For the last few days I’ve been sewing together the rows for the dad quilt, which yes, looks suspiciously like the Brother-In-Law quilt, sans the camo and the heavier flannel fabrics that were a royal pain to sew. This quilt has solids that are shared with the toddler quilt, tying together those father-son blankets. I’ll ‘quilt’ the dad comforter in the same manner as I did the toddler blanket, sometime next week.
Sometime next week I’ll finish this family project! And yes, I’m ready to move to the next quilting extravaganza, which waits patiently. Thank goodness fabric can’t talk back; I’d be up to my ears in blah blah blah…
But as I cropped today’s photos, I was struck by how much sewing a quilt top mirrors the writing process. An author starts out with a stack of ideas (quilt squares), then has to plot them out (arranging on the quilt wall). Then comes more plotting or considering the plot (time behind the machine, sewing those squares into rows), which morphs into that first rough draft (rows sewn together).
Here is where the comparison ends, for once a quilt top is finished, all that remains is making the quilt sandwich, quilting said sandwich, then binding the quilt. I suppose I could equate that with revisions, but truthfully, they’re not the same animal. Revising means sometimes taking the entire novel apart. That’s the last thing a quilter wants to do, once the basting begins.
Yet, a seam ripper comes into play; you cannot sew without one. But after all that sewing blocks into rows into a quilt top, the emphasis falls toward putting those fabrics into a cohesive whole. And while the same result is hoped for during the writing process, it takes far more work, in my opinion.
Maybe other noveling quilters would argue, however, this is how I see it. The processes are very similar, metaphorically, up to the finished quilt top. Then, paths diverge.
Now you might ask, with fair reason, why is this woman so obsessed with novels and quilts, or more precisely, the process of turning words into stories and scraps into blankets (but not novels into quilts, or vice versa)? Well, it’s better than indulging in other, perhaps more harmful, vices. But I think the reason I beat this dead horse with as many sticks as I can grasp is that occasionally I encounter would-be writers/quilters. And having managed to write a few books and sew a few quilts, I itch for like-minded others to do the same. In this rather techie world, aged pastimes are slipping from our consciousnesses. It’s easier to virtually do so much else, but what else is actually being accomplished?
I don’t want to bash technology, goodness knows it’s how I publish novels. But while my PC makes writing so much easier, I still have to park my keister in the chair and write. Or sit in front of the sewing machine and guide fabric under the presser foot. And the results from those actions are…sometimes beautiful, sometimes meh. But they aren’t virtual; they are books for others to read, and quilts to warm their feet.
As autumn slowly approaches, even here in Silicon Valley, tootsies need a toasty quilt under which to wiggle.
While I never envisioned becoming a quilter, for ages I harbored authorial dreams. It took years for the latter to be achieved, but the blissful sense of accomplishment was well worth the wait. I simply want others who ache to write to know it’s possible, if not without a lot of butt-in-chair time invested. Making a quilt is the same. And in one manner, books and quilts are much alike; better if they are given away.
Which is truly what the whole kettle of fish is all about; giving up something for another project waiting in the wings…