Writing an e-Book

Writing an e-book is no easy task!

Writing an e-book is a job! I tend to think like a mind-map, all over the place, and in a circular way that makes it hard for anyone else to follow. It takes a long time to develop the content, writing it all in a way that is linear and makes sense to others.

mind map photo
Photo by zipckr

Building the content into something legible is only one part of the job. Then, you have to grapple with the photos, something I spent all day yesterday trying to figure out!

People read e-books in a variety of formats: ePub, pdf, rtf, lrf, mobi, and text. They appear on a range of devices–on generic tablets, Kindles and iPads, directly online on your laptop or desktop computer–even on smartphones!

Photos and text both, not to mention hyperlinks, all behave differently in the different formats and on different devices. One document has to serve them all. What a mess!

For an author who wants only to write and convey a message, e-book indie publishing proves a real quagmire!

Anyway, today I uploaded yet another proof of my new e-book, Bind Quilts by Machine to Smashwords, my truly wonderful and so easy-to-manage indie publisher. I checked all the versions it will appear as, and there are only a few small tweaks remaining:

  • Pngs do not work in some formats, showing an ugly black background. I’ll have to change a few of those!

Bind Quilts by Machine, e-book from Smashwords

  • Then, I used a couple of different versions of one quilt that show color in a variable way, so I have to make those consistent.

Bind Quilts by Machine, e-book from Smashwords

  • Finally, I need to add text for all hyperlinks because hotlinks don’t work in some formats. Cumbersome, but necessary!

QuiltEd Online http://quiltedonline.com

After fixing all these little things, the e-book Bind Quilts by Machine will be ready for release, and that’s going to happen well before my deadline of July 18!

As soon I as make these corrections, I can authorize release of Bind Quilts by Machine!

I will release the e-book as soon as I upload the final, corrected version. Time is running out–if you want to take advantage of the chance to pre-order the e-book with a hefty discount!

Now, for those of you who have not yet pre-ordered your copy of Bind Quilts by Machine:

  • Pre-order now and get the e-book for the DISCOUNT price of $9.99, about 23% off the full retail price of $12.99!
  • The e-book includes a FREE PATTERN and links to other patterns illustrated in the e-book!
  • There’s an UPGRADE option in the e-book, so you can join the online quilt class in progress for only $7.00 more. You receive full credit for the retail price of the e-book against the class fee!
  • If you pre-order now for $9.99 and later upgrade to the online quilt class for $7.00, you receive both for a total of $16.99, a DISCOUNT of 15% off the $19.99 class fee alone!!

So, how’s that? Have I got a deal for you?!

Pre-order the e-book Bind Quilts by Machine from Kobo, Barnes&Noble, or AppleQUICK!

Bind Quilts by Machine e-Book

With great embarrassment and many apologies, I had to announce that my new e-book, Bind Quilts by Machine, was not yet ready for pre-order.

But guess what?!

It IS available for pre-order now!

Find Bind Quilts by Machine, the e-book, at Barnes and NobleKobo and Apple.

Go to any of these e-book retailers and place a pre-order for the book now at the discounted price of only $9.99. The e-book is to be released on July 18, when your credit card is charged and you receive notice that you can download the e-book. Upon its release, the cost of the e-book goes up to $12.99, so act now to reserve the lower price!

Want to know more?

For far too long, I’ve been doling out these important tips and techniques in little bits and spurts. Not so any more!

When I figured out how to sew double-fold quilt bindings entirely by machine, I knew the time had come to pull all my information and photos together into one resource–an e-book. This way, EVERYONE will have access to this important information!

Hands hurt? Find it hard to hold a hand-sewing needle? Just to busy to bother? Prefer, as I do, spending valuable quilting time putting patchwork together or quilting it rather than finishing off hand-sewn bindings? Well, now you need never hand-sew a quilt binding again!

Take the drudgery out of finishing your quilts with the knowledge and insights you find in Bind Quilts by Machine. The e-book includes fully illustrated, step by step instructions for how to sew by machine:

  • Fuss-Free Single-Fold Quilt Binding by Machine
  • Seamless Quilt Binding by Machine
  • Double-Fold Quilt Binding by Machine
  • Perfect Piping
  • Mock quilt bindings
  • Bagging a quilt
  • Facing a quilt
  • Machine-sewn raw edge finishes for quilts

But wait! Bind Quilts by Machine is also useful for those of you who LOVE doing the hand sewing to finish a binding!

The same principles apply–just sew all your bindings on the face of the quilt, rather than on the back. Learn the easiest way to make beautifully mitered corners and an indistinguishable final join, how to apply and close double-fold binding with a neater final join, as well as all the other great ideas in Bind Quilts by Machine.

Published by highly reputable and popular Smashwords, Bind Quilts by Machine, the e-book, comes in a format to suit any reader.

Download it for your computer as a pdf, then for your iPad or other tablet as an ePub file, and put it on your Kindle or your mobile phone! You can have it in as many formats as you like, and download it as often as you please!

Eventually, the book will be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and many other online book retail shops. Right now, it’s only available here (see the sidebar!) and at Smashwords. But here’s the best part!

Bind Quilts by Machine is available now for “pre-order” at a 25% reduced price of only $9.99!

Place your pre-order for free today. When Bind Quilts by Machine is released on July 18, you will be charged only $9.99 and you will receive notification that you can download the e-book at that price. If you wait to buy the book until July 19, the full retail price of $12.99 will be charged.

Check it out at Barnes and NobleKobo and Apple. You can download FOR FREE the first 15% of the book as a sample, just to get a taste of what it offers!

What’s that you say? An e-book is not a real book?

You can’t smell it and fondle it? So what? Are you going to read a book like this for the sensual experience? Or for the top quality technical information you can gain from it?

Bind Quilts by Machine is an e-book, not a hard copy book, because I cannot publish and sell hard copy books from Kenya. Why, the mere cost of shipping is prohibitive, not to mention the storage hazards of potential fire, flood and tropical termites!

Bind Quilts by Machine is the kind of book you read in order to learn some technical information. Once you’ve learned how to finish your quilts by machine, you won’t have any use for a hard copy book. You also won’t have to waste valuable storage space to keep that hard copy book. Owning Bind Quilts by Machine means you will never lose your book because you can download a fresh copy at any time. You OWN it!

And, it never gets dirty!!

You can’t spoil an e-book by spilling coffee on it or dropping it in the mud. I don’t advise these actions for your devices either, but you know exactly what I mean. What you can do is highlight sections you find important and want to revisit later. You can make notes about what you think as you read the e-book. And, you can conveniently bookmark your place!

So, come on–place your pre-order now! Get in on this great deal to gain not only super information about how to finish your quilts entirely by machine, but also to take advantage of the 25% price reduction that is only good until July 18.

Oh, and here’s a tip for you: You can find patterns for a couple of the quilts shown in Bind Quilts by Machine. Keep watching that page–more patterns are coming!!

Bind Quilts by Machine–eBOOK!

Woah! I just published my first quilting e-book–Bind Quilts by Machine!

For far too long, I’ve been doling out these important tips and techniques in little bits and spurts. Not so any more!

When I figured out how to sew double-fold quilt bindings entirely by machine, I knew the time had come to pull all my information and photos together into one resource–an e-book. This way, EVERYONE will have access to this important information!

Hands hurt? Find it hard to hold a hand-sewing needle? Just to busy to bother? Prefer, as I do, spending valuable quilting time putting patchwork together or quilting it rather than finishing off hand-sewn bindings? Well, now you need never hand-sew a quilt binding again!

Take the drudgery out of finishing your quilts with the knowledge and insights you find in Bind Quilts by Machine. The e-book includes fully illustrated, step by step instructions for how to sew by machine:

  • Fuss-Free Single-Fold Quilt Binding by Machine
  • Seamless Quilt Binding by Machine
  • Double-Fold Quilt Binding by Machine
  • Perfect Piping
  • Mock quilt bindings
  • Bagging a quilt
  • Facing a quilt
  • Machine-sewn raw edge finishes for quilts

But wait! Bind Quilts by Machine is also useful for those of you who LOVE doing the hand sewing to finish a binding!

The same principles apply–just sew all your bindings on the face of the quilt, rather than on the back. Learn the easiest way to make beautifully mitered corners and an indistinguishable final join, how to apply and close double-fold binding with a neater final join, as well as all the other great ideas in Bind Quilts by Machine.

Published by highly reputable and popular Smashwords, Bind Quilts by Machine, the e-book, comes in a format to suit any reader.

Download it for your computer as a pdf, then for your iPad or other tablet as an ePub file, and put it on your Kindle or your mobile phone! You can have it in as many formats as you like, and download it as often as you please!

Eventually, the book will be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and many other online book retail shops. Right now, it’s only available here (see the sidebar!) and at Smashwords. But here’s the best part!

Bind Quilts by Machine is available now for “pre-order” at a 25% reduced price of only $9.99!

Place your pre-order for free today. When Bind Quilts by Machine is released on July 18, you will be charged only $9.99 and you will receive notification that you can download the e-book at that price. If you wait to buy the book until July 19, the full retail price of $12.99 will be charged.

Check it out at Smashwords. You can download FOR FREE the first 15% of the book as a sample, just to get a taste of what it offers!

What’s that you say? An e-book is not a real book?

You can’t smell it and fondle it? So what? Are you going to read a book like this for the sensual experience? Or for the top quality technical information you can gain from it?

Bind Quilts by Machine is an e-book, not a hard copy book, because I cannot publish and sell hard copy books from Kenya. Why, the mere cost of shipping is prohibitive, not to mention the storage hazards of potential fire, flood and tropical termites!

Bind Quilts by Machine is the kind of book you read in order to learn some technical information. Once you’ve learned how to finish your quilts by machine, you won’t have any use for a hard copy book. You also won’t have to waste valuable storage space to keep that hard copy book. Owning Bind Quilts by Machine means you will never lose your book because you can download a fresh copy at any time. You OWN it!

And, it never gets dirty!!

You can’t spoil an e-book by spilling coffee on it or dropping it in the mud. I don’t advise these actions for your devices either, but you know exactly what I mean. What you can do is highlight sections you find important and want to revisit later. You can make notes about what you think as you read the e-book. And, you can conveniently bookmark your place!

So, come on–place your pre-order now! Get in on this great deal to gain not only super information about how to finish your quilts entirely by machine, but also to take advantage of the 25% price reduction that is only good until July 18.

Just click “Yes, I want a copy of Bind Quilts by Machine!

Oh, and here’s a tip for you: You can find patterns for a couple of the quilts shown in Bind Quilts by Machine. Keep watching that page–more patterns are coming!!

Time-Saving for Quilters, Part 8

When you enter your studio, spend a minimal amount of time preparing to work. Starting with a clean, tidy and well-organized workplace, this action should take only a few minutes. The entire process takes me five minutes or less. Likewise, cleaning up at the end of the work session is quick and easy because I continuously tidy up as I work. Cleaning up, then, is merely the reverse of preparing a studio for work.

So, how do I do it? Easy!

First, here’s what you know about my studio:

  • A cutting table is covered with a sheet to keep it relatively clean. Under the sheet lie clean cutting mats and rulers.

 

P1110284

 

  • The table has two shallow drawers. One contains my cutting tools, and the other holds rolls of paper and some fusing agents. Under the table are a padded stool and two plastic drawer storage units holding materials and any work in progress.

 

P1110387

 

  • One sewing machine has a hard plastic cover that drops over it. The other one (left below with Ügli the cat resting on it) has a cardboard box that serves the same purpose, helping to keep the machine relatively clean and protected from dust as well as the cats. A serger sits out in the open (right) with a cardboard box over it. I don’t like the appearance of the boxes, but the cats pull any quilted or plastic covers off my machines and sleep on them. Covering the machines with boxes is something new for me, so if it does not work I must find another way to cover them. If it does work, I must find a way to make them more attractive to me without making them more appealing to the cats! Wrapping them with fabric is not an option; perhaps I might paint them . . .

 

Time-Saving for Quilters

 

  • The serger table doubles as a small ironing board sufficient for piecing. A padded board (center above with spray bottle on top) lies on the higher level table. This improvised ironing board flips over and is covered at night with a couple of quilted cat beds to keep it clean and protected. The iron sits on the floor beside the table when not in use. This position doubles as a signal that I have switched off the electricity to the iron.

 

P1110289

 

  • A single power strip fuels all the appliances. That’s Kenya for you–the room has only two electrical outlets, one on the wall near the serger and the other to the right of the cutting table. This power strip holds each appliance cable with its own on/off switch. I use the switch to control the iron because it is quicker to flip that switch than to pick up the iron and wind the little dial. Using the switch also means the iron always heats to the same safe temperature unless I make a deliberate change in the setting.
  • The sewing table, a desk with storage from both sides, holds two sewing machines and a swivel, goose-neck lamp. Left side drawers in the sewing desk hold threads, arranged by type and color. On the right side, drawers hold all small tools and notions I use most frequently. The cats like the boxy feeling of the storage cupboards on the other side of the desk, so I keep those free of my things and with the doors slightly ajar. I can share my space!

 

P1110288

 

  • My design wall covers two cupboard doors, so before I put work onto the wall, I must remove materials, tools and supplies I need from the cupboard. At the end of the session, the work in progress comes down for storage flat in another room, or if it is still in small pieces, into the drawer unit under the cutting table. A second design wall, much larger, is made from a sheet as a roll-up shade, great for leaving work on the wall where the cats cannot reach it! When I want to work on the piece it contains, I simply release the roll and let it fall. All pins holding fabric to it run parallel to the floor so none stick out of the work when it is rolled up.

 

P1110276

 

  • An old specimen cupboard, two columns of eight small drawers, holds all small notions, beads, c-clamps and other such paraphernalia – things I use less frequently. Notice the labels to tell me what is in each drawer!

 

P1110391

 

  • Supplies for surface design are stored on a bookshelf seldom bothered by the cats. Another shelf unit holds quilt and sewing books and magazines.

 

P1110274

 

The room looks pretty bleak, nothing like the colorful and tastefully decorated studios we see in magazines and online, and nothing at all like the way it looked a few years ago, with jars, baskets, plastic boxes and tools scattered all over!

 

g3207

 

Nevertheless, my studio is now extremely efficient. Its minimalist style gives me plenty of space for working with everything I need at my fingertips. When I enter my studio, I know exactly what I’m going to do, what work I expect to accomplish. There is nothing to distract me or to impede my progress.

Upon entering the studio, I roll back the sheet on the cutting table. I remove the work in progress from the drawers underneath the table, and lay it to one side on the table, along with any fabric scraps I may still need. The open tablet and pen are there because as the work progresses, I take notes for use later for my online art quilt classes at QuiltEd Online.

 

P1110325

 

I open one table drawer and remove my cutting tools and a box of pins. I’m ready, then, to cut and pin. Then I turn to the electricity outlet and switch on the power. With a surge protector, it is a couple of minutes before the electricity reaches the power strip. While waiting for the electricity, I uncover and flip the make-shift ironing board and pick up the iron from the floor, throwing the power switch for that only as and when I need to iron.

I uncover the sewing machine I intend to use. I pull out the sewing table for my Bernina QE 440, and attach it and the presser foot knee lift. The machine is clean and oiled, threaded and ready for use. I connect the power cable and foot pedal, disconnected at last usage to reduce risk of having cats pull the machine off the table.

I hit the three switches (wall, power strip and machine) that control power to the sewing machine, the lamp and the transformer used with another sewing machine and the serger. I pull the accessories box off the back of the Bernina and set it up to the right of the machine.

I open the drawer immediately below that, and pull out quilting gloves, a pin box, thread snips and any thread I may have been using that is not already on the machine. Bingo! I sit down and go to work!

To shut down when I’m finished, I first clean and oil, if necessary, the machine I’ve been using. Then, I reverse the entire process: shut down the machine, put table, knee lift and foot pedal into a desk drawer, and replace the accessories box to the back of the machine before covering it with the cardboard box. I disconnect cables and switch off electricity. I put away all tools and materials on my cutting table, and cover the table. I quickly sweep the floor, and empty the trash as I leave the room.

In effect, I am in full control of the work process from start to finish, whether I have thirty minutes or three hours!

To recap, here’s what you can and should do to save time for quilting:

  • Tell everyone in your household you are about to enter your studio, no matter how humble it may be, and that you appreciate very much not being distracted while you work.
  • Set any mobile phone for silent running.
  • Enter your studio, where everything is clean, ready for work and stored well out of sight until you need it.
  • Find what you need quickly and easily with the help of storage labels and a studio inventory.
  • Know what you intend to do, how you intend to do it, and how much time you have available for each studio session.
  • Enter the studio with mindful purpose, quickly retrieve whatever project materials, tools and notions you need for the immediate tasks only, and set the studio for action in fewer than five minutes. Then get to work!
  • While working, keep your movements calm and gentle. Keep the space where you work clean and tidy, putting away each tool immediately you finish working with it. If things start to get out of hand, take time out for a Two-Minute Tidy-Up, and return all non-essential tools and materials to storage.
  • When finished, put all materials and small tools away, switch off and protect all electrical equipment, and quickly clean up the space.

The quilting work process is streamlined from beginning to end. The focus is on getting to work as quickly as possible, working smoothly and without interruption for the time available, then closing everything down and putting everything away to make the next studio session even more efficient than the previous one!

As you can see, it may take some time and some serious effort on your part to achieve maximum efficiency in your quilting. It is, however, worthwhile if you truly want to save time and make more time for quilting–and for doing other things, too!

If you like what you have learned in this series of articles, and you want to try my time-saving techniques for studio management, be gentle but persistent with yourself. Do not expect too much, too soon. It took me about a year to work out the storage and systems I now depend on for maximum efficiency.

Do, instead, whatever you can comfortably manage. If all you can do is to clean out one drawer, reorganize its contents and affix a label, do only that much. Be ever mindful of all the small ways in which you waste time while quilting, and make a conscious effort to use that time more wisely. Little by little, establish your own ways of working to increase efficiency, gaining more time for quilting by using the time you have in a better and more productive way.

 


Time-Saving for Quilters is an 8-part series of blog posts, reprinted here with full permission, similar to the kind of instruction students receive at QuiltEd Online in all of our online art quilt classes. Read the entire series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7.

Subscribe to QuiltEd Online News to receive notifications of other useful quilt blog posts. Next up? Money-Saving for Quilters!

Time-Saving for Quilters, Part 6

Work with a Sense of Purpose

Not all studio time is spent making a quilt. Sometimes, we need to refresh our perspective on the craft, to find new sources of inspiration, or perhaps experiment with a new technique. Whatever you intend to do in your studio, whether it is quilt-making or any of the many peripheral activities that we need as artists, do it with a sense of purpose.

If you feel blocked, or simply want some time to play around with materials and ideas, do that. Set aside time to relax in your studio, become refreshed and inspired to tackle the next project. If you are relaxing, take it easy and enjoy it. If you are working, get on with the work. Try never to mix the two!

 

Push the Machine

Then, when you’re working, push for speed without sacrificing quality.

Increase the speed of the sewing machine. Learn to push the foot pedal all the way down. Shift any gearing mechanism to high speed. Sew as fast as you can while still maintaining control over the work. Push yourself just a little every time you sew. With practice, the speed will come without sacrificing quality.

Work with more than one bobbin loaded with the correct thread at a time. If you have two bobbins ready to use, you cut time spent shifting and filling bobbins almost in half. Leave an empty bobbin on the bobbin winder at all times, if possible, quick and easy to find when you need one!

All those special features on your sewing machine? Make time to learn how to use them so you never have to learn how to master a mechanical or computer feature when you want to work.

If your sewing machine has a knee lifter for the presser foot, learn to use it. If you have a walking foot but have never put it on your machine, do so and learn how to sew with it.

All special features, feet and stitches on the sewing machine are there to improve the nature, quality and speed with which you work. Use them!

 

Pin Efficiently

Do not use a pincushion. I know – you have one that is just SOOO cute, and you just love it! Well, set your pincushion on a shelf and admire it whenever you like, but don’t use it when you are working.

Dena Dale Crain Pins

I have a pincushion tacked to my design wall, so I don’t have to keep moving about the room reaching for pins while I try to hold a patch or section in place on the wall. Otherwise, I store straight and open safety pins in covered boxes. Add a silicon sachet to prevent rust, like those used for cameras, if you need one.

When ready to pin, tip a few pins out on a table or other work surface. Pick up a pin, put down a pin, quickly and easily, and without fussing about where to stick it into a pincushion. Sticking pins into a pincushion takes more time than sliding them off a table into a small container. Do not pick pins out of a box; you will get stuck–ouch!

Better yet – don’t pin! Apparel manufacturers require factory workers to sew without pinning, even for complicated tasks like setting sleeves. Put some of that pressure on yourself, gaining skill in controlling fabric with your fingers whenever possible. Pin only if you absolutely must do!

Similarly, learn to quilt without marking. Marking quilting patterns is a time-consuming task. If you can possibly quilt without marking a design, do so. If you must mark, seek the fastest ways to do that. I cannot help you with this as I gave up marking quilt tops for quilting many years ago. Discover and follow Leah Day avidly; she is the best!

 

Calm, Quiet Control

As you work, quiet your hands. The stereotypical patchwork quilter lays fabric on a work table, then strokes it to death. Have you ever seen any one of us do that? Are you guilty of it yourself?

How much time do you suppose you might waste stroking fabrics? Instead, develop self-awareness about all the wasted motions of your hands, not to mention feet, in the studio. Less movement means less wasted time.

 

Be Ready for Anything

Do you live in an area plagued by power outages? You sit down behind a sewing machine, eager to piece or quilt, and the power fails? At ALL times, have a hand-sewing project set aside for such moments. Whether the power is off for five minutes or for five hours, use that time productively.

The power fails. You pick up some handwork and get busy. A little time passes, and suddenly the power returns. Should you drop what you are doing and go back to the sewing machine?

Think quickly about the handwork. Continue working on it until you reach a logical stopping point. Then, quickly roll up the work with all its necessary tools (needles, pins, scissors), and set it aside to return to machine sewing. Next time the power fails, the handwork unrolls quickly and includes everything you need to carry on with the work.

Extend your studio. As remarked earlier, being in the studio is a state of mind as much as it is actual habitation of a workspace. Have handwork you can carry with you. Work while traveling by bus, train or plane, or while stuck in traffic, if you can. Work while you wait in an office for an appointment. Do hand sewing any time and place that is comfortable for you, but always do it in such a way that you do not make others uncomfortable.

These are but a few time-saving ideas for how you can make more time for quilting by working thoughtfully and with a sense of purpose. If you pay attention to your work methods, you can no doubt find other actions you can take to work more efficiently and save more time for quilting!

 

 


Time-Saving for Quilters is an 8-lesson series of blog posts, similar to the kind of instruction students receive at QuiltEd Online in all of our online art quilt classes. Read the entire series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and the remaining posts to follow in sequence in coming weeks. Subscribe to QuiltEd Online News to receive notifications of these and other useful quilt blog posts!