02 March 2013

The Barbara Pym buttons are here!

When Amanda (@nerdybookgirl) and I announced back in December that we were going to host a reading week to honor the centenary of the birth of Barbara Pym, all I could think was that I hadn't made an official button/banner/badge yet. I was in the throes of finishing a really big project and Amanda was busy getting ready to have her daughter Persephone. My really big project was for work so I couldn't very well set it aside in favor of playing around with a Barbara Pym button.

When I finally decided to give it a go last week I have to admit that I was stumped for ideas. In the past I have used collages of book covers and author photos, but neither of those were really speaking to me this time. Then, as I stared at my collection of Pym's work I realized my inspiration was staring right back at me. All of the Dutton editions feature very distinctive patterns that I have always found rather Pymsian and I thouhght they would make a great background.

The reading week itself should be tons of fun. Not sure yet if we will have an official sign-up or not, but I can tell you that there will a week full of Pym-related posts, links to all of you who are taking part, giveaways, and perhaps even a contest (most Pymsian cardigan perhaps?).

I was tempted not to include the multi-color version, but then I thought some of you may want to see the orginal color schemes. So here they are are. Use them in good health!

Here are some of my past efforts. The first three I did for myself, the Virago, Daphne, and Muriel Spark buttons were done for other bloggers.

I think I need to resurrect this feature.

An early effort of mine. So bush league that I didn't crop it properly on the left so there is extra white space.

A slight variation of this is the one that was chosen by the hosts.

Rejected design.

Rejected design.
I was kind of trying to make this look like a 1950s/1960s album cover. The way Spark is posed (in her sweater set) made me think of a young woman of that era writing in her diary while she listens to the hi-fi.

Rejected design.
Going for something that suggested Sparks darker, more gothic side.

The chosen design.

Rejected design.
This one is kind of boring. With the font and the quality of the photo I was going for a New York Times feature kind of vibe. I am pretty sure that is the font they use, or close to it.

Rejected design.
I can see now this one is kind of weak. The typewriter in the photo suggested this font.


  1. I love the multicolor version. I'm definitely in, I have several unread Pyms on the TBR shelf. And I like the Virago reading week banner too, I never noticed the extra white space. It looks great!

  2. I love the badge - all of them! I think they really capture the spirit of Pym's books. I am starting Less Than Angels fairly soon.

  3. Gorgeous! - I haven't decided what to read yet.

  4. Lovely buttons! I've chosen the purple one. Can't wait for June.

  5. I don’t blog, but the buttons are lovely. I think I will continue to read Pym chronologically and will therefore choose Excellent Women for June.

  6. They're all lovely! I have two unread Pyms on my shelves, which I'm saving for the week. And now I'll be hoping to win the cardigan :) I understand some people are collecting califlower cheese recipes, but I won't be joining in that!

  7. I like the multicolored one the best, but I like all the others as well - a color for whatever mood you are in. Choices are always good! This gives me until June to reconsider Pym. I'm probably in the minority, and I've only ever read Excellent Women, but I don't remember caring for it much. All of you Pym fans need to tell me which one to try next. I'm not against trying her again, I just haven't been in a hurry.

  8. Well done! The multi-colored version is my favorite. I recently finished A Glass of Blessings, which I loved, and have Some Tame Gazelle tucked away for June. What's this about cauliflower cheese recipes??

  9. Love the buttons - honestly, I love them all! I am reading Barbara Pym right now - the book that JoAnn just finished (glad that she loved it!).

  10. Lovely buttons! Looking forward to it.

  11. I've been anxious to try this author and the buttons are marvelous. I do plan to join in -- thanks for hosting.

  12. Ooh...looking forward to the event, Thomas! I have the button band to finish on a knitting project I abandoned over a year ago. Back then on my Ravelry page I called it my...wait for it...'Oh So Barbara Pym' cardigan. And no, Deacon will not be modeling!

  13. You're so talented, Thomas! I wish you'd entered my Reading Presently button comp (although I'm glad Agnieszka did too.)

    I love the multi-coloured Pym badge, I have to confess. And the Muriel Spark buttons bring back happy memories.

  14. I'm looking forward to this one, I have a couple of Pym books on my shelves but love the way reading weeks throw up more food for thought than just reading alone does. :)

  15. Karen: If you look closely the Virago button is off center compared to the others.

    Anbolyn: I haven't read LTA yet.

    Vicki: I think the best starter Pym is Some Tame Gazelle.

    Lyn: I think the purple one works particularly well.

    Ruthiella: Excellent Women is a good one. I have decided to read them chronologically as well.

    Lisa May: You should start scouring the vintage shops now before all the Pym cardigans are snapped up.

    Susan: I think that the key to enjoying Pym is realizing that her novels are about the journey not the destination. Low on plot, high on detail and nuance. Kind of a much pleasanter, not depressing version of Anita Brookner.

    JoAnn: I need to find out about the recipes.

    Aarti: Write it now so you don't forget, but save publishing your review until the reading week in June.

    Audrey: Yay. It should be lots of fun.

    Diane: Good time to check out Pym.

    Darlene: How exciting. I wonder if there is a male Pym cardigan? Maybe one of those sweater vests that one of her characters may wear under a tweed jacket.

    Simon: I didn't try the Reading Presently competition, because it seemed like it required some actual graphic talent as opposed to just appropriating images from somewhere else.

    Alex: Hopefully we will have plenty of food for thought in June.

  16. I missed these at the time - lovely! Can't decide which is my favourite.

    We don't have to knit the cardy do we? Just model it? I've got a very Pymish one. And yes, men wore/wear them too - just plainer colours. I even knitted one once!

    I'm happy to pass on my regularly used cauliflower cheese recipe to anyone who would like it.


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