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Book journey {an intro}

I thought I would start sharing my journey on writing and self-publishing a quilt book with you all. I am not sure whether this is will be a successful activity or whether it will be unsuccessful, at this point. I have always been curious about what people go through along this journey, what worked and what didn’t.

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#Swingin30sMedallion

Each month, I would love to share with you how it is going, answer any questions you might etc. here on my blog (that is if I can). You can also follow progress of projects on Instagram with #ideadesigncreatequilt or via my account @ml_wilkie.

So…..

Let’s start with an introduction of some of the initial ideas, decisions and steps so far.

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#BrokenTrellisQuilt

What is the book about?

The book will be about designing your own quilts and what that entails. It also include quilt projects that you can make and shown in the images here (in various stages).

Why did I choose to self-publish a book?

I decided to self-publish for three main reasons.

  1. Schedule: I needed to work with my schedule which is not predictable. With the events of this year, I needed to be in control when I could commit time and effort.
  2. Sharing: I wanted to be able to share the progress of the book and the quilt projects along the way. This way I can get feedback from you all and incorporate that into the book/projects.
  3. Layout & Design: I had pre-conceived notions on how this book would look. I wanted it to be visually stimulating and modern.

I am currently thinking of publishing via the amazon company – CreateSpace.  CreateSpace works based on a print ondemand model, meaning that once a book is ordered, it is then printed.  There is no need to keep inventory. The royalities for each book sold via amazon is appealing. They will distribute the book for you too, to companies such as Barnes and Noble but the royalities are much lower.

I am not tied in yet, I have had thoughts of finding my own printers as I have some unique features I want to include in the book. This would not fit with the “standard” style of CreateSpace options. I would then need to find a distributor myself and take on the printing costs of an upfront run.

What are your thoughts?? You’ll see more on this as the project comes to fruition.

What were some of the first steps I took?

  • Knowing my skills (and limits) I knew I would need help from a Graphic Designer and a Technical Editor. I reached out and secured those resources.
  • Used a Lawyer who specializes in publishing to get a contract in place for the graphic design and editor services.
  • Set up a meeting and shared ideas with my Graphic Designer and Editor.
  • A mind map of the ideas to help with layout and what could be in what chapter.
  • Selected initial set of projects that may be included in the book.
  • Created a rough project timeline | project plan
  • Organized a group project with contributors which included them sending blocks to me, a waiver and inclusion notes in the book.
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#IdeaDesignCreate_Group

What time frames did I have in mind?

My initial time frame was to launch the book at Fall Market 2017. That has now moved twice to Fall Market 2018. Over the Christmas break, I plan to update my initial project plan with Fall Market 2018 as a key target date.

How are you committing to the project?

I have been really frustrated with all things that are slowing me down. This year has been a little start and stop for me as a quilter for many reasons. Like many of us, I have had to deal with life getting in the way of my plans. It can be as simple as trying to keep up with the daily schedule, or to provide care | assistance | time to an ailing family member who lives across the other side of the world, or to a full-time job demanding more time. This project has had to take a back seat, somewhat.

I did find that if I had other project deadlines (ie. magazine submissions etc) it helped me prioritize and manage my time better. I hope to spend a good portion of December working on getting 2-3 projects off to quilters.

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#ManicuredGardensQuilt

Anyway….Thank you for stopping by, I hope this will be useful for folks. Let me know if you have any questions or topics you are interested in or if you have any advice to share.  Would love to hear from you!!

Umbrella Stripes {a finish}

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Photo by Love Patchwork & Quilting (Issue 54)

Umbrella Stripes quilt was inspired by a beach umbrella image from Design Seeds via @thebungalow22. The design is a simple stripe design but I loved the variations in widths and color of the original design.

 

That design is now a quilt available as a pattern in issue 54 Love Patchwork and Quilting (available today via digital media here in the US). The color palette for the design was changed for the actual quilt. This versions played with a much warmer palette of pinks/corals and the cooler colors of the pale green and grey.

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Photo by Love Patchwork & Quilting (Issue 54)

I had a lot of fun making this and it came together quiet quickly. I can’t wait to get my copy of the issue so I can see the other great quilts that are in the issue.

Details

Name: Umbrella Stripes
Design:
Design by myself
Fabric: Kona Cotton (Salmon, Petal, Pearl Pink, Honey dew, Shadow)
Backing: Ludovika, Edholm Uilenius for IKEA
Binding: High Meadow, Meriweather, Amy Gibson
Dimensions:  60 x 60″
Quilted: Straight Stitched Lines (at 2″ and 1″ apart).

San Francisco Bustle {a finish}

I am so happy to share this quilt, finally. San Francisco Bustle is this months MQG Quilt of the Month and the pattern is available to all members here.

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Last May (2016), I posted a spark for the Quilt Design a Day Facebook group of a Cable car stop in San Francisco.
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From this image, I designed this minimal abstract quilt design. The blues are from the cable car, the orange from the cones, the yellow from the road markings and the grey from the footpath corner. I will say the top grey box was a mistake and was out of my sketch pad but when saving it, it showed up. I loved the balance it provided and left it in.

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I used all Kona Cottons for the quilt, and love this palette (White, Tangerine, Papaya,  Sage, Storm, Ash). I am sure I will use it again in future.
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The piecing went quickly and I had the quilt top finished in about 3-4 hours. Then I got stuck. I had no clue how to quilt it. Thanks to friends encouragement, I got past the block. The quilting is a variety of straight line designs, done on my domestic sewing machine. You can really see the quilting in this picture in the direct sunlight.

SF_Bustle_QuiltingThe binding, which I am in love with, is block matched with the shapes that are along the edge. I thought about doing faced binding for the first time but really wanted the straightness and sharp corners of traditional binding.

Details

Name: San Francisco Bustle
Design:
Design by myself
Fabric: Kona Cotton (White, Tangerine, Papaya,  Sage, Storm, Ash)
Backing: Heather Givans, Literary, Pages in New and scraps
Binding: Kona Cotton (White, Sage, Storm and Ash)
Dimensions:  68 x 75″
Quilted: Variety widths and directions straight lines, domestic sewing machine with Aurifil

 

 

5 Years! {+Give away)

I can not believe it has been 5 years since I started sewing/quilting and blogging. I did not start out to be a quilter.  Last time I sewed anything it was a pillow case in home economics when I was 13. However, I have always been someone who dabbled in all art medium and baking//cooking, where the blog started.  I was always had a diverse range of interests from Art to Science to Languages. Quilting really has been one of those “hobbies” that has integrated the love of art and math.

I am lucky to be inspired by my own family. My Dad and Aunt are amazing artists, and my mum a highly skilled seamstress with a career in science. My only regret with starting quilting so late is not being able to actually sew with my Mum, but I love that I was able to gift her with a quilt.

Just to show you how far I have come, my first quilt was an original design of the 4 season of an apple tree. I would do this so differently today – and PS its still not finished. Yes, those are buttons and glittery snowflakes all hand stitched onto the top.

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The first finished quilt, was for the MQG Madrona Road Challenge. It was loosely inspired from tiles and a Turkish bath (inside the blue square). I still love this image today.
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The quilt now hangs in my studio, to remind me of my journey.
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In 2014, I joined Quilt Design a Day on facebook….a game changer for me. It moved me away from a multi-subject blog to mostly quilting. The designing of quilts and bringing them into reality is my passion. (so thank you Anne @playcrafts :-))

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I am so appreciative of the opportunities that this group has led me too. This is my first design for QDAD and it also won a quilt design competition. I gained enough courage to submit an idea, shortly after, to Sew Mama Sew and do a mini blog series on design to reality. Sew Mama Sew directly directly influenced the wonderful opportunity I got to work with Love Patchwork and Quilting. Eager for the opportunity to have a magazine submission, I committed to delivering a quilt in 10 days (while working a full-time job and being a mom). I was so shocked, it paid off though, as my first submission was a quilt cover.
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While I look back, it makes me smile. Seeing some of my favorite quilts I have made. Two of which are Sunday Best and Altitudinal Ecosystem which represents my bi-polar quilting interest; Improvisation and Minimalism.

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A couple of the big challenges I gave myself this year were:

  •  To enjoy my blog and just post when I have content I want to share. Very different to posting to gain followers and following a fixed schedule.
  • Write a book. It is underway but I will say it is a much slower process than I expected. Life is always in the way (and definitely not in a bad way).
  • Be bold and submit for an exhibit, which I am still working towards. This idea though, led to me submitting to an art curator. They purchased 3 of my quilts yesterday (you can see my digital portfolio I submitted).
  • Lastly, setup my own business. I am hoping to have it all complete in a couple of weeks.

I have learned so much in this process, and still work on most of these every day:

  • Be you and don’t worry what others think. If you try to please others you are likely not going to enjoy things.
  • Be adaptable, things are always changing and new opportunities become available.
  • Don’t be afraid of rejection. A no is just a no.
  • Be bold, email manufacturers to discuss fabric and possibilities, submit to magazines, submit to quilt shows, etc. The worse that will happen is they so no.
  • Experiment, find you. Give yourself permission to just play and enjoy the process.
  • Enjoy your people. Support others and give back. We learn so much now-a-days via the internet and others in the community. Share experiences, techniques, support others, give feedback and if you don’t have anything nice to say – don’t say it.

Give Away

Thank you for all your support in me and my blog. In the spirit of giving back I am doing three things:

  • Posting fabric postcards to individuals (over on my IG account: ml_wilkie , tutorial coming later this week)
  • Giving one of my blog followers a $50 gift card to Hawthorne Threads. Leave a comment below telling me what one of your goals are for this year. Leave a second comment if you are a follower. I will randomly select a winner next Saturday.
  • The winner of the giveaway, will also designate a charity of their choice, where I will also donate $50 (Please make sure they accept online contributions).

NY High Line {a finish}

My quilt New York High Line was released as a pattern this week, via the Modern Quilt Guild resource web page and newsletter. It is free to members.

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This quilt was designed as part of quilt design a day. It was based on an image I had taken of a building from the New York High Line.  This image was our used also as our QuiltCon Showcase earlier this year.

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This is a great quilt if you want to play with accuracy, as matching the various lines is important to the overall composition.

I feel very rewarded now that the quilt is done, though the 1/2″ straight line quilting was a difficult task. A mix of  lots of procrastination, burying all those threads (which was due to thread matching, lead to a process taking 5 months.

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I did extend the quilting lines through the orange stripe, edge to edge.

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Details

Name: NY High Line
Design:
Design by myself
Fabric: Kona Cotton
Backing: Variety Carolyn Friedlander prints
Binding: Kona Snow
Dimensions:  72 x 72″
Quilted: With straight line quilting 1/2″ apart

 

 

Improvisation: Lines and Shapes

I have been developing a class that is based on playing with a quilt composition consisting of lines and various shapes using improvisation techniques. I based this class on my Sunday Best quilt. It’s such a great exploration with fabric scraps.

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This weekend, I did a test teach with a group of friends using paper instead of fabric.  It was so much fun and my friends walked away with an art canvas. There’s nothing like playing with paper and mod podge (glue)!!

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Here are Valerie’s (left) and Melissa’s (right) art pieces from their improvisation explorations.

I loved their results and can’t wait to see how people do with fabric in class. I am currently teaching this class locally at Sewingly Yours and Cary Quilting Company. You can register for the classes here:

If anyone is interested in having me come teach this class for them in 2018, please send me an email (ml_wilkie (at) hotmail (dot) com) and I can provide you more detail. Check out my class list for 2018 here. I am currently building my schedule and have availability May, June, September, November and December 2018.

 

 

Straight line quilting

I have to say I am a huge fan of my domestic machine walking foot and straight-line quilting. Its my preferred quilting technique, when choosing a quilt design for my quilts, which are mostly minimalistic in design. I do find it so versatile.

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I hear so often from folks how easy it is or how quick it is to do straight-line quilting. The comment of easy or quick sometimes irks me, as it lessens the effort and design thought that can be required for quilting straight lines. So, I am going to respectfully disagree that its easy and quick. Here’s my view-point on straight-line quilting, keep in mind everything below are my experiences and I only use a domestic machine for quilting:

  • For long lines – it is not easy keeping that line straight. There is a skill involved in creating those straight lines even when using a guide. I tend to use 1/2 inch quilted lines or smaller, as I can use by foot as a guide. NegativeCrosswalks_Closeup_label
  • You are constantly checking and re-checking lines to make sure they are straight. This means every few lines taking the quilt out of the machine, measuring, remarking your guidelines. I use painter’s tape and a ruler every 4-5 inches or so, make sure I don’t go too far before correcting if some skewness appears. Most quilters will have a tendency to go right or left as they quilt their lines.  Funny enough, I have an issue of bowing where the center gets warp but my ends are in line.
  • What if your lines to not go edge to edge? I don’t always plan to submit my quilts to a show but just in case, I always try to bury my threads. This is different that most FMQ designs that can be used more continuous motion. I have been known to spend 8-15 hours in just burying threads, after starting lines from the inside and making my way out, ensuring my quilting does not cause any puckering on the front or back of the quilt.
  • Lastly, I want the quilt design to add interest to the quilt and complement the quilt. The quilting for me is not usually the main focus but I do put a lot of thought into this aspect of the overall design. Choosing straight-line quilting, for me, is not just an after thought. Here are some examples where I hope you can see that.
    Fractions
    Fractions: 1 inch quilting of straight-lines. All thread was matched. Design was to make the inner square (on point) as one shape, as the corners of the lines converge where the triangles all meet. The outer quilting lines are color matched with the originating quilting lines, and the lines extend to through the border incorporating the border into the overall design.

    Sunday Best: Variety techniques of straight line quilting was used to provide interest in the various shapes. In the orange peel like block 1/2 inch straight line and crosshatch was used. This was to pull the focus to the various layers and centers of the 4 curved blocks.

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    Abstract Triangle I: A variety of 1 inch and 1/4 inch lines were used to highlight the triangular aspects to the design. The 1/4 inch quilting, in particular, was denser on the negative space here as it is used to pull aspects of the other two designs into this design – The straight lines on the left in the first image above, and the edge of the pink triangle in the second image.Spoonflower Sampler Quilt
    Spoonflower Sampler: 1 inch straight line angled quilting. The goal for this angled quilting was all the lines point and meet at the centered square of the middle block of the bottom row. Pulling the eye from the center and giving it some movement.

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    Altitudinal Ecosystem: Used a variety of straight lines depending on the substrate I was quilting. The 1/2 inch straight lines were used for the mountain to represent strength and rigidity. The lake (dark blue) has a variety of line widths and directions representing the movement and fluidity of the water. The air was still using my walking foot though using ultra wavy lines to represent how air waves move.ItTakesAVillage_Front
    Takes a Village: Used 1/2 inch straight line quilting lines to draw path ways around the village. The center circled lines represents the town square, meeting place and each of the triangles individual quilted with 3 varying straight lined designs represent the roofs of houses in the village.

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    Phased circles: Uses all straight lines either as matchstick, crosshatch or 1 inch quilting designs. This quilt took 80  hours to quilt . Thread color matches the background fabrics.  The 1 inch lines were used on the border to incorporate the differences between volume of the border and the centers. The center squares densely quilted, as I wanted a flatter look so that the circles are popping out more, and have the low-volume prints stand out. This denser quilting pulls you in closer to look at the details.

    Neighbourhood_Finished_Front_Closeup

    Neighbourhood: Is a quilt that represents the house and fences in the neighbourhood. The angled quilting in this quilt was designed to add movement to the quilt. Your eye will travel each of the shapes that are formed with the quilting. To add to that movement variegated thread is used.

I know that straight line quilting is not as complicated as various free-motion quilting designs, especially compared to designs by folks like Angela Waters or Kathleen Riggins (who I have used in the past for other quilts). However, I think straight-line quilting does require skill and can be time-consuming (depending on your design). It should get the respect it deserves, and what it does bring to the design.