The Free Motion Quilting Project: Another Book?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Another Book?

Taxes are officially done! Yay! It will only be another 365 days before I have to think, stress, and worry about them again. I have sworn this every year since becoming self employed, but I really think next year I'm just going to get an accountant.

But now that the yearly trip through misery is over, I can finally turn my attention to something much more fun: writing a new book.

I've been playing with the idea of an Intermediate level filler design book for awhile, and lately I'm getting requests about once a week. Most often the comment is "Yeah, I'm not exactly a beginner, so I was wondering if you had a book with MORE designs in it?"

And even more often I hear "Where is the book of ALL designs?"

Sorry guys, but that book is going to take awhile. For many reasons the big book of all designs will have to wait until these mini books organized by difficulty level are all published.

But there is a hitch, or rather a pact I've made with myself since finishing my last book: I am not allowed to slaughter myself on it. I'm not allowed to turn into a workaholic.

I'm not allowed to dissolve into the book and leave no trace of myself behind as I am consumed by writing, designing, editing, and publishing it before this summer. And I'm not allowed to work so hard on it, I hate everything about it by the time it's finished.

Instead I'm only allowed to ENJOY the process, and when it stops being enjoyable, I need go do something else.

This is a lesson I've learned from working on Hot Cast - to love yourself is to respect your body, your needs, your wants, your tiredness, your ability for that day.

Too often I've pushed myself to achieve more than my body or mind could handle. Unsatisfied with even monumental levels of work, my chastising mind was only satisfied with finished work, not works in progress.

For the last week, I've been working on a very hard section of Hot Cast: the columns and feathered arch. Every time I go downstairs I'm hoping I'll be able to finish this section quickly.

Frankly - this section sucks. I swear I will never, ever, EVER design straight lines into a quilt again. The density of the areas quilted around the columns, combined with choosing a thread color (vanilla) that I can barely see on the white fabric, has created a section that is a lesson of teeth grinding tedium and frustration.

So I've stitched and ripped, stitched and ripped, and been forced to take my time, slow down, and work in small stages. Right now I can't even shoot a photo of this section because it's covered with about 3 million loose threads which all need to be hidden inside the quilt by hand.

Frankly, this section is driving me crazy.

But it's also teaching me an important lesson that I really need to learn right now. When I find myself getting really angry and exhausted with this slow section I have to ask: What am I in such a hurry for? What is the big deadline? There isn't one!

The same is true for this new book - I am my own publisher therefore there is no deadline, no rush, no need for extreme speed.

So this time around, instead of pushing, grinding, forcing my way through this process, I'm going to do it differently. I'm going to actually enjoy and have fun with the process!

When it stops being fun, I'm going to stop working and go quilt, or go outside and play with James. It might take longer this way, but at least when everything is done, I'll be able to look back on the time spent working on it with happiness rather than regret.

Here's to making this book project fun!

Update: Click here because my spiral bound book 365 Quilting Designs is now available.



  1. I'll be waiting and lined up when you get it done - I've loved having your first book right next to my machine for inspiration when I don't want to stipple (and I've used a couple of the designs and had a good time too)!

  2. Speaking of stitching and ripping.... do you have a great way of ripping that is fast, easy, and does not rip fabric?

  3. Thanks Jennifer! That makes me so happy to hear.

    KT - Check out Videocast #4 posted in March. I share a video on ripping out my stitches quickly from Hot Cast.

    Let's go quilt,


  4. Good for You! Having a hobby that generates income is nice, but what do you do for fun when it becomes a JOB? I've never heard an adult say "I wish mom hadn't spent so much time with me".

  5. I've really enjoyed having your first book along with the dvd. I have the book on my quilting frame so that I can refer to it as needed. One rule of teaching and parenting is "You can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself." So, in the long run, we just need to appreciate that by taking care of yourself, you are also taking care of us!

  6. Brava! Some very good thoughts and lessons there. I've found myself getting tired at times and I start making too many mistakes. That is exactly when I need to realize its time to quit for today. Sometimes it is very hard to come to that realization. Good for you, too, on realizing you should do things at a pleasing pace, not break-neck.

  7. I'll be in line behind Jennifer! My Mom and sister will be to. Thank you for sharing your amazing talent with us :) Most of all--take time to enjoy your family. We can wait :)

  8. Leah, for a young woman, you are very smart! Folks can get caught up in the 'doing' of something and never enjoy one minute of it. Set your own pace, and adjust it to what is happening in your life with your family too.
    Best of luck, and many quiltie hugs

  9. Leah, what a smart young woman you are! So many folks push through life never really enjoying what they do. Take the time to enjoy, do things with your family when you can and honestly - everything will fall into place (with a nudge or two lol).

  10. Good on you! If theres one thing I've learnt with 2 small children, it's that the way you do something is more important than when or even if you finish it.

    On another note, have you ever considered selling your books through The Book Depository? ( They ship free worldwide and I think they even reprint and publish too. Seems like that would save you alot of bother, and us foreigners alot of postage!

  11. Leah, since you mention 3 million loose threads that need to be hidden by hand, you might want to look into the Clover Soft Touch Thread Pic. I just got one and have yet to try it but it's supposed to be great for doing just that.


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