QUILT TALK Blog Hop Day 12 – YELLOW – with Victoria Findlay Wolfe

Day 12! We’re almost to the end, so make sure to hop back and get your comments in!

Victoria Findlay Wolfe is hosting the YELLOW bucket! I chose yellow for her because I LOVE how she uses it her quilts!

YELLOW Bucket

Yellow can be tricky if it’s too bright, but Victoria uses it like a neutral. Also, the cover of her last book, 15 Minutes of Play featured all that yellow:

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It so easy to get caught up in approaching each project as something that needs a huge chunk of time – I love how Victoria breaks it down in this book to small snippets of time, and that you can build those snippets into really beautiful things.

She has something different in store for you on her side of this hop – she called me up on Facetime and captured the video of us chatting. What fun to be part of a conversation! Even her dog got in on the action! And you can peek into her beautiful studio too!

Please hop over to Victoria’s blog to check it out. And while you’re there, check out her upcoming book about Double Wedding Ring Quilts – I can’t wait to get my hands on this one!

Here’s a reminder of the tour and COLOR bucket schedule – and I’ll be wrapping it up on Monday with ORANGE:

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QUILT TALK Blog Hop Day 9 – BLUE – with Sarah Fielke

Day 9 takes us back Down-Under for the BLUE bucket with the wildly talented Sarah Fielke!

BLUE Bucket

Sarah and I “met” through the wonders of the internet in a discussion of things related to We Are $ew Worth It. In British and Aussie parlance, I was (and still am) chuffed to have her support for it, and now for Quilt Talk, too!

Following Sarah’s adventures in quilting on any of the visual social media feeds is like peeking into an alternate universe for me. I’m utterly fascinated… she does a LOT of beautiful hand appliqué and hand quilting, the first of which I do under duress (cussing up a storm) and the second of which I’ve never tried. My machine is my power tool!

Her latest book, a collaboration with Amy Lobsiger, is Little Quilts, a journey down the path of miniatures.

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Miniatures in any form are fascinating (I have a current obsession with Superhero Lego people), but as quilts, they’re a great way try a lot of patterns without a huge investment, not to mention easy on storage! The book covers all sorts of techniques by hand and machine for all interests, all in beautiful, inspiring fabric choices.

Sarah also designs fabrics, and you might see her latest line for Windham, Enchanted, at your local store right now. It’s both vibrant and whimsical:

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Please hop over to Sarah here, and check out what she’s up to.

Here’s a reminder of the tour and COLOR bucket schedule:

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BTW – Did you join my mailing list yet? Do it here. I’m dreaming up groovy exclusive stuff for you!

QUILT TALK Blog Hop Day 7 – PINK – with Ebony Love

Happy Friday! We’re heading into the weekend with a PINK bucket, hosted by the original Pink Lady of quilting, Ebony Love. Hop to LoveBug Studios to find the pattern.

PINK Bucket

I met Ebony in person last year at Houston Quilt Market when I was pulled in to help in her booth after a scheduling snafu. She is one of the kindest and coolest people I met last year… Market can be a high stress game, and a messy schedule can make one, shall we say, a bit unladylike. But not Ebony.. she handled it with the aplomb and grace of the Dowager Countess of Grantham.

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It’s no mistake that I’m name dropping Downton Abbey here. Last year Ebony designed a mystery quilt to go with the Downton Abbey fabrics released by Andover, and she has another one coming for the new line in 2015.

Ebony is the queen of die cutting, and heavily promotes the EDeN (Equivalent Die Notation) System for adding die cutting info to patterns. If you find precision cutting a chore, you should check out how Ebony does die cutting.

OK, I’ve gushed on her plenty, and it’s all well deserved! Please stop by her blog and get your PINK on!

Here’s a reminder of the tour and COLOR bucket schedule:

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BTW – Did you join my mailing list yet? Do it here. I’m dreaming up groovy exclusive stuff for you!

 

Quilt Talking with Pat Sloan!

Fun stuff coming tomorrow! The lovely Pat Sloan, podcaster extraordinaire of the quilting industry, reached out to me to talk about quilts, and we’re going to do that tomorrow (Monday Oct 6) afternoon!

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We’ll be talking about Quilt Talk, and you’ll get to hear some of the stories behind how and why I design quilts. Pat, in addition to hosting APQ Radio, is also a designer, so I’m looking forward to hearing how she does it too.

You can listen to it live at http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/magazines-more/quilting-podcast 4pm eastern, 3pm Central, 2pm mountain, 1pm Pacific. I’m the 3rd segment, starting around the half hour.

You can also pick it up later at the same link, or through iTunes (search American Patchwork & Quilting).

Come and have a listen!

American Patchwork and Quilting Pocast Sam Hunter Oct 2014

 

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Thread testing – need your input!

A few blog posts back, I wrote something to the effect of “I used to work in a quilt store, and have tried a lot of different threads, and I always return to Aurifil.”

Well, a new thread manufacturer contacted me and said “You haven’t tried ours!” And so they sent me a few spools to play with – some 50 wt cotton in a couple of colors and a variegated, and a polyester embroidery thread in ORANGE.

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Thus – my questions:

  • What do YOU want to know about these threads?
  • What matters to you when purchasing them?
  • What types of things do you want me to try and report back on?

Note that I’m not going to track down every thread known to man and do a double blind study here, I’m just going to run these threads through some paces and tell you what I found out. And then give them away to you, dear readers, when I’m done because, hey, you should get to play too! And I should probably just say up front, I might not let go of the ORANGE!

So leave me your thoughts for a thread test! Thank you!

 

WASWI – Where Should You Buy a Quilt Book?

One of my readers, Rebecca R., kindly wrote me last week, concerned, regarding the price of my book on Amazon. As she put it, “Amazon is price gouging you.” Yep, pretty much.

As I say a lot, I’m committed to being as transparent as possible in the name of sharing information that will benefit us all as part of We Are $ew Worth It. So here’s what I know about the numbers surrounding my book – a peek behind the green curtain, with some hard math numbers. I would love for anyone else to chime in with more knowledge in the comments.

1. A publishing company spends between $30-50K to produce a book. They edit, photograph, design, print, and distribute it, using a combination of salaried and contract staff. C&T Publications/Stash Books is my publisher.

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2. I did not receive an advance to make my book. I have no idea if more established authors in this industry get advances. An advance means you get some money up front, your royalties pay for that until the advanced amount is paid off.

3. The rest of the quilting industry (fabrics, batting, notions, etc.) helps authors by supplying materials and tools in exchange for exposure in the book. In my case, that was about 90% of the materials I used. This was seriously helpful, especially with no advance. Everyone who helped is listed in the back/resources pages. You should read this to see which companies help out the most, so you can support them. Yes, it seems rather incestuous, doesn’t it? But trust me, without this help designers couldn’t make new stuff for you.

4. It took me 8 months to design, write, piece, test, and quilt the projects for my book, and it was pretty much all I did for those 8 months (the pattern side of my business, my bread-and-butter income, was neglected). I had a couple of group sewing days where friends furiously paper-pieced letters for me, and another where a friend showed up to help spray baste everything. I sent out only one quilt to a long arm artist (and as it happened, we didn’t include that project). It was an intense and grueling time.

5. It takes about 12 months from when you deliver the manuscript and quilts before the book gets out into the world. During those 12 months, I have had more deep commitments in the editing, technical editing, design review, and especially the marketing end of it. The author is expected to do the brunt of getting out the marketing word across any and every platform possible. So while I turned everything in a year ago, my time is still being consumed by this. And will be for a while yet.

6. Pricing: My publisher determined the price of my book to be $24.95. It has 144 pages, and a jumbo pullout pattern sheet for the letters. This seems to be good value in comparison to others… I’ve seen 112 page books for this price.

7. My royalties on this book are 8%, which means 8% of the price that the publisher sells the book for after returns and other things that can eat into that number. Most shops that will buy the book will buy it for $12.50, which means I earn $1 per book. I assume (but don’t know) that bigger outfits like Amazon, or chains like Barnes & Noble or Joann’s might get a discount on their wholesale deal. If they do, my royalties for those units go down with that discount, too. If the publisher gives the book out as a complimentary/free copy, I get 8% of free, which is zero. Royalties get paid quarterly, so I’ll see my first check for Quilt Talk probably next January – which will be a full TWO YEARS since I started working on it.

7a. My royalties on an ebook are 15%, with the book priced at $14.99 on C&T’s site. I have no idea what the likes of Amazon or libraries might pay for the right to distribute ebooks. Let’s hope I get $1 apiece for these too.

8. What ever you think about Amazon, they are the juggernaut that drives how the market operates. Their ratings determine my future, as they drive my internet popularity, which is how far up the list I appear when you type my name into a search engine. Few people look beyond the first page of an internet search, so coming up on page one is very important. Your leaving me reviews on Amazon matters mightily to that search rating, not to mention influences other buyers. And I’ll be nudging you about reviews later, because that’s part of my marketing obligation.

9. Obviously, Amazon buys in bulk and spreads profit and loss across millions of products, and so they can afford to discount. I have no idea what they will pay for my book, but I do know that I’ve seen the price of Quilt Talk fluctuate on their site from $18 to $22 (they have algorithms for this based on YOUR buying and browsing history). Add the lure of free shipping (whether you buy more to get to the $35 free ship threshold, or have a Prime account) and it’s easy to see why book sales elsewhere are a struggle.

10.  Stores: I assume the big chains get a break. I know the independent stores don’t. They will pay $12.50 for my book, and hope that you’ll buy it from them (rather than come and look at it and go home and buy it on Amazon). Remember, if you want a quilt store or independent bookseller in your town, you actually have to buy things there. Amazon will survive you not buying the occasional book. The quilt store might not.

11. Book signings: I’m doing several book signings at stores… no one is paying me to get to them. It is not customary for the author to get a cut of the sales action the book signing generates, beyond royalties. Book signings help stores the most, so if you can, it’s good to go to them. Even if you don’t buy my book there, it’s lovely to meet supportive people.

12. Quilt Market: If I want to promote my book at Quilt Market, I have to get myself there, and that costs about $1000-$1200 for plane, hotel, taxis, and food. I’ll be doing a School House Session at Market in October, which is a half-hour event where I pitch the book, tell shop owners how to sell the book, which projects make good workshops and classes (and I’ve already written the class outlines for those), and which products they can tie into  sales (rulers, cutters, mats, papers, etc.). My publisher is picking up the cost of this (they have to buy the School House slot from the Market people), but they don’t foot the travel expenses. While I’m there, I’ll also be signing at distributor booths to generate interest. Again, for no payment… basically, if I show up, these people will use me as best they can. Why do it? I hope to get contacts for teaching and speaking gigs out of this.

13. Pre-sales: Amazon is doing pre-sales, so I decided to as well. I chose $20 as my pre-sale price, but still need to charge shipping. This book is heavy, so my shipping options are $4 for media mail (slow to you, and a trip to the post office for me) or $5.60 for Priority Mail ($5.05 if I print at home). Regular old first class is around $7, so Priority it is, and I rounded it down to $5. I’ll be paying $12.50 plus shipping for my book, so let’s call it $13. So if you buy my pre-sale for $25 (which includes the shipping) I’ll make my $1 royalty, plus around $6 (I lose about $1 to Paypal), out of which comes mailing time, printer ink, mailing labels, order management time. I would love to be competitive with Amazon, and offer you the book for $18 including shipping, but at that point I’m making barely $1 in profit (not including the royalty $1) and frankly, it’s not a cost effective use of my time to do all that mailing stuff for break even numbers.

14. Book Plates: I’ve decided to do signed bookplates for those of you that want a signature scribble from me, but won’t see me, or want to support your local quilt and book stores. I thought I would be able to mail them to you for free, but the cost of printing the bookplate, putting it in an envelope I have to purchase, and then putting a stamp on it comes out to about $1. Which is my royalty on the book you purchased elsewhere. So I’m charging for bookplates or again, it’s not cost effective.

So in short:

  • If you want to help the author the most – buy directly from the author on her/his site, or at an independent function such as a guild lecture.
  • If you want to help your local quilt or book store the most – buy directly from the quilt or book store.
  • If you need to save a few $$ (and really, we’re talking the price of a couple of fat quarters or a frothy coffee drink with a tip) – buy from Amazon under one of their free shipping deals.

I would love it if you add any knowledge you have to the comments!

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Quilt! Knit! Stitch! Come see me there!

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Portland (Oregon) is hosting Quilt! Knit! Stitch! here August 14-16 at the Convention Center. This is a new type of show, catching all the needle skills in one place, and I think it will be a feast of new ideas!

I’m thrilled to be on the faculty, teaching two different classes – check them out and hurry over to the enrollment link (look for Online Enrollment in the middle of the page) if you’re interested in coming to play with me. Online enrollment ends in a couple weeks so don’t dally. I will be there EVERY DAY teaching, demo-ing or lecturing:

#304 – Learn to Paper Piece. Saturday August 16th, 9am to Noon.

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Learn to paper-piece while making the top of this LOVEly wall hanging (15” x 17”). The provided kit includes patterns on three different types of paper for you to test, pre-cut fabric for easy piecing, and clear written instructions for putting the top together. Baby Lock is providing machines for this class so you just need to show up with some cutting tools. BONUS: Megan Dougherty, The Bitchy Stitcher is my class minion helper for this session, so come meet her too!

#311 – No Fear Thread Painting. Saturday August 16th, 2pm to 5pm.

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Learn to thread paint (by machine) over a drawing using the basic art principles of shading and value. No drawing skills needed – truly! Baby Lock is supplying the machines for this session also. I’m bringing the drawings and stabilizers for you to play with, and all you need to bring are basic sewing supplies and a handful of threads. Megan says she wants to come help out in this class too! Lucky me and you!

We Are $ew Worth It – Lecture. Friday 3pm.

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I’ll be delivering the live talkie version of We Are $ew Worth It. I tell stories, make a fool of myself, and open the floor up for Q&A at the end. It’s fun stuff, not to mention important information… you should be there!

Open Studios – Paper-Piecing Demonstration. Thursday 4pm to 6pm.

PP Letters Orange

I’ll be in the Open Studios area, showing you how to paper-piece big things and little things, and featuring the letters from my upcoming book, Quilt Talk. If you can’t make it to a class, stop by and get some free tutelage. Or just stop in to say hello and show me the spoils of your shopping adventures!

I hope to see you there!

Questions? Leave them in the comments below.

BTW – Did you join my mailing list yet? Do it here. I’m dreaming up groovy exclusive stuff for you!