When I got my copy of Handmade Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby by Anna Maria Horner, the first thing I realized was that you absolutely do not have to be expecting a baby to find something appealing in this book, there really is a little something for everyone. Once again, Anna Maria has thought of everything.
Some essential info is condensed into the first few pages of the book, so there is plenty of room for all the project how-to's, divided by sections entitled Mama Sewing, Baby Sewing, Family Sewing, and Nest Sewing.
And the babies sprinkled throughout the book are just so sweet. The arrival of this book was the necessary kick in the pants for me to get started on a few baby gifts. I am starting with the Nesting Cubes (this is also available as a free download). I love this project, and love imagining a baby will have lots of fun stacking and playing with these (and pulling on the little tags!).
I asked Anna Maria a few questions about her creative process-
B: You are also my absolute color hero! When I land on your blog page,
or flip through your books, or see your fabric in a store, I have an
overwhelming urge to sew up something with as much color as possible.
I'd love to hear a little about how you create and choose your colors.
What inspires the color palettes you create?
AM: Oh, thank you so much, that is really nice of you! Well, I hope I can make some sense of it in a meaningful way. Choosing colors has become more of something that I just do and less of something that I think about too much. That's not to say that its easy or accidental, but that it has become a bit more instinctual.
In general, when choosing a palette for a fabric collection or even for a quilt, I actual am more aware of what colors I am not using than those I am. Intentionally leaving out, say, green or any shade of green, really defines a palette even if you include almost everything other color. I very rarely use pastel tones except as an accent, its just not a saturation level that I get excited about. However without a punch of it here or there, vibrant colors would be less vibrant. The same goes for using some rich muddy tones of grey or brown, without them my palettes wouldn't be as grounded. I like colors that are happy. But those shades need to be tempered with something that is a bit off to prevent what I consider color goofiness. I guess similar to how you can't make cookies without a little salt.
Gosh I hope that makes sense!
B: Now, my dear, let's face it... From this side of the computer screen, you do quite literally seem to do it all. But what I'd like to know is- what is your favorite part of the process and why... Is it designing the fabric, seeing the fabric on the rolls, creating new patterns, or maybe its spending time sewing the samples? (And its okay to admit that its a good night's sleep once in a while too!)
AM: The truth is I enjoy every part of the process in this studio, but like everything, some days, I am more in the mood for certain aspects of work more than others. All work is that way, right? I like getting my first round of strike-offs for a new fabric collection in, even though its a bit nerve-wracking. It takes just long enough for the mills to do the engraving and the print runs, 6-8 weeks, that by the time you get them, its like a little surprise. Seeing fabrics then come to life in sewing and quilting, whether my own or others is also very gratifying.
As enjoyable as it all is though, I really like Friday afternoons as the family gradually filters into the house from each of their own worlds to begin our weekend together. (And sleep rocks!)
B: Describe your process for creating the prints in your fabric line a bit. Do they start as original paintings, or in an organic way similar to that? Do you input initial sketches in the computer and add color from there?
AM: I keep notes and sketches about designs, but I start also by painting blocks of color side by side, just looking at palette alone, and then will make brainstorm-type notes on those as well.
I mostly draw, also paint a little and then retrace everything digitally. My digital process is a very slow one with most of the designs, because I like to maintain a hand-drawn look to several of the prints so I don't use many quick and easy drawing tools in my software.
Of course there are some geometric prints that are almost completely composed in the computer, which start as just a simple hand sketch. But translating the designs digitally (mostly just for reproduction purposes) is pretty mindless. Creating the colorways for each of the prints is one of my favorite parts of the process. I find it very helpful to have about 80% of the palette determined from those original colorblocks that I paint-very often before anything is even drawn.
I am giving away one copy of Handmade Beginnings to one lucky commenter on this post, just leave a comment between now and Thursday.
Wiley Publishing is also running a drawing for 1 SINGER® Confidence™ 7470 sewing
machine, 5 yards of Anna Maria Horner fabric, a copy of the book Handmade
Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby. Details and how to enter can be found here.
May 3 Craft
4 Indie Fixx
May 5 Sew Mama Sew
May 6 Pink Chalk Studio
May 10 Wise Craft
May 14 House on Hill Road
May 16 The Purl Bee
May 18 All Buttoned Up
May 19 Alabama Chanin Journal
May 20 Homemade by Jill
May 21 True Up
May 22 Oh, Fransson!
May 23 Prudent Baby
May 24 Sew Liberated
May 25 Handmade by Alissa
May 26 Hazelnuts
May 27 Petite Purls
****5/13/10- Drawing is closed, thanks to everyone!*****