A Little Bit Here, A Little Bit There

I’ve been think a bit lately about my writing process, probably because it’s been a little while since I completed anything of any length.  I’ve a completed novel that needs more editing, but I’ve not had the courage to face recently, and I have a collection of little bits and pieces, short scenes and character sketches for a new piece, but I’ve still no robust plan on how they will fit together.

Casting around for an alternative way of approaching the tasks, there’s no way of knowing what’s going to pop into my head while I’m engaged in some kind of avoidance activity.  So last week when I was sorting through the linen cupboard (oh, OK it’s a couple of shelves in the cupboard with the boiler) I was refolding the bedspread I made about 30 years ago.  It was a long summer and I had a lot of time on my hands so I thought I’d make a patchwork cushion cover, but by the time I’d made four squares it seemed obvious that I should carry on and make 12 of them.

I sewed all of this by hand, first cutting out paper shapes and tacking the material onto them, and then stitching the pieces together.  Only when I’d finished the whole piece did I cut the paper out.  I was still finding stray pins in it a couple of years later when I was usin g it as a bedspread.

I found the geometry of making it quite satisfying; some of the fabric combinations work better than others, but it was all offcuts from other things, summer dresses mainly, and the cover has lasted a good 25 years longer than any of the garments.

At the moment it feels like a good comparison for my writing process: lots of little bits and pieces which involve more work and precision than might appear but which will ultimately fit together in a usable whole, but which might not necessarily be the project I thought it would be when I started on it, and it won’t be to everyone’s taste.

My friend Jill over at Nice Piece of Work  despite her constant experimentation and making of pretty and useful things has expressed a dislike of patchwork, so this photo is for her!

2013-07-06 16.37.50

Leave a comment


  1. louisewalters12

     /  July 10, 2013

    I love your quilt. In fact I love patchwork and I’ve embarked on a project using hexagons, all paper pieced – a quilt for my daughter. Like you, I often link patchworking and writing in my mind… there’s such a huge overlap … putting the right bits together, finding colours and patterns that match, or clash, and watching the whole thing grow bit by but into hopefully a cohesive whole.

    • Thanks Louise. I have a partly finished piece made of hexagons in the cupboard still too, but I’m not sure I have the patience for it any more….maybe there’s a message for me there somewhere(!)……

  2. Gorgeous quilt and clever analogy. Love the fact that you were still finding pins so long afterwards!!

    • Thank you. And sometimes the pins were so deeply embedded inside the thing it took ages to fish them out, but as I only discovered them when they stuck into me, there wasn’t really any option not to!

  3. I commented on this post 2 days ago, but I see no comment from me – don’t know how that happened, maybe I left the page before it had “taken”, as it were.
    What I wrote was that I don’t exactly dislike patchwork, but I like it when the original idea behind it is put into practice (using up old garments and scraps) and not all brand-new fabric bought specially to be chopped up. I like it when something useful is made out of almost nothing. So your patchwork quilt gets the thumbs-up from me, you’ll be relieved to know. I think it is stunning, actually, and am hoping if this isn’t the beginning of a trend for you – ie. finally completing projects started many years ago? Like the cardigan? 🙂

    • I did get the comment thanks! For some reason it is attached to tge photo rather than the post. (Mystery as I didn’t know that was possible) My original reply is there too. I apologise for misrepresenting your position on patchwork! It’s too hot to be knitting st the moment but I acknowledge the nudge about the cardigan!

      • ah, mystery solved. If there’s something unusual that can be done with software, it’ll often be done by me – I used to be a tester, so I actually got paid for that kind of thing 🙂

      • Another sort of job I never knew existed!

  4. Catherine

     /  July 13, 2013

    My comment also appeared under the photo rather than on the page – I had clicked on the photo to enlarge it (to inspect your stitchwork…) so I suspect that it was the crafters amongst your readership who were taking a closer look at the patchwork whose comments were then lost in the ether

    • I saw your comment too, thanks! (But I don’t think anyone else did…… The danger of the close up look!


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