February is technically a short month, but it was so fast and furious that I had to make conscious efforts to be mindful AND productive. March looks to be just as busy, but in the best way—full of things I want to do and people I want to see.

It is National Women’s History month, so we hope you will take time to revisit some of our favorite stories of Real Women and to share your own.

Here is what March looks like for me (deep breath):

March 2 – Dr. Seuss’ birthday, now known as Read Across America day. I’m currently working on several books, among them: The Optimistic Child by Martin E. P. Seligman, Encyclopedia of Needlework by Thérèse de Dillmont (in research for a possible new book on the tools of handwork), and revisiting Mary Renault’s The Last of the Wine.

March 5 – Our 2015 Makeshift Dinner Series begins at The Factory with ingredients and recipes from Zingerman’s Family of Businesses.

March 6 – Two-hour Business Workshop with Zingerman’s Ari Weinzweig at The Factory. It’s also Employee Recognition Day. We will be sharing this special day with an afternoon of staff development led by Ari.

March 8 – Daylight Savings time begins—longer days, longer light each day, one of our favorite days of the year. WHEW…we’ve almost made it.

March 12—our newest Alabama Chanin Pop-up Shop @ LF8 in New York City opens.

March 14 –Weather permitting, this weekend begins our gardening season: Empty compost and turn compost into garden bed and mulch, transplant broccoli seedlings, kale, and snow peas to the garden, plant carrots, and lettuce. (I usually start this a bit later than others in our community.)

March 20 – First Day of Spring (new moon) and a flight to New York City.

March 21 – Maggie’s Birthday—this year we are spending her day with a trip to see the Rockettes new Spring Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, ice skating, and this, and this (all planned by Maggie)—a perfect nine-year-old Mother-Daughter weekend.

March 21 is also National Quilting Day (3rd Saturday of each March)—get your making on.

March 26 – 28 – American Songwriter presents Live & In Person @ The Shoals—hosted by John Paul White and featuring performances by Donnie Fritts, the original members of The Swampers, Belle Adair, Dylan Leblanc, as well as exclusive tours of FAME and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. It also features Saturday Brunch at The Factory Café.

March 28 – Earth Hour (8:30 – 9:30 pm) This grassroots movement encourages conservation and highlights climate change by encouraging us to turn off non-essential lights for one hour, today. (I suggest more?)

As always, we hope you make time for our Swatch of the Month. March’s swatch is sewn using negative reverse appliqué. This technique requires the same skill level as reverse appliqué but has a more textural effect. For detailed instructions and photographs, please refer to page 99 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. The book also demonstrates other variations on appliqué techniques—like beaded, backstitch, and several others.


Fabric – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Top layer fabric color – Twilight
Backing layer fabric color – Twilight
Stencil – Medium Polka Dot
Treatment – Negative reverse appliqué
Textile paint – Pearl Grey
Button Craft thread – Slate #26

Look back at some past projects for your completed swatches: the DIY Swatch Pillow or DIY Swatch Tote. And work toward completing your own Sample Block Quilt.

Review January and February’s swatches here. Check back next month for a look at April and a new swatch.

Follow along on social media and on our Journal with the hashtags:

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