Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's always the big ones that are the hardest to finish....

So this weekend I attended a baby shower for the lovely little Miss Amilia, bringing along a cute pink "stars and moon" baby quilt as a gift. I love making baby quilts. They are small in size (around 45" square), making them a manageable project that only takes a few weeks. You still get the fun of picking out and matching fabrics, piecing the patterns, and seeing the whole thing take shape--but the hard part, the quilting, takes much less time. In fact, because the quilt is so small, I often do the quilting by machine, which even makes it kind of fun.

In contrast, full-sized projects can be a chore to quilt. I started quilting about 7 or 8 years ago, and during that time I've completed over half a dozen baby quilts, along with four wall hangings of similar size. I've also finished a twin-sized quilt for Boy (who does not wish me to name him here in my blog, because who knows who's reading teh internetz?), as well as a couple of queen-sized quilts I made as wedding gifts. As for my very first quilting project, a queen-sized log cabin pattern for my own use? I'm still quilting it by hand. I worked a little on it the other night, and I should finish the quilting by the end of summer--but I've got another baby quilt to make, so it's possible I may put it off yet again. In the meantime, a king-sized quilt (again for me) is still awaiting my hand-quilting efforts. I finished piecing it almost a year ago, but have been waiting to complete the backing, basting, and quilting until I finished the log cabin.

I was thinking about this because last week I found a similar way to procrastinate with my other huge creative endeavor, writing. I really should have focused on revising Chapter 15 in my current novel-length project, and then started writing Chapter 16 so I have something for my critique group next month. I've only got four more chapters to write, but I know once I've finished with them there's a lot more revision I have to do on earlier chapters. But instead of chipping away at the bigger project, I spent most of my time jotting notes and writing sketches for a new idea that popped into my head. It's a completely different kind of piece--humor instead of fantasy--and the main character was whispering to me: "Hey! There's more fun over here! Stay with me and play; leave working with those other folks behind!"

I guess brainstorming new ideas, for me, is kind of like going to the fabric store. It's fun to consider all the possibilities, envision how they might work in the pattern as a whole, and calculate what the result could be. Why wouldn't I rather do that than stub my fingers on the hard quilting needle of revisions?

Of course, at one point the current project was whispering, "We're the fun ones!" Like a quilt, it started out as lots of fun--it's just getting to the end where it becomes a lot of work. So maybe I should ignore this new idea and focus on finishing the old project ... but what's the expression? All work and no play makes Homer something something? (Yes, I am a huge "Simpsons" fan, as if two references in one post didn't give it away.)

If creativity is a gift, I don't want to refuse it. I certainly don't want to turn it into a chore. So right now I'm keeping two windows open: doing a little piecing here, a little bit of quilting there. It might take longer to finish, but hopefully the results will show more loving care.

1 comment:

  1. If I could, I would spend all day planning quilts and never sew a thing...