Leaf Through Some Good Books

By Judy Moore Pullen

Please pardon the pun, and alliteration, but I love to play with words, fabric, threads, etc., etc. I just flat out love to play, don’t you? I have wonderful little girl memories of watching my parents rake fallen multi-colored maple and oak leaves in Ohio in the fall. Then, I would jump in the middle of the pile of leaves, scattering them over the newly raked yard. I also well remember walking home from elementary school savoring the crunch of those beautifully colored leaves under my saddle oxfords. Fast forward a couple decades later to my very own classroom of elementary school students as we collected colorful leaves to pin on our bulletin board bearing the title: “Leaf Through a Good Book.” Throughout our awesome autumn, we read, wrote, and illustrated stories about that special time of year when corn is harvested, hours of daylight become shorter, and animals begin gathering and hunting in preparation for a time of less abundance of food. I still have leaves to rake and magically turn into veggie-loving soil by composting them in what will become a springtime garden. 

I love to leaf through good books and magazines at our local public library and my personal library at home. As a little girl, I got into (good) trouble reading under the quilts by flashlight when I was supposed to be sleeping. What in the world made me think that my parents could not see the shine of that flashlight under the covers?! Today, I have a stack of reading materials on the dressing table beside my bed to peruse before I turn out the lamp. There are so many good books and magazines of quilt making designs in so many genres from hand and/or machine applique and piecing, designs and instructions for various borders, children’s themed quilts, what to do with panels, small projects, table runners, gifts, alternative textiles such as wool, batiks, or cottons, threads and designs, rug hooking, needle felting, quilt history, whew……

At times, it seems that my books and various reading materials breed overnight. I have such a wonderful expanding collection, that I have turned them into design elements in my home and sewing studio. Thankfully, our coffee table has a bottom shelf, so I can stack and display the strikingly beautiful covers of my treasures on two levels, and rotate them whenever I dust. I stack them with spines facing outward and plop a lamp on top of my barristers shelves of more books. By taking over the guest room closet and adding more shelves for fabric, I am able to organize wool applique and rug hooking books and magazines in the hall closet, formerly known as the bathroom linen closet, near my wool and PHD’s (Projects Half Done). My cute Half Hoosier Cabinet, where I store my “secret stash” of treats and snacks, has just enough room next to antique cookie jars for books to stand up straight at attention like soldiers.

Books and magazines can also be arranged to serve as bookends for other books and magazines. I like to mingle my collection of old readers with my newer books about hand sewing and embroidery. As I pass by the collection, I am reminded of dear sweet Granny, who took me under her wings on her sofa when I was three years old and introduced me to the lifetime joy of the push and pull of a needle and thread through a dishtowel. I still love to work with my hands (except for doing dishes and cleaning bathrooms). Dear sweet Granny also planted the seed of “each one reach one and teach one” in my heart and soul. She inspired me to continue that tradition of sewing and helping others learn and appreciate the gift of handwork.

So, until the hours of daylight lengthen, perhaps one can turn attention to places for inspiration for projects for our wintry days, when gardens and flowers are resting and critters are snug in their burrows. A big pot of homemade soup will last for several meals, allowing one to spend less time cooking and more time leafing through some good books and magazines for ideas that will become the seeds for projects and inspiration. Leaf through a good book or two, or ten, and see what happens!

Sew on and Sew on,

Judy Moore Pullen