Last week, I got inspired to create a denim soccer quilt for my daughter.  She made the varsity squad as a Freshman, and her team made the 3A state playoffs.  I had a pattern that I bought probably twelve years ago, and I had all the denim, so I decided I could whip it out by the end of the weekend. 

The universe had another plan for me.  Instead of writing (which I wanted to do this weekend) I sewed and sewed and sewed.  I went through almost four bobbins of thread and the quilt is not even one quarter completed.  For those of you who don’t sew, four bobbins is A LOT of thread.

The pattern required me to cut out 180 of denim and fleece circles.  The palm of my hand is still bruised, a week later, from this delightful step.  I should have known then.  After cutting, I had to stitch together a denim circle and a fleece circle to make one piece.  Then, I sewed the circles together which made tons of “circle flaps” that have to be sewn down.  It’s taking me forever to stitch all these loose ends down.

As I was sitting at my machine yesterday grumbling that my daughter better appreciate this, I actually started to laugh.  Somehow, the universe has consistently managed to point out the parallels between writing and quilting.  I hit the same stages in the creative process over and over again.

I am also at the “lots of loose ends” point in my novel.  The working title of it is The Overlander’s Daughter.  There are two parallel stories, a contemporary one and a historical one.  Last weekend, I hit 60,000+ words, and I think I have about 15,000 words left to write on the contemporary section, though who knows.  That could change too.  I began my project with this great outline, and I started writing the story at the beginning.  For my first novel, this seemed like the logical place to start.

It didn’t take too long to discover that the outline bogged me down.  It provided good structure, but I found that I liked writing on whatever section struck me.  This means that my story took off in all
sorts of random directions, and now I have a lot of scenes for the main plot and sub plots, but I haven’t put them all together yet.  I am discovering that, like my quilt, this could be a nightmare to put together.

Last week, I printed all the scenes and tried to put them in some sort of order.  Oh my.  I have lots of loose ends to connect and stitch down.  One example is with the seasons.   The main character seems to flit through the year like some sort of time traveling fairy.  At one point it’s Christmas and in the next scene, she’s sitting outside enjoying the sunshine and looking at the garden.  Since the story does not take place in the Caribbean, this is a problem.

I will spend the next few weeks attempting to stitch it all together, both my giant denim nightmare and my pile of seemingly disparate scenes.

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  1. themiddlegeneration on November 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    I love your parallels between quilting and writing. I don’t know how you had the patience to quilt with circles. They must have been a nightmare to cut out. I hope you had a template. I made a quilt for my daughter long ago, but fortunately chose squares and sometimes triangles for the pattern. As to how you fit together all your scenes, I don’t know. Maybe your characters will tell you what to do. Good luck.

    • Amy Isaman on November 13, 2011 at 3:56 am

      The funny thing about writing and quilting is that I don’t sit and try to come up with parallels, they just sort of appear which is interesting. I’m learning that my creative process is all intertwined. It’s been fun to make those discoveries.
      And yes, I did have a template, but pushing on the denim so hard with my rotary cutter killed the palm of my hand!

  2. candid on November 8, 2011 at 2:41 am

    Both true labors of love…

    • Amy Isaman on November 13, 2011 at 3:57 am

      Yes – I’m learning that writing a longer piece is definitely a labor of love! I knew that about quilting, not so much about writing. Thanks for visiting!

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