When my son (my youngest child) started school in February 2016, it dawned upon me that I was reaching a crossroads. Unless I became more disciplined about quilting as a career, my days of staying at home and playing in my sewing room were numbered. I was approaching the moment where I would have to return to a proper grown up day job if I didn't take quilting more seriously.
So I decided to start collecting ideas for a book. Animal Quilts is the result. I took my time and made sure that I loved each and every idea that I put forward. Many designs were created, many were rejected.
I made a few key decisions right from the start.
- I wanted my designs to feature centre stage. Even though it might be impractical for printing purposes, I wanted to create a book of quilts, not a book of quilt blocks with instructions on how to turn these into cute pouches and cushions.
- I wanted the patterns to be BIG. I didn't want the quilts to consist of multiple repeats of the same block. I have a low attention span for sewing the same block over and over. I don't mind doing it to perfect my design, but once the design is finished I like to move onto the next project.
- The construction of the blocks was important to me. I spent a lot of time drawing, redrawing, and testing to make sure that everything would sew together as well as possible. I always feel that the better that I design a pattern, the more successfully you guys will be able to sew it. To me, designing paper pieced patterns is not just about drawing a series of lines, it's about drawing a series of lines that are easy to sew. What is the point of designing a stunning pattern if nobody can sew it together properly?
- I wanted the chance to share paper piecing tips in my book. There are many many tricks that I have learnt along the way and although I have shared many of these on my blog, I wanted to be able to share my latest thoughts in one place.
- I wanted to empower those who are scared of paper piecing. While the patterns in this book are not designed with beginners in mind, I strongly believe that once you master a few basics and discover a style of paper piecing that suits your personality, these patterns can be attempted by anyone. If you're an adventurous beginner, jump in with both feet and give yourself permission to make mistakes. If you are more cautious, start on simpler blocks, master the basics and then move onto the patterns in this book.
- While I really wanted to create a book of quilts, I wanted to offer people options for what they can do with the patterns. Most patterns in the book come complete with a number of suggestions as to different ways that you can use the pattern.
I will admit that it was tough keeping all the designs secret. I tend to be pretty impetuous in what I share on social media so I had to take a deep breathe each time that I felt like sharing and email friends instead.
In the very early days, my exact plan for the book changed a few times. Initially it was going to be a book of black and white animals against colourful fractured backgrounds. The Panda and the Polar Bear designs date back to this initial version of the book. I quickly found this concept too limited and boring. I moved on.
My next plan was to work with animals from a specific area of the world, but again this was too limiting.
Finally I decided to just choose birds and animals that I liked. Some are requests from my children, others are animals that I've been wanting to design for a while. Some were challenging to design, others came together quickly. I guess that you could say that it's a bit of an eclectic mix, but I like it that way!
Over the next two weeks, a collection of my talented quilting friends will show you the wonderful quilts that they have made using patterns from my book. I've seen a few sneak peaks and I can tell you that there are some really exciting projects to share. Make sure that you drop by their blogs to have a look. The schedule is as follows:
Monday 6th November – me
Tuesday 7th November – Annabel from Little Pincushion Studio
Wednesday 8th November – Chris from Made by Chrissie D
Thursday 9th November – Quilting Daily
Friday 10th November – Matthew from Mister Domestic
Monday 13th November – Kate from Quilt with Kate
Tuesday 14th November – Kristi from Schnitzel and Boo
Wednesday 15th November – Angie from Gnome Angel
Thursday 16th November – Paul aka Evildemondevildog
Friday 17th November – Sarah from Sariditty
*** Please be aware that we are all scattered around the globe, so the exact time and date for posting may vary according to the time zone that each individual lives in.**
Giveaway!To round off this post, I thought it would be fun to have a giveaway. The winner of the giveaway will receive a signed copy of my book, a limited edition Tula Pink Frog Patch, a 12 inch add-a-quarter plus ruler and a mini charm pack of Violet Craft Palm Canyon fabric.
There are lots of opportunities to win. You can enter as many times as you wish. After the giveaway closes, I will collate all the names and pick a random winner.
I will close entries on 16th November at 10pm New Zealand Time (remember we are ahead of the rest of the world!).
The giveaway is open worldwide.
Do as many or as few of the following as you wish:
- leave a comment on this blog post telling me the first pattern that you want to sew from the book.
- Follow me on instagram and leave a comment on the prize picture post
- Follow me on instagram and tag a friend (or friends)who you think will be interested in the giveaway. (If the winning post is one tagging a friend, I will send them a copy of my new Pride and Joy paper pattern and an add a quarter ruler)
- Follow me on facebook and leave a comment on the giveaway prize post.
- Share the giveaway post on facebook publicly (I can only award prizes to entries that I can see).