Meeting Angela Walters: A Book Designer’s Account of Quilt Market

As one of the designers at C&T, I haven’t had the opportunity to go to Quilt Market. This year was my year! I was incredibly excited to see what all the fuss was about. The whole room was filled with color and inspiration everywhere. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the event itself, but I was really looking forward to meeting some of our authors. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Angela Walters on each of her books with C&T, and I’ve always been a fan of her work. Lucky for me, she was easy to find!

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In August, we’ll add another book to that lineup! We had the chance to collaborate a fourth time with her new book, Shape by Shape Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters. The book introduces free-motion quilting ideas based on the shape of the space. This can be the shape of the block, or the shape of the design; it’s a fresh way to break down her technique in the daunting task of quilting spaces when you’ve run out of ideas.

It’s always fun to take a journey with an author as their book is published, and it was such a cool opportunity to finally meet Angela. Now I get to take all that inspiration and get back to work!

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Crafting A Book: Design

This blog is a continuation of the Casey York series on the process of writing a book. You can read the introduction to the series here. The previous post covered the Developmental Editor process. After rounds of editing, the book begins its design stage and is placed in the hands of a talented designer. April, the “DS,” for York, discusses the process below. For the author’s perspective on the design process, be sure to check out Casey’s blog post!

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I’m one of the designers here at C&T and I’m responsible for the book design and layout. Of course, I’m not the only one who contributes to the final appearance. The author and the whole book team each play a role in shaping the “look” of the book.

In the last “Crafting a Book” post, we learned a bit about the Developmental Editor. She usually guides a series of meetings with the book team to introduce all of us to the material. In these meetings, we discuss ideas on the style and direction for the photography, the plan for the page count or book map, and the status of the progress so far. Once we have some ideas for the visual direction, we work with the author to make sure we’re moving forward with an idea that suits their vision as well.

The first thing to be designed is the front cover. It sets the foundation for the design style that will be used throughout the book, and it also makes several promotional appearances before the book is ready. Our marketing department is always busy working to get the word out there about our new releases!

There are lots of things to consider when designing a book cover: the intended audience, how the book will be displayed, current competition, current trends, and what really sets this book apart from the rest. We have a series of meetings to figure out the answers to these questions before the book cover is designed.  Once I’ve done some research on what else is out there, I start “throwing” some ideas on a page. I work digitally, but I still have a “sketch” phase to my work. I play around with the pieces to see if anything sparks. I create at least three solid ideas, then present those ideas to the cover review team: the publisher, the creative director, the director of marketing, and the art director. Once the cover has met their approval, it is routed to the book team and the author.

The cover is designed while the book is being edited. The interior pages go through various stages of editing in a phase called “Flow” before I start the book design.  In the Flow stage, the book is styled in a template so the author and the editors can see all the text and images in order. The image below is an example of the pages as seen in Flow.

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I enter the book design in a phase called “Sample Pages.” A lot of the visual direction of the book has already been set in motion at this point: the photography is complete or in progress and the cover is done.  I contact the author about their ideas for the page design, and then design a few sections throughout the book. Sample pages are meant to set the design style that will be applied to the rest of the pages. The book team and the author all review the sample pages to make sure the information is presented in a way that is accurate, functional, and beautiful. Once approved, we move on to “Pages,” and complete the rest of the book design. The image below shows how the Flow pages appear as one designed page.

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The book team and the author have another review of all the designed pages. The book is now nearly complete, but we still go through a few revisions to make sure everything is in order. Generally my part in the process is complete. My last phase in the lifespan of a book in Production is designing the full cover, including the back cover and spine. This is one of the last things to be completed before the book goes to print. It’s so exciting to see a book evolve and then finally become a printed piece! I can’t wait to see this book in print.

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Top Four Spring 2014 Quilt Market Moments

While last Fall Market seemed to be all about the exceptional, Spring Market felt all about the people. As always it was an amazing concentration of talent in one place and one thing I can always count on is that quilters are nothing, if not fun!

It’s always hard to narrow highlights down to just a few. I met a lot of new and exceptionally able designers, quilters, and sewers and as always, had more than my fair share of fun catching up with friends I’ve known for years. Here is a tiny sampling of some of the moments that come to mind when I think back.

1. The relationship between the placement of Joanna Figueroa’s booth and the Hallelujah Chorus.

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If you’ve never been there, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh is the only convention center in the world with LEED® certifications: Gold in new construction and Platinum in the existing building. In short, it’s green, and part of what makes it green is the use of natural light. The first few days were pretty cloudy and each time the clouds broke, a beam of sunlight lit up Joanna’s booth. Apparently I was not the only one to muse that she should hit play on the hallelujah chorus each time the clouds parted.

2. Reveling in the Unplanned.

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With fewer evening events, Spring Market offered more opportunities for impromptu gatherings. So many people stay in the hotels surrounding the convention center that it’s almost impossible not to stumble across friends on the way back from dinner. While I had a blast with everyone I ran into, I only managed to remember to take photos near the end of one evening. In the photo above you’ll see me on the left and my local quilt shop owner Heather Givans of Crimson Tate just to my right. Next to Heather is Lisa Sipes, quilting instructor and the blogger behind That Crazy Quilty Girl, and on the right is Patty Young of Modkid and the author of our just-releasedModkid Summer Fun. Many thanks to our long-suffering photographer, David of Crimson Tate!

3. In person at last!

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Though Kathy Doughty and I have collaborated on two books, we’d never had the chance to meet in person. Kathy owns Material Obsession, a quilt shop in Sydney, so needless to say she doesn’t make it stateside too often. Thank goodness for Skype! Thanks to some truly inspiring project selection meetings over video conference we were able to spot each other in a crowd the very first night! It was truly a treat to meet her and her husband and book photographer, John in person and hear about all of their US travels and teaching.

You can find out more about Kathy’s books here:

Making Quilts with Kathy Doughty of Material Obsession

Adding Layers—Color, Design & Imagination

4. Overcoming drowsiness with enthusiasm.

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None of my friends will be surprised when I share that I’m not really that much of a morning person. That being the case, I had more that a little bit of dread about sitting on a panel at 8am on Saturday morning! I shouldn’t have worried. With me on the panel were Annabel Wrigley of Little Pincushion Studio, Jake Finch of Gen Q Magazine, and Kristin Link of Sew Mama Sew. Prompted by moderator Megan Scott, we shared information on how shops can engage the next generation of customers; tweens and teens. Between the amazing insight of my fellow panelists and the enthusiasm of the attendees I was truly sorry to see it end.

You can find Annabel’s books here:

We Love to Sew

We Love to Sew — Bedrooms

Check out Jake’s brand new book, Stitch ‘n Swap

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Blocks & Borders

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Do you have a hard time choosing quilting designs? Blocks, borders, and backgrounds come in all shapes and sizes and Angela Walters teaches you how to choose just the perfect quilting designs for every space . . . and how to stitch them step-by-step. Whether you need to fill a square, circle, triangle, diamond, hexagon, border, or oddly shaped background, it’s all in Angela’s new book Shape by Shape Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters: 70+ Designs for Blocks, Backgrounds & Borders

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Teen Sewing Projects

For me, the title says it all: Handmade Gifts Your Teen Will Actually Love • 21 Projects to Sew—as in gifts teens will actually use. Who would know better than a mother of teens.

I appreciate Melissa Mortenson‘s hints for finding fabrics, including taking them fabric shopping with you, taking inspiration from their hobbies, their sports, and looking at retailers that specialize in teen clothing. She even provides a list of fabric manufacturers that make teen-appropriate fabrics.

Even if you haven’t done much sewing, the author advises you on her favorites tools and provides tips and techniques. The projects are divided up into useful sections: Things That Travel (as teens do much of this), Just for Guys, Things to Wear, and Stuff for Their Rooms.

I especially like the Study Pillow:

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It’s hard finding projects to make for men, let alone teenage boys. This book has four projects (with multiple variations!) just for them. As the author says “Any parent who has cheered on their athlete in bad weather knows it can get cold on the sidelines! Fleece blankets are a must for both watching and playing sports. This project sews up quickly and would be a great and easy gift for a teenage athlete or sports fan. Customize it with the colors of a favorite team.”

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There are things to wear for boys and girls:

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A chalk board t-shirt—what a great idea!

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And swim suit cover-up

And some great quilts, such as this:

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Everything’s Coming Up Posies

And much more. If you’ve got a teen to sew for, you need this book!

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