Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Behind the Scenes with Stitch Magazine

Have you seen the Fall issue of Stitch Magazine?  If you have... maybe, just maybe you noticed a quilt made by moi?

Stitch Magazine, Fall 2011

It was my first time published!  This week I am finishing up another magazine quilt (insert annoying "hush, hush").  So, I figure this is the perfect time to dish on Alphabet Soup.  Today I'll share about the process of working with the magazine.  Tomorrow, the actual quilt!

Step 1:  Submissions

To be considered for any magazine, you generally find the "submissions" page on the magazine's website.  There you can find out what type of material they're searching for and even who to talk to about your ideas.  The Stitch Magazine submissions page is updated several times a year with specific info on the themes for the next issue.  Once you've worked with Stitch, they also email submissions info to you automatically about 1 month before submissions are due.

I try to put off looking at the Stitch "call for submissions" PDF until I'm really ready to brainstorm ideas.  Once I read about the 4 categories they're focusing on and see the color swatches for each category, my brain won't stop dreaming up possibilities.  And since I don't know if I'll actually make any of the ideas I'm brewing, it can be kind of distracting from actual projects on hand.  The week that submissions are due, I start putting my ideas on paper.

My Alphabet Soup quilt was designed for the category "What's Your Type?" about using type as a central design element.  One night over family dinner I sketched out my ideas and where I was getting stuck.  Aria suggested suddenly, "Why don't you make an alphabet quilt for Liam!" And, so I did.  Here's the description I gave in my submission to Stitch:

The Modern Alphabet Quilt – A twin bed quilt, easily customized for girl or boy. The first letter of the child's name features prominently, on a large striped patch. 

Each small rectangle block holds one letter of the alphabet (26 small blocks total, each 11 x 13”). Letters are appliqued via three different techniques: pinked edges machine applied, straight cut edges (backed with fusible interfacing) satin machine stitch applied and wool felt letters hand stitched with pearl cotton. Letters vary uppercase/lowercase and in positions on blocks as well. 

Use of color – blocks are solids (or almost solids) with print letters. The white patch around the central stripe patch features the owl print (see picture below). A simple striped 5” border frame. Twin quilt measures 65 x 88”.

proposed fabrics

Then followed info on proposed fabrics and this digital mock-up:

Alphabet Soup digital mockup


I submitted 2 other projects for the Fall 2011 issue, both of which I liked better than the alphabet quilt.  But, lo and behold they liked this one.  When I heard the news, I was thrilled!  And, then I was worried... because I actually had to make it.

Step 2:  The Making

Two concerns immediately emerged:  1.  Can I finish this quilt in time (a little less than a month and I need to order supplies) and 2.  Will my work be up to par?  Complicating the first question was another unknown - how long would it take me to write project directions to Stitch Magazine's standards?  As you can imagine, I lost no time sourcing supplies!  And, you know what, the supplies alone cost over $90.  Since projects go for between $200 - $500 with Stitch Magazine, depending on project size, that $90 is a considerable chunk of the pay!

fused applique letters

Fortunately, Alphabet Soup is a fairly simple quilt to make.  Most of the work comes with creating and attaching the applique letters.  Since I used different techniques to give the quilt more character (felt letters, pinked edges, satin stitch edges) there were several sets of directions to write.  So as to keep on top of this long project, I typed up directions as I went.

felt letters

The first time around I forgot to prewash the felt, so all the felt letter blocks had to be redone!

Alphabet Soup preview

When I got to this point, I sent photos to my contact at Stitch to make sure that things were progressing as expected.  And she liked it - yeah!!!  This finally quelled that small, but constant worry that they weren't going to like it afterall... 

personalized for Liam

Alphabet Soup preview


Everything went together pretty smoothly, until finally it. was. done.  If you were reading Stitched in Color in February, you may remember my complaining about a very large quilt that was taking up all my time?  This would be it.  No matter how simple, twin quilts are twin quilts.

Step 3:  Waiting

Once I mailed in my quilt, templates and digital directions, what lay before me was a whole lot of waiting.  Waiting to see if they would find fault with my work.  Waiting to find out if my directions made any sense.  Waiting to discover how they would photograph my baby.  Waiting to see myself actually in print.  Waiting to get paid.

Because, you don't get paid until the magazine is published!  In this case, 5 months after I sent in the quilt my project was returned, along with a check and several copies of the Fall issue.  In the meantime I had accepted that my quilt must be "good enough" because I was never contacted with any concerns about it or any points of clarification about my directions.  This time contributor copies of the magazine were "late", so I got my package almost a month after my friends started getting the magazine.  That last month of waiting was definitely the hardest part!

And so that's my story - my "behind the scenes" with Stitch Magazine.  In no way should any of it be seen as a criticism.  I am very happy with my experience and do hope to contribute to Stitch Magazine again.  I included nitty gritty details to give you a fuller picture of what it's like.  By far, the biggest drawback was not getting to share the process with you in real time!  But, in the end, I did get a check which went right into the savings account for when "no other job" reality hits next year.  I hope I'll be ready!

57 comments:

  1. How wonderful!! Congrats -- it turned out wonderfully!

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing all of the details of your experience. I've always wondered how the whole process works, and your explanations were great. Congratulations on having this experience behind you (and good luck with future submissions)!

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  3. Congratulations! It is a terrific quilt and I really appreciate your sharing the submission/completion process.

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  4. Congrats! Thanks for giving a peak into how to get published!

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  5. Congrats on the quilt! And thanks for being so transparent on your experience with the process of submitting ... I think this is something we need to see much more of in the community in general! ;]

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  6. Congratulations! How amazing it must feel to be published!

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  7. congratulations, rachel! i adore your quit and, as always, am totally in awe of your tenacity!

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  8. Congratulations. That is really great. Your first published pattern. Could not have happened to a better person.

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  9. LOVE this quilt! Great job! And congratulations! :)

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  10. A good job, a lovely quilt.

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  11. I really you posting about your experience, Rachel! And congratulations! That is so very exciting, and I'm sure the first of many published designs!

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  12. That was a great "behind-the-scenes" account for the whole process of being published in a magazine. Thank you so much for taking the time to describe it in such detail. I have submitted a project to Stitch in the past. It was not accepted, but I fully intend on keeping at it. :) Thanks again for sharing!

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  13. Congratulations! I saw this in some other article recently, and you know what? I had assumed you were a regular contributor to Stitched! Now you probably will be :)

    Thanks for giving such a great summary of doing a magazine submission.

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  14. Congrats and how exciting!!! I need to find a copy asap!

    They photographed it beautifully, too! WOW!!!

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  15. Your quilt is jaw-dropping gorgeous and a huge congrats! I don't think most of us realize the time and effort that goes into magazine submissions...thanks for sharing!!

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  16. Yay! It looks wonderful Rachel! Congratulations!

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  17. It's a very cute quilt! Thanks for the behind-the-scenes. It's not something that most people talk about when they get published, and I'm not sure why!

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  18. p.s. I just saw this! http://craftgossip.com/blog/rachel-has-quilt-published-in-stitch/2011/08/23/

    More excitement!!!

    x
    Maureen

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  19. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    The quilt was DEFINITELY worthy of publishing! So glad I found your blog. It is very inspiring!

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  20. Congrats! Your quilt idea is really cute.

    And thank you for sharing your publishing experience. I've always wanted to be published myself but I can never dream up a quilt that would be easily explained to others in a pattern. Doh! :)

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  21. Wow, that is awesome! Congratulations! thanks for sharing the process, I always wondered how that worked. I doubt I could ever do it though, I just hate deadlines!
    May I ask what software you use for your digital mockups? I've been thinking about getting EQ7 but it's so pricey!

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  22. That is a darling quilt!! Love it! Congrats on being published - I bet that feels nice.

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  23. Rachel, Congratulations! This is such a neat idea for a quilt, it's awesome to see it in print! I'm so glad you were able to share it on your blog finally! It must be frustrating sewing something you can't share at the time. I really appreciate hearing about the process, too-- that always seems like such a mystery, and so few people open up about it. I hope you're basking in your publishing success!

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  24. Congrats on the publication! Cute quilt and such a neat idea. Can you go a little into how you made the mock-up? Do you use a special program?

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  25. Congrats!! What an honor, I couldn't imagine waiting, I hate waiting for freebies that I sigh up for on places like Downy and such, LOL. And of course why shouldn't you be featured?? You rock!

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  26. Congratulations on having your fab quilt published! How very exciting it must be... despite the long wait!

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  27. I never knew how much went into the submission process. It was really interesting to read about. Your quilt looks fantastic and they photographed it beautifully!

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  28. Cool! Those are nearly the exact same colors in my magazine quilt! They look fabulous! Liam must love it! : ) ~Monika

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  29. Congratulations!! What a GREAT quilt!

    LeAnn

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  30. Congratulations!! What a GREAT quilt! I like that it's a "boy" quilt without too many "little boy" prints---it's a quilt that Liam will love for years.

    LeAnn

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  31. How fabulous for you! Well done!

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  32. I love this!! Congrats!!!! Now I have to pick up a copy so I can make one! :)

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  33. I think this is fantastic! Thanks for a look into the creative process, too, by the way! This quilt is super unique! I love it! And congratulations on being published!

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  34. Rachel, thanks so much for sharing this - very informative! And congratulations!

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  35. Congratulations, Rachel! It's a wonderful quilt!! And I really appreciate your info on the submission process. I've always wondered how you get a quilt in a magazine! Great post!!

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  36. I did notice this awesome quilt! I am tempted to give it a whirl, but maybe on a smaller scale, such as an initial pillow. It seems like I am always crunched for time. Congrats on being published! Great job!

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  37. I saw this in my email today...wahoo for you! I'm so happy your work is being recognized in this way. Great job.

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  38. I love, love, love that you are sharing your experience with your submissions so honestly. Thank you for taking the time to post this. Now I know I was not alone lol. I especially love that you got worried that you would actually have to make your project! That's exactly I feel too. And waiting! Yes, it's a long time and lots of thoughts go around in the head.
    Rachel, I can't believe this is your first time being published! This quilt is so amazing, like it's from a nice modern quilt book! I love the originality, the fall colors, and how some alphabets pop up while others recede. It really shows your true creativity! Can't wait to see more of your creations in the mag!!!

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  39. Congratulations, Rachel, this looks absolutely fabulous!!!

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  40. Congratulations, Rachel!!! This quilt is wonderful!

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  41. Wow, I love your quilt, it's so beautiful (and creative!)! Great job on the magazine, and thanks for sharing the process!!

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  42. Wow thanks so much for sharing your experience so honestly with so many details!
    I was actually wondering about how that whole process worked this week so it's good to know another's process!

    :)
    Kat xx

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  43. and whoops - the quilt is really great btw :)
    LOL...

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  44. congrats on a super fun quilt and for getting published!

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  45. Congrats! I loved this post -- I think a lot of us daydream about getting published, so it was really cool to hear the inside scoop of what it's like! Great job, and I can't wait to see your upcoming piece as well.

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  46. that's so great!, congratulations. And of course another wonderful quilt. And tutorial. thanks.

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  47. Thanks for this post! Makes the whole "submitting a project to a magazine" thing seem simpler. Ok, maybe not simpler, but I know what I could expect! BTW, that quilt is SO great!

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  48. This was such an interesting and different post. Thanks for sharing and congrats!

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  49. It was really neat hearing the in's and outs of this. I really liked this quilt and thought it was a great idea. I love the colors you choose as well.

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  50. Just realized that thinking, "Wow, congrats on being published" isn't the same as actually typing it. Ha ha ha. Congratulations, Rachel, this is really cool.

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  51. Congratulations! Reading about the realities of the process, your worries, your doubts, your rewards, both personal and financial... thanks so much for sharing!! And I love the quilt!! I hope my next grandchild is a boy because I would love to use these colors and a similar design to make a quilt for him!!

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  52. Oh I missed this. So happy (and proud) you went for it!

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  53. Oh goodness! I'm way late in congratulating you! This is a wonderful project and such a fantastic post! I've always wondered about the project submission process. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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  54. Thanks for sharing about the submission process!

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