Blog » Is Writing a Book Like Making a Quilt?

  • 2015-02-06 08:30:00

I have been a quilter for many years and enjoyed making an intricate, scrappy beauty more than any other hobby. Until I began to write. Now here was a craft I dearly loved. But wait, I loved quilting, too. In fact, I couldn’t decide which I liked better.

Writing or quilting? Quilting or writing? Both of them held me captive. I simply had to quilt. And write. Combining the two crafts in my new book, A STITCH IN CRIME, I wrote a whodunit set around a quilt show with a no-show judge and a stolen, legacy quilt. And I thought of five ways the two pursuits are very much alike.

1. They have a similar starting point. 

Writing: I wanted to write a mystery, but what kind? A police procedural? Locked room/puzzle mystery? Hard-boiled detective? I decided on a cozy - which has been defined as “cats & quilts and not a lot of blood.” Now I had the direction I needed to move forward.

Quilting: I wanted to make a quilt, but what kind? A bed cover? A wall hanging? A miniature? A table runner or Christmas tree skirt? I decided on a blanket-type, something the family could use on picnic outings or grab at home when the weather turned cold. Then I had the direction I needed to move forward.

2. Both inspire vision. 

Writing: I needed a setting. Where would the story unfold? I thought about it a lot. Maybe a small town? I put together memories of many historic California towns: Weaverville, Ferndale, Jacksonville, Cottonwood, and added Sisters, Oregon to the mix, creating my own surviving Gold Rush town I called Larkindale.

Quilting: I needed a pattern. What would it look like? I thought about it a lot. It could be something with flowers or a sampler or a picture…like a landscape. But I love recycling leftover fabrics. I decided on a scrappy Log Cabin pattern.

Continue reading the rest of the similarities over on Fresh Fiction!

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Cathy Elliott

Author and speaker Cathy Elliot nourishes her night‑owl habit by creating cozy mysteries and more on her trusty laptop in Anderson, California. Like the protagonist in her new mystery, Cathy is an avid quilter. Besides collecting (too much) cool fabric, she also enjoys hunting for antique treasures.


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