Mad March! This world has gone crazy!

The 1st March was just like any other day! The weather was cold with sunshine and a few showers – quite blustery but a fair day for March.

As I walked down to the allotments for my monthly burst of inspiration for these journal quilts, nothing had really changed. I sat for a while and just listened, it seemed my inspiration was to come from not what I could see but what I knew was happening. I could see evidence of rabbits reminding me I was going to need to fence every thing in again!

It may look like a yeti footprint but it is where the rabbits have been digging!

There were also mole hills, and a stack of pallets that another allotment holder had stacked up for hedgehogs to hibernate. I can’t see the animals – but I know they are there.

Hedgehog village!

I could hear lots of birds singing too, and a Robin who I have nicknamed Simon makes an appearance. In the distance I can hear a woodpecker drilling into a tree for insects. Life is all going on around me, busy and loud – but it feels really calm.

I always seem fascinated with this chickweed, such miniature flowers but when you zoom in they are really beautiful.

There are daffodils everywhere, primroses and a really beautiful blossom tree in the church yard on my way home. A wonderful calm, serene day in March!

So I get home and start making plans for, my next journal quilt. I wanted this next project to have the same calmness I felt at the allotments but with lots going on.

Chickweed and early pink blossom

All is going well , but I wasn’t quite sure where it was going to go, so decided to let the project evolve. I started by making a wreath design using felt for chickweed flowers, silk for the blossom and free motion to create the leaves and the blossom. I then added the jumping rabbits.

It was at this point the whole world changed! Literally! Covid-19! Lockdown for many countries, many people sent home with no work. I had to cancel all my workshops which means no income at all for me. Thankfully my husband is the main earner and to have to take my tiny wage out of the equation is not too bitter a pill to swallow compared to some families.

I was thinking I will use this time to design, plan lots of new classes, make loads of stuff, be creative, dig my allotment etc etc. But what I really did was sit on my backside and watch telly for the first week or so and then with the March deadline looming I knew I had to get my act together and start doing something. So here it is, on 1st April – March!

Mostly freemotion, applique rabbits, pink silk blossom and felt white flowers. I was going to put a robin or hedgehog in the centre but I felt this was no ordinary March, it was Covid March and I needed to record the date. I think it still has all the elements I wanted from the beginning. It is a ‘calm’ piece of work with a spring theme.

Now that I have got off my backside it will be interesting to see what April has to offer! Stay safe and well!

Where is the snow!

I was sort of hoping for a bit of snow or at least some frost to fire up some inspiration for my February quilt – but all we have got is rain and more rain.

I have since this photo was taken, been down to the allotment and cleared away all of last years debris, I even had a small bonfire, but it is so wet and boggy I can’t even begin to think about preparing the ground for planting.

This means I shall have to stay inside and stitch! There is always a silver lining.

At the beginning of the month I took quite a few photos of the allotments, but to be honest I couldn’t really find that much to inspire me, maybe I was just looking in the wrong place. However, my walk on the way home takes me past a little clump of trees, the snowdrops were out and there was a bit of hazy sunshine to brighten things up. I suppose strictly speaking it wasn’t at the allotment, my chosen subject, but when inspiration strikes I just had to go with the flow.

I wasn’t sure how quite to begin, so I started trying to figure out how I would make the trees. It seemed quite successful using Bondaweb to fuse the trees and a variegated thread by YLI was brilliant for the freemotion.

The first successful sample done, I used the left over fabrics from January’s quilt to start the February project. This was great as the light had not changed that much in a month, and so the colours were still perfect. I painted a sky on white cotton using Jacquard Dynaflow paints – much easier than I thought it would be. I put a bit of dress net under the trees to create a bit of ‘something’, and used freemotion to stitch the rest.

I considered this project done, but I then took a trip to the Bramblepatch and found some lovely batik fabrics, so ‘Trees 2’ began.

So this is the finished February journal quilt. Very experimental for me, but then that’s what the journal quilts are all about.

So will there be snow in March?

Let the Journal Quilts Begin

With my City and Guilds complete I have a new focus:

Journal Quilts

My allotment has been a large part of my life for eighteen years, so now I am embarking on a project to complete twelve monthly journal quilts inspired by what I see growing or even dying on my allotment.

JANUARY 2020

Weather: a mild sunny day.

At this point I had no idea what my first journal quilt would look like, I took some watercolour paints and my iPad to the allotment to look for inspiration.

I hand dyed these fabrics in plastic bags using Moda PFD cotton. My aim is to recreate as best I can the colours on my allotment on that sunny morning. I feel I came pretty close.

My lazy clearing up in the autumn has left these squash plant trails. Just when you think there is nothing to look at you have a palette of colours and some inspiration for my January offering.

With fabrics sorted and an inspired vision in my head, this is the finished result.

I have to add, I did expect that at some point in January there would be at least one snowflake to fall, but sadly not, but I still put a few snowflakes on the piece anyway. I did however find a very tiny speedwell blue flower, and some of the kale has died off leaving the lovely golden yellow.

So the first journal quilt is finished, tomorrow is February 1st and I shall be off to the allotment to find some new inspiration for No. 2