Today, we are so excited to feature creative quilter Rebecca Bryan, author of the new book Modern Rainbow: 14 Imaginative Quilts That Play with Color. (Stash Books). Rebecca blogs at Bryan House Quilts.
Thanks for having me! After the initial inspiration to write a book about rainbow quilts, I really had little idea of how exactly one gets a book published. On top of not knowing how to publish a book, I knew it would be a lot of work and take a lot of time. Instead of being discouraged, I just started.
The bulk of the work in a quilting book is the quilts right? So I began by making the quilts I knew I wanted to be in the book. While I was making quilts, I also sketched ideas on graph paper and took notes in my journals. I also researched the whole book publishing process by reading blogs and articles and attending the â€œgetting publishedâ€ lecture at QuiltCon in 2013. Finally, I began learning graphic design programs (TouchDraw for iPad and Illustrator); each sketch taught me at least one new trick. There was a lot to learn!
At the time, this poem really encouraged me:
2) The rainbow quilts in your book are really stunning! Where do you find your design inspiration?
Thanks so much! Iâ€™d say that the quilts are a collection of inspiration over the course of that 6 to 9 month period I described above. Knowing I wanted to create quilts that showed off the glow and radiant goodness of the spectrum, I sketched and sketched while I researched how to submit a book proposal. Some of the designs I started making right away – Rainbow Streak, Rainbow Remix, and Invisible Rainbow. After I had 20 or so designs, I choose what I thought were the 15 best designs for the proposal.
Some of my ideas were for improvisational quilts, some were traditionally inspired, and some I felt were modern. But when I started choosing the top 15 quilt designs, I felt it was necessary to choose a genre. But had I chose one genre, some of my best quilt designs would not have made the cut. I found that to be stressful and wrong. Finally, it dawned on me that I didnâ€™t have to choose one genre and maybe multiple genres could be a strength (or at least a unique aspect) of the book. Then I felt better.
3) With four kids at home, how did you find time to write a book, create and sew?
While I was writing the book, I was able to work only in small bits during the day, and mostly during nap time. Much of the work occurred after bedtime, from 8pm – 2am. So basically I just stayed up until 2 in the morning to meet my weekly deadlines! NO BIG DEAL! <insert slightly crazy giggling> My weekly deadlines were self-imposed and a big part of how I kept myself on track. My goal was to finish a quilt – top and instructions – each week. It was a delirious couple of months!
Now that the kids are a bit older and the big kids are in school, I have more time to work during the day. Of course, Iâ€™m not in book writing mode so things are more balanced. I still try to work only while the littles are napping; in the morning we will hang out and play, or run errands, or go to the gym, etc. And then a couple of nights a week Iâ€™ll spend sewing. Right now, Iâ€™m trying to cap my working hours to 20 hours a week, but that really depends on deadlines.
4) Do you have a favorite quilt in the book? What’s the story behind it?
I have several favorites! I shared about Wavelength, the cover quilt, in the most recent issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting, so I can share about another favorite. Really I have a bunch of favorites – I hope thatâ€™s ok!? As an aside, I remember in art class in high school I couldnâ€™t stand my work.
So let me tell you about Rainbow Streak. Rainbow Streak (pictured above) was one of the first quilts I completed for the book and it was the written project sample I submitted in my proposal. The inspiration comes from the traditional Streak of Lightning quilt pattern; I thought it would be fun if each streak was a rainbow. Using enough fabrics, you can capture a nearly seamless transition from color to color. Thereâ€™s something about that seamless rainbow that makes it just jump off that gray stormy background. Choosing the fabrics for this quilt was fun fun fun. Also, the quilt is unique and a bit challenging, but not overly difficult. So it was fun to make but not a booger to piece. Plus, did you see the binding? Special bindings always add a special touch.
5) What’s next for you?
Apart from the staying up until 2 am, I really enjoyed the whole book writing process so Iâ€™d love to write another book. Iâ€™ve been publishing a few patterns independently, so Iâ€™m working on adding to my pattern business. Also, Iâ€™d like to expand my teaching.
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I need to mark myself some deadlines and use the nap time wisely and no checking social media… if I want to finish all my WIPs
i learned Rebecca would like to write another book (yay!) and teach more
I learned that it’s possible to accomplish something during nap time! Hah!
i learned that it takes losing sleep to achieve all she does-which makes me feel better about how much (or little really) I am able to get done! Loving the blog hop & very excited about the book!
It took a lot of late nights to get the quilts and this book done. I love the colors of the rainbow.
Wow, I’ve learned writing a book can be pretty hardcore – staying up to 2 AM every night sounds so exhausting! The end result is pretty amazing though.
This is the first time I’ve seen Rainbow Streak………the comment about using a lot of fabrics to achieve the smooth transition in color is a helpful tip for me. I really like this design and will probably make one myself. Great binding too.
Rebecca created this amazing book while still having very young children! Wow!
Wow super women ……I learned it takes a lot of discipline and long nite to make a book happen……Ps love all the pictures i bet the book is great ttttttttt
It’s interesting to read about an author’s favorite quilt or the dilemma of choosing a favorite! I’m amazed that anyone with young children can pull off writing a book, and one that appears to be a great one!
I learned that someone else is thrilled by rainbow quilts – all these amazing versions have re-inspired me – and I was needing a little boost! Thanks!
I learned a little about the book-making process. It is interesting to me that you planned ahead and made a proposal. I guess I figured all these bloggers who are writing books were approached by the publisher not the other way around. 🙂 I am amazed at your dedication in getting the book published while balancing that with all your Mom duties. I love the projects from the book that you’ve shared so far. I have trouble picking a favorite also!
I liked what she said about using enough fabrics to capture a nearly seamless transition from color to color. I do love rainbow quilts and would love to win a copy of this book!
Sew when they nap! Very true. My favorite time to sew is when everyone is sleeping in the morning.
I loved the insight into her book making process and how she made it work with being a mom. What a superhero she is! Seriously the whole process inspires me! What courage to put hErself out there and what great success!
i learned that I need to prioritize sewing time because it is a good stress reliever and creative outlet for me.
I found it interesting that the weekly deadlines she was meeting during the book writing process were self imposed. That is a sign of dedication and probably a great example to all of us on how to keep things moving and be able to see progress on a big project. Nice work.
I am so glad to read / learn about how a new writer approached the book writing process. Thank you!
Just love that lightning quilt – it’s good to know it’s not as difficult as it looks! Thanks for the giveaway!
As a mother of 4 kiddos, I love hearing that you, Rebecca, are able to still maintain your love of seeing and quilting. I am newer to the quilting world and try to always have a small project to complete (to maintain my sanity!) I love hearing how you balance your family life and your hobby/talents!! Thank you for being an inspiration! I look forward for reading your book !
Yet another reminder that moms just don’t get any sleep! lol But I love reading how people make it work with kids. Every time I feel like I can’t fit in a sewing project, I like to reflect back on the words of people like Rebecca and remind myself that the minutes are there if you prioritize them! Can’t wait to see more of her quilts : )
reading this interview post, I learned that Rebecca didn’t like her own art work in high school. We are so rough on ourselves, especially in high school! I’ll bet everything she created then was unique and fascinating, just like her quilts today!
Perseverance and patience are certainly virtues that I could see in this interview. What a remarkable artist and quilter. So much talent. I can tell she loves what she is doing!
I learned that you can find inspriation anywhere and make more than 1 kind of quilt
Becca began learning graphic design programs when she decided to write her book. Congratulations on your new book, Becca.
Not so much learned as was reminded of… if you have a dream and really want it, you can make it happen. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win!
Wow, after slogging through all that hard work to do a book, she’d like to do another! Good for her!
Wow! I can see why it was hard to pick a favorite quilt! Great book, I’d be so ticked to win a copy for myself! (& not have to return it to the library!!)
From Rebecca I’d have to say I’ve learned not be dear bold color choices!
Love your self imposed deadlines. It’s tough, but a must for busy moms!!
another book will be written
I learned that Rebecca is a really patient person. With 4 young children, trying to find time to quilt, let alone write a book is miraculous. I am impressed that staying up to 2 am doesn’t faze her…Way to go Rebecca!
I liked the quilt Rainbow Streak like she does.
I like how she balances motherhood with quilting and writing. Thanks!
Another book is in her dreams.
I have learned that it takes a lot of time to be creative and write a book at the same time you have a family and 4 kids to take care of.
I have learned that she is an amazing designer.
I learned that she is a strong, focused person (to be a Mom all day and work until 2 a.m. each night!). Congratulations to her on this beautiful book!
I learned that publishing a book is a lot of work, but can be accomplished by persevering!
I learned that Becca not only has creative quilts, but even the binding is creative.
I never tire seeing rainbows and these quilts! Sketching and writing down ideas ~ you never know what you will come up with! I love pulling out my colored pencils for this!
Wow! There are an awful lot of others in love with rainbows and color. And such creative takes on the rainbow. kathleendotlutzatcomcastdotnet
I learned that Rebecca has a lot of determination and worked really hard on all those lovely quilts, I know from a friend that writing a book isn’t always the most easy thing to do! It’s a beautiful book full of inspiration!
Thanks for the giveaway!
I have learned that Rebecca would be a very cool “friend” to have living in my neighborhood. Her patience, experience, and knowledge would be vastly inhaled and retained ..
Thanks for the giveaway!
never give up; keep trying.
I learned that not all authors–perhaps most of them–don’t automatically know how to get a book published, but can learn it, with enough passion, determination, and planning.
Also, I loved the little poem. It reminded me of the kind of poem my mother used to teach us, the sort of thing that stayed with me for a lifetime, that comes back to nudge me when I’m tempted to skate: “If a task is first begun, never leave it ’til it’s done, be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all.” I wonder if those little rhymes are being taught today. I hope so.
I’m really inspired by Rebecca’s use of time- settings deadlines and just forging ahead. Like someone said before- We all have the same 24 hours per day. This book looks like a great addition to my library.
i enjoyed Rebecca’s explanation of where she gets inspiration and how some quilts were improv and some from traditional designs.
I love Rebecca’s quote “I didn’t have to choose one genre and maybe multiple genres could be a strength”. I love this statement because with just a bit of tweaking it can be applied to so many areas of our lives. I had no idea you needed to submit all your designs with a quilt book proposal. Kudos to those of you who have the desire/energy/creativeness to write a book!
I learned that Rebecca is focused, determined and incredibly organized! I’m amazed at what she has accomplished with her gorgeous quilts, pattern writing and now, book writing! I love the rainbows she has created that make us smile, feel good and simply wonder & imagine.
Congratulations on the marvelous book and for the giveaway opportunity!
I think it is amazing all that she has accomplished with four kids. I often struggle to find balance in my creative time and sewing time. It is nice to know others do too.
Don’t try to fit yourself into anyone else’s idea of genre and be happy with your own ideas! Would love to win the book looks fantastic!
I learned that the Rainbow Streak doesn’t look as hard as I thought it would be. I’m adding that to my next quilt to make! Thanks for the giveaway & Have a very Happy Easter!!!
Love the Rainbow Remix quilt – just gorgeous! Glad to hear someone else does things while others nap….LOL 🙂
Glad to hear someone else has to work in sort bursts!
Rebecca is very organized! Setting deadlines, working late at night, keeping notes, etc. Determined to get a book written.
Being able to give yourself deadlines and meet them is essential if someone wants to get a book published within a reasonable length of time. Also, Rebecca was really dedicated at pursuing her goal and finding every spare second she could squeeze out of her day to attain that goal. Love her book and her quilts!!
I really applaud her for having such a young family and still figuring out how to keep balance in it all.
I had two kiddos and thought many times I would pull my hair. And she has four. Good for her. I wish her all the best in the publishing business.
Wow! Four kids and a book! I learned the perserverence pays off.
Rebecca has two PDF patterns available now and is working on more. Thanks for the chance to win!
That night time is the right time, er, only time to quilt.
I learned that I wish I was as strong as her in my self imposed dead lines
Rebecca makes the Rainbow Streak look easy.
I loved learning about Rebecca’s perseverance and dedication to write her book. I especially love the colorful quilts within it!
I learned that it is a lot of hard work to publish a book ! Thanks for the giveaway…. would love to make these Beautiful quilts.
I need this book so I have something FUN, challenging, and beautiful to do during nap time!
I found it amusing that in art school she didn’t like her own work! 🙂
It’s okay to have more than one favorite.
I was surprised to learn that Becca came up with about 20 designs and then whittled that down for the book. This Q&A was informative and inspirational. Thanks for the chance to win!
I learned that she has a lot more get up and go and patience than I did as a young mother with 4 kids. I didn’t even start to make quilts or sew much until I retired and my kids were grown and gone.
I just thought a talented quilter would just wizzzzz through the whole process with quilts she had already finished. hahaha. 2am……………………. wow
I have never heard that poem before, and the last 2 lines about the man travelling the world eventually really got me, I am someone who likes to cut corners and rush things. But that poem really got my attention. I hope to have a different look on life now.
I hadn’t noticed the binding on Rainbow Streak. Love it! This book looks awesome.
I learned that even when you are creating the quilts you can have favorites. I really liked Rainbow Streak too!
I did not know that quilts have “genres.” Wow, you learn something new every day!
You are work late at night and have to stay very organized
I learned to jump in and follow my dreams. Rebecca is an inspiration.
I learned that I have a kindred spirit staying up until 2 a.m. for sewing time. 😉
I learned it is still possible to take a great idea and turn it into something wonderful if you Persevere. Congratulations!
I applaud your perseverance in accomplishing a goal to publish your book! Your quilt designs would make anyone happy to work on them with their bright, beautiful colors! Congratulations!
I learned that writing a book is seriously hard work and requires more perseverence and dedication than I shall ever possess.
A great book from Rebecca is the result of her possessing those qualities.
These are awesome quilts. Like the poem that she does.I also like the idea of sketching down ideas for a book
In art class in high school she couldn’t stand her own work! x
That Rebecca wants to write more books, bring it on.
She works like me!! Around kids nap and bed times!! We have always had a pretty strict 8:00 bed time! (even when our oldest was in high school in your room at 8 and lights out at 9:30! We have to have our time, too! The book is beautiful! Thanks for a chance to win!
Rebecca stated that she came up with 20 quilt designs while she was researching how to get a book published. I am amazed at her time management! I couldn’t do that, and I don’t even have kids! Congrats Rebecca on being published! Thanks for the chance to win her book! jacklynnsteven at netzero dot com
I had not noticed the binding in the rainbow streak – so very awesome!
I would love to win this book – and try some of the cool projects!!
I’ve noticed that Rebecca uses a journal and documents ideas; she “doodles” and sketches as she is thinking and these ideas are transformed into quilts. I’ve read before on other blogs that journaling is the way artists are tracking their work. It takes dedication to develop this into a habit.
I learned I’m not the only one staying up until 2am!
I’ve learned that quilt making is always evolving…never static!!
I learned that she is super woman! Oh boy not easy to put it all together with 4 kids. Great result though!
I really need to start journaling/sketching again to document my inspiration for future reference. I also need to incorporate deadlines into my project “schedule” to ensure I finish more before starting others.
That she gets the most done when I do! 8pm-2am – creative juices flow without coaxing them out for me!
I learned that when Rebecca was inspired to write a book, she jumped in and did it all while learning as she went along what she had to know to accomplish her goal — nothing was going to hold her back.
Beside learning about the pretty rainbow quilts. I learned that you want to make more patterns and develop your business
I learned that Rebecca that Rebecca is a powerhouse – being a mom AND sewing until 2am?! Impressive!!
I love the poem that inspired Rebecca!!
I learned that in order to execute a dream you need the discipline for proposals, deadlines, patience and perseverance! She has an eye for color too!
I really appreciate (and will write down!) the quote about fishing nets, etc. And I was stuck by the importance and power of self imposed deadlines. This book looks fabulous!
She is amazing
I learned that she is extreemely self disciplined, and focused on her goals, staying up till 2 am to get things done, as well as not sacrificing her time with her kids to meet them. Bravo!
Wow 2am! I’m ready for bed by 10pm…but then you also have an amazing book now 🙂
Each sketch taught Rebecca one new trick.
Becca’s goal was to finish a quilt – top and instructions – each week. What a great accomplishment.
I learned that it pays to be a night owl if you want to meet those deadlines! 🙂
I learned that if you want to do something, regardless of your workload, it is possible. Way to go Rebecca.
I’ve learned that I’m definitely not applying myself enough! What an awesome inspiration in quilting and in real-life! Thanks for the chance and the little push to get going this beautiful day!
I found out about one of her favorite quilts from her book… the Rainbow Streak!
it was inspiring to learn that you can just jump in and start making a book without publishing experience. I liked the poem too.
I learned that this was a vision driven by the author, not a book thought up by the publisher.
I am amazed how much Rebecca was able to accomplish by working in small segments and staying with her self imposed deadlines.
it’s interesting to hear that others have to juggle work, home and family too. Sewing till the wee hours of the morning to make deadlines, is keeping it real. Thank you for sharing your talents.
Hearing about the process of writing a book is always interesting to me. Thanks for sharing!
I learned she’s superwoman! Writing a book, a quilt a week, researching the publishing industry, with four kids at home?!? So impressive!
I learned that I’ll never write a book because I rarely stay up past 10 🙂 It looks like a beautiful book and I can’t wait to see it!
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