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Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bonjour - c'est moi encore!

I got back from France yesterday having spend a lovely few days with my friend there and visiting the patchwork exhibition I mentioned here  When I arrived there on Wednesday the sun was shining and the sky was blue and we were able to sit out on the terrace with a drink in the warmth of the sunshine.

 I promised some photos of the exhibition so here are some in no particular order.  I wasn't able to get some of the quilts as many were hung where the light wasn't good enough and some of the ones I have taken were rather too high up to get a really clear photo but here goes...

 The theme was stories, myths and Fables so these first ones are on that subject - I think this one was one of the stories from the Arabian Nights.

 This was based on several stories and you can see the Pied Piper, Red Riding Hood, Aladin and so on - this was my friend's submission.

 This one I thought very good as it took the idea of a book and the pages were different stories - I loved the back ground which was like books on a bookshelf and the writing on the pages was all hand embroidered - such patience eh?!

 All my photos can be enlarged if you click on them so if you want more detail try doing so.

 King Arthur and Excalibur - made by one of my British friends

 The Pied Piper.

Upstairs in the building were displayed other quilts made by the group such as these table mats with pockets for the knife, fork and spoon (not sure what that hand is doing from the other side!)

 I loved this one made using lovely monograms from old linen and hanging so the light filtered through - the needlework on the patches is beautiful and the border fabric picks up the wonderful vintage feel.

 Here is a detail and that bottom tiny rectangle is a couple of initials which I take to be a laundry mark.

 The Guest of Honour was Lucile Dupeyrat who made these lovely quilts using old lace and trimmings.  If you Google her name you can see more of her work.

 Detail of above.

 Another of Lucile Dupeyrat's quilts

 and detail.

 I said that my work wouldn't be displayed as I hadn't made a quilt - but it was!  Here is a piece I made whilst a member of the group - we all made a square to give to a member whose 80th birthday it was and she then made them into a book which was on display at the exhibition and here is the page I made!!

 The exhibition continued in another venue across the road and these are some of the quilts displayed there.

 Same pattern but how different these 3 look.

 Needless to say this one took my fancy and gave me inspiration for something of my own. 

Close up of above.  I loved the colours and the luxurious fabrics used in this one.

The friend with whom I stayed is a prolific quilter and she had made this one which was on my bed there.  Sadly she didn't show me all the lovely quilts which I hadn't seen before until about 11.30 the night before I was due to leave so the lighting wasn't good enough to take any photos and in the morning there wasn't time but her work is lovely and nearly all done by hand too!

 Saturday dawned bright and clear for my return flight but gosh was it cold at the airport which is situated high up and is always colder when it's cold!  Last view of the Limousin on my way home.

 And here's the isle of Wight so nearly home!

Southampton looking lovely in the clear bright sunshine but it was freezing on the platform at Southampton Airport Parkway station waiting for a train to take me home and today it's cold and grey and wet.  However that won't spoil the lovely colourful memories I have of a wonderful few days with my friend when our tongues didn't stop wagging except to eat and even then the conversation round the table continued!  How do the French manage to produce 4 or 5 course meals twice a day I wonder? Anyone for tarte au boudin noir?

I hope to catch up with reading your blogs and getting back to commenting soon!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Inkle weaving and other things

Whilst in the town centre last week we came upon a pop up book shop organised by Healthy Planet which offers up to 3 free books per visit and here is one I found.  I had this book from the library many years ago when I was doing a City and Guilds Creative Textiles course and found it very useful and more recently I wished I had had a copy of my own but it is now out of print.  So it was my lucky day.  Kath I remember you doing a post about a museum you went to where you came across inkle weaving too.  For a description of the technique see here.

I wanted to make a bookmark with my friend's name woven into it to take with me to France so I found out my loom - made for me about 25 years ago by Mr M (it's so handy having such a practical chap for a husband!) - and searched out some yarn and got going but I got into such a tangle warping up the loom that I am afraid my friend's bookmark will have to be a Christmas gift now as I will not have time to weave it before I am due to go to France. 
Just to prove I can do it here are some bits I made earlier!  I made a whole length of these trees one year - this one has been pinned up at some point by the look of it.

Here are two sample lengths using different techniques and the background is a piece of fabric I made from inkle braids joined together which was going to be a waistcoat but never got that far!

This belt I made using yarn I had dyed myself and this was actually accepted by the Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers for display in their Exhibition one year!

And here is one of my final pieces made for the C&G and I wished whilst weaving all the braids that I had chosen knitting or something as one of my specialist modules and not braids as it was a lot of work and as the yarn was cotton I had to wear a mask cowboy style over my nose and mouth as the fluff created was horrible!  I have never worn it and it looks very old-fashioned now but I keep it as a souvenir of my C&G days which were great fun and when I made several good friends with whom I am still in touch with all these years later.

 I have also been busy crafting this little gift booklet for my friend - each page/pocket to contain a little gift.  I hope she will like it.  She is a crafter so I think she will appreciate the idea anyway. 

 My written French leaves a lot to be desired but I dare say she will understand!

The little yellow felt cockerel is one of a couple she gave me a long time ago so will be going home!

 And for an English gardener friend I hope to see whilst in France a few hollyhock seeds in another of my little packets - again I hope she will like it.

Thank you all so much for your kind supportive words on the post about my mother - these were the flowers I picked in the garden and they lasted just the two days from the anniversary of her death to her birthday - I am sure she knew I was thinking about her.

I am hoping to have some lovely quilts to show you next time if photography is allowed at the exhibition I am going to in France!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Mothers and daughters

Eleven years ago today my mother died just 2 days before her 87th birthday.  Rarely a day passes that  I don't think of her.  When we first returned to England from living in France in 2008 I went a couple of times to visit the crematorium but she wasn't there - how could she be when she is here in my heart?  So today I shall pick a little posy from the garden and have it here in her memory - not that I need anything to remind me!

Grandmother aged about 24

 My mother's mother died when my Mum was 14 years old and I often wonder how that must have been for her having to deal with the death of her mother at the same time as she was about to have to leave home and go out into the world of work - in her case into service.  I never asked her about it and now I wonder why not. I never knew my Granny of course and for that I am sorry as I know how special was the relationship between my mother and my daughter and wish I might have known a Grandmother's love too.  What stories my Granny might have been able to tell me about her own life and indeed about my mother as a child but it was not to be.  I am named after her and my daughter's second name is her's too so that she lives on in that way.

My mother in her 20s

Not until after her death did I really begin to think of my mother as a person with the same hopes, fears and emotions as me and for that I am sorry.  How must it have been for her losing the only man she ever really loved and being left with me to bring up all on her own.  She'd have lost her job of course - she was in service at the time in London and the stigma of being a single unmarried mother must have made life very difficult for her in the 1940s when such things were much more frowned upon. (For the story of her love affair see here)

My mother and me in the 1940s.  I can see my daughter in the above photo of my mother although I didn't take after her in looks at all myself. 

I know that I was fortunate in having a mother like mine - not all daughters grow up feeling so loved and in the knowledge that their mothers thought them "the best thing since sliced bread".  If my memories are tinged with sadness it is no longer the all enveloping grief, which is surely a selfish emotion and directed more at how the death will affect us now that we are without the person we loved, but a regret that I didn't take the trouble to get to know my mother properly as a person and not just as Mum yet maybe even if I had asked her all the questions I now wish I had answers to she wouldn't have wanted to tell me for doesn't every woman have a few secrets kept hidden deep in their hearts which they don't want to share with anyone and perhaps least of all their daughters? 

Many women hate the thought of becoming like their mothers I know but I must admit that when I hear myself saying something she might have said or find myself doing things she would have done I don't mind at all that I am becoming more like her - I could certainly do a lot worse!  She was strong, independent, courageous, loving, generous and capable of making sixpence do the job of a shilling, which is a useful skill in these days of recession and one which I am glad to have learned at her knee!  She taught me the real meaning of love and I am so glad that she was my mother!  I wonder if my own daughter will be able to say the same about me one day - I do hope so!

Having gone off on this track I feel another "memories" post coming on - you have been warned!!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Happiness is....


...a walk in the countryside.  We were  to meet friends for lunch and set off a bit early so as to have time for a short walk en route.

  The sun was out, the wind was exhilarating though chilly and I was on top of the world.....

... and wished I could just keep going though of course I would have become tired and hungry before too long anyway!

Our rendezvous was Winard's Gap where we had lunch overlooking this wonderful view. (We didn't sit outside though!)  Good food, good friends, conversation, views and all following a walk in the fresh air.  I was in heaven!