Gathering Threads

Happy Camper, Indeed

Posted by on May 26 2010, in News

It’s always fun to see an idea that was only a sketch on paper make it into print, like the child’s quilting sleeping bag in this month’s issue of Sew News.


This was a really fun project to do. I will admit, quilting is not my first love – there’s something rather Sisyphisian to me about taking lots of lovely fabric and cutting it all up before you sit down and sew it all back together again. But I enjoyed this quilt because there was just enough random mash-up-ness to the colours and the piecing process that it was very enjoyable.


As I mentioned above, this sleeping bag was done to accompany a magazine article. Writing for craft publications can be a funny process, where the ability to convey ideas clearly is as critical as the sewing. As a result, long before I start sewing, almost all of my articles start with a sketch that goes to an editor for review.

For instance, here’s the sketch I submitted for the sleeping bag last summer.


As you can see, long before I sat down at my machine, I’d made notes, detailing fabric choices, possible colour palettes and size. This process lets me audition multiple techniques and materials, without committing time and resources. It also lets me ‘walk’ through a project in my head and make notes about problem areas or techniques I need to bone up one etc.

Of course, it goes without saying that changes occur. Sometimes, I have a colour-way in mind that simply doesn’t exist in the fabric shops when I’m sourcing my materials. Sometimes, the technique I proposed was too detailed or labour-intensive and I need to pare it down. Othertimes, I just got it wrong and don’t like the way it looks. Sadly, that happens more than I’d like to admit and my seam ripper and I have a very close working relationship. 🙂

I have four or five notebooks filled with sketches and ideas. Some are full blown plans, with lots of details and specifics, other times it’s nothing more than a quick pencil sketch, inspired by something I saw in passing, that never goes beyond that. But I know for me at least that the creative pondering process that my sketching and drafting encourages is a pivotal part of my creative work, especially because I’m so visually-oriented. I need to see something before I can fully understand how to construct it myself or explain it to others.


  • Shirley C

    Your project is so cute, and congrats on another published project.