Tag Archives: faffing about

Sometimes I just need to sew…

The quilting seems to be evolving into how the writing used to work; one WIP being written, two or three others in varying states of revisions.  My sewing room now resembles those earlier days; a new quilt resides on the wall, Scrappy’s Big Sister, while the Birthday Quilt top rests on a pile of fabrics, while the Roomie Quilt is stacked from the first square to the last, waiting its turn.  I have some tasks next week that will preclude any sewing related to quilts, but I will be making curtains.  I’ve never done that, but several sites are bookmarked, and it doesn’t look too difficult.

The Roomie Quilt, which doesn't look as patchy in real life.

The Roomie Quilt, which doesn’t look as patchy in real life.

Just a matter of measuring the windows correctly; measure several times, cut once.  Then sew straight lines…

But yesterday, as I was waiting for several things to coalesce, I felt the pull to arrange yet another collection of cottons onto the wall.  Part of it was due to lounging on the sofa yesterday morning, reading the novelistic WIP, but the Scrappy Quilt, while perfect for evenings watching baseball while seated on the couch, isn’t quite long enough for horizontal schlepping about.  I had scraps left from the Summer Duvet, and from the Roomie Quilt, so I sorted those pieces, made some straight edges, then plopped all those remnants onto my ironing board, and set about fashioning yet another quilt…

This is so similar to my routine a year ago, three years ago, or from just about the time we came back to America in 2007; I was obsessed with writing, to the point that a day did NOT go by without me either writing something new, editing something recent, or pondering what was coming next.  It was, well, a little crazy, as manuscripts slipped from my wobbly gray matter onto the keyboard one after another, much like these quilts up, then off, the wall.

But unlike first drafts, quilts have a home.  Not that a home makes much difference when one is compelled to write a novel, but at least it’s easier to store those rough drafts in cyber realms than try to shoehorn another quilt into our little house.

Roomie Quilt in a more manageable form; I think it's pretty, stacked from the top row to the bottom...

Roomie Quilt in a more manageable form; I think it’s pretty, stacked from the top row to the bottom…

Scrappy’s Big Sister will take Scrappy’s place on our sofa, while Scrappy will go live with my youngest, keeping the Whale Quilt company.  Meanwhile, I’ve been reading more of The Hawk than just a chapter in the morning and again in the evening.  I have a plan, of sorts, concerning how to breach the distance that has descended, due to all these blasted quilts; I’m going to finish reading, then read it again, making the necessary revisions.  Then…

Then, regardless of which quilt is usurping the wall, I am going to get back to that story.  I need to, well, write, as well as sew.  Sewing is sort of mindless, well, it’s a small chore to keep a huge quilt top on the table, getting pins out before the needle runs over them.  Sewing is therapeutic for how little I need to consider.  Just sew a (relatively) straight line, backstitch here and there, making sure the bobbin doesn’t run out.  But writing…

Oh writing!  Even thinking about that action makes me nearly teary.  I can’t explain it, other than to say some things in our lives are more precious than others.  Breathing and eating and sleeping are important; we can’t function without them, but other needs feed our souls, giving us reasons to inhale, imbibe, and slumber.  When I’m crafting a rough draft, there is little that can tear me away, until that day’s chapter is written.  Then I disengage, aware tomorrow another chapter awaits, and while I’m eager to delve into that world, I take my time, not wanting to intrude upon the magic.

Maybe that’s how it is for hard-core sewing enthusiasts, where fabric is the language, hues and textures calling to their hearts.  I can’t say that’s how I feel about sewing; it provides a creative outlet bringing me great pleasure, and lovely quilts for others.  But it doesn’t hit me the way writing does.

Still, sometimes I just need to sew, like this morning, because I can’t get what I need from the writing at the moment.  Sewing is great for making me feel as if I’m not just schlepping around on the sofa all day; it’s a stop-gap, and I don’t say that with disdain.  I say it with great gladness and outstretched hands, itching for some light green fabric to go between Big Sister’s rather thrown-together rows.  Scrappy’s older sis (but probably not the only member of the Scrappy family) isn’t quite as tidy as Scrappy, in that the scraps are smaller, especially the solids.  But I think, once it’s all said and sewn and done, Big Sis will be just as beautiful, in her own floral way, as Scrappy is.

Scrappy's Big Sis; the two top rows were sewn together last night, and are significantly shorter than the rest, but long enough.

Scrappy’s Big Sis; the two top rows were sewn together last night, and are significantly shorter than the rest, but long enough.

Just like books; not all get revised, but I’ve been editing The Hawk as I go along, which is good, because it’s already a behemoth, and is, ahem, maybe half done.  But it’s not being written as I normally write, or maybe this is my new method.  Write some here, quilt some there, read a little, sew a bit more.  Then take a deep involuntary breath, and let the words slip onto the virtual document, allowing another story its freedom.

Quilts are one manner of relaying my existence.  Novels are just as meaningful, although quieter.  And, to my slight chagrin, I don’t seem able to do without either of them.

Soon to be sitting to sew…

But in the meantime, no matter how eager I am to finish up the Fat Quarters Quilt, other issues take precedence.  The next quilt in the queue was my focus last week, when I found I needed a walking foot, which I borrowed from my eldest daughter yesterday.  I spent Easter in the bosom of my family, no better way in my opinion.  Now it’s Monday, and I’m back home, in my little sewing haven.  Still, before I sit at the machine, I need to note a few things.

The note is to remind me to fill bobbins and change the needle.

The note is to remind me to fill bobbins and change the needle.

One is that it’s fine to imagine a big quilt.  It’s another thing entirely to find room in one’s house to sort it out.  I have the quilt wall, but it’s nowhere big enough to accommodate a 88″ X 96″ queen/king summer quilt.

I’m not sure I was thinking about this when I first considered this project, but this morning, laying out a few squares, I came to realize the limitations of a small house and a huge quilt.  But I will make it work, especially once I get another half-yard of some big print with pink and yellow as the predominate colours.  In the meantime, I have three rows (basically) plotted.

I didn't lay them out to their full 8X8 glory.  Going to be a big quilt...

I didn’t lay them out to their full 8X8 glory. Going to be a big quilt…

In the same way that I can’t just jump into the writing first thing, I’m not an off-the-bat seamstress.  It’s like I need to wake up properly via lesser tasks, allowing the morning to seep into me before I tackle a major undertaking, no matter how badly I want to sit at that machine.

In the process, I gazed at the quilt wall, now housing the beginnings of my youngest daughter’s ocean quilt.  It’s in flux; when I started placing squares on the wall, I found myself getting dizzy.  Too many busy fabrics, not enough low volume/solids.  I need another half-yard of fabric for that one too, orange and light blue solids, I’m thinking.  (I’m also thinking I need to go shopping soon…)

At least the wall isn't bare...

At least the wall isn’t bare…

But now that I have a walking foot, there’s a project to complete!  Writing is a lot like sewing, all parts in their proper time.  And, when I’m caught up in a particular quilt or novel, I ache when unable to finish what is nearly done.  More parallels between those somewhat disparate pastimes in another post.

For now, it’s about time to quilt.  Need to fill some bobbins, change the needle back to one I use when quilting, then plop my butt in the chair.  That is just like writing, which doesn’t escape me at all…

I have a new keyboard

My keyboard has been a little wonky lately; the right side has been propped on post-it notes, as the plastic support bit broke off.  This afternoon my husband was using my machine to scan pictures, getting fed up with the dodgy keyboard.  So he went to Fry’s, bought a new one, and a new memory card for our camera.  Now I can take over 3,000 photos, as well as type without the keyboard slumping to the right.

Not big news, but certainly noteworthy, especially since this new board’s keys are very quiet and responsive.  A good way to begin September.  By the time NaNoWriMo rolls around, this board will be all broken in!

More soon; the new series of Doctor Who started yesterday, a very good Dalek-filled episode.  But for now, I’m going to play with the new keyboard!

Yeah, I like it here

So, after a day spent doing all sorts of faffing about, I think WordPress will be my new website/blogging home.  Going to play around with it some more, but in autumn, I’ll make the big announcement.  In the meantime, by stealth I’ll come here, noting what needs to be shaken loose.  Not sure what I’ll do about Blogger, but blogging in general is too ingrained, yet doesn’t have to be so lengthy.  Plenty of other things to occupy my time.