Writing a Book- Free-Motion Framework

Bound Quilts | ReannaLily Designs

Early last year I shared a blog post vaguely mentioning my “Secret Quilting Project.” I’m happy to report I can finally elaborate on the details and explain how the logistics of authoring Free-Motion Framework went down. From timeline to work-load, here’s how it happened:

Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T Publishing

In late 2016, I pitched a concept to C&T Publishing to feature 10 linear designs created to help you improve your machine quilting skills while accidentally producing a wholecloth quilt.  The concept was well received. I have to say myself, I hadn’t seen anything like it in the quilting community, either. That was great news!

The publishing team and acquisitions folks chatted with me about how broad the scope would be and how much it would take to write the book. When I say “how much,” I don’t mean money; I mean time.  We discussed release-dates and other planning events way back in the fall of 2016.

My book, Free-Motion Framework, was in the incubator a bit longer than a usual book for two main reasons:

  1. My sweet husband deployed for half of 2017, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to be a quilt-author-maniac while holding down the fort.
  2. The book coordinates the efforts of generous sponsors and 17 different contributing quilters. That is a TON of quilters. Spreadsheets galore!

Once that was ironed out, I was emailing my dream-team of quilters by November. Just like hosting a party, you throw out invitations and hope everyone can attend, but realistically some folks have other commitments and a few may have to cancel their RSVP’s.  Most quilters stitched two different design projects in the book. Others volunteered to quilt three. I think I personally quilted 10 or 11. I’d have to go back and re-count.

Next up, reaching out to the amazing sponsors who provided products to help make this book a reality. Lots of emailing and lots of spreadsheets.  Thank you to these generous folks:

Fairfield Batting

Fairfield Batting | ReannaLily Designs

Clover USA

Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

HandiQuilter

Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

Hab And Dash (previously Bobbin Central/Fil Tec)

Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

And don’t forget the amazing fabric sponsors. This book was much trickier for me to plan fabric than my previous books.

In previous books, I’d design a quilt, and say “Hum, this quilt pattern needs 2 yards of blue, 10 fat quarters from this-that-matches-blue, and 6 yards of backing.” Easy stuff. For this book, I had to think, “Wait, I’m going to present a whole collection of squares, and I need the colors to match, or coordinate, or at the very least not bore anyone reading.” Yet another spreadsheet was born. Here’s a peek. Excel Spreadsheet for Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T Publishing

I looked at fabric company’s websites to find beautiful anchor fabrics. From there, I decided to choose all the wholecloth color pieces from that anchor fabric. Each chapter, which is also each linear design, is coordinated by backing fabric (aka the anchor). All four quilt concepts in the chapter have the same binding, which helps tie them together and keep them organized for me and the publishing team.

Big thank you to:

My company, ReannaLily Designs, isn’t sponsored by any single fabric company, which made it easier and wonderful to work with five different companies to provide variety and selection when assembling this concept. Thank you, thank you!

Ok, with quilters assembled and supplies procured, I then needed to sort, mark, and ship everything to my team. This happened right before Christmas in 2016.

Shipping Boxes | ReannaLily Designs

 

Early 2017 was spent feverishly quilting and writing. I also needed to write the organize book, decided on some specific things that you’ll see in the table of contents, and create my work in Adobe Illustrator.

Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

 

Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

All quilts were returned, with contributor notes, by mid February 2017. By June the entire thing was authored and ready to send to the publisher for them to wave a magic editing-wand over the whole thing. I mailed digital files, quilts, tools, thread, paper files, more straight pins identifying samples than I care to think of, and more. It was a HUGE endeavor to get those boxes to the post office.

The final edits by the publishing team (and then a micro-tiny bit by me) were all done around Christmas 2017, with the book heading to print in early 2018. It has been a long time, but all-in-all an amazing time.  I think you will love the way the book is arranged. It is better than I could have imagined, and I’m so glad to have worked with such an accomplished group at C&T Publishing.

One cool thing about the book is that the 10 linear designs are included for download once you purchase the book. I was originally thinking a CD would be included, but y’all, that is SOOOOO 2015. Evidently everything is cloud/internet based, which is awesome. But if you were thinking you’d like to have a copy of the actual paper patterns along with your book, C&T Publishing also assembled a pattern package which includes two additional BONUS linear designs.

Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T Publishing

It was an incredible process. I can safely say, I would love to do it again. (wink wink) But for now, watch this blog for even more details on the release of Free-Motion Framework.

Updated to add: See all the Free-Motion Framework details, workshops, projects, and samples here, on the blog.