Monday, August 6, 2007

Travels with my Quilt

“The Italian Job”, the souvenir quilt I’m creating as we travel, is slowly progressing. Here are the fabrics, all selected from my stash – yes, it’s a “free” quilt!

I’ve chosen lots of red, green, mellow gold and cream, with several fabrics having gold stamping, because I’m trying to create an ornate, flamboyant, Italian summery feel.

The plain quilter’s muslin pieces will be embroidered with 16 stitcheries from sketches I plan to make as we travel and sight-see, and will be incorporated into 16 larger blocks.

I have a couple of these blocks completed already, the first with a stitchery of the Barberini family crest from the front of the Palazzo Barberini in Rome. It includes the papal triple crown and crossed keys because one of the family became a pope (bit fuzzy on the history here…..).

However, what intrigued me most was the Barberini family’s symbol, the bee, seen here in the shield, and encountered on fountains and buildings all over Rome constructed during the time of the Barberini pope. I think the bee was supposed to represent industriousness – a pre-reformation version of the Protestant work ethic! :-)

The stitchery I’m currently working on is of a large stone urn which I saw on top of a wall in the grounds of the Vatican Museums, and I have several other stitcheries in various stages of preparation – the carving over the door of the house where Keats died (beside the Spanish Steps), a little stone elephant holding up an obelisk in the Piazza Minerva (near the Pantheon), and a cherub carved on the ceiling of the basilica of St John in Lateran.

There’s no shortage of material in Bella Italia!

The next few blog entries will, I hope, give you a feel for the wonderful designs here. There is inspiration just everywhere, from every church floor to even the humblest window opening. And the colours are glorious!

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