My Author Journey
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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! :)