Richard and I are trying to complete my mother-in-law's book (Art Needlework and Embroidery Transfers 1870-1970) in time for her birthday on May 4th.
We've been working on it off and on for well over a year, but other things have kept getting in the way.
It's been done in brief flurries of activity - "Molly, was this Celtic transfer produced to accompany Liberty's 'Celtic' range, or was it something completely separate?", "Molly, these embroidery patterns for military crests produced during the war - were the ones in this photograph available after the war?", "Molly, was this embroidered tablecloth stitched in Maderia?"
I started off knowing nothing at all about the subject, which in some ways has been useful as I'm asking questions about things that are ambiguous to me in the text, but might have been clear to an expert. Except that Molly is probably the only expert! She's done a lot of research that could never be duplicated now, as a lot of the people she interviewed have since died.
Ironically, the project has also been slowed down by modern technology. Knowing that one can improve the quality of many of the pictures makes it seem a crime not to do so, especially when the photos are of beautiful pieces of colourful embroidery. And, of course, the ability to do really clever things with layout to get the pictures right next to the text would make it a shame to have all the pictures clumped together. (And doing layout work is far more time-consuming than you would ever believe possible unless you've done it yourself.)
Still, we're getting closer. I've now done the final proof-read on the text. Even on my fourth pass through the book, I was still finding things I'd missed. The more familiar you get with the subject matter, the more you pick up on details you'd previously have overlooked.
Today, we're hoping to do the cover. Fingers crossed. We've already chosen and cleaned up our cover photograph (a lovely piece of Art Noveau embroidery - stitched from a transfer outline, of course) We've still got to get the title added to that and do the spine and the back cover. We have to sort out the ISBN and get the whole thing in a form that will upload successfully. Richard's on attempt five or six trying to get the text to upload. The format has to be exactly right. We're publishing via Lulu
, which means that we'll be able to sell the book as paperback or download.
It's going to be touch and go. Realistically, I don't think we'll complete the cover today. We've got the text for the back, but there's a lot more to it than that.