Monday, April 18, 2016

Best New Quilting Book and Favorite Fabrics

The best way to choose variegated thread 
is to unroll a bit across your fabric. 

Is the color change subtle or sudden? 
These Sulkys are gorgeous on Schott cottons! 

Today's title should have hooked you: books and fabric. Isn't that like chocolate and peanut butter? But maybe you don't like chocolate? So it is with suggesting any book or fabric. This is my taste, and what works for me at this moment.

I have new fabric to show off, and it's not what I would typically buy. There's a mix of Moda, Hoffman, and Northcott.

I landed some Schott cottons, ombres, and some abstract pieces. 

The Moda Grunge is a staple in both my utility quilting, and art quilting. One fabulous shop in Holmes Co., Ohio, Somewhere Sewing, carries all these, and an astounding array of more fabrics and threads. I'm not affiliated with them in any way, but want to say how nice it is to be able to get excellent product information while choosing my purchase. It's becoming more and more rare these days to find clerks, and even owners in fabric stores that actually sew themselves. 

*These I found in Three Crafty Ladies, a tiny shop on 
Sanibel Island, Florida. I love the graphic prints.

Usually I'm more drawn to fabrics with a floral motif, stripes, scenes, etc., but it's recently occurred to me that when I work with really cute fabrics, they tend to be the focus of the quilt. (How can you screw up a quilt using Heather Ross' Mendocino?) The design then becomes secondary. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, but lately I've been working more on the design side of things. I'm more concerned with how colors and values interact versus the popularity of my print at the moment. It's stretching me to think about my stash.

Part of the blame might lie with my reading material. I am an affiliate for C+T Publishing because I think they put out some of the very best reading matter. My books shelf is peppered with Stash Books, which they also publish. I saw this newly released book that's been in my sidebar some weeks, and was drawn in by both the title and cover. It's titled "Creative Quilt Challenges", and the cover is a split between a colorful quilt with emphasis on value along with an art quilt in the right half. I did a quick look inside through Amazon, and was convinced it was worth having. 

I've read the book cover to cover. There's so much new material inside it takes time to digest it. The pictures are wonderful, but it's far more than pictures! I've learned so many new techniques, ideas for getting past stuck points, and about obscure materials I'd never considered using. I don't know how to tell you it's Good, Good, Good!, but like I said up above, it's met my needs right now. It's exactly what I needed to push on. My direction is somewhere on the cusp of improv and art quilting--at least as a new adventure, and greatly interested in how color and value play into design. I'm also interested in finding ways to effectively use artist's fabrics such as hand dyed, batik, etc. If any of these things interest you, you will not be disappointed. This is perhaps the first time I've ever considered writing fan mail to an author or authors, but I'm waiting until my fervor dies down. I wouldn't want to sound like a quilting groupie, right?

*I've included both links to C+T Publishing and Amazon above. This is by far the best book I've purchased in some time, and I am a self proclaimed book junkie. Put it on your list to at least investigate. You won't regret it.

Sneaking out quietly to sew while 
the Doxie  girls have a morning snooze.


linda said...

I am just curious - did you evaluate the book before adding it to hour sidebar or are those books picked by your sponsor. I am getting so confused with all the advertising on blogs these days since it is never quite clear whether there is an obligation to post from your employer. Either way is ok - as a reader I just like to know.

Julie said...

Linda, I hope you see this here as you're a no-reply blogger, and I can't otherwise contact you.

This book in particular appealed to me as soon as I saw it. I specifically added it to my sidebar.

Many bloggers, myself included, find advertising helps offset some of the little costs that add up along the way. I pay yearly/monthly to keep my domain, for extra storage for photos, camera cards, etc. It can add up to hundreds of dollars quickly.

There are several different ways to bring an advertiser into a blog. Shareasale is one, and how I can specifically add a product I think is special like the book. Redbubble is a site for budding designers. I support their effort 100%. Also, the class through Craftsy, at the top, related directly to the hedgehog projects I made. Same instructor. My pattern is hosted at Craftsy, so that links back there as well. When you click on those ads, and go to the site, I only make a small amount if you buy a product within 24 hrs, I believe. If you find something on one blog's site, but click through to the company through another blog, the last blog will get the commission. It's hard for a blogger to make money even with the ads.

When a blog uses something like Google Adsense, there is no control what shows up other than we can control what we don't want to see. I don't think any quilter wants to see ads for online dating, controversial products, etc., so I censor those from ever appearing. The only time I can see see an actual ad appearing through Adsense is by a mobile phone or someone else's device.

There is no 'employer' involved, but there is a law of full disclosure that every online site must comply with. They can be sticklers about enforcing it so bloggers are vigilant about posting that 'This is an ad.", etc. It has to be listed within a certain distance from any advertising on a blog, i.e. next to, near the page fold, etc. Compliance is enforced.

When you see any ads that appear here on Pink Doxie that highlight a specific product or class, it's because I think they're wonderful, AND they should all relate to what I'm doing/who I am/ what I believe in! I am a book junkie, but most often buy used. I also link over to Amazon where you have the choice to look at both. I love Craftsy because not only do they carry very reasonably priced items, and have excellent classes, but they also host patterns for small designers at no charge. They give back! I think that's awesome.

The one other way you'll find a solicitation of sorts is if someone sends something for free, and a blogger posts about it. For instance, a blogger/author sent me a book to review recently. I read her book, made a project using her technique, and will blog about it. It's technically something I received for free in exchange for doing a review, and I will openly disclose that. The review I give will be honest, as all should be.

It's a lengthy reply, but hope it helps you and others understand how the ads work, and why in many situations they are a necessary part of keeping our costs under control.

Julie @ Pink Doxies

Stitchin At Home said...

I can see your new fabric purchases fitting in with your fabulous hand dyes. I am curious and will check out the book.

Sandra Walker said...

I always love your Doxie Girls endings and this one REALLY made me smile, as I can just SEE them snoozing in a patch of sunshine! Funny, I just saw a post I'd missed (with a giveaway, darn!) on another blog about this book release, and here is yours. I'll check it out at the library first (get them to buy it) and then see if I will add it to my collection, being more careful with $$ and space these days! Some great additions to your stash; I've been examining/petting some of my kaleidoscope fabrics, thinking need to use 'em in a kaleidoscope quilt ... or not. That first blue swirly oil on water one would be a fabulous piece in a kaleidoscope quilt...check out Paula Nadelstern's work if you haven't already.
PS Good response to linda!

evaj said...

Julie!! Thank you for your cooperation in recent weeks and the inspiration you give us Show and Tell Monday !! Bambi

Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts said...

I love your approach to quilting. You are always learning and so willing to share that with your readers. I agree that sometimes the prints in a quilt become the focus instead of the design itself, and that works or is the intent in some cases. I have a difficult time working with some prints as I can never figure out how to make them work in my designs. I guess I 'play it safe' a lot. You always inspire to me think about pushing myself outside my comfort zone - one day I'll actually do it! :)

Sharon - IN said...

What fun purchases!

"It's becoming more and more rare these days to find clerks, and even owners in fabric stores that actually sew themselves." - Sadly that is the truth. I don't understand why quilt shops hire those who can not answer simple quilting questions, like calculating fabric for borders or binding. Or even know how to use gadgets and templates they have for sale!

Kate said...

I'm a sucker for jewel tones and your new acquisitions hit all those marks, you found some beautiful new pieces to play with. My sister works in the fabric department at a Hobby Lobby, she got the job because she was the only applicant who had actually sewn something. She's told me the many of the he coworkers are petrified to work in that department because it requires working with fractions.

Bonnie said...

Your blog is chock full of wonderfulness today. Your new fabric purchases are -- well, I only can say WOW! I would welcome any into my stash! But, I really appreciate the information you passed on to Linda. I've wondered about monetizing a blog. Some folks have so many ads I won't read their ads any more. I hate having, say chewing gum ads pop out while I'm trying to read a quilting blog. Yours are discreet and available if someone is interested. I'm curious about Amazon ads.... although on second look I realize there isn't an Amazon ad on your blog. If someone were to click through to Amazon (or Craftsy for that matter) and then put their own search term in rather than the book you've shown do you still get credit? I know some people make a huge amount of money starting with a very good blog and then really getting themselves "out there." I would imagine most make minimal amounts. As you said, to help defray the cost of keeping your blog up and running.

Julie said...

Bonnie, first of all, I think the Amazon ads are more geared to a mobile device, or perhaps they are turned off at the moment. We have the power to turn them off it we need to. Nice. I can always add Amazon links in the text, and that's mainly when I'm talking about a book, etc. I'm pretty honest about being a buyer of used goods whenever possible, and think most of my readers are as frugal as I am. I buy a LOT of books! I also borrow from the library and friends.
Linking back to Amazon gives the reader a quick way to look inside a book, read reviews, and check prices. I have never made enough from Amazon to ever get paid, and I've linked a lot. That should tell you how difficult monetizing is. It's mainly a service to the reader when I list Amazon.

I don't know for sure if you would have to buy the exact product when landing on, say, Craftsy's page, or if you would make a general sale without the advertised product. I do know the total sale tallies up for the commission percentage when the linked item is purchased.

Many bloggers will apply to one large company that manages the advertising for hundreds of companies. We go through the process of getting approved for the main company, then choose the individual companies we'd like to represent. We go through an approval process for each one of those, too! It helps keep the ads appropriate for the readership both ways.

Often a company will send me an email saying they have something they believe my readers will benefit from. For instance, Artsy. I may highlight the company, link to it, etc., but it's not a way for me to make any commission. I just believe it's got a lot of value to give my reader, and has been a benefit to me.

I received a new one last week that looks wonderful, and I'm very excited myself to dig into. We'll see what pans out, and hopefully I can share it soon. Like everything else, I use it personally, think it's very good, and want to share it. You should see only appropriate ads on Pink Doxies.

Nancy said...

Julie, who made the red fabric on the left and what is its name? I had a scrap of it --someone else's cast-off-- and have used it. Would love to get more.
Nancy. (ndmessier @,

Nancy said...

And thanks for the links to the two online fabric shops. I'll take a look.