My Author Journey

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle
Happy Tuesday! I am itching to officially introduce you to my book, Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle. Before I do that however, I'd like to share a little bit of the backstory on my journey that has led up to this moment.

Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle
Mini quilts from my first quilt along, found here.

I had "write a book" on my list of things I'd like to do for a while before I actually took steps towards doing it. I first started to think about writing a book back in late 2011/early 2012. I had just graduated from college and moved with Michael to Wisconsin. Instead of getting a traditional job I decided to try and turn my hobby into a job. It was not an easy time in my life. I was missing home, and had no routine. With Michael in his first semester of graduate school, I was spending all day alone. This gave me a lot of time to work on figuring things out. This included writing my very first sewing pattern, the Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern. I also wrote the second half of my Art of Choosing series during this time. Things were starting to pick up, and I thought that writing a book might be a good venture for me. I actually spoke with an agent about an interested publisher, but a week later I was approached by Art Gallery Fabrics. So, writing a book took a backseat for a while.

Starflower Block
My first try at half-square triangles, a Starflower block, early 2010.

As time went on, I got discouraged about not writing a book sooner. Designing fabric and patterns kept me plenty busy and at times I thought my opportunity had passed. Then last year, I realized that I just needed to make it a priority. I didn't have time to write a book because I wasn't making time. Now the real question was what to write about? For a long time I thought I would write a book about color and choosing fabric. But honestly, I have no expert knowledge on the subject. I minored in Art in college, but most of my know-how is intuitive and pieced together. I feel comfortable discussing it on a basic level, but not in depth enough to fill a whole book. It took some serious consideration, but when I finally landed on writing a book about half-square triangles, it made perfect sense. Half-square triangles were one of the very first quilting techniques I tried. They have always been a favorite of mine, and I have made a lot of projects with them beyond the quilts in my book.

Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle
The first quilt I worked on for the book, Opposites Attract.

Once I decided on half-square triangles, everything started to fall into place. I wanted the book to be more than just a collection of half-square triangle quilts, I wanted there to be intention behind each design. Each quilt in the book explores a different way of playing with the basic block form. I'll go more into that in my next post!

Sunset Tiles Quilt
Sunset Tiles, my quilt in Scraps, Inc.

After working with Lucky Spool on Scraps, Inc. and seeing the beautiful books set to be published by them, I knew that's who I wanted to work with. Shortly after Spring Quilt Market in 2014, I pitched my book, and by July I was busy starting on the projects. I completed nearly all of the writing and sewing that Fall and early Winter. Staying focused working on the book and projects almost exclusively was really challenging for me, both mentally and physically. As you may know, I have arthritis (for more on sewing with arthritis see my post here), so all the cutting and trimming definitely took it's toll.

Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle
Forever saving the trimmings.

Procrastinating comes naturally to me, so I tried to be as organized as possible throughout the process and set myself monthly and weekly deadlines. I still managed to save a lot of the writing for later, but stayed on track with the sewing. There were definitely times where I felt like I was in over my head, or that I was never going to be done. It was hard not having that "instant gratification" to keep me motivated. My biggest motivator ended up being a spreadsheet taped to my sewing room door. It had each project broken down by step (fabric selection, cutting, HST making, trimming, etc). So each time I'd finish a step, I could fill in that box, which gave me a sense of accomplishment along the way.

Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle
I wore a lot of different hats in the process of writing this book. I was able to have my hand in many of the decisions made about the structure, design, and even take a few of the photographs. While at times that meant extra work on my end, it makes me appreciate the finished product even more. In the end, I'm glad that I waited to write this book. Blogging, contributing to other books, working with magazines, and most importantly writing my self-published patterns has given me invaluable experience. It allowed me time to find my voice.

It still doesn't feel real, even holding the book in my hands. I can now add "Author" to my resume! I'll be back later this week to officially introduce you to my book, YAY! :)

Happy Quilting!

37 comments :

  1. You are an inspiration! I just had a baby and am struggling to find time to quilt. I feel like I've lost a little bit of myself so I'm living vicariously through you..... Well done on the book and Hi from Scotland!

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  2. Congratulations on your book, I am looking forward to getting introduced to it!

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  3. Congratulations! What an accomplishment! I love your blog & sure your book is amazing as well. Can't wait to see it!

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  4. Congrats, Jeni, and it's so interesting to hear the road you took to where you are now. I love your Sunset Tiles quilt, such a beautiful way to showcase smaller cuts. Best of luck with book!

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  5. Congrats, Jeni! The book is due to arrive here today - can't wait to see it!

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  6. Thank you, Jeni, for sharing your story as well as your beautiful quilts. Your integrity shines through. Looking forward to seeing the book soon.

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  7. I love this! Congratulations Jeni! I think sewing along with your HST BOM forever established HSTs as my go to fave unit! I can't wait to get my hands on your book

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  8. Congratulations. You've accomplished so much and should be very proud. I think I've made your drawstring bag about a dozen times now and I love it. One of these days I suppose I'll get around to making one of the different sizes; I've had the pattern forever but just never seem to make the time to do it. Guess your next book should be about 'making time'. :-)

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  9. Well done & congrats! Super inspiring <3

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  10. Congratulations! Looking forward to seeing your book!

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  11. So exciting Jeni!!! It was so fun to read your journey here, thanks for sharing ;) Can't wait for you book!!!!

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  12. Congratulations! Feels, good, doesn't it?!!!

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  13. I'm looking forward to owning your book & putting it to good use! I hope you bring some copies w/this wknd at your lecture in IL so I can purchase one!

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    1. I'll definitely be sure to bring copies! :)

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  14. Congratulations! Looking forward to seeing all the projects.

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  15. Congratulations! You are very accomplished!!

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  16. It's nice to hear some background. It's clear that writing a book is a MAJOR time commitment! I'm really looking forward to seeing it - I love HSTs. Congratulations on being a published author and hope it flies off the shelves.

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  17. I really enjoyed reading your story, thank you! Book writing is on my 'list' too, and it's good to hear of someone who waited for the right time. I know that's not now for me! And it's ok to wait till it is.

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  18. Ordered!!! Can't wait to get it. I am in love with half square triangles:)

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  19. That is fantastic, I really need to buy this book and ym going to write a review about it for the Swiss Guild! I am sure that the members will love this new baby if yours!
    Greetings from Switzerland
    Judy

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  20. I am so glad for you! I love your blog, and even managed to get my hand on few of your magazine articles, now I only dream about getting your book. Thank you for sharing your story! It's really inspiring, as your blog and you yourself :)

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  21. Congratulations on your achievement and I admire your work ethic. I am looking forward to reading more.

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  22. Hey Jeni! I've been looking forward to your book since you mentioned it on your blog a while back! Congrats!!! I'm sure you are on a big cloud right now!! Can't wait to get my hands on your book!!!

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  23. Thanks for the post. Sewing with arthritis. There is hope for me. I will have to read your post about that. Plus you are much younger than me :-)

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  24. Oh my goodness Jeni what a journey! Congrats on the publishing of your book. Thank you so much for sharing that w/us. I'm still practicing my HSTs:) Mostly I wanted to say thanks for the tips on crafting w/arthritis. I grew up in your area of Wisconsin , now live in the south-east USA in warmer winters. It still effects me the same tho regardless of climate. I'm indebted to you for sharing that also. I'll remember to rest while quilting, cutting and sewing. Same sappy high dollar iron story here....I just bought a cheapo at Target...best thing yet!

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  25. Congrats!!! What a fun journey!

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  26. I'm anxious to see what you've included in your book. Congrats.

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  27. Congratulations on your book, Jeni! You did a fantastic job on it! So happy for you! xoxoxxo

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  28. I loved hearing more about your journey. I am so excited for you! I can't wait to see this book. And, I think you're wonderful. xo

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  29. Thanks for sharing the backstory. It was so interesting! I love the color of your new book and can hardly wait to see it in person.

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  30. So excited and happy for you! What a great story! Congratulations and the book looks awesome!!! Big hugs!! xoxo

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