Sunday, September 9, 2007

Stitching while travelling overseas - an update

You might recall the memory quilt I planned to make while we were travelling around Italy - The Italian Job.
[To see my previous references to this project, please click on the "Italian Job" label in the right hand column]

I had laid out my fabrics (reds, golds, greens and creams from my stash, the colours of an Italian summer) in blocks until I was happy with their placement. Then I photographed the unstitched "quilt" and each unstitched "block". Some blocks comprised as many as 6 pieces of fabric, but always included a square or rectangle of cream quilters muslin and a corresponding piece of Pellon. Then I popped each block's fabric into a zip lock bag, taped its photo on the front, and labelled it (A1, A2, A3...etc) so I knew exactly where each block fitted in the scheme of things.
The plan was to photograph design elements, or simple buildings or landmarks, that we saw on our travels around Italy - and what a wealth of material there is!!!! Then I would make simple sketches (at night, in our hotel) and trace these onto the quilters muslin pieces, then back them with Pellon ready to embroider.

16 zip lock bags were quite light, compact and flat, easy to carry in my computer bag on the plane. I just needed to remember, before each flight, to swap my lethally sharp embroidery scissors for my Clover pendant cutter. I had no trouble anywhere (Singapore Airlines and Alitalia) with carrying needles and a small supply of pins.

The airline movies were so much more enjoyable with my stitching in my hands, and it was wonderful to enjoy so much guilt-free sewing time! When we were wandering around Rome, Palermo etc I would just pop one of my little plastic bags, with needle, thread and scissors, into my handbag, and each time we stopped for a coffee at an outdoor cafe I would take out my embroidery, while Boak would read a chapter of his book.

He did comment one day that he considered putting out an upturned hat, since so many people seemed to gather or slow down to look at this strange activity! If people would pay to watch buskers juggle, dress up as the Statue of Liberty, or play at being Pinocchio, then who knows what they might have paid to see a foreign lady stitching their landmarks into a quilt?!?!

Well, I've arrived home with 10 blocks (out of the 16) completed, so I'm very happy with my progress. However, since this quilt is just for me, and since I have several quilts and other projects for other people, the Italian Job is unlikely to be completed very soon. I have done the sketches, though, and traced several more designs onto their quilters muslin and backed them with Pellon ready for stitching.

Here are some of my finished stitcheries......

This was part of a huge golden mosaic in the apse of Monreale Cathedral in Sicily. My humble stitchery just doesn't do it justice, but I was so impressed with the real thing that it had to be included in my quilt of memories from our trip.

This is my interpretation of Angela's beautiful little villa where we stayed, on a hilltop surrounded by groves of olive trees, a few kilometres from the Tuscan villiage of Manciano - and a thousand kilometres from care!

I think this has to be my favourite stitchery so far, a little elephant carved in red granite by a pupil of the great sculptor Bernini, supporting an obelisk on his back. He stands in the Piazza Minerva, a stone's throw from the Pantheon, and is just the cutest thing!

The splendid Basilica of San Francesco dominates the town of Assisi, and so it was a natural choice to represent our visit there. The symbol looking like a letter "T" is actually a "tao", a peace symbol, and Assisi has adopted it as one of its emblems.
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1 comment:

  1. I love th elephant too I collect them so of course he has to be my favourite. Should all make a lovely quilt


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