Books · Finishing School Friday

Friday Finishing School–This and That

I’m almost done with the quilt blocks I’m not yet revealing, keeping it under wraps for a variety of reasons.  Soon, soon. I have this tiny little window of quilting before the research papers hit (I know I keep talking about them–all English teachers dread this particular paper because they are so time-consuming to grade).  So count this for my Friday Finishing School, a project I take up now and again.

American cover on the left; British cover on the right

While I cut and sewed, I listened to The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes, a British author who has written twelve previous novels.  This is another gift from my mother–she decided to start listening to audiobooks, and I signed us up for an Audible account.  She chooses the books, and when I was there last weekend, we downloaded four new ones, The Sense of an Ending being one of them.  I liked this book because it’s written from the viewpoint of an older man, reviewing his life.  While I listened, I could see some of myself in the portrayal, then some of my father, who is 86 and still painting up a storm.  But at the end, I only saw the character and the sense of his ending–the life he is left with after decades of choosing to be “peaceable.”  Note: the younger self of the main character in the novel seems obsessed with sex when he’s at college, if that sort of thing makes you squirm.  But it does all fit into the picture expertly drawn by Julian Barnes, who won the Man Booker Prize for this novel last year–equivalent to our National Book Award.

My mother and I have also listened to Penelope Lively’s novel, How It All Began, about an older woman (do you see a theme here?) who is injured in a mugging (that occurs offstage and is not violent–a purse-snatching).  The novel examines how many lives are affected by this act, and Lively draws an entertaining group that react to the “Butterfly Effect” of the main character’s injury and recovery.  I remember in grad school how I read umpteen books about young people’s coming of age, that shifting tectonic plate between leaving home and settling into a life.  I got soooo tired of all the sexual angst–not that it wasn’t real, but a steady diet of one facet of life’s prism can be wearying.  As an older student I often wondered where the novel was that spoke to my life, the novel that I could emulate?  I seem to have found the mature, nuanced view in several British novels, and I’ve enjoyed them immensely.

A quilt cartoon for you.  I smiled when I saw the cartoonist’s version of a quilt.

More This and That: This is the shot of a bolt end of Thermolam Plus–the stuff I have up on my pin wall.  It looks like quilt batting, but it’s not.  A friend was asking me about how I built my pin wall: 2 sheets of 1/2″ foam core art board taped side by side, covered with gridded flannel (I wrapped this to the back and stapled in place using really short staples, then covered that with tape.  I then affixed it to my wall by using door jamb covers–long rounded metallic bars, each about six feet in length.  I used four: two for each side, top and bottom).  Over that, I layered this Thermolam Plus, using straight pins to anchor it into place.  The fabric really sticks to it–like magic, and when it gets all thready, use one of those sticky roller things that is used to clean off clothes.

Anyone interested in my scraps from Scrappy Stars?  They are not really big pieces–mostly 8″ or less in odd shapes, but they are a range of reds, with some coordinating accents.  They’ll fit neatly into an envelope and I can mail them off to you.  Let me know in the comments.

And if you are interested in making the Scrappy Stars, I have about twelve of the vellum sheets with the diamond paper-piecing pattern on it.  I can mail those to you, too.  I was going to just file away the sheets, but I noticed that a couple of you are going to try making this quilt, and I thought you might like these.  Again, leave a comment and I’ll be in touch.  You’ll need six sheets for every star, so this stack will make two stars.  I guess you could just make the front and back of a pillow; the star finishes at about 16-20,” depending on which way you orient it.  They are Big and Bold–lots of fun to make.  And use a fabric that reads “solid” for the setting diamonds–save yourself some quilting angst!

Today I’m going to finish up the quilt top mentioned at the beginning, because I want to get it over to my quilter.  Since I don’t want to start another book (which will leave me wondering what’s happening and I have to grade *those* papers), I’ll listen to This American Life or RadioLab podcasts, brushing up on either quirky stories about people, or interesting science-based tales. If I get bored with that, there’s always the NPR on the radio.

What do you like to listen to when you create?

3 thoughts on “Friday Finishing School–This and That

  1. Sure, I would love your scraps! We do prayer quilts at our church and are always looking for fabric to use in our quilts. If you happen to choose me, let me know and I will send you the postage.

    I so love this blog…I think because you are so honest about sharing the process, both the good and the bad. As someone who struggles, it is nice to know that even experienced, dedicated quilters still run into challenges from time to time.


  2. I’d love to play with your scraps – I’ve been trying to add more reds to my stash, and I want to do more from scraps. I didn’t comment on your quilting angst, but I really like the way the finished top came out!

  3. love. i listen to bob dylan or tom petty or anything classic rock or chill. sometimes classical if i’m feeling fancy. although, i like this idea of listening to books. how do i go about getting myself an account or whatever you do?

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