Thursday, February 28, 2019

My First Month As A New Author

It's the last day of February and with the release of my new book, Stitching for the Seasons, this has been an unprecedented month of firsts.

This month, for the very first time, I saw a book of mine for sale in a quilt shop.  Quilted Threads in Henniker, NH is a bright, beautiful shop with something for every quilter. It was a featured Quilt Sampler shop in 2011, but I loved it long before then.  A couple of weeks ago, I visited the shop hoping to see my book.  I walked all around the store without finding it and was working up a little pitch about the book when I caught sight of a rack of new books near the cutting counter.  I walked over, heart pounding, spun the rack around, and sure enough, found 6 copies of my book.  What a thrill!!  I introduced myself to the shop owner and we had a great conversation about the book, during which I found out that she has her own connections to the book's publisher, C&T Publishing.  The quilting world is a small one!

For the first time this month, I found a copy of my book in a big bookstore, the Barnes & Noble in Nashua, NH.  It was a single copy nestled in among dozens of other quilting books but the binding leapt out at me at once.  And I was reminded of spending a lot of time (and a bit of money) in bookstores when I first started quilting, thumbing through colorful books filled with gorgeous projects, trying to soak it all in—those books were my eye-candy and sources of inspiration.  It was a shock and a joy to find a book that I wrote in company with so many other beautiful books.

And just last weekend, I experienced my first book signing.  My local library, the Dunbar Free Library, hosted the book signing for me and it was an amazing culminating experience.  Several of my friends, who are not even quilters, but who are unbelievably generous and supportive showed up with books for me to sign.  Quilters from nearby towns came see the projects from the book and to share their stories.  And unsuspecting library patrons took time out from their morning errands to enjoy the quilts and to chat with me.  It was the highlight of my month.

I had a great conversation with a little girl scout who was trying to decide to which seasons the mini quilts on display belonged.  She made the connection that the quilts on the table were also in the book beside them and I told her that I'd actually written that book.  When she walked away with her patient dad, I was delighted to hear her say, "I've never met a real author before!"  

I also spoke with a couple of older gentlemen who had clearly come in only to exchange books.  Because I was set up near the circulation desk, they couldn't help but notice my quilts and both seemed compelled to talk with me about how their mothers were quilters.  And I was reminded in the most poignant way of what I love most about quilting—the tradition, the continuity and the shared experience.

So as I wrap up February, my heart is full.  I'm thankful that C&T Publishing saw promise in my ideas and helped me to bring this book into the world.  I'm so happy that quilt shops and booksellers are making the book available to quilters, new and old.  And I'm enormously grateful for the support and kindness shown to me not only by my family, friends and local community, but also by the larger quilting community online.  Truly I am blessed.


Friday, February 8, 2019

5 Sew Sweet Pillows for Valentine's Day

If you're looking for ideas for quick Valentine's Day projects for this weekend, here are five of my favorites:

1.  First off is my Have a Heart pillow.  I love the interlocking hearts in two shades of pink and best of all, this pillow looks just as cute flipped over to have the darker pink on top.  You can find the downloadable pattern for this 12" x 20" pillow (and notes for a 12" x 16" version) in my Etsy shop.

2.  Here's my Love Birds pillow.  Raw edge appliqué makes quick work of two birds atop a branch silhouetted against a full heart-shaped moon.  The downloadable pattern for this sweet project is also available in my Etsy shop.

3.  Next up is my Bee Mine pillow.  This pillow features simple piecing, raw edge appliqué and embroidery.  You can find the pattern for this little cutie in the January/February 2019 issue of Quiltmaker Magazine available on newsstands now.  Print and digital versions of this lovely issue are also available online through The Quilting Company.

4.  Here's Heart to Heart, a reversible pillow featuring scrappy hearts in pink and ivory.  You can find the free pattern for this simple pillow on my blog.

5.  And finally, if you're short on time, here's a sweet pin cushion (essentially a tiny pillow!) featuring a square-in-a-square block and simple stitching.  The free pattern for this little project is also available on my blog.

Happy Quilting and Happy Valentine's Day!