Monday, February 28, 2011
ReSew - interview & book giveaway!
I have been following Jenny's blog, The Wildcards, for a little while now, partly because she's such an entertaining blog writer, partly because her kids are so darn funny& cute, but also because of our shared love of reusing thrifted materials. When she contacted me to let know she wrote a book, and to ask if I would do a giveaway, my answer was, an enthusiastic "yes!". She sent me 2 copies, one for me (yay!), and one to give away to one of you, my fabulous recyclist readers! First though, is the first Q & A interview i've ever done, with the author of Resew, Jenny Wilding Cardon:
What was your first project ever using recycled wool?
I’m pretty sure it was this one. I turned this sweater:
into this purse:
I made the purse several years ago, when people (like me!) were just starting to “get” all the fun there was to be had with recycled wool. Fray-free, sturdy, strong, warm, wooly—awesome! I changed up a few details—mainly the handle—to make a new version of the purse for ReSew, here:
Now that I think about it, I may have tried to make diaper covers before I made this purse—my husband and I cloth diapered both of our boys—but this was my first successful project! It was the beginning of a journey that I do believe I will be continuing indefinitely.
What is your favorite thing to make with recycled wool?
Well, what I like best about it is that you can make so many things with it; I think I have a lifetime’s worth of ideas for it! I’ve experimented a lot, which for me means I’ve had plenty of failed designs. But what’s super about felted wool is that you can repurpose it after you’ve already repurposed it, you know? I’ve saved even the tiniest of scraps of felted wool from a multitude of projects because it can almost always be used for something new.
What else do you like to make from recycled wool?
One of my latest experiments has been to make small baskets with felted wool, like this one:
I used two different sweaters (just bits of them, really) to make it, and it’s all hand sewn. I put pieces of cardboard in between the layers to give it a nice, firm form. I’m surprised at how functional it is—right now it’s on one of my sewing tables, being used to hold pens and scissors. Not bad for an experiment of mine!
I don't plan to write any books in the near future, but some of my readers might be toying with the idea, or might be curious about the subject. How does one go about publishing a book?
Kris, you should totally toy with the idea. :) There are a lot of different ways to get there. My situation is a bit unique, because before I published my first book, I worked for my publisher as their copywriter for ten years. I timidly submitted a proposal to them for The Little Box of Baby Quilts after I had left the company to become a stay-at-home mom. My husband encouraged me to submit my ideas. I gathered up my sketched designs, sewn quilts and quilt blocks, fabric swatches, my own written pattern directions and illustrations, and a kind of “essay” about the book I envisioned. Then I waited. And waited. And waited! Finally, I got the green light. It was exciting and terrifying at the same time. I made 20 quilts in nine months. Just like having a baby! The second time around, I was approached by the same company to write ReSew. They had seen all the refashioning I had been doing on my blog and wanted to know if I would like to put together a book about the subject. Since thrifting and sewing are my two diehard passions, it took me about three seconds to say yes. And then it was exciting and terrifying all over again! But I am so very proud of how the book turned out. The editorial team at Martingale & Company is so very cool. Smart, innovative, ready to listen as needed—ready to hand-hold as needed!—and receptive to author ideas.
I’ve been extremely lucky to know people in the industry who helped me and encouraged me to develop my ideas. But from my years in publishing, I know that there are plenty more designers who were “strangers” to the industry, and they submitted proposals that were happily accepted. In the end, it’s all about the strength of your work and the overarching idea for your book. If you are interested in pursuing your dream of writing a book, I suggest visiting the websites of publishers whose books you love, finding specific information on how they would like you to submit a proposal, and then by golly, go for it!
How long did it take you to write your book?
I started writing ReSew in August 2009 and sent my final manuscript to the publisher in March 2010. I also drew the illustrations you see in the book—over 300 of them—so that took quite a bit of time! Then there were lots of important questions to answer about my step-by-step directions from the technical editor. There were proofs from the publisher to look at and agonize over, and lots of tweaks, adjustments and corrections to be made. There was a break while the book was being printed. And now, I’ve just started the monumental task of getting the word out about the book so people might buy it! So, yeah… I guess from August 2009 until today. And I still have a way to go.
What was the hardest part?
The hardest part was the time I had to spend away from my two boys and my husband to get the book completed on time. They were so helpful and supportive though—my oldest son, Jack, who is six, had such a “go get ‘em, mama!” attitude about it. It made me all the more confident that I had made the right choice in saying yes to the adventure.
What do you get excited to find in the thrift stores?
I get excited just GOING to the thrift store! You never know what you are going to find. Sometimes you hit the jackpot and come home with a carload of what you wanted, needed, or never knew you needed; sometimes you find one special little thing; and sometimes you go home empty-handed. I just get excited about the possibilities that abound when I walk through the front door.
When you find things in a fabric you like at the thrift store, do you immediately know what you want to do with it, or do you bring it home & add it to your stash to await inspiration?
Both! Sometimes I see an item—a shirt, a skirt, a dress—and I immediately envision how I can remake it into something I would love to wear. Other times, particularly with linens and other fabric items that aren’t clothing, I just go with my gut. If I like the pattern, the colors, the yardage, and the quality, I buy it. I have several baskets in my sewing room containing those kinds of items. Then, when I have an idea for something to make, I look through the baskets to see if I have something I can work with. If yes, great. If no? Then it’s off to the thrift store again!
Have you always known how to sew?
No. I did take one sewing class in junior high with my mom, though, and that was enough to familiarize me with a sewing machine. I started experimenting with sewing more in high school, just teaching myself through trial and error. I stopped sewing completely in college. But when you land a job working for the world’s largest quilt-book publisher right out of college, and 50 of your new coworkers are avid sewists, you’d better get back on the wagon! I learned more intermediate sewing skills during that time. I don’t consider myself a beginner anymore, but I’m certainly not advanced. I’m right in the middle, I think. I never like my techniques to get too fancy. I like the idea of sharing a design with others, and that means making it simple enough for a wide range of skill levels.
I know your son Charlie is probably too young, but does Jack think it’s cool what you do?
Ha ha, I wish! You know how your parents had something a little quirky about them, or there was something different about your family, but you just thought that it was average family stuff until you were a grown-up? Like for me—I come from family where four family members are deaf or hearing-impaired. Did I see that as different or unusual growing up? Nope. Just your typical family. I think that’s what Jack thinks about my avid sewing, my avid thrifting, and these two books of mine. Just another day in the life of Jack. Although he does try to take advantage of it by asking me to sew just about anything and everything under the sun!
What was your favorite thrift store find ever?
Oh boy, that is a hard question to answer! I thrift often; I find great stuff all the time. I have so many favorites, it’s hard to decide. If it’s quirky and unique and has a personality all its own, I’ll take it home. I guess I just love finding the beauty in the broken. Taking something that someone else has tossed aside, brushing it off, and giving it a new meaning, a new purpose. So I guess the greatest thrift-store find for me is the thrift-store itself. It gives me the chance to bring things back to life. Thank you, Kris, for being such a gracious host on the ReSew blog tour! I so enjoy your blog—from Tutorial Tuesday to Sweater Sunday, I always look forward to learning what you’ve been up to with wool. Thank you for continuing to share your creativity on your blog, and cheers to you for doing what you do! Good luck with the giveaway, everyone!
Isn't Jenny fun?! Her book is too! To learn more about her book, check out her Youtube video, or get sneak peeks at some of the pages on Amazon! Ready for the giveaway? One lucky winner will get a brand new copy of Resew, signed by Jenny herself!
Ways to enter:
* Follow my blog, and if you already do just say so.
* Follow Jenny's blog, The Wildcards, and if you already do, just say so.
* Blog about this giveaway & link to it.
Make sure to leave a separate comment for each of the entries you complete!
Deadline: midnight cst on Friday, March 4th. I will use random.org to pick the winner the following morning (March 5th). **please leave an email if your blogger profile does not include it. I need a way to contact you.** Once a winner is drawn I will contact them and the winner will have 48 hours to reply back before I draw a new winner.