Normally I would have spent the last few months teaching classes at my local quilt shop (The Corner Patch) and preparing for those classes. In between I might have gardened and played (sorry – ‘worked’) with Electric Quilt – perhaps designing next year’s Block of the Month classes for the shop. I would be making class samples and other quilts to please myself and give to charity (as I have more than enough quilts in the house already). I would be writing my blog and contributing to the blog I do with Barbara Chainey. I might be writing up some patterns – of my own quilts, or of Barbara’s or Ann Jermey’s or I might be writing the patterns for quilts based on vintage quilts in various collections (mostly Barbara’s and Ann’s but also some from Pat Cox in America). And I would have my monthly article on Web Wandering for British Patchwork and Quilting magazine to research and write. In other words I would have deadlines to aim for. But now?

Obviously I have no teaching to do, so no class samples to make. Will I be able to teach next year? Who knows! Should I have designed and made a sample Block of the Month quilt by now – our BoM classes usually start in September. I don’t know. And life at the moment is full of these ‘unknowns’ so I suppose the best thing to do is take each day at a time and do whatever it takes to stay as sane as possible. So – I have a sample Block of the Month quilt made and it is at the shop. Whether the classes will go ahead as planned is another matter but I shall pretend they will and write up the worksheets for each month, just in case.

I have been playing with another Block of the Month and have made several blocks and made notes but I haven’t yet written the worksheets. Perhaps I should? Could I do this one online? Do I want to do online classes?? I’ve tried doing videos without a great deal of success (see a previous post) so perhaps a private Facebook group would be better? But then a number of my students don’t ‘do’ Facebook – or even computers, beyond giving me their husband’s/daughter’s/son’s email address so we can stay in touch. Hmm.

The last few classes for this year’s Block of the Month have been taking place via email and using cloud-based storage to share step-by-step photos. That has kept me out of mischief as I’ve had to make another quilt to take the step-by-step photos and so I could ‘talk’ through the various layout possibilities. I already had several blocks from the class samples when teaching it face to face (remember those days?) so it wasn’t too arduous. I just need to do the quilting and binding now . . . in the next week. Always try to stay at least one step ahead of the class!

Doing the blogs has added some structure to my weeks. I think this routine and structure is key to staying sane in these times – I find I need deadlines to actually get anything done otherwise I’m perfectly capable of opening a good book (or downloading one from the local e-library at the moment) and somehow it’s teatime and I only sat down for a short time while I had my morning coffee. Barbara and I had drawn up a plan for our blog back in ‘normal’ times so we just extended it a little to the end of this year. So each Sunday we take it in turns to write a post about using scraps – imaginatively called Scrappy Sundays. All we need to do is remember what day it is and what the date is so we know whether it’s our turn to write – but keeping track of time is proving not to be easy! Cue many frantic phone calls, texts or emails – is it my turn or yours? What did I say I’d write about?

Over on my own blog I have been trying to do a post every Tuesday with a new block to try – the theme has been ‘Stars’ and since the lockdown I have also been posting a free pattern to download on a Friday – it keeps me busy writing about it and hopefully gives you all something to keep you busy too. Sometimes the patterns are just diagrams from Electric Quilt and sometimes they are patterns from real actual quilts. And because I usually do a Summer Mystery Quilt on my blog I have been designing and making that (it still needs quilting . . .!) and writing up the step-by-step instructions. My next task will be to write the blog posts to go with each one. Which I really ought to do soon – it starts in a week’s time (July 1st).

The other thing that gives me ‘something to do’ is trying to write a regular blog for this website – one a month, but sometimes you get more from me as a plea goes out to bloggers for more content or I think of something else to say (like this) as an extra to the one I had planned on writing (this year’s plan had been an exploration of my book shelves).

So, no, I don’t actually have “nothing to do” but without the face-to-face teaching which formed the backbone of my weeks each month it can sometimes feel that way. How are you all coping with the loss of your routine and structure?

And I can’t help but be reminded of a song my mother loved to sing when we were younger – “I’m busy doing nothing, nothing the whole day through . . . .”! Though in her case it was somewhat sarcastically.

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