Thursday, December 28, 2006

My Other Obsession

Besides planning quilts, making quilts, quilting quilts, and other quilty activities, I also like to read. Anyone who knows me knows that I spend a lot of time with my nose buried in some book or other.

This year all the stars aligned themselves in my reading favor and I received many, many books for Christmas. Thank you, thank you, friends and family!

Something that I like to do when I get a new book, or even a book from the library is spend some time looking it over. I check out the title page, see if it has a table of contents, look at the pictures, scope out the maps (always a good sign if a book has maps), and riffle through the pages. I like to be acquainted with a book before I dig myself into it. So that is what I have been doing this afternoon, as I try to tidy up the post-Christmas clutter in the livingroom.

This year I want to keep a journal of the books I read. I have tried to do that in the past, but one thing or another always seems to intervene. Having this blog might help--it gives me a place to think aloud about my reading as well as my quilting. Reading, a lot like quilting, is a solitary activity. You may discuss the books you've read with others, but they're not there when you're actually doing the reading. (I know I've bored my family to tears when I've suddenly insisted on reading what I thought was a particularly wonderful passage aloud to them.)

This pile of books is not my only material. I also have a shelf in the diningroom bookcase dedicated to "next reads." And then there is the pile on my bedside table.

On the top of that pile is Lost City of the Incas by Hiram Bingham. It is his account of the discovery of the Incan city, Machu Picchu. I got interested in this after I saw a documentary about South American exploration on the History Channel a few months ago. According to the reviews, most of Bingham's conclusions about the Incas were flawed, but the account of his discovery is worth reading the book. I haven't had a chance to get much farther than the introduction, but it looks good so far. It also contains Bingham's original photographs and drawings, which is a plus.

Another book I'm reading is at the top of the stack pictured above, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson. It was a gift to myself last year, because I had always wanted to read it, and the copy in our school library is always out. I just love this book and it is a treat to read around the Christmas holidays. For anyone who hasn't read it or seen the movie, it is about a family of "bad" kids who nearly take over a Christmas pageant and in doing so, teach the "good" kids a thing or two about the real meaning of Christmas. That sounds sentimental, but the book isn't.

On the quilting front, I think I have been able to get the fabrics for the mystery quilt to play nicely together. The green is what I had planned for the border, but I'm going to use it in the blocks instead. I had chosen another green, but it fought with the pink. I want the colors to be distinct, but able to blend in well with each other. Dreamily harmonious is the look I want. Pastels are not usually my first choice, but I have been eyeing this fabric in the quilt shop for months.

I spent the morning chain sewing the first few blocks with my new friend the quarter-inch foot and I have a good start. I want to have the top pieced by the end of January. We'll see!

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