A Crafter's Inspiring Nature Walk
Last week I had to go the Post Office in town to post the sample for a pattern I created for a magazine. I'm really excited to share that one with you as it's a very special design that I love. I can't wait to see how it looks on the model and I think I'll be able to share more about it at the end of April, which is when I'm expecting it to be published. I decided to walk there straight after dropping my children off at school as the route from their school to the town centre is through a small wood and a very pretty park and follows a stream and lake most of the way so has lovely watery sound effects too.
Nature has always been a source of inspiration for my designs. The beauty and complexity of the plants and wildlife in our local parks and other places I get to visit really helps to spark my creativity, leading to some of my favourite designs. I know that taking a nature walk is an excellent way to be inspired and bring new ideas to life.
Turning off the road by the school into the woodland and following the little stream, I noticed some early blossom on a few trees and heard so many birds calling over the stream's ripples. There seemed to be little sprouts of bright green appearing everywhere: new shoots poking up amongst the dry, brown leaves on the ground, in the stream and on the branches of the trees. It's the season for silvery lichen too which inspired my sugar and spice bag design this time last year and I saw lots of that on the trees. It's such a pretty stage before it turns a brighter shade as the year progresses. and I was delighted to spot a few clumps of snowdrops here and there. I do think a pair of snowdrop earrings or a hairpin with a few dangling snowdrops in fine crochet thread would be a lovely design. They are such pretty flowers and it's wonderful to see them at the start of the growing season.
As I left the wood and crossed the road into the park I was delighted to see a few daffodils around the entrance. There will be lots more in the next few weeks; the park entrance always has a great display of them in a natural style around the trees there, but the first ones are always so exciting and such a bold reminder that spring is close.
The park has a huge old tree with wonderfully textured bark and very low, wide and strong branches that even the littlest children can easily sit in and normally there are lots of crocuses there but I was disappointed not to see even the smallest spike. I hope they are just a bit late and weren't damaged in the long, cold weather spell we had before Christmas. I had to stop for more lichen photos too. There were some great examples!
Then I came to the planted garden section of the park where the stream I'd followed was widened into a lake to one side and the other side has flowerbeds and big grassy areas for picnics and games, which can be really crowded in summer but was lovely to wander around today. I was surprised how many different flowers I saw there so early in the year. Flowers always remind me to be less cautious in my use of colour as they are so varied, yet all beautiful. I saw delicate, almost translucent pinky-white blossoms with the most subtle colour shading high up on the bushes and bold purple, orange and yellow primroses in the flowerbeds and beautiful camelias just starting to open. Their overall shapes and individual petal and leaf shapes are a great source of design ideas and I took lots of photos!
As the lake started to narrow back into a stream, close to a little bridge with a small waterfall, I finally found a few crocuses which really pleased me. I'll have to check back for those others later! I also saw the smooth velvety buds of a magnolia close to the stream. They were just starting to peel back. The magnolia flowers look so strong and elegant and make me think of ideas for puffed sleeves and ball gown skirts plus their shades are so pretty and varied. I seem to remember that this one is a dark pink, almost purple colour, which is one of my favourites. I have a lot of yarn that colour too! I also like deep reds and the last section of the park is full of plants that look very ordinary in summer but have the most beautiful plummy red bark branches that are visible in winter when they are bare of their leaves.
I took a last look back at the stream as I left the park. It's much noisier here than in the woods as if it's competing with the town traffic! Soon there will probably be families of ducklings and their parents adding to the noise and human families too visiting the ducks and the pretty park but today I was able to enjoy this section all by myself.
The beauty and peacefulness of the natural environment is such a contrast to the happy chatter and squabbles of the school playground I'd just left and the busy town centre I was heading toward and the peaceful feeling of a solo walk is so relaxing that it becomes easier to take in all the details of the experience: the rustling of leaves, chirping of birds, and the scent of early flowers plus the details of colour, pattern and texture in all I pass by has me feeling a sense of wonder and awe at its beauty. Will this walk translate into more detailed and interesting designs? I hope so! I feel that taking time to observe the world around me can push me to experiment with new techniques and styles and find new ways to use the experience I've had in my work.
After dropping off my parcel at the Post Office I found a lovely café and bakery to enjoy a relaxing coffee and cake and catch up on a few rows of the sample for the current project I'm working on. That's another once I can't share yet, so it's hiding inside my project bag guarded by fierce dinosaurs! What a lovely morning that was!
I love to hear what helps other crafters choose yarn textures, colour schemes, silhouettes and stitch patterns for their makes so do let me know below in the comments what inspires your own crafting.