VIDEO TUTORIAL // Placing Text in InDesign

Calling all pattern designers that have patterns to publish and have access to InDesign but are procrastinating because “I just don’t know how to get started and are you kidding me with all of the menus and options and toolbars within this freaking program…how is someone supposed to even get started with something like that?”

Does this sound like you?!

Ugh, I’m sorry, it IS frustrating to start working with something new—HELLO! That’s me attempting mitered corners on my binding for EVERY SINGLE QUILT I make.

Take a look at this 6-minute video where I talk about easy ways to import your text into an InDesign file. Throughout the video I throw out little tips and tricks that will make your work time in InDesign more efficient. And stick with the video until the end, I saved the best import method for last!

If you’re feeling ready to do this thing, visit our shop to download a P+P Pattern Design Template that has pre-designed Style Sheets and Master Pages—all you need to do is update the styles with fonts and colors that are specific to your brand.

I will be posting more tutorials specific to the P+P Pattern Design Template. Are there any specific topics you would like me to cover? I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Designing!
+ Kristy

National Craft Book Week

Here is just a small sampling of some of the #craftbooks we have worked on over the years. Between production work, book design, cover design, photography, art direction...we’ve collaborated and contributed to hundreds of craft-sewing books and have loved working on every one of them.


As a book designer, I’m not sure of a better job out there for me. I get to work with artists every day and am always learning something new and am constantly being inspired. To be able to contribute to the sewing and quilting community in this way is an honor and I do not take it for granted.

Here’s to #nationacraftbookweek and ALL of the publishers, authors, editors, photographers, illustrators and designers that are keeping print alive and thriving.

+ Kristy

TECHNICAL TUESDAY // Early Morning Sun

I have been a professional photographer for nearly a decade, and I have photographed a LOT of stuff. Photographing quilts is at the very top of my “very difficult to photograph correctly” list and I haven’t met its match yet. There’s a lot of reasons for this, some obvious, some less so. This is my job - and making every image I create for publication top-notch is something I take very seriously. Let’s just say that I have definitely lost a lot of sleep over the technical aspects of quilt/fabric photography.

A follower of ours on Instagram asked for some technical information about the photograph shown below, which is found in Nicholas Ball’s new book INSPIRING IMPROV. I thought it was a good opportunity to make a quick blog post answering the question about this gorgeous ambient image we shot on location with Lucky Spool.


While we had a few locations for this book, most shooting was done at a cabin along the Northern California coast in a place called Sea Ranch. We spent two days there, and the joy of that meant I could be at the location and shooting right after coffee in the best light of the day - the Golden Morning Hour (the time about an hour -2 hours after the sun comes up.) Golden hour at either end of the day allows for that big, amazing light source in the sky (the sun) to be positioned exactly as we want it for most photography - at a great 45 degree angle. For quilts, it’s even more important - because in order to nicely show quilting we want to skim light over the quilt from the side angle.

The other nice thing about Golden Hour is that the position of the light and its diffusion in the atmosphere creates fabulous soft ambient light. It’s much easier to shoot because nothing is causing harsh shadows or hot highlights.

Remember, though golden hour makes things a lot easier it’s important to note that the sun is always a constant light source. You still need to think of it that way. You still need to position your subject appropriately. My favorite thing to do in morning light is to use the sun as a backlight/rimlight slightly turned in, so that it skims the quilt, throwing a soft, delicate shadow of the quilting. Here’s a terribly, fast drawn diagram:


It’s really hard to say this based on the really pretty location we were in for this particular shoot, but it’s a good time to tell you again: your photo is made by the light, not the location. When you’re outside, using the sun, remember that you are shooting with a light source that cannot be moved. That means you have to move around it. Do not focus on backdrops or locations. Focus on light. The final technical note on this photo is that this bench was under a different tree in the backyard that Kristy scouted as a beautiful backdrop for this and other photos for the book. It totally was beautiful, but it was at a position where there would never be good 45 degree angle sunlight and since we were sitting on a yard with tons of other plants and trees there was no reason to stay at that spot. Sometimes, we don’t know what is really going on at a location until we get there. So we picked this bench up and put it here, in the good light. ALWAYS FOLLOW THE LIGHT. See it, work with it, be rewarded. :)

FREE DOWNLOAD // Design Your Summer


Back by popular demand—or let’s face it, because I demanded it—it’s the 10 Weeks of Summer template.

Working families everywhere love to dread summer and it’s infamous 10 Weeks of unscheduled childcare. When I worked full-time at a publishing house, it was so difficult to fill up the 10 weeks in a cost-effective way without burning out my kids and going broke. Now that I’m on my own, it’s tempting to just say that my girls will be able to entertain themselves while I get work done in the middle of the day so we can save some $ and not over-schedule them….HA!!! I’ve been fooled before, it doesn’t work that way. I NEED TO GET MY KIDS OUT OF THE HOUSE for their sanity and mine. But I can’t just sign them up for camps every week, I can’t afford it.

Enter: my trusty template.


Mapping out the weeks lets me visualize where the girls will be and helps me spread out the cost over the course of the summer. Let’s say I have Grandma come for Week 2, then I’ll sign them up for that cool camp (read: $$) for Week 3, followed by the super-affordable Girl Scout camp for Week 4. Maybe I do a kid-share for Week 5 & 6 with neighbors and then we go to WI for Week 7…you get the idea, right?

If you’ve got 1 or 2 kids, just print this bad boy out and start penciling in your plans (print a few out for 3 or more kids). It’s simple but really helps me get going on the planning and keeping on track.

So mash up some guac, crack open a Lacroix and get planning your 2019 summer!


DESIGN ARCHIVES // Brave New Quilts

I’ve been fortunate to be designing books for the craft publishing industry since about 2004. And for 3 years before that, I was a Production Assistant getting the books ready for print. Needless to say, I’ve worked on a lot…A LOT…of quiltmaking books. And while I find myself extremely lucky to have worked on each and every one of them—even the tough ones!—I do have my favorites. Books become my favorites for a whole host of reasons: a connection with the author, the quilts really inspired me, the book design was a fun challenge, the photoshoot was a blast.

And sometimes, it’s just all of it: the content, the author, the book team, the design, the quilts. Brave New Quilts by the late Kathreen Ricketson is one of those books.


I remember sitting in the focus meeting for this book before it had a title and I was so very excited throughout the entire 90 minutes. I couldn’t get over how wonderful the concept was for this book: quilt projects inspired by 20th century art! From the minute the editorial and marketing team concepted the title, I was in love.


Working with Kathreen was a pleasure. She and her family were busy on an epic year-long road trip during the book design and production phase and she was very generous with me as a young designer—open to my unconventional layouts and layering of images. Her one comment about the cover design was, “That’s some big type.” I couldn’t disagree.

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The project was very personal to Kathreen. She and her husband shot the photos in their home, with their children in some of the images and her drawings, sketches and notes are sprinkled throughout the layout. This book has a heart and soul and I felt it as I was laying out each page.

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Back in 2013, when I was in the middle of finalizing the book to send to the printer, I received an email saying that Kathreen and her husband had died in a tragic accident while on their trip. This incredibly heartbreaking news still stirs me up a bit as I think of it today. Just as flipping through her book still inspires me to play and think outside of the norm when I work.

I am grateful for Kathreen’s influence on me as a designer and her book will always be one of my favorites. Together we pushed what a typical quilt book cover looked like and gave readers something new to consider as they read and flipped through the pages. Her ability to let go and trust another creative with her work has stayed with me and I try to practice that with others that I work with. Thank you, Kathreen. You truly are missed.

Who has inspired you in your work? Who has made a lasting impression?

+ Kristy

Brave New Quilts
Book Design: Kristy Zacharias (pre-P+P)
Publisher: Stash Books
Author: Kathreen Ricketson