Let's begin today with this month's free pattern.
Here in Australia we are joyously welcoming the cool change of autumn...
...whilst in the northern hemisphere spring is about to knock on the door.
So I thought a seasonal mini-quilt would be a perfect free pattern for March.
My new autumn quilt is hanging near the kitchen and over the next little while I'm hoping to add a few more autumnal themed projects. Americans are very big on seasonal decorating but it's not common in Australia and this is something a few of us envy about our overseas friend's homes.
But of course, it's never too late to make a start. Mind you, I'll never be one to go overboard with seasonal things - I don't even do that at Christmas - but four or five autumnal items at this time of the year would be rather nice and hopefully remind me that despite the still-hot tropical heat in our end of the state there will one day be a cool change.
The red and lime Spring mini-quilt was designed and made back in 2010 but I made the Autumn mini-quilt yesterday from one older Tilda print for the embroidery background and two yet to be released prints from Tilda's "Lazy Days" range which will be in shops late April.
The double pattern for my Autumn & Spring Mini-quilts is a free download HERE until March 31st.
Using different colours to represent a particular season of the year was the reason I chose these mini-quilt designs as your March gift, as well as being inspired by our three part discussion on Colour from this year's book study.
So let's complete Colour today with part three...
Here we are at week 8 of our book study and the final section on Colour. Must admit there’s a pretty cake in this section that I love so let’s start with that…
Jane Brocket was programmed from childhood to associate the combination of yellow and pink as a Battenberg Cake, a particular store bought cake that she loved to pull apart and eat section by section –
“I have fond memories of peeling off the marzipan and saving it until I’d eaten the yellow and then the pink squares of sponge.” (page 60)
Later in life she discovered how much more she enjoyed a true home baked version of the Battenberg but before making one of her own she chose instead to knit a large tea cosy in the traditional Battenberg colours of yellow and pink , but she did not stop there. Yellow pom poms were added and ninety-six gold beads sewn into the sides to create a super-stylish version.
If you’ve not seen or tasted this wonderful cake it is comprised of a yellow and pink chequerboard arrangement, each square glued together with delicious apricot jam, and the whole cake wrapped in a generous layer of marzipan.
I genuinely love this cake, but detest marzipan so I cover my version with thick buttercream instead. Jane shared her own recipe in the book but if you google Battenberg Cake there’s loads of options.
You might even like to knit your own tea cosy?
In celebration of the yellow and pink Battenberg I chose to make a drink coaster for my sewing room. I’ve sewn a cream marzipan-ey border around the chequerboard and stitched in the ditch with orange thread to represent the apricot jam. Oddly enough this colour scheme doesn’t look too bad…
Terribly Terribly English
The last time we looked at paintings in our book study it was as observers of domestic scenes, but now we’re looking at two of Jane Brocket’s favourite artists with colour in mind.
Eric Ravilious (1903-42) painted the England of the 1930’s in an organic, weathered and gentle palette...
“The tones he chooses are those of faded cottons, tweedy yarns, soft blues, greys and greens of landscape…he almost rations colours in the same way other luxuries were rationed in the war years…” (page 62)
In Ravilious’s Train Landscape painting she draws our attention to the...
“grain of the wood, pile of the diamond-patterned upholstery, the leather of the window strap, the metal of the grate and door lock…” (page 62)
Jane reflects how the artist had made the scene worn, solid and comfortable and how the watercolour tones in his work produce an uplifting version of wartime domestic English life.
Winifred Nicholson (1893-1981) is another of Jane’s favourite artists with a flair for using colour to best advantage.
“I am bewitched by all her flower paintings with their luminescent coolness and their celebration of simple domestic settings.” (page 65)
Winifred Nicholson developed a complex theory of colour and created her own colour-table based on the rainbow but made up solely of words and without any colours.
For example, in the blue column you will find colour descriptions such as shadow mist, sea grey, baby ribbon blue, forget-me-not, larkspur or lapis lazuli.
With a table that uses everyday terms such as tomato, cabbage, brass and faded oak, Jane declares...
"Here is a female artist, a mother and wife…who created pure poetry of colour with reference to the very ordinary and the very English." (page 65)
The Dark Side
In the final pages of the colour chapter Jane writes of her foray into knitting with black, choosing a yarn with added pops of lime, cerise, lilac and teal. She found as she knitted these very dark socks (which she named her Goth Socks) that her mood was affected.
A desire to watch a favourite old black and white movie with the darkest of chocolate and deepest ruby wine she could find was realised but in the process, as the lighting was not the best that night, the pattern of her socks went a little wayward, however Jane still wears them under thick boots or on dark nights.
I’ve really enjoyed working through the Colour chapter in The Gentle Art of Domesticity these past three weeks as it’s given me a few epiphanies of my own with regards to how certain colours make me feel, what colours spark joy in our home, and what colours bring life to my complexion. Needless to say I’m going through my fabrics later in the week and weeding out the ones that have sat for too long and do not inspire, and then I’ll give serious attention to future decorating of the house as well as removing the clothing I no longer like – and as I do not have many clothes this will truly push me into a different form of sewing over autumn and winter.
* What have you learned about yourself and the colours you naturally gravitate towards over the past three weeks?
* Are you experimenting with new styles/colours which until now you'd not considered using or wearing?
* What changes might you make with regards to colour in your crafts, home and personal style over the coming year?
Next week we begin the chapter on Texture and will be reading pages 69-75.
Every week in the Tuesday book study post I'm encouraging readers and lovers of the gentle domestic life who have a current blog and have blogged about Living the Gentle Domestic Life this year to link their relevant weekly book study post for others to come by, visit their blogs and be inspired.
Please do not link to the same post on your blog each week. Your posts should be new and relevant to the current week's study.
NOTE: If your link is advertising or not a true reflection of the heart for living a gentle domestic life it will be deleted.
Now to the final bit of fun for today - the March giveaway!
Two of my absolute favourite books are The Gentle Art of Domesticity (Jane Brocket) and The Hand Stitched Home (Caroline Zoob).
The giveaway for this month is ONE of these books and the best part is that the winner gets to choose which book they'd like to receive.
The Gentle Art of Domesticity is a first edition hardcover pre-loved copy in excellent condition, and The Hand Stitched Home is a brand new soft cover.
Here's just a peek inside The Hand Stitched Home in case you've not seen it before. So many wonderful stitchy projects for around the home dwell within its pages and lots of ideas too...
You've seen much of The Gentle Art of Domesticity so far in our book study posts so no need for any further explanation on it.
Now in order to enter this giveaway you will need to leave a comment on this, and only this, blog post.
I don't accept entries on social media or via email as it's way too difficult to keep track so leave a comment here with a way for me to contact you should your name be chosen.
If I cannot contact you I will choose a new winner.
Giveaway closes on Monday March 11th and I'll announce the winner in next Tuesday's book study post.
May your week abound with joyous colours that make your heart smile and spark fresh creativity in all you make...