I was so excited to hear that Amy Gibson, blogger of Stitchery Dickory Dock and much celebrated Craftsy teacher, wrote a quilting book, For Keeps; Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Life. (The book is published by Lucky Spool Media). After I read it, I knew I wanted to have her back to visit my blog again, and talk about this book with her unique perspective.
I am excited and honored to introduce to you, author, blogger, quilt teacher, and creator of The Sugar Block Club, Amy Gibson.
1. Describe what you goal was in writing this book.
Truly, my goal for this book was to take the passion for patchwork– my passion and I hope my readers’ — and nudge it to the next level, to that intangible place where we go beyond quality construction, to craft our quilts in such a way that we employ them in our lives, making them not only for their aesthetic value but to be part of the intentional strengthening of what life is all about: meaningful relationships. And that’s really what the book is all about — the making of quilts that soak up meaning through our times together; that become heirlooms — not just because of their ancestry and meticulous construction, or because of their designer fabrics and bold piecing–but because of the stories they tell and the stories they inspire.
The book contains 11 quilts and 5 patchwork projects – each and every one is meant to be used and enjoyed everyday, and was designed specifically from an intention of bringing the family together.
2. What are the three things you would like readers to walk away from after reading and using, For Keeps?
I’d love the readers to walk away with a new, more joyful and meaningful outlook on their sewing hobby, and I want them to feel inspired to make and enjoy these projects everyday.
I also hope that readers feel empowered in terms of their construction skills. While I know that some readers may be advanced quilters, many are just starting out, so in an effort to make the book accessible for all skill levels, I included a wide range of project style and difficulty.
The book also contains a very thorough Patchwork Primer section packed with clear photos and handy tips with help on everything from choosing fabrics and piecing techniques, to quilting and binding. It’s a fabulous basics resource for those who are just starting out.
3. Tell us the journey of how the book came about? Please take us through each step until the end? There are lots of readers who want to understand how this all happens and how it all works.
I’ve always known that I wanted to write a book…this dream has been in my heart since childhood. Honestly, I don’t really remember a specific moment when the idea for this book came to be, but it feels like it’s always been with me. So much of it is my philosophy on quilting, and on life in general, so when I felt it was the right time to move forward with a book, there was no other topic I could even consider…this *had* to be my first book, if you know what I mean. It was flowing from my heart and I couldn’t envision any other book coming to be.
Title came later…about halfway through my writing of the manuscript. I thought of it while sitting with my husband out on our back deck and watching our kids play in the yard. Such an organic moment. All of the sudden, “for keeps” was on my tongue, and my husband and I, as well as my editor, immediately knew that was *it*.
As far as the book submission process goes, that’s a very big topic to include here! I think perhaps I could write an entire book just on that! 🙂 What a process, and I’m sure it’s somewhat different for each author, depending on their specific circumstances. I will tell you that by the time I was ready to submit a proposal for the book (which can be different for each publisher- check a publishers website for specific submission guidelines), I had a fairly clear overview of the quilt genre and publishing industry, and had formed opinions about which publishers I thought would be most likely to create the book I envisioned in my head.
I think this is a crucial step for any potential author to make – to really take the time to hone in, not just on the projects or the topic, but on what exactly you want the book to look, and feel like…the essence and style of the book overall…and to research which publishers would be the best fit.
How to do this? Go to the book store and look through books! Find books you love, and look to see who published them. By approaching publishers that are a good match with your vision from the start, you’ll save yourself time and headache, and will be more likely to come away from the whole process with a book that truly fits your vision. Hopefully this is helpful for any of your readers who might also be authors at heart!
4. Which project in For Keeps are you most proud of and why?
I love all of the projects in the book in different ways, and for so many different reasons. Some of them have designs that I just really adore, in and of themselves, like the There’s Only One You, the Scenic Route, or the Potluck quilts– the geometry and fabrics just move me– and others are exceptionally functional and useful in our home, like the Filmstrip quilt, the Once Upon A Time pillow, or the Jam Packed lunch sack.
Others are particularly nostalgic or sentimental to me, like the Sweet Silhouette Wall art or the Raindrops quilt. They all mean unique things to me, so I guess it’s fair to say I don’t really have a favorite or one that I feel more pride or joy in, over than another. I love them individually, and I love them compiled together in this book!
5. The “For Keeps Pledge” is a very original idea. What inspired you to create this unique concept?
Thank you! The idea for the For Keeps Pledge was definitely God-inspired. There’s no doubt about that. I’d been thinking and praying for months for a unique way to help launch the book, that really felt organic and true to the message, and one day, He simply popped the pledge in my head. Giveaways or discounts (however fun and awesome) just didn’t feel right for this book. I was longing for a launch idea that really conveyed the heart of the book in a big way- bigger than me, bigger than the book, bigger than a book launch…a larger message that I feel is important and hopefully relatable for everyone. One day it just clicked…a pledge…the perfect way to speak the message in a clear and simple way.
6. How do you intend the readers and quilters who think about the pledge to process and actualize it?
By taking the pledge, participants are making a commitment to ourselves, and a statement to the community that we want to refocus our hearts and renew our intentions when it comes to our quilting and sewing. It means that we will be more mindful about using our passion to bring people together. Taking this pledge does NOT mean we won’t drool over designer fabrics or strive to make high quality items. It doesn’t mean we won’t follow trends or enter competitions. It simply means that we desire even more meaning in the making and using of our projects, and will try to be more mindful, when we’re designing and sewing, of how our process and/or project captures and spreads love & joy in our homes and communities. See the For Pledge Button on my sidebar.
7. How did you have time to write this book, while bringing up four children, homeschooling, designing quilts, and teaching Craftsy classes? It’s an amazing accomplishment.
I’ll be honest – trying to balance mothering with homeschooling, book writing, and teaching is a very tricky endeavor. It’s been incredibly challenging, and has required quite a bit of flexibility on the part of my whole family.
Thankfully, my husband and I are truly a team when it comes to both of our careers, so that really helps. I can’t fathom attempting such a juggling act with a partner who wasn’t 150% supportive and frankly, sacrificial. Some days, he’ll arrive home from work and jump right into cooking dinner and putting the kids in bed (with a smile, no less), so that I can get a few hours of focused work in. Sometimes weekends mean he takes the kids for a picnic or to the pool while I sew, or bring my editing work along on outings. Sometimes it means I wake up a couple of hours before the kids to tackle a project before the first set of jammed feet shuffles down the stairs. Some days I want to rip my hair out, but more often than not, I just feel overwhelmingly grateful that God has provided me with the incredibly rare opportunity to not only turn my hobby and passion into an actual income-earning business, but to be able to do it from home, around my family’s schedule. What a blessing, in spite of the challenge.
8. What’s next for you on this amazing professional journey you are taking?
I often refer to For Keeps as my “first book” because I absolutely intend to write more. The process, however arduous, was quite fulfilling, and I am most definitely eager to continue writing books. I’m also excited to be exploring some other creative avenues related to sewing and design, and really tapping into my design creativity at a deeper level, so I look forward to sharing more about those projects as they come to fruition.
9. You are always so upbeat and full of life, joy and energy. You seem to be able to not let the negative or stresses of life get you down. Would you please share your philosophy about how you cope, and just move forward when the tough stuff in life happens?
You know, it’s funny– I grew up in a very *loud* family, which can be a good and a bad thing (just ask my husband, who most definitely grew up in a quiet family!). We play our music loud, we sing at the top of our lungs, we scream during football games, we throw big parties, we fight too often, and we cry big tears. We wear our emotions on our sleeves, and are often incredibly stubborn, dramatic and outspoken. It’s a blessing and a curse, but it’s how I see the world, and when paired with a deep spiritual faith that creates that joyful inner peace, I think there’s a kind of fearlessness and optimism that results.
Having this type of personality, and growing up in this type of environment, has really shaped my perspective on life. When something tugs at my heart, I go after it with everything. And if I crash and burn…if my team loses or my business move fails, or my homeschooling day feels more like self-induced torture…all the more to learn from, for the next go.
My husband and I have taken this approach when it comes to our family and our careers, and good or bad, it’s created lots of opportunity for growth and learning. We feel that when we open ourselves up to the possibility for God to do great things, He does. And when we hold back or doubt because we’re unsure or afraid, He comes through anyway, and teaches us next time to just trust, to open up our wings a little wider so we can just glide, and let Him take us higher. We certainly don’t have it all figured out, but we know that if we let Him, God will get us where we need to be, when we need to be there.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today! I’m honored to be able to share a bit about who I am and what I’m up to, and am so grateful for the support and friendship of you and your readers. Thanks so much, Anne!
Thank you so much for your time and generosity of spirit, Amy.
Amy has kindly offered two give-a-ways; A copy of her new book For Keeps; Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Living, and one of Amy’s patterns from her online shop.
Please leave a comment in my comment box telling us which is your favorite pattern from her web site and blog. The winners will be announced on Sunday, August 16th.
If you are a no-reply blogger, please leave an e-mail address so I can notify you that you are a winner.
I love reading all your comments, and respond by e-mail. Thanks.
Happy Quilting, reading and creating!!