Sunday, August 09, 2015

Creative Space

I'm spending the last weeks of summer working on my second quilt of the year, this tropical twin-size quilt:

Because I'm hand quilting the entire thing it's going to take another month to finish, but I'm not in a hurry. Like the heart strip quilt I made back in March it's simply a practice piece. As I go along my hand stitching is slowly improving, and once I complete the quilt I think I'll be ready to tackle something more ambitious, like a quilt I've been planning to make with some fabric sent to me by a lovely pal of mine.

Working with color and beautiful threads always energize me, and I've never made a tropical-themed quilt, so creating this one gives me a lot of joy, too. That's important for some of the other things I do when I sit down to work on it -- like writing. While I'm quilting I often sort through story ideas in my head, create characters, plot books, etc. Because sewing calms and clears my mind I get quite a lot of mental writing done, too.

That said, sometimes I don't think about anything when I sew. A few days ago I was having a tough time working out the last half of a proposal -- I couldn't come up with a really dazzling idea for the story wrap-up -- and finally I set it aside and went to work on the quilt. I knew that stepping out of my creative writing space and not thinking about the proposal for an hour would clear my head, and the quilting made me happy, which refills the creative well for me every time. When I did go back to the proposal I felt clear-headed and more focused, which helped me think of a different approach to the problem. An hour later the proposal was finished with a bright and shiny new wrap-up (which did work because this morning the client hired me to write it.)

How do you reset the creative space in your head? Let us know in comments.


  1. I wrote half a book in my head sewing all the sequins (all 5,000 plus!) on this:

    I thought I'd never finish it! When I did, I was somewhat sorry because I still had half the book to go...

    1. Wow. And let me repeat that: wow. That is so beyond gorgeous; there simply aren't words.

  2. And I thought 1000 pearls on a skirt and top for an Elizabethan costume was a lot! but I find hand work or a long walk by myself a way to jump start a project.

  3. Thanks. Both of you :) I still have that dress. I couldn't seem to part with it, I love it so, though she hasn't skated now in several years. But her music was Firebird Suite and it was the closest I could get to a firebird without either painting it or piecing in tons of fabric. Besides, I was able to get more of a transition this way.

  4. i had hoped on a recent trip to get some writing done but the toddler swiped the Ipad for the long flight. So...I enjoyed a book I hadn't had time to read that was inspiring the current project I'm writing. I took LOTS of pictures, in part, holiday and to capture images to recall later, and generally let my brain wander and mull over ideas till the creative battery was recharged. I also do goldsmithing, so sawing and repetitive work tend to let my brain recharge for words. I made some new bracelets and new wedding bands for me and the spouse.

  5. Like you, sewing does it for me. When I'm stuck, I go work on a sewing project. Most of the time, it's clothing, but sometimes I make dolls or other things. I'm supposed to be making a quilt for my mother for Christmas so I should probably get started on that. Sadly, I've been neglecting my sewing blog because I don't get stuck nearly as much as I used to.

  6. I love your quilt, it's so colourful and those metallic thread are really going to make it pop. I've just finished a hexagon quilt top, which is huge and I'm trying to decide how to quilt it. As I've hand sewn the whole thing, I'm thinking of hand quilting it. I took a hand quilting class during my recent holiday and really enjoyed it, although I have gone past one stitch at a time yet. It took me a year to sew the top so I'm thinking it'll probably be a year to hand quilt it, but I like the idea of it being a totally hand sewn project.


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