Saturday, August 31, 2013

Here we go!

Welcome to Prairie Sewn Studios, the internet home for an amazingly festive mother (Linda) and daughter (Laura) team who sew, quilt, shop, horde fabric, create, scrapbook, frolic, eat, cry, enjoy, explore learn and WRITE A BOOK TOGETHER! 

We are so excited to be taking our creative endeavors to the next level with this project. This first (of many) posts is to tell the (abbreviated) story of how we got here, and hopefully share the enthusiasm we have for this project. 

Each year since 2009 Mom and I attend the American Quilter's Society annual Paducah Show. During our third year we took a lecture  on English Paper Piecing (EPP). Mom didn't want to take the class; the hexagon craze didn't especially interest her and I think she looked at the little pieces with a bit of trepidation. But I'd seen some nifty things people were doing with a modern take on Grandmother's Flower Garden (GFG) and because I'm her favorite (alright, favorite and only) daughter, Mom acquiesced. And what do you know, it turns out Mom rather liked it! Paper pieces were bought and the basting fun began. 
About six months later (Fall 2011) I was home in Omaha for a visit and turned to Mom and said the one phrase she's learned to fear the most... "So I was thinking..." Next thing I know I've talked her into spending the rest of my visit designing a coaster based using a single GFG flower on a base of Timtex. At the end of the visit I headed back to South Bend where I was living and working at the time to continue to make coasters while Mom's brain continued to turn the idea over in her head until one days she sat down and used the Timtex as the base for the EPP and made a simple bowl! 
This first version of the pattern and technique was refined again and again. And again. And probably several more times until she landed on the technique that we use today. Mom learned to draft patterns from different pieces of vases and glassware so that the containers could be utilized for a wider variety of functions in the home: live flowers, cocktail nuts, wrapped candies, and so on. I'd frequently get emails early in the morning telling me about how she woke up in the middle of the night with a new idea spinning around in her head and not letting her get back to sleep until she got up and sketched it out. 

At first we tried going the craft fair route, but it quickly became clear that while people thought the containers were quite nifty, the amount of time it took to create each one made selling them an unsustainable venture. 
It was about that time that Mom joined an EPP sewing circle where she'd work on her newest idea each week. And people started asking about the pattern, and how they could make them too. I'd had a similar thought, and so when it was time to choose classes for the next AQS Paducah show (2012) I went into the selection process with a secret agenda: talk to the AQS Executive Editor. 

At the 2012 show we attended the quilt book publishing lecture and also had an individual meeting with the AQS Executive Editor. Much to Mom's surprise, the editor loved our idea and encouraged us to submit a proposal! After we took our samples back out to the car and I picked Mom's jaw up off the floor the fun began. We spent the entire seven hour drive back to South Bend talking about the project and hashing out a rough draft of the proposal. 

After many hours of writing, work, and revisions we submitted the proposal at the end of February 2013. We didn't hear anything for a while and our confidence in the idea plummeted a bit more with each passing day. Then, the unexpected happened and Mom received a call from an editor at AQS to tell us they wanted to publish our book! Contracts arrived in the mail a few days later, were signed and sent back in. Only then did we realize how much WORK we still had ahead of us to actually write the whole darned thing. 

And that's where we are today, at the end of August 2013. Our manuscript is due in November, and with any luck (fingers crossed) the book will be published next Spring, maybe even in time for our sixth annual trip to Paducah. I'll write further posts about what different steps of this process have been like, but so far, it's been one of the more challenging and most rewarding things I've ever done. 
In the middle of all this I've gotten a new job and moved across the country to San Francisco, leaving many of my sewing and quilting supplies back in storage until we're able to fully settle into this new amazing city. Despite my new location on the West Coast we decided to stick to our roots as proud midwesterners with the name of Prairie Sewn Studios. We can't wait to finish this book and see it on the shelves of our local quilt shops. Mom says she has the idea for the next book in her head already, so I guess we'd better keep on sewing! 

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