Scholastic books from the 1960sDo you have a hobby? I would not call my obsession with reading a hobby; it’s more of a lifestyle, but I have loved books since I was a wee toddler. It might have been sparked by the opportunities that my mom gave me by always purchasing a Scholastic book every quarter of the school year (way back then, they were 35¢). I lived for these books! Rabbit and Skunk and the Scary Rock, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Witch Next Door, The Snowy Day, Key to the Treasure, and the Nancy Drew mysteries (I kept a hand written list of every one that I read in the series. Um, didn’t everyone?). I know, so it’s NOT ironic that I ended up working in a library. Anyway, fast forward over the years through a myriad of different book tastes and new and old favorites and plug that into new technology and now my obsession extends out to…audiobooks. Did you think I was going to say eBooks? Sadly, my tired old eyes don’t take kindly to reading on a device, but that’s okay. I have the pleasure (and the opportunity) of listening to nearly an endless source of audio stories of every genre for FREE from ours truly, Fountaindale Public Library. I personally enjoy bluetoothing audiobooks directly to my car, phone or speaker system for a seamless listen no matter where I am, no bookmark required. I especially enjoy listening to full cast recordings because it is the closest you will come to a stage play without going to the theater. It’s like old time radio shows without the corny ads (although those are fun in their own right). Anyway, suffice it to say that it is hard to take an obsessed reader’s nose out of a good book. Don’t get in the middle of that—it doesn’t end pretty!

Yellow and blue quilt

First quilt completed

Having said that, there comes a day when a gal has to branch out a bit, and in my case, I found another hobby to rival my reading time. Quilting! I was never a Home Ec. kind of a student (do we even have Home Economics classes anymore?) so 15 years ago, I could barely sew a straight seam. When a friend invited me to one of her beginner classes and I made my first quilt (a gift for Mom), obsession #2 was born. I’m not a particularly artsy person and crafts aren’t my thing (I got that out of my system back when my kids were young), but something about the creation process of taking small bits of fabric and re-imagining the bigger whole picture—“painting” with color, texture and size—is really quite rewarding. I love selecting the fabrics. I am not a hoarder, but, you see, fabric is just different. You can NEVER have too much fabric! You never know when a particular pattern or color combo will be just perfect for your next project. And you’re ALWAYS looking for your next project. The planning of a unique pattern in your head-then-onto-a-grid-then-onto-a-flannel-board keeps you constantly engaged in the creation of something from scratch.

hand drawn pattern for quilt

Start with a hand drawn pattern for a memory quilt

Photos on fabric laid out for quilt

Photos on fabric laid out in a grid for quilt placement

Completed Photo Memory Quilt

Completed Photo Memory Quilt

And I love the mindfulness of it: how things come together (well, except for the parts you sometimes have to rip out and re-do for the betterment of the whole); the Zen of completion of a project you created from start to finish (okay, yes, there ARE those things called UFOs—unfinished objects—that might be gathering dust bunnies in your closet because you lost the inspiration, but it’s probably only temporary); the joy of gifting your creations to those you love (I keep very few of the dozens of quilted items I have made); and then moving on to the next perfect pattern for another friend, family member, baby or charity item. Yeah! The cycle of glee is self-perpetuating, for me, anyway!

And then we are back to my books. Why? Because as I’m ironing or cutting fabric, or piecing together the quilt top, or layering the quilt sandwich around the batting, or pinning and more pinning, or laying out a complicated design, or hand sewing the binding around the quilt, all these moments are perfect for listening to a book! Yes, yes, there is certainly the “I listen to music” crowd, but for a library gal who really should be well-read (from picture books to graphic novels to historical tomes to current best sellers) if not just to provide readers advisory but to also be a well-rounded citizen, then all the steps and tasks I listed above are much more enjoyable when I’m listening to the latest mystery or perhaps a comedy or a World War II novel with a powerhouse character study. Time literally flies when you are multi-tasking with your two favorite past times, balancing the unique qualities of each.

Taking it one step further, my reading (or that of my intended recipient) has also inspired the theme of many of my quilts. A dear friend started me thinking of the book-quilt connection when she gave me this Harold and the Purple Crayon quilt for my first baby shower (long before I started quilting). How awesome!

Harold and the Purple Crayon quilt

Harold and the Purple Crayon quilt

I have since made:

  • A baby quilt of one of my favorite storytime books, Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy for my godson’s first baby
  • While not specifically featuring The Little Engine That Could, I made another baby quilt for my train-loving godson’s second child
  • A bookshelf-themed wall hanging featuring favorite characters for a friend leaving the library (it even featured an old-fashioned library card gift tag on the back)
  • Another gift for a departing staff member that featured our Bookmobile (photo transferred to fabric) and MOPs logo
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy quilt

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy quilt

Train quilt

Train quilt

Bookshelf-themed quilt

Bookshelf-themed quilt

Library card gift tag on back of quilt

Library card gift tag on back of quilt

Bookmobile photo on fabric

Bookmobile photo on fabric

Yep, a perfect match: Quilting about books (and the library)!

And finally, to bring it full circle, there is the ultimate collaboration: quilting books (books about quilting)! There’s just not enough time in the day to read and browse Quilting booksthe many quilt pattern magazines, how-to books, mysteries with quilting heroines, histories of pioneer or underground railroad quilts available to us through our library or even to use our Brothers embroidery machine down in our Maker Lab in Studio 300. Browse through our catalog to find a quilting resource that appeals to you, either as a book, audiobook, eBook or eAudiobook, DVD or magazine. Or check out one of our newest eResources, Creativebug, which has thousands of award-winning arts and craft video classes (including many quilting videos) taught by recognized design experts and artists. We also have PressReader where you can peruse several different quilting magazines. Any way you access the info, feed your quilting hobby… or start a new one!

Intimidated by getting started if you’re a beginner? No worries! Let our resident quilting expert, Kerr Fluffle, walk you through preparing to create your first simple quilt in this short video. He’ll tell you (in his own unique way) what you need and what you don’t need to launch into quilting. Hint: It all begins with….you guessed it … BOOKS! Enjoy!