Judging a Book by Its Cover

A Freddy House block made by Lynn Wheatley
From A Passion for Patchwork by Lise Bergene

I FINALLY got through the “pre-washing my whole stash” project when I ironed and folded the last piece of fabric on Saturday, a nice rainy day for that sort of activity.

Then I cleared my sewing table of the scraps still hanging out from my last couple of quilt tops.

I’ve learned to recognize this need to clean and organize as the meditation portion of my internal design process. So I try to savor it while it lasts.

The design project occupying my thoughts these days is the cover of my upcoming novel, The Road Unsalted, the first of my Carding Chronicles.

I’m accompanied on this journey, which is also a new phase in my business, by a wonderful consultant named Deb Eibner whom I met through the Vermont Small Business Development Center. Our collaboration has evolved into these inspirational business brainstorming sessions.

When we got together last week, Deb started off by asking me to describe the town of Carding, Vermont, the star of my novels. The words “beautiful,” and “outdoors” and “not of this world” came up first. How do I convey those ideas in a book cover—and then on the home page for the upcoming website?

And, of course, there’s the plot of the book itself. There should be a hint of that on the cover as well.

The Corvus River runs through Carding, and on its way through, it slows down in a sweet little place  called Half Moon Pond. Years before The Road Unsalted begins, a religious group built a retreat on the pond. The religious folks are now long gone, and the cabins they built are owned by local families.

Carding Campground plays a rather prominent role in my book which is why the cover image floating around in my head is a house or cabin created in fabric. Since I haven’t decided exactly what I’m going to do yet, I’m cleaning and organizing my quilt space waiting for my ideas to gel.

I’ve posted a few pictures here of ideas that have attracted my attention. At the top is a traditional quilt designed by Debbie Mumm for a book called Fast, Fun & Fabulous Quilts. Should my cover be a collection of repeating house blocks like the cabins in the Campground?

My second inspiration was made by a quilting friend of mine, Lynn Wheatley. It’s one of twelve blocks that I have in this style, fashioned after the quilt designer Freddy Moran, and part of a block exchange in my guild. I’ve long envisioned using these blocks on my website’s home page.

The third and fourth choices are from books by two Scandinavian designers, Lise Bergene (A Passion for Patchwork) and Kajsa Wikman (Scandinavian Stitches—note the little house on the cover). I love Scandinavian design, and Bergene’s book is probably my favorite quilt book of all time. Just looking at her free and easy style—even when she’s creating something in a traditional pattern—frees up my neurons.

Traditional? Ultra-colorful? Freeform? Hmmmmmmmmmmm. My design elves are busy!

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