Friday, November 15, 2013

Grandmother's Choice - the quilt and the book

I finished Dana's Green and Yellow Grandmother's Choice quilt last week and got it mailed off to her on Wednesday when her book arrived.

Here's the quilt: 
And here are a few photos showing some of the blocks.  You've seen them before since I photographed and blogged about them as I made them but I'm really happy with the look of the whole quilt.  Vicki Welsh's custom hand dyed William and Mary greens and yellows are truly the star of the show.

I made the binding out of 5 of Vicki's shades of green, with the lightest at the top and darkest across the bottom. You may be able to see that in this photo of the back of the quilt.

When I made the Civil War block of the week quilt, Laurie asked me if there was a book with an explanation of the blocks. In response, I used the Blog2Print service to print a book of my blog posts. I know she and Roger appreciate it, even though the text was very "quilty" in focus and jargon. For Dana's quilt, I wrote my posts with the intention of publishing them in a book.

I was unhappy with one aspect of the blog book for Roger and Laurie: I had no control over where the photos were in relation to the text. Where possible, they stacked three photos on one side of the page with the text in a column on the other side, so it was dissassociated with the photo being discussed.  And worse, sometimes the text was on one page and the photo on another. The best compromise with the Blog2Print service  - still imperfect - made the book almost 50% longer and therefore rather expensive - and the photos came out different sizes. Their algorithm for page layout, in almost every case, did not choose the same photos I would have to make larger. So I did some research and first looked at They claim you have full control, but their layout interface was  complicated. Getting my photos in the the size and location on the page was a big frustrating learning curve for me. I decided to try Blog2Print did save me a lot of time in comparison to the Lulu solution, since the Blog2Print program automatically fetched all the relevant blog posts, and put them in the order I requested. But doing the labor myself with gave me complete control and made the book come out exactly as I wanted it to be. I simply downloaded their document template and copied the text one blog post at a time for the 50 odd posts. This solution not only allowed me to make sure the text about a photo (including identifying captions naming the people) was not a page turn away, but also gave me the choice on photo size. I decided the block photos could be small, since Dana would have the real thing in the quilt, but I could make them larger if that put the page break where I wanted it without a lot of blank space.  It was also easy to correct typos and I was able to add a few details like full family names and a photo of the quilt in progress that I had never posted on the blog.

This is the cover of Dana's book. (The smear on the cover is from where I edited out my grandmother's full names.) does not advertise their name anywhere on the book - it looks exactly the way it did when I finalized both the cover and the inside pages. The photo is of Dana's father, my parents and my two grandmothers at Carl and Beth's wedding.

I had Dana's book printed with a hard cover on Lulu's standard paper. The quality of the paper was better than I expected, though the colors are not as bright and true as when I print them on my Epson R1900.  

Here's an example page where the block photo is quite small in comparison to the photo of my grandmother with her friends, and the one of Dana's father as a baby with his brothers.

The turnaround for the book from when I placed my order to having the book in my hands was around two weeks. I am quite happy with the way it turned out. I would use the Lulu service again, with the only caveat that if color were really important, I would get the paper upgrade.


Sherrye said...

What a treasured heirloom from you, Cheryl. Truly, a CUSTOM made gift that will be in the family forever. I love the "point to point" setting that you chose as your layout, and green/yellow is a favorite combo of mine (reminds me of sunshine and forests...naturewoman)! Exquisite talents you share!!

Dorry said...

Gee, I think the setting is the star of the show! You have hit it out of the ballpark with this one. Not only have you given the gift of a truly wonderful quilt but it comes laden with all those precious family memories you included in the book. A precious heirloom for sure.

Vicki W said...

I can't imagine how excited Dana will be to get this! Did you make a copy of the book for yourself?

Alice said...

Brava! A truly spectacular quilt and an admirable dedication to the project.

pinkdeenster said...

Oh, this is such a special gift. I, too, think the setting is the star of the show. The setting combined with that amazing hand-dyed fabric and your quilting and the blocks, it is quite wonderful.

Béa said...

BRAVO ! The quilt is amazing in colours, fabrics, setting, and the book a treasured heirloom.

Anna Banana said...


Béa said...

Thank you for your comments on my blog ( I'm sorry, I lost your email adress & you are no reply ...)