Friday, October 11, 2019

Literary Sewing Circle: Inspiration Post

It's time for another inspiration post, and this one will focus more on the granular, sentence level inspiration that we can find in this book! (our last post looked more at the settings, if you missed it)

As I was reading, I was thinking about some of the imagery that stuck out for me, and also some of smaller characters and elements of the story.

If you look at it this way, there really are infinite directions you might go in with a project!

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash

Early on in the book, when Ruth first finds the diary, she notices the handwriting on the pages, smudged violet letters. Ruth notes:
Print is predictable and impersonal, conveying information in a mechanical transaction with the reader's eye.
Handwriting, by contrast, resists the eye, reveals its meaning slowly, and is as intimate as skin. 
To play with this you might take on a fabric that incorporates text, or abstract text at least. You could go with print, or with hand writing patterns. Like these --

Print by Alison Glass for Andover

Michael Miller's Nevermore -- includes both handwriting
and ravens/crows -- what a match for this book

Or you could just go for a pattern with an evocative name! Like the Ruth Dress by Seamwork

Or the Muriel Tunic from Mocha 2 for Ruth's neighbour

Or even the Callie Dress by DG patterns (another pattern maker based in BC), for the scientist who takes a look at the barnacles on Ruth's lunchbox.

In more natural directions, Nao describes a gingko tree at Jiko's temple:
The leaves are shaped like little green fans, and in the autumn they turn bright yellow and fall off and cover the ground, painting everything pure golden.
This has a beautiful feel to me, which could be interpreted with fabric using a gingko print, or incorporating some embroidery: gingko leaves are a lovely shape to use in textile work. 

Gingko print on Spoonflower

You might also like this free pattern for the Gingko Top from Mood!

In one chapter, Ruth and Oliver head to "the Liver" to go to Arigato Sushi, looking for some help reading the Japanese writing in the letters tucked into the lunchbox. This quick mention of sushi reminded me of many fabrics in the kawaii tradition, such as these two, both from Northcott

Or of course you could just go with cats! From Pesto to Chibi, there are a number of cats who weave their way into this story. There are so many cat prints out there. And even a few cat themed patterns.

Black Cat Tropical Palm on Spoonflower

Or you might even mix cats and sushi with this Michael Miller Katamaki print or Alexander Henry Kitty Rolls cotton!
Kitty Rolls 
If you want to go with another animal, the Jungle Crow that hangs around Ruth and Oliver's cabin and is pestered by ravens is another possibility.

Crow Morning on Spoonflower
Whatever you choose, whether your inspiration springs from a character or a scene, a place or an animal, an image or a fragment of a word, just share the resulting project by November 15 with an explanation of where your idea started from.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what sparks your ideas, which element materializes as your project. You can share your thoughts and ideas in the comments here too, whether you're still pondering or you already have a great solid idea.

Next week we'll wrap up our book discussion part of the Circle with a final book chat and the project link roundup will be posted there as well for you to add to for the next month. Happy reading, and happy sewing!


  1. So much inspiration!!! That is really thinking out of the box. Now my head is spinning with ideas.
    I love the fabrics with the handwriting ....

    1. I hope to see your ideas come to fruition :) I also have so many. Just have to pick one and get going!


Share your comments, ideas or suggestions here -- I am always interested in hearing from readers. It's nice to have a conversation!