Saturday, June 14, 2008

How quilting and writing are alike, volume a

Research for the writer is the equivalent of fabric buying for the quilter. A project reaches a point where you recognize you've got a gap. You don't have the right red, or the right action for your protag. So off you go to the library or fabric store.

It's inspiring, wonderful fun, but if you're not careful, research or fabric collecting becomes the destination instead of the journey.

I used to read the encyclopedia as a kid, marveling as I turned the page at what was in there. "Having" to do research is the freedom to go off a tangent. There, I find tidbits of information that lead me to places I hadn't imagined. See connections that weren't readily apparent. Truths that lie hidden. All of the things that make a story richer and more layered.

Walking into a fabric store is asking to be seduced. You're ready, hoping to find something that will transport you. Waiting for the colors to drawn you, the patterns to make your heart beat faster. The manufacturers know this, and over the last twenty years, have come out with new fabric lines, new designers, new color palettes every season. We struggle to keep up. We buy more than we could use in a lifetime, and slap a magnet on the fridge that reads "She who has the most fabric wins."

The trick for both is knowing when to stop.

3 comments:

Camille Minichino said...

You mean I have to STOP??

Nice thoughts, Terri.

beckylevine said...

And when NOT to let the shopping/research become a procrastination technique.

Back to work, I go!

Betty Hechtman said...

I can relate on both accounts. I always end up reading the dictionary when I look up words. I keep buying crochet books and putting post its on all the projects I want to make -- with the excuse it is research. And the yarn -- Maybe if I live to be 200.