What does the reader want in a quilt pattern and how hard can it be and still be fun? This is what fills our heads when we write books. Neither of us approaches a book thinking “let’s just do a bunch of quilts we like.” There are so many factors to work around ranging from how many pages we want to dedicate to templates, how big the templates can be given the size of the pages and how we can fit as many different techniques and examples in the book and still have the collection look coherent.
Right now it’s “all book, all the time” at FunQuilts. The first third of the book is due on Oct 1 and we need to finish up all of the quilts soon to get the styled photo shoots done in the next month or so.
So it’s really difficult when you’re just not sure about a quilt that’s going in the book. Bill and I have spent the last few weeks agonizing, redesigning, cutting out circles, pinning them, insetting them and then having long discussions about YOU, the reader.
I often wish I had a group of you sitting in the studio to give us input before the book comes out. When it comes to deciding what’s too hard for the average quilter and where the line is between challenging and frustrating we’re always trying to figure out where the sweet spot is. Then, every now and then, we get the feeling that people only want fast and easy quilts and that can be confusing too.
We go back and forth and back and forth dozens of times about colors, proportions and composition. I can’t tell you how many times we redesigned the Hole in One quilt (see detail above). It’s a quilt that has inset circles and will be considered an advanced quilt in the book. Then that leads to the question of what is advanced. So the conversation goes something like this:
B: I like the smaller radius. It’s more elegant.
W: But I found it frustrating to inset circles that small.
B: But it’s an advanced quilt.
W: Advanced means you need to be an experienced sewer not that you should have to rip out tucks constantly even if you are a good sewer. If it’s hard for me shouldn’t we assume that it will be hard for them? I don’t want the reader to get frustrated.
B: I don’t want them to get frustrated either. I think we want to challenge and inspire them but not frustrate them. OK. I’ll redesign the pattern.
And so we start all over again. The reader sees the finished product but doesn’t see all of the prototypes and messed up blocks that led us to that pristine design that’s beautifully photographed in the book. Amazingly the quilts over which we fuss the most often end up being our favorites and Hole in One is no exception. Both of us love, love, love that quilt. Our publisher has asked us not to show any quilt in its entirety before the book is published but here’s a peek at part of it.
So tell us. Do you want to try something new which may take more time or do you want to make as many quilts as quickly as you can because you’re short on time? Or do you want both? Inquiring minds want to know…