Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What I Do While Listening to AudioBooks

I've discovered more time. Did I tell you that?  Well, maybe that's not entirely true, but I've found a fabulous way to multi-task, which is almost as good.  I've always said that I don't have time to listen to audio books, since I'm never alone--no commute, no quiet time--but I'm discovering that's not completely accurate.  A few days to myself at the beginning of the year spurred me to try, and since then I've found that I actually have more time than I thought.

One of the things I love (apart from reading) is quilting.  I love the feel of the fabric, the creativity in the design, and the colors (oh how I love colors).

When my kiddos were little toddlettes, I quilted much more than I read.  It was easy enough to sew & watch kids play, not so easy for me to read and watch kids play.  I taught myself to quilt (& ended up with some bragging rights even--what a shock!) but as my kiddos grew up a bit and I started home-schooling, I began to do much more reading and much less quilting.  Life is like that.

I'm doing less schooling at home now.  My 7 year-old is at home with me, but she loves having her creative time just as much as I do.  Thus I find myself with bits of time to start using those fabrics and finishing up those projects and not feel guilty because I'm MULTI-TASKING (said in a big, booming "God" voice of course--it's that huge) by listening to a book while I sew.  Why didn't I think of that before?  Brilliant!

My latest project is what I'm calling my Slice of Pi quilt.  I had a lovely stack of gorgeous modern-ish fabrics that I was dying to use but dreading cutting apart.  I wanted to come up with a quilt design that showcased and complemented the fabrics, but nothing seemed good enough.  Finally I decided that 2" strips would still show off the fabrics enough, and I went about drafting a pattern on graph paper (love graph paper.)

My original design (below) was a random placement of strips that would run horizontally, creating a column down the center of the bed.  But then my husband (the math/science brain) asked if the placement was based on any sort of mathematical algorithm (um, no) like Pi (hm, good idea).  I'm impressionable, and so decided to see what it would look like (see photo above).  I ended up finding the first 50 digits of pi quite interesting.  (I'm also somewhat of a people-pleaser, so orientation of the strips changed so that it would make more sense to Chris.)

I decided on a base line, and used 2" intervals to determine placement.  Therefore, the first strip is 6" above the base line, the second is 2", the third is 8" and so on.  Each strip is 40" long.  The fabrics are arranged in a nicely organized, pretend-random manner.

Sewing the binding...kitties and quilts go together well.

Overall, I'm quite happy with how it turned out.  Quilt design can do a number on my creative senses--I want it to be perfect, but because quilt construction is a pretty long process, (with no easy way to change your mind midway,) I go through waves of alternating excitement and fear about how it will end up.  Will it be wonderful? Horrible?  Listening to a book while quilting, I've found, does help even out some of these emotions (wonder of wonders!)  I'm still debating about the pillows, but meanwhile my husband is sure that he's going to get smarter by osmosis each night that he sleeps under it, and I'm thrilled to have found a way to combine two of my hobbies.


  1. I feel the same way about knitting. I love doing it, but sometimes I find myself in the middle of a project thinking, "This is crap! Why am I investing so much time in something that's going to be crappy!" I haven't tried knitting and listening to a book, though I do listen in my car, and it would be some awesome multi-tasking. Beautiful quilt.

  2. That quilt is so gorgeous, are you happy with how it turned out?

  3. I love it! I love that it is based on Pi! That is totally something my ds would recommend. I love seeing how a mathematical brain works. It's beautiful--you should be crowing.

  4. Oh, wow! That quilt is incredible and so beautiful!

    I also read with my ears while I do other things. The more audio books I listened to, the better my comprehension, so now I can listen while puttering, cooking, and sometimes when crafting. But I can't listen if I have to do anything with words -- like read the recipe -- or calculations -- like measuring something to cut in a craft project. So I probably couldn't quilt while I listened, but then, I can't quilt anyway. :)

    I found your blog on Tiny Library's Literary Blog Directory and am so pleased that I did.

    Rose City Reader

  5. Beautiful! I like that quilt very much. Awesome job. I don't know the first thing about quilting/sewing.

  6. I think your quilt is quite fab, and yay, you, for figuring out how to get more books into your life. I'm always on the lookout for a good audio, so please share when you've listened to something fabulous.

  7. Robyn, I'm glad someone can identify with that turmoil! :) If you're knitting something that doesn't require a lot of counting and attention, I can see audio-books being a great fit. There are certain aspects of quilting that demand too much attention, but I think the books got me through the mundane part much faster than I would have otherwise.

    Thanks Sam--I am happy with it. Of course, I still look at it with a critical eye and am constantly looking at the parts that could be better, but the good definitely outweighs the bad on this one!

    Heidi, I like seeing how a math-brain works too. It's so different from how I think! It's not often that I make a quilt for me, so this was a fun treat.

    Rose City Reader, good to meet you! My experience with audio books has been the same as yours--listening was a skill I had to develop. And there are certainly some things that simply cannot be done at the same time as listening to a book!

    Thanks Brenna! It's all pretty simple, though I guess that's easier said than done. I actually despise sewing in general--I'm terrible with clothing (that 3rd dimension just throws me all out of whack) but for some reason quilting clicked.

    As the Crowe, what a feeling to be able to fit in more books! So far I've mostly been listening to nonfiction, but I'm beginning to branch out. It's been a fun journey of discovery.

  8. Gorgeous quilt!

    I also have to look for times to squeeze in audio books. I'm not often in my car, but the CD player broke recently, so that wouldn't work anyway. I don't quilt, but I have been making jewelry lately, so that might be a good time.

  9. Beautiful!!! Where do you find such cool fabric?!

  10. I love that quilt!! It turned out so good.

    I listen to audio books while exercising. It's keeps me motivated. Especially when I am on the bike or treadmill and the minutes are just dragging.

  11. MJ, I always assumed that I didn't have time for audio books, so it's nice to have found a time. I like quiet, so sometimes it's nice not to have any input, but when it's something that can get tedious (like piecing a quilt) it's nice to have some distraction. :) I think it would work well with making jewelry, if there is some routine involved.

    Ingrid, aren't the fabrics great? It's harder to find good modern fabrics--I have to keep my eyes open, but if I fall in love with a collection I snatch it up and let it simmer until I come up with the perfect project. :)

    Ti, I could see audio work so well with exercise! I should put that to use (ugh). Really though, it probably makes the time go by much faster and less painfully!

  12. That quilt is gorgeous! I struggle with how to add audiobooks into the mix. I want to, but I ride public transit to work, so that's prime reading time. I aspire to listen more at the gym (when I go...), but I find tv makes the time pass more easily. I enjoy having them while doing dishes and chores, but in a one-bedroom apartment, there aren't enough tasks to get through a book in any time at all. I'm not a crafter either, but I love the idea of listening and quilting!

  13. Carrie you bring up a good point (when you said that your apartment isn't big enough to give you chores enough to listen to a whole book) it almost has to be a long project or something routine that you're doing while listening or else you risk not being able to find the time to finish the book. How much audio I'll be able to fit in long term remains to be seen, but I have hope. :)

  14. I just wanted to comment about the quilt: Beautiful! And very impressive handiwork. :)

  15. Thank you! It's fairly simple in design but it makes me happy. :)

  16. It's gorgeous and I love the colors!! I haven't been doing any sewing lately but I find that if I'm doing something easy enough (maybe even just cutting or ironing) then I can listen to audiobooks. If said project takes too much math (quilting math is hard!!) then I can't do both at the same time.

    If you are able to find more time, please share your projects!!

    The Quilt of Pi. Love it!


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