Saturday, November 22, 2008

Marketing Research

Despite appearances to the contrary, it hasn't all just been sleep, sleep, sleep around here. Brothers Howler and Habibi in their side-by-side box beds:

Bonnie and I have been working bit by bit on Lazy Days in Quiltville. Holy cow, the last time I really talked about this was last June. Have we really been working on it this long? Heck, have to keep in mind that my co-author was incredibly busy with a great book of her own, not to mention her crazy teaching schedule. Furthermore I've wanted to hold off having a deadline until I'm back in the U.S.

Anyway, I am working on the proposal forms and feeling incredibly inadequate. Teaching credentials? nope. Professional references? nope. Classroom experience? nope. And writing ABOUT the book instead of just writing it? Really hard.

As I was slowly painfully plugging along at this, trying to answer questions about who would ever buy this book and why would they when there are so many other titles on the shelves, I thought why not ask you guys. I'm hoping you'd buy it. (Pretty please).

I know it's hard to say for sure when you don't even know what's going to be in the book, but you know it's going to be the Bonnie and Tonya philosophy of quilting. If it's too long, cut it off; too short add to it. Have fun while you quilt and be imprecise - no matching. Use your ugly fabric and all the bitty crumbs. Personalize the quilt - use the letters to say something about who you are or the one you're making the quilt for. No patterns (but maybe a bit of guidance for little starter projects). Like that.

Have you tried the free-pieced letters? How about the crumbs and/or strings (tutorials over on Quiltville.com)? Crumby or wonky hearts? Maverick Stars?

How did it work for you? What was your skill level? Had you done any liberated piecing before?

Why would you buy a book like this when there are so many others to choose from, not to mention all those books you're already got on your shelf. Why would you buy this book when the information has been online for so long?

Okay, you'd buy the book, but who else would this be good for?

39 comments:

Chris' Shady Grove said...

I just heard Bonnie lecture at one of her stops in Wisconsin and judging from the feedback I heard from 20 of the 200 ladies that attended we all came away so inspired. (BTW Bonnie's lecture was one of the best I've attended) Free form piecing is not something that everyone is teaching. I wanted to come home and cut up my stash and start sewing. I've been following both of your blogs for about 6 months and I love your ideas. They are fresh and fun. I think what you are teaching should be learned before a person learns more traditional quilting skills because your encourage an ability to use one's imagination which ultimately leads to a more creative quilt artist.

Joyce said...

I have tried all the free piecing techniques you mentioned and love them. I learned them from yours and Bonnie's sites and from "Collaborative Quilting". The tutorials are fantastic. I have sewed for years but only started quilting about 4 years ago and I found it wonderful to be able to move beyond traditional patterns, although I still do some of them. I think I'd buy the book even though the patterns are online because I could then take it to my studio or read it in bed etc. More portable. This would be excellent for beginning quilters and anyone who wants to step out of the box.

Jennifer said...

Ditto the above comments. I've heard great things, and would find a book helpful (don't have a laptop and would love the portablity of a book.)

True Blue Nana said...

I would buy the book. There are others doing liberated quilting but you are the only one I have come across doing the letters. One thing that makes Gwen so appealing is her presentation and yours is just as good. I also feel like you do more with design particularly for those looking for design techniques. Having a good knowledge of the mechanics of sewing is helpful with the letters but not necessarily a knowledge of quilting. I am also intrigued with your hand quilting and I think that would be great to address in the book. I really liked the way you showed the progress of one of your quilts in a previous post. You don't see that in many quilt books.

BrendaS said...

What do you mean you don't have any teaching experience? what about all those on-line classes? sheesh! I'm putting those on my quilt resume, you'd better too! And not only do you have teaching experience, you have new media teaching experience! Gather up all those comments and put them in that proposal.
as much as I like the internet, it's not a great way of sharing information on how to make words with other quilters. screens are for one person at a time, but more than one can look at a book. and most of us don't have our computers right beside our sewing machine so we can refer to them when we forget how to make an "e". that's why I'd buy a book -- to look at it quickly, to get a visual reference, to share it with my friends, to put it in my quilting bag to show my guild, and because it's permanent. there's no guarantee any website will be there forever. Ask Bwen Marston which version of her book is selling better -- I'm betting it is the paper version. Yes, I'll buy the book. You're great!

jovaliquilts said...

I think you need to emphasize that you guys are empowering quilters to tap into their own creativity. It was a revelation to me when I first saw your quilts, and I learned how to make my quilts my own by following your directions. (Sounds like a paradox!) I think if you guys get one of your free-pieced quilts on the cover, the book will sell itself.

Anonymous said...

A book is so much more cozy, reading....in bed or under a quilt on the couch or a favortie chair.
I've used the letters, I love them.
A cute quote about princesses goes around a quilt I made for my niece.
I have tractor names ready to go on Old Tobacco Road for a border.
My mother inlaw is getting the names of all her grandchildren in the border of of another Bonnie quilt--scrappy trip atound the world.
Practice words like STAY WARM and BE COZY are in my drawer of orphan blocks.
You and Bonnie are brilliant.

Patti said...

I agree that you are a great teacher and very giving of your techniques. I think that having it in book form is better because there are lots of quilters who aren't online that much. Your letters are imaginative and creative. Having it in book form will reach more people and practically, it will be easier to follow along as you sew a letter than having to run to the computer all the time(which is what I had to do when I was working on my letters). I love that you tell people to make it personal.

jacquie said...

i would so buy this book...when i first wanted to go out on my own your site was the only site i could find for help and encouragement. it's so frustrating to turn to all the quilting magazines and most of the books and it's pattern after pattern and use this set of fabrics to make it look like this. i think traditional blocks can be a good starting point and i use them often, but i want some encouragement in going out on my own and creating. it's so disappointing reading about someone who makes improvisational quilts and then find patterns in their books. i want to know the thought process, the creative process. does that make any sense at all?

Janet said...

Your style of quilting is such a different way of doing things: not better or worse but another option.
Almost free form and so refreshing. I did my first lettering on a baby quilt for a girl recently: sugar and spice and everything nice. Boy, did it turn out great. Thanks for being brave and bucking the "quilt police"!

Janet said...

Yes, I will buy your book!!!

Mocha MonsterPants said...

I think I would most respond to new techniques, not new patterns. There are SO many patterns out there for every single-dingle thing. What I find helpful are new techniques. The more little tricks and tips, the better. Problem solving is good (ref: wavy borders). If you do X, then you won't have Y. But if you do have Y, then Z.

Kristin L said...

I probably wouldn't buy the book, but that NOT because it's about the Bonnie and Tonya methodology, that's because I rarely buy ANY quilting books. I'd just rather figure it out myself. However, I think I'm in the quiltmaking minority. I think a lot of people appreciate some instructions and bit of hand holding -- at least in the beginning. Considering that I've made TWO quilts in the last 12 months directly inspired by the Bonnie and Tonya aesthetic (the big blue string lone star quilt and a lime green and brown string zig zag quilt) I know there's got to be a market for you guys!

Idaho Quilter said...

I have a simple answer, I would buy it for the same reason I follow your blogs. Why is that you say. Just because I like what you have to offer. A relaxed way of quilting and working outside of the box, no hurry no worry.

Dianne said...

I'm waiting, checkbook in hand, with bated breath for your book, Tonya. I have tiptoed into free-piecing letters because of your wonderful quilts and your generosity in sharing techniques and ideas...and have been emboldened to be freer in my designs and executions, whether free-piecing or regular piecing. Right now I am working on a design using your letters in the border to spell out my "wishes" for a baby girl. I'll keep you posted on how it goes, and report any problems with the tutorials, and send pics as I go.

Your book will be a stimulus for new ideas for all quilters, regardless of their years of experience. As some said above, a physical book is so handy...you can take it to bed, to the beach or on a train. Plus,there will be the chance for more step-by-step pictures and explanations. All quilters are looking for inspiration, reassurance and ideas -- all things you and Bonnie are excellent at giving. Way to go!

YankeeQuilter said...

Hello...how did we meet? In a classroom! You were the T E A C H E R! (Ok so it was really a tiny cluttered space in back of the LQS but it still counts!) Don't sell yourself short girl! Are you going to make me finish that quilt before you feel like a teacher?!

Quiltdivajulie said...

Tonya, you absolutely DO have teaching credentials, you DO have classroom experience (online counts!), and you DO have credentials (just look at all of your amazing quilts in your Picasa photo albums and those of your students/readers). Like liberated quilting and free-piecing, who SAYS that credentials have to come from "xyz" university!!

And, are you writing this book to make a million or are you creating your book because you have something to share? When there is something worth sharing, the rest falls into place of its own accord....

WRITE AWAY!

Clare said...

Tonya - I really don't know where you get the no teaching credentials or classroom experience from. Your tutorials are easy to understand and your online classes are explicit and to the point.

I would certainly buy the book. Knowing you and Bonnie there are bound to be extras in the book that are not in the tutorials and those extras will be the icing on the cake.

Did I do liberated quilting before? I did not and I think most of your fans didn't either, so we are all in this together and we are with you and cheering for you 100% of the way.

Go Tonya go!

Paula Hewitt said...

I have only discovered your blog recently and tried to do some liberated piecing by recall. for some reason i thought it involved foundation piecing. needless to say it was difficult, didnt work and when i got back on the computer and reread the instruction realised i had got it so wrong. If I'd had a book i would not have made this mistake. books are good to own too - things on the net can just disappear.

nannergirl said...

Tonya I have been quilting for about 10 years but reading your site opened my eyes to a whole new way of doing things. I read and re-read your tutorials and the clear way you've explained things makes me feel like I'm in a class. I think your book would be perfect for a first time quilter and for an experienced quilter wanting to work outside the box. I can't wait!

Becky said...

Ditto to the comments on all the teaching experience you have. One only has to look on other's blogs to see how much influence you have through teaching on line. Not only words, but trees, houses, etc. That adds up to lots of teaching credit to me.

KathieB said...

I am THERE with my checkbook, ready to buy.

The idea of free-piecing sounds simple, but quilters who were raised on working from patterns find it hard to take the leap of faith. It's a lot harder when you get into that territory where there are no rules. This is the service that your tutorials offer: a virtual hand to hold, and permission to make up the rules as you go along.

margaret said...

You asked who else this would be good for (and publishers DO like to know that!) - it would be great for younger people who are new to quilting and perhaps to crafting in general, because they can't deal with perfection at this stage [if ever!] and want to get on with having FUN making things and getting results that look contemporary and cool. And there's currently a growing market among younger and newer crafters, which is all to the good!

Heidi said...

I'd buy it..I'm already waiting for it :-))
Yes and as other's have said, it's more comfortable to hold a book in hands and browse through it.
I have other quilting books, which are just a pleasure to pull out and look at the gorgeous quilts... I expect your book to be the same.
I learnt to piece letters from your online tutorials, which are really great and have many plans to use words in quilts in the future.

Anonymous said...

I am a "lurker" who reads both you and Bonnie daily to get my "quilt fix" of ideas.You both have inspired me so much to try new things. I learned to quilt in the 1970's with cardboard templates and sewing by hand. quick techniques were not around but if you tried something else, it was considered not right. No woman in her right mind would call a machine stitched quilt a quilt. My how far we have come. I gave up quilting for a few years because of the quilt police and rules. Who needs the pressure? If it makes ME happy, I should be able to quilt it the way I want to. I would certainly buy your book and buy one for my friends birthdays etc so that they each had one in their collection. You make quilting FUN again. Don't get me wrong, I love the great hand done from start to finish quilts, but we would be lucky to make ONE in a lifetime.I want to make ONE OF EVERY PATTERN in my lifetime! LOL
a lurker in Massachusetts
Dawn

belinda said...

well tonya....i can't wait for your book!! i love your tutorials and ideas..they are soo out of the box....there is NO pressure with this style of quilting....i credit YOU for the hand quilting i am doing right now....i credit YOU for the fun i've had doing your style....i credit YOU and bonnie for getting me interested in quilting this last year.....SO....get those boxes packed!!!....hurry and get your butt back over here to the states and GET THIS BOOK FINISHED...WE ARE ALL WAITING!!!!

Fran said...

Ditto to what Belinda said.
You and Bonnie have both inspired me this last year, as you saw in my sleepover quilt that you put on your blog this summer.
Your book will inspire new quilters also. People who are scared to even try because they'll make a mistake. With your book there will be NO MISTAKES!!!
I taught my grandaughter this summer to make a bag. She was thrilled! First time quilter and now she's making her dad a quilt for Christmas. As only you can say ..Whoo Hoo..

See girl? You and Bonnie rock, and as a team you'll be dynamite. So quit worrying, just do your thing as you always have done and the books will sell themselves once the word gets out.

~~Fran...:c)

Pat said...

I'd buy it....sometimes it's frustrating to have books with patterns and then mine don't turn out right. Also...I have a quilting friend who is SUCH a perfectionist. I'd love to show her a book that says don't worry about being precise and "If it's too long, cut it off" and "If it's to short, add another piece". She thinks the quilt police are out and about and after her. This kind of book might show her otherwise!!! I'm going to try free-piecing after the holidays. I hear good things about it from upstatelisa

Lindsay Jean said...

How about this:
"Tonya and Bonnie are treasures in the quilting world! Their relaxed ideas about precision make quilting a more approachable craft for a larger audience!"

I nominated you for an award over on my blog.

Carol E. said...

This weekend I went to a quilt retreat. A woman next to me who considers herself new to quilting was saying she didn't think she can really handle quilting, because she can't make things "perfect" like the rest of us can. I couldn't find the words to explain Liberated Quilting, though I intend to when I don't have others competing for talk time... Another showed us her super cute folk art blocks and asked "is it crooked?" I felt almost speechless... my response was, "I don't believe in crooked." I'm sure she had no idea what I meant... but if I had your book in my hands (once it's in print I will carry it with me at all times), I could explain what I mean and show all the FUN examples. I for sure will buy one for me to keep, and at least one for our guild and at least another for a friend and ..... on and on.

Tanya said...

Well, no doubt that you have a lot of followers and subscribers to both yours and Bonnie's blog. I think there aren't that many free piecing/wonky books out there as you may think and I definitely love looking at your color combinations and word quilts. I'm hoping that you'll have some of your already made quilt pictures in your book because that alone is an inspiration. Following your tutorials has really been easy to do and so I know that your instructions will be easy to follow. I'd just like to have your book at my fingertips rather than in the printed out pages that I have. Looking forward to Famous to the Quilting World Tonya!

bekhy said...

Hi Tonya,

Finding Bonnie's website was such a great day for me--I knew I'd always liked the more varied quilts, and I was always attracted to what I later learned were called string quilts, and the scrappy version is so much more interesting than the planned string quilts found in patterns! I tried out probably 60-70% of her patterns and loved them (made into baby quilts for doable projects, but I just couldn't stop sewing up her patterns). I haven't done the free pieced letters, to be really honest I don't care for the look, and the more chaotic crumbs I don't care for either. I've gained an appreciation for all things wonky though since discovering yours and Bonnie's websites so it's just a matter of time and educating my tastes, I'm sure :).
I agree with a previous comment that I hardly ever buy books for patterns, but to learn different techniques and for inspiration when there are pictures of several ways to do a particular pattern and they're all stunning. Ie showing the versatility of a simple technique/pattern, and also ways to spice it up (ie sashings, borders, settings). I had quilted off and on for several years before I discovered Bonnie, but Bonnie started an explosion of creativity for me. I love the utilitarian aspects of quilting and I love that scrappy quilts will never not match your decor or look outdated and that people who are gifted with them will actually use them! I always hated the matchy-matchy patterns and was always dissatisfied with the offerings in the LQS because of this. I actually am a big fan of precise sewing and matching up corners but what I really got out of you two's websites is: if despite my best efforts it doesn't work out, it's OK! Do what you need to to fix it short of ripping out seams and re-sewing. It adds charm and quirkiness. I especially love not worrying about when I run out of a certain fabric before the end of the project--lol--just add more! And pieced backings and bindings--I had been doing this for years and I loved that others did it ON PURPOSE! I always kind of liked the look of it but worried people might think I was being just sloppy or stingy with fabric. But not anymore :) It's a way of doing things that a whole segment of the quilting population adore!
Hope these comments were useful.

Marit said...

Why would I want to buy a book written by two of my favorite quilters who I am lucky enough to have discovered online? Why would I want to sit comfortably in my best chair with a cup of tea or coffe, looking at beautiful pictures of quilts, old favorites and new ones? Why would I take the time to sit comfortably and read again and discover their great tip on technics and design philosophy? Hmmm? Oh, please, stop teasing us all - we would love to get our hands on your book. Please!

Carolyn Forster said...

Have more faith, if we all read the great blog, then we will all be buying the book. It is nice to another take/slant on a technique, much nicer to curl up at the end of a day with a book instead of a key pad! Good luck!

jude said...

i would buy your book. and i would recommend it to others. your teaching skills are fabulous. your approach is relaxed and i enjoyed learning your point of view about piecing. i think it would be good for anyone, after all i am a hand stitcher and i loved it. i was a sewing machine idiot. you have brought it all together for me. and mostly your approach seems more FUN! must be you! will the kitties be included?

BUMBLE BEANS said...

Write it and they will come!
I've learned a lot from you already. I can't even imagine what else I will earn from your book! there is always something we can learn! I don't have very many quilting books. Honestly, I don't read them. I pick them purely for inspiration. Ideas, color combination, scale, statements. The more Visual the better. My best example is learning to do binding, I don't read it, I look at the images, and if their not great, then I might cut the binding, and wait for you to tell me, Continuous binding! So, the better the images the better the book. not sure if thats helpful or not...??

Quilts And Pieces said...

Well you know I"m buying that book! And so will Laura!

oh_romance! said...

Did you know that when you google "quilt blog" yours is the first that comes up? I'm sure you do.

I'm a very new quilter, and your blog was the first I read about quilting, and I'm of two minds about the book.

The first is that I really admire the attitude of not worrying about making it perfect. That is a big help. Making a first quilt is a daunting process, and it helps to just think about finishing it and having fun, rather than making it look perfect.

Your techniques for liberated quilting (maverick has a quite different connotation now, due to Sarah Palin!) are really fun to read about, but at this point seem a little beyond me. So many of you out in blog land have these mega stashes you can draw from, and as a new quilter, I've got next to nothing! These techniques of yours and Bonnie's (especially scrappy quilts) seem to rely somewhat on having a large range of fabrics to draw from.

I like seeing all the free piecing, but sometimes I read those posts and have no idea how exactly you accomplish what you do, even though you have clear instructions. I think for me at least, it's one of those things where you have to learn the rules before you break them. The word liberated seems to imply this as well, in that you are liberated from some form of quilting. My first quilt was from a pattern because I needed to learn the process of quilting, as well as making a particular quilt.

I think the book you are describing seems great for mid-level and advanced quilters, those who know what they are doing and are looking to have more fun and be free with their quilts, and those who are looking to do something with that fabric they have sitting around.

All that being said, the post you made about the various seams and which will work and which won't was very informative and fun to see. Those sorts of things are very helpful to a beginner.

jmbmommy said...

I would totally buy it. I like books, I like to have them on the sewing table with me and there is something personal from a book that you just can't get from a computer. Your zest for quilting and your zest for sharing your quilting has reinvigorated my own quilting life. I love doing free pieced projects now, where I was way to worried to try before. You have created a wonderful community here on the internet and I think that it needs to be shared with the quilting world at large. I love "hearing" in my head when I sew, "if it is too short, add more, if it is too long, cut it off". It is funny because I have only read your words, but in my head you have a voice. Thanks so much, press on!