quilt Pillow: : Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along

Hello! I am Katy, better known as LethargicLass, and I am excited to be a part of this quilt along. I met Lindsay last fall at Sewing Summit, and I bought my copy of Modern Bee directly from her. Sadly, I didn’t think of asking her to sign it though lol. When Lindsay asked if I would like to be a part of this blog hop quilt along I was thrilled! I immediately started thinking of what I could make. I wanted to keep the look of the quilt, but without the size. I am a very slow quilt maker, and I knew I wouldn’t have the time. So I went small. Really small.


I drew my plan up in my trusty little graph book, and then attempted the math. Several times.


Finally I figured out that I needed to start with 2” centers and one inch borders to create my original block before cutting into fours.


I like to work at different stages of things at one time so I don’t get bored by something like a huge pile of trimming. You can see what I mean below.

IMG_0319 - Copy

I finally finished the pillow at 20”x20”. That is when I realised that my 20” pillow form was actually 18” lol


It most certainly isn’t perfect, but I love it :) Here is the backside. I used one of my favourite prints from Connecting Threads and I don’t have much left.


I hope you enjoyed seeing what I made, and I would love to know if anyone else attempts one this small :)  Please check out the rest of the Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along!



Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along
This post is part of the Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along, which you can read about here! You can enter your project any time between now and February 14, 2014 for a chance to win some great prizes. We hope you’ll join us in this beginner-friendly and stress-free quilt along.

Prizes! Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along

Did you see our announcement last week about the Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along? We are thrilled that many of you said you’d like to join us in quilting the January pattern from the book Modern Bee: 13 Quilts to Make with Friends. Today, we’re sharing some of the amazing prizes that you can win!

Prize Pack


Prize Pack2


Prize Pack3

These prizes are courtesy of our amazing quilt along sponsors: Aurifil, OLFA, Pellon, Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Simplicity Creative Group and Stash Books!

Mosaic Tiles Sponsors

Want to Quilt Along?

Here’s a quick overview of the contest!

1. Today December 9, 2013 through February 14, 2014 (that’s Valentine’s Day for all you romantics!), Craft Buds is hosting the Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along! This beginner-friendly quilt pattern was designed by Sukie for my book, Modern Bee—13 Quilts to Make with Friends, so you’ll need to have a copy of the book to participate.

2. We’d love to see what you can create based on the original “Mosaic Tiles” block design. Is it a holiday stocking or tree skirt? How about an eBook cover or messenger bag? Whip up a mini quilt for your Valentine, an apron for your sister or your own quilt design inspired by the block. Anything goes, as long as you create a finished item!

3. During the 10-week quilt along, we’ll be sharing project inspiration, quilting tips and layout options with lots of help from our friends. If you don’t have time to get started in December, we invite you to go ahead and join us anyway! You can join us in 2014 with plenty of time to finish a project before mid-February. Here’s the schedule:

Monday, 12/9
Kickoff! Announcing our sponsors, guest judges + prizes

Monday, 12/16
Guest post: Holiday project and guest post with layout options with Amy of 13 Spools

Wednesday, 12/18
Guest post: Holiday project inspired by block with Sarah of Fabric Seeds

Monday, 12/30
Guest post: Mosaic Tiles layout options with Katie of ChooChoo Skadoo Quilts

Wednesday, 1/1
Happy New Year: Still 6 weeks to sew along!

Friday, 1/3
Guest post: Mosaic Tiles bag by Katy Cameron of The Littlest Thistle
+ Halfway mark: Link up your progress!

Monday, 1/6
Guest post: Mosaic Tiles project by Marni of Haberdashery Fun

Monday, 1/13
Guest post: Mosaic Tiles project by Darcy of Modern Cozy

Wednesday, 1/15
Guest post: Mosaic Tiles bag by Kim of Kim’s Krafts

Monday, 1/20
Featuring other projects from “Modern Bee”

Wednesday, 1/22
Guest post: Mosaic Tiles quilt by Katy of Lethargic Lass

Monday, 1/27

Guest post: Project by January of Sew Sew Go

Friday, 2/14
Happy Valentine’s Day! Deadline for entries at midnight, EST.

Guest Judges

Guest Judges 2

After all entries have been received on 2/14, Our lovely guest judges will choose winners for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place based on overall creativity, execution and innovation of the original pattern.

All official entries must be received by the 2/14 deadline and linked in the form above. If you have trouble linked up a photo of your project, you may e-mail your entry to lindsay.conner(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll add it for you.

We’d also love for you to add and project or progress photos to the Modern Bee and Craft Buds Flickr groups. If you instagram, make sure to include the hashtag #modernbeebook to your progress photos!

Modern Bee Quilt Along

Grab a Book!

If you already have the Modern Bee book, you’ve got all you need to sign up for the quilt along! If you don’t have the book, you can purchase a copy at select Jo-Ann Fabric stores, quilt shops or online at any of the following spots.

Barnes & Noble
C&T Publishing
Lindsay Sews

Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along

Do you Plan to Sew Along?

Leave a comment on this post or the original post. This way, we can stay in touch, get to know each other and share our progress! Quilting is lots more fun with friends, and we cannot wait to see what your create. It’s not required to have a blog.

Grab a Button!

Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along

Bid Now! Announcing the Sari Bari Charity Quilt Auction

Years ago, my friend Sally surprised me with a gift: a tote bag made from recycled Indian saris. The name on the label was Sari Bari. I already knew Sally had great taste, because she tends to buy products from organizations that also do good in the world.

Sari Bari Quilt 4

When I went to the Sari Bari website, I learned that the organization actually employs women who have been exploited in the sex trade or who are vulnerable to trafficking. In addition to their gorgeous baby quilts that sell like hot cakes, the online shop carries a number of handmade bags ranging from simple totes to messenger bags and makeup pouches. If you are looking to shop for holiday gifts for guys, look no further than Sari Bari’s laptop sleeves or the men’s tee, on sale.

Sari Bari Quilt 2

2013 Sari Bari Quilt Auction

But what I REALLY wanted to talk with you about is the exciting online quilt auction and raffle which starts today! This video shares a little bit more about the quilts you can bid on. (Oh my gosh… the elephant quilt at 2:55 must come to live with me. So cute!) And I also learned that my friend Amy was one of the talented volunteer quilters who made this event possible, so I’m anxious to pop by the auction and see her quilt.

All proceeds from the auction and raffle will go toward supporting Sari Bari’s ongoing freedom work! The quilts often go for very high prices, and the auction organizers wanted a way for everyone to get to be a part. So this year, there’s also the option to buy a raffle ticket for the chance to win one of the unique quilts for freedom. You will be able purchase your raffle ticket for the quilt you choose via www.saribari.com

How to play

You may place bids and purchase raffle tickets at any time between 5pm November 1 and 4:59pm November 10, 2013. Winners will be announced November 11, 2013. If you’d rather just make a direct donation, visit www.saribari.com/donate. All gifts are tax-deductible.

Follow Sari Bari on Twitter and Facebook for updates!

Head over now and see the quilts!

Craft Book Author/Editor: Jenny at Martingale + Giveaway!

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at your favorite craft book publishers? Jenny Wilding Cardon, Content Editor at Martingale & Co., is here today to spill the beans on her job, how she got into the industry and what you may not realize about working in the craft book industry!


1) Jenny, you have a background as both a craft-book author and editor. Has it helped you in your career to understand both sides?

Absolutely! It’s been particularly helpful to have an author’s perspective when I’m doing my day job—and right now that’s as the content editor for Martingale’s Stitch This! blog. I’ve published my own work twice, so I understand what designers go through to create a book. It’s an incredible amount of work in a very deadline-driven environment. Lots of people are counting on you to produce quality work, and they need you to get everything done on time so the rest of the team (designers, editors, marketers, etc.) can do their job. It’s truly a team effort to publish a book, but it all begins with the author. Knowing how it feels to have that kind of responsibility on your shoulders from the get-go has helped me understand that supporting our authors in any way we can is essential—especially first-time authors who might need a confidant, a sounding board, and a cheerleader all in one!

2) Can you tell me a little bit about your background and how you got into publishing?

Fresh out of college, I’d recently moved to the Seattle area. I knew I wanted to pursue a career that involved writing. I applied for a copywriting job that stated “sewing and quilting experience a plus.” What?! I hadn’t sewn since high school. Back then I would sew quirky clothes and, being shy, I would make my friends wear them to school. I missed that kind of creativity!

After two interviews at Martingale, I was given a catalog of their books, along with a book called Threadplay. I was asked to write exciting, engaging catalog copy for the book. Completely intrigued with the catalog—so many gorgeous, creative books!—I wrote the best copy I could muster (in 25 words, mind you, as that was the limit for catalog copy). Three days later I received a call that I’d gotten the job. I’ve been working for Martingale since then—first in the office, and then offsite in Utah (where I now live). They are a fantastic company to work for and I feel so lucky to continue to be a part of the team, even though it’s a very virtual experience!

This is how the office sees me in weekly meetings—on a laptop computer in the conference room. See my coworkers in the little screen on the bottom right? Hi guys!

Many avid quilters work at Martingale, so it’s no surprise that just two months into my new job, I was hooked on quilting. I made my first quilt entirely by hand…and then quickly bought my first sewing machine.

My first quilt!

After 10 years with the company, I created my first collection of quilts for publication, The Little Box of Baby Quilts, which was inspired by the birth of my first son, Jack.

Left: Jack and his many quilts. Right: “Flying Frogs” from The Little Box of Baby Quilts

In 2011, I revisited those high-school sewing roots and wrote ReSew, which features projects for transforming thrift-store finds into tops, skirts, dresses, purses, scarves and more—and there’s a quilt in there, of course!

ReSew: Turn-Thrift Store Finds into Fabulous Designs

Here’s the “Sleeveless V” project from ReSew—a sweatshirt turned into a summery tank. That’s me on the left giving an “Oh, really?” look to my oldest son as my husband snapped a photo for people in the office to see. That’s a gorgeous model on the right, in the final photo of the project for the book. It was so fun to see my projects on professional models!

3) What does a typical day look like for you, in your job?

With posts to write, blogging calendars to schedule, authors to contact, and all kinds of quilt news to cover, it’s always a busy day! I start my day by touching base with our social media fans on Facebook and Pinterest. Then it’s off to the races! We blog five times a week, and we have posts coming in from staff, authors, magazines, and other sources. I do a lot of writing, and I also facilitate posts coming from other writers. Lots and lots of emails are involved!

4) What is your favorite part about working in craft book publishing?

The creativity that’s involved in every step. First there’s the author’s creation of the projects; then there’s the editorial department’s creation of the book itself. Finally, it falls to the marketing department to create fresh, new ways to get the book in front of people’s eyes. Every step of the process is jam-packed with opportunities to think outside the box. It’s a blessing to be part of a group that asks you to stretch your creativity, rather than stay put in the box.

5) What is something about the life of a craft book that would surprise the average person?

How many people are involved in making a book come to life! In addition to our talented and dedicated authors, there are 40 people who work at Martingale. We publish more than 50 books each year, and every person leaves their mark on every book in some way.

Martingale staffers show off quilt blocks from last year’s “Blocks, Borders, Quilts!” round-robin challenge.


You can browse Martingale’s free patterns, how-to-quilt downloads, and books at their site, ShopMartingale.com.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share a bit about what it’s like to work at Martingale, Lindsay. Craft Buds is such great resource for the business side of handmade—and for the fun side too! Happy Craft Book Month, everyone!



Leave a comment on this post telling us something you’ve learned about craft book publishing from our Q&A with Jenny. You could win an e-book version of the book Modern Basics II by Amy Ellis, or ANY Martingale e-book of your choice!

Read more about Modern Basics II on the Martingale blog. Giveaway open worldwide and a winner will be chosen on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013.


Congrats to #29, Lisa Marie!

Modern Mini Challenge: Over the Rainbow



When Jennifer (Ellison Lane Quilts) asked if Craft Buds would like to be part of the Modern Mini Quilt Challenge I figured it would be a great reason to get more experience! I’ve been sewing for years but just took up quilting earlier this year so I’m constantly learning and trying to improve my quilting skills. I’ve been compiling a rainbow of fabrics for a throw sized quilt and had just enough scrap strips left over for a mini quilt. To make this quilt, I cut 21 strips of my rainbow fabrics. Each strip is 9 to 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. I added 8 inch gray and blue strips to either side of the rainbow fabrics, then sewed all the strips together with 1/4″ seams, deciding the placement as I went.


After all the strips were together, I trimmed the edges straight and used a grid pattern for the quilting. The finished size is 21 inches wide by 19 inches tall.


Modern Mini Quilt Challenge

Have you made a mini quilt in the last 6 months, or are you thinking about making one soon? Here’s more information from Jennifer of Ellison Lane Quilts about entering the contest and winning prizes!

Are you ready for the Modern Mini Challenge? Here’s the deal. The Modern Mini Challenge is a call to challenge yourself. Try something new: a new technique, a new pattern, a new thread, etc and make a mini quilt. A mini quilt makes it possible and oh-so-doable! What’s a mini quilt? It’s a mug rug, a pillow, a wall hanging, a table topper… you get the idea! Check out the AMAZING minis in last year’s contest! There were over 200 awesome entries! You don’t have to be an experienced sewist to enter! Don’t let your lack of experience keep you from joining in! I want this event to be fun, encouraging and inspiring- just go for it! Believe in your ability and go CREATE!! Go be AWESOME!!

Speaking of awesome, there will be fabulous prizes available just for entering! So try your best, pick something fun to create that speaks to you and get sewing.

The details: You can enter any mini quilt that you’ve made within the past 6 months. Remember, a mini quilt can be a mug rug, a mini quilt, a pillow, a table topper, etc. Only one entry per person. Size requirements: must be at least 6″ x 6″ and no bigger than 24″ x 24″. You can enter a mini quilt made from your own design or from a pattern. Please give credit to the pattern designer in your description. Starting June 12, you’ll be able to link up your entry at Ellison Lane. You’ll have until 5:00 PM EST on June 16 to add your mini quilt. Link from your blog (a NEW post please), your Flickr account or your Threadbias account. Remember, you don’t have to have a blog to enter! PRIZES! Did she say prizes? For sure! Check out these amazing goodies up for grabs:

$125 Gift Certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop
$75 Gift Certificate to the Intrepid Thread
$50 Gift Pack of Pellon Products
$50 Box of Coats and Clark Threads
(2) $50 prize packs of Dritz sewing products
$25 Gift Certificate to Christa Quilts
A Bundle of Marblehead fabrics from Fabri-Quilt

Need some inspiration? Never fear! There’s a snazzy group of quilters ready to share some of their creations to show just how fun a mini can be.

June 5: Ellison Lane
June 8: Craft Buds

Thomas Knauer Q&A: Fabric Design and Modern Quilting

Today, we are excited to have Thomas Knauer, a great creative mind, fabric designer and writer! If you follow Thomas’s blog, you know that he openly shares insight into the industry, the sacrifices involved in running a creative business and the importance of creating art. Read on to hear more about how he balances his creative endeavors with family time, his upcoming book and more!

Thomas, thanks for visiting Craft Buds to share more about your work as a writer, fabrics designer and creator! Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how your work shifted to the textiles industry?

Until about five years ago I had spent my entire life in academia; I got graduate degrees from Ohio University and the Cranbrook Academy of Art, and taught art and design at Drake University and the State University of New York. In 2008, I developed a rare neuromuscular disorder and had to leave both academia and the traditional work world.

Once we got my illness managed, I decided to make a dress for my then almost 2-year-old daughter. At about that age everything for kids starts to have corporate tie-ins and I though I could certainly figure out a dress for her. So, I made one, and then another, and another and another and another. She loved them, and I loved that she loved them, so I was hooked.

From there I decided to give fabric design a try and just dove in. There was so much I didn’t have a clue about, especially the industry itself, but by then it was about 20 years since I started my career as an artist, and all of those years did a lot to really help me jump-start things here.

Market quilt by Thomas Knauer in “Thesaurus” fabric

What would people be most surprised to know about being a fabric designer?

There are probably so many things that would surprise people, to be honest. The most likely is how much fabric designers make: generally 1-2% of the retail cost of the finished fabric. Certainly fabric design opens up some doors—it certainly has for me—but it also involves a remarkable amount of work to do really well.

Like any business there are always trade-offs, and in the end I am glad to be doing it. Certainly, there are a lot of personal rewards; I truly love figuring out how to tell a story or approach a conceptual problem through fabric design. At the same time there are only so many hours in the day. If you want to make a living doing this, you are going to need to do a whole lot of different things, and expect to devote and insane amount of time to doing it. Heck, I wouldn’t be able to do this if my wife weren’t a professor.

Actually, my advice to anyone trying to break into this world would be to do it part time for years while still working a straight job, or have a partner who can supply that steady income; it is a long, long road.

Doppelgänger quilt by Thomas Knauer and quilted by Lisa Sipes

I’m excited to hear more about your book with F+W Media, due out next spring. Can you tell us a little more about the book conception and writing process and what that looked like for you?

In my head, this book is something of a sampler, not a set of blocks to make a sampler quilt, but a sampling of quilts that illustrate a methodology, a conceptual approach to modern quilting. The quilts don’t all look modern, so I’m not really talking about modern in strictly aesthetic terms; each of the quilts in this book is a response to a specifically modern (or even post-modern problem). Each quilt starts out with a problem, a concern, and issue and I figure out how to translate a response into a quilt. In all but one case, the quilts are practical, usable quilts; the book is about integrating our values, our concerns, and our worldviews into the things we make and our lives, wrapping ourselves up in objects that speak to others and ourselves. One of my QuiltCon quilts—In Defense of Handmade—was made for the book. I wish I could go into greater detail, but that’s going to have to wait until we get closer to the release date.

As far as writing this book, it was a total dream. I waited until I found a publisher who I though was a really good fit, and F+W has been fantastic; they have really supported the project all the way through and allowed me to make the decisions that I felt I needed to make. I was lucky enough to have Lisa Sipes quilt all of the quilts for the book, which has been incredible, and have had the support of some fabulous piecers to help me get all of the tops done in time (you’ll hear about them in the book).

The actual writing really was the best part for me; I am a writer by nature as anyone who visits my blog can attest to. I actually wrote almost the entirety of the book in two four-days bursts. For one of them I took off to Philadelphia to see my neurologist and then locked myself in a hotel until I had finished the first half of the book. I can’t actually remember where I went the second time, but I wrote the second half in much the same way. The really great thing about this book is that F+W gave me a word count that could never really ever fit in the book length we had planned on, and I have to believe they knew that. It meant that they just wanted me go ahead and write, which is what I love to do.

Of course there was a lot of editing and revising; there always is. That added about two more weeks to the writing. The thing about a quilt book is that the making takes up almost all of the time, at least for me; luckily that is kinda awesome too. But the writing, that is definitely a bit like heroin for me; I am addicted and already looking forward to starting the second, third, and fourth books.

Blast quilt by Rachael Gander in Thomas Knauer’s “Asbury” fabric

How do you find a balance between your creative work and your personal/family time? Do you have any tips for creative entrepreneurs in this arena?

Honestly, sometimes better than others. That is just the nature of things here in the fabric/quilt world. Things happen in spurts and you just have to put in the time when you have to put in the time. For a while at the start I think I did a pretty mediocre job of balancing things, but now I am starting to say no to more things. I’m in a process of cutting down to the core of things that truly matter to me in terms of what I do in this industry, especially now that we have a new baby, and K is getting to work on her second book.

As far as tips, oi… So much of that depends on your financial circumstances. If you can afford to take things slowly then do it, but not everyone has that luxury; when it is sink or swim, you gotta do what you gotta do. My biggest advice for being a creative entrepreneur is to have a safety net, to have it be part time until the very last minute, and to have several back-up plans. Passion is a prerequisite, but it just isn’t enough. I don’t mean to be all negative, but I think it is important to hear. If you really want to succeed, don’t jump in too early; that is the best way to keep enjoying what you do and to have the space you need to prepare for a successful entry into doing this full-time.

What’s next for you?

That is always a hard question because I rarely know for sure. We are going to be living in England next year (K has a fellowship at Cambridge) and I hope to spend much of my work time writing another book. And of course I hope there will be a lot more fabric. I have just started a partnership with Janome and am diving in headfirst into machine embroidery, which I have wanted to do for a while. More than just cure stuff, machine embroidery can do some things that would be otherwise impossible, and that is what I want to do, some utterly insane designs that no hand could really do, or at least not in less that a couple of years…

I’m thinking I am going to start moving back toward the gallery a bit more after a long hiatus. While I am still in love with practical and usable quilts (and won’t stop making those), I am finding that I have a backlog of textile and stitchery ideas that are truly best suited for the galleries I used to haunt.

Beyond that, who knows? I have a feeling this is going to be a year of change…

Thanks for the thoughtful interview, Thomas! You can stay in touch by following his blog.

What did you find most interesting from this post? If you have questions or comments for Thomas, feel free to leave them here!

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