I have to admit to struggling a bit just lately with this horrible cough and the grey days we have been having in the UK recently. New Year's Day was a lovely bright day but somehow we didn't get ourselves outside so today when the sun came out DH and I stirred our stumps and took a very short drive to the local canal.
We had no sooner stepped onto the path than I caught a glimpse of a streak of bright blue from a kingfisher zipping along the canal. What a treat! It flew off twice more before we lost sight of it but sadly was never within reach for a photograph.
We havn't walked along this stretch of the canal before even, though it's only about 2 miles from home, so it was a journey of discoveries and very pleasant in the unseasonably warm sunshine.
I think this milestone was in roman numerals telling us we were just 2 miles from the town as we definitely weren't 11.
This sight of rooks getting organised in the treetops brought memories of my old Ladybird book, "What to Look for in Spring", one of my favourite childhood books. I love the sound of the rooks chattering in their rookery, a harbinger of Spring.
There were lots of reflections to enjoy even though the water was a bit cloudy. We havn't had as much rain as some parts of the country but there is quite a bit of run-off from the surrounding fields so that probably accounts for the colour of the water.
On a creative note I have been looking for inspiration for my traveller's blanket inspired by Dijanne Cevaal. Dijanne's own blanket is on the cover of the latest issue of Quilting Arts. Some time ago I bought a piece of fabric that had been dyed and printed by Els Van Baarle and it has been sitting in my stash waiting for me to feel brave enough to use it. I was loathe to cut it up and thought it might be suitable for this treatment.
This is not a good photo of it but it gives the general idea. The overall size is about 24" square or thereabouts and the fabric is loosely woven and lightweight. I have layered it over a soft blanket base and silk, scrim and sheer fabrics so it should be gentle on the hands for sewing. As the weave of the top fabric is loose it allows some of the colours underneath to show through and the patterns on Els's fabric are enhanced in turn.
I have decided to add random squares echoing the colours in the main fabric using the fabrics that form the layer beneath and I am hoping to use stitch to enhance and echo the printing. You should be able to see the nature of the fabrics in the images above.
Aren't these interesting marks?
This will be a very slow cloth as I don't want to wreck it with the stitching so I will take my time. Maybe it will provide me with a portable project that will last me all year.
I have finished one piece since the start of the year so I hope I can carry that on through the year too.
I won a jelly roll at a Quilters Guild Regional Day last year and I added to it with strips cut from some African fabrics in my stash to make this lap quilt. Actually, using the piecing method I used I have 2 lap quilts and the other is waiting to be finished.
The backing is an African shawl that I found in my Mum's belongings (her neighbour used to travel to Africa regularly) which I felt fitted the bill. The words are Swahili and seem to translate loosely to ' heart desire I cannot pronounce'. (You didn't know I could speak Swahili, did you?). As this is going to be a Linus quilt it seems very apt. I have finished the quilt using decorative machine stitches and variegated thread.
Onward and upward!