Quilt Right Now


This week’s prompts are inspired by the art of quilting. A quilt is typically three layers sewn together: the top layer of fabric; the batting, or middle layer, often made of cotton or wool wadding; and the backing, or bottom layer of fabric. Let’s piece together some writing.

  • Scrap quilters take discarded or unused pieces of fabric from past quilts to make new quilts. Take discarded or unused sections from old pieces of writing and combine them together into something new.
  • In the Middle Ages, quilted clothing was used as armor. Write something that uses words as armor.
  • Modern quilters are known for their love of negative space. Write a poem or some prose that makes use of negative space.
  • In appliqué, you cut a piece of fabric into a specific shape—such as a leaf or a flower petal—and you sew the shape on top of a background piece of fabric. Layer two poems or prose pieces together, forming a shape with the piece on top.
  • The quilting pattern on a quilt—the lines of stitching that connect all three layers together—can be the most interesting part of an otherwise plain quilt. Play with this—write a piece in which the structure is the most interesting part of an otherwise plain-sounding story, essay, or poem.
  • The batting, or middle layer, of a quilt is what gives the quilt loft. It’s not super interesting to look at, but it’s what makes a quilt nicely puffy and helps give it insulating properties. Write about the thing in your life that isn’t glamorous and may even seem dull, but adds warmth and coziness to your life.
  • Quilters often remark on the comforting hum and vibration of a sewing machine; every sewing machine has its own unique, individual sound and rhythm. Write about a rhythm that soothes you. Or even better, write something that has a soothing rhythm when you read it out loud.
  • Many quilters like to make quilts for other people. Write something for someone else.
  • Part of the appeal of making a quilt is how tactile it is; it’s something you want to touch when you’re finished making it. Create a piece of writing that you want to touch.
  • I began quilting because my writing was depressing me; I kept writing about my mother and her early onset of dementia, even when I wasn’t intending to. Quilting gave—and still gives—me a tangible way to be creative without feeling drained. What is the creative thing that you do that gives you a break, when you’d like a break from your writing? Go do that for a bit.

Did you miss earlier prompts lists? Here they are.

Like what you’ve written? Put it away for a week, then revisit, and revise, revise, revise. When it’s ready to go, submit. If you have feedback, or ideas for prompts, please get in touch.

Asta So made the quilt in the featured image above.

Asta So

Asta So lives in Missoula, MT, with her husband, dog, and cat. She is Submittable’s Head of People.