I am compelled to create.  I finished a large scrappy quilt project last night, finally putting the last hand stitches in the binding and the label on the back for posterity’s sake.  I made the quilt for my sister for her 43rd birthday.  It’s a scrappy “fairy garden” for Megan.

My sister has an affinity for fairies.  I love the quilt – it’s scrappy, colorful, and fun.  The design process was especially fun, playing with all the fabrics on my design wall until I felt like the light fabrics reflected the sun shining across the garden just right. 

Actually pulling each individual block off my wall and sewing got a little bit tedious, but the entire time I completed this mindless step, my mind wandered to my story.  I would sew, and then grab my notebook to take notes, sew some more, jot down a few new ideas etc

But I kept viewing the sewing as a hindrance to my writing.  “If I could just get this quilt done, than I can really focus on my writing,” I kept thinking to myself. So last night, when I put those last stitches in, I headed to my sewing corner to clean up the last remnants of this project, determined to put my sewing projects away for awhile.

Finally, now I could focus on my writing as my sole creative endeavor.

But . . . nooo . . . apparently NOT!  That would make my life far too easy.  As I began to tidy up, I spied a really cute quilt pattern a friend gave me a few months ago. 

And then I started thinking of another friend who “needs” a quilt.  I spent the next hour perusing through my fabric stash pulling browns, blues, creams, grays, and some unexpected pops of orange and red.  It’s going to be a great quilt!

I kept “yelling” at myself as I was pulling fabric.  “Really Amy, what are you doing?  Remember, you wanted to finish quilting for a while! Do you need to do this?” 

But I finally had to admit to myself that it’s the creative process that’s important. 

My mind runs a zillion miles an hour, but sewing is almost meditative for me.  I can think.  So maybe that pattern I spied in the corner was God’s little nudge saying, this is part of how you write.  Use it.  Okay God, I get it.  So now, I still have, a blog to write, a novel to plot, and . . . a pile of fabric to play with.

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  1. Sharon Rosse on April 27, 2011 at 1:38 am

    What a beautiful quilt – congratulations!
    Always great to listen when your muse sings – enjoy.

    • Amy Isaman on April 27, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks mom! Now Meg doesn’t have to be quite so jealous of all the quilts at your house!

  2. quiltfever on April 27, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Beautiful scrappy kaleidoscope–lucky sister. I just found your blog and must share with my sister. We would both like to be authors but she is more serious (and younger).

    • Amy Isaman on April 27, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      Thank you! It was a fun one to make – I’ve never done a “color wash” quilt before. I have no idea if that’s what you call it, but as a quilter, I think you’ll know what I’m talking about. The toughest part was when one of my teenagers would accidentally bump my design wall causing 15+ diamonds to fall onto the floor and then I’d have to figure out where they went again since no block was the same! I wish you well on your writing journey. It’s been interesting to discover how creation of any sort somehow complements and supports all my creative endeavors.

  3. janetconner on April 27, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I love love love your quilt! And the way you welcome ALL the creative forces that want to come through you. I find the more I say YES to creative ideas, the more they come. And come. And come. So, yes, we have ridiculous “piles” of things to create, but don’t they all just make life more delicious? Which reminds me of one of my creative outlets: cooking!

  4. Margaret Duarte on April 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Hi Amy. It sounds to me like your quilting DOES help you write. It seems to put you in what Janet Conner calls the Theta brain wave state, a great way to access your creativity. Besides, your quilt is a work of beauty–such a gift to others and the world. I’d say, you have room for both in your creative life. Enjoy!

  5. Danny on April 28, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    That quilt is gorgeous. What you described reminds me of doodling. The brain naturally doesn’t like to multitask unless one of the tasks is routine, easy or even mundane. Doodling has been proven to improve retention of a lecture because of this. I wonder if quilting has become so comfortable for you that it opens up other creative channels…. And if it hasn’t, you’re still creating something beautiful. But I think William Blake said it better, “I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.”

    • Amy Isaman on April 29, 2011 at 1:12 pm

      That’s interesting, and as usual, you’re right! I love the Blake quote.

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