Friday, 21 October 2016

Summer 2016


On my return from stitching with the group in Italy I was excited about writing to you all with details of what has proved to be a busy but lovely summer.  However another adventure happened just last week which I thought you might like to hear about!

Robert and I took a short break to Bermuda (we have both be travelling in different directions most of the summer so a holiday together was a great idea.  However, unbeknown to us (and it would appear too many others) there was a tropic storm following in the path of Hurricane Matthew which we knew was not going to approach Bermuda. The tropical storm didn’t seem to know which course to take and in the meantime grew in strength. By the time it was directly over Bermuda it had reached Hurricane Force 4.  (There have only been seven Hurricanes of this force since records began in the mid 18 hundreds!)

We arrived just two days before it hit; so the beginning of or stay was involved with giving us all clear instructions as to what to do.  Our hotel could not have been more caring and safety conscience; we had to be in the main building for the duration having left our bedrooms secure with towels under all windows and doors, everything off the floor.  In the main hotel building there was even a secure, underground room for people, if they wished, to spend the nights and, during the day films and plenty of board games to play.
The best luck was that we had power, light, water and cooking facilities throughout.  95% of the island had no power for up to three days!  Trust me to have my stitching and was very happy with my progress.

The clearing up process was mega; much of the sand on all the beaches was blown inland, the spray of salt water on vegetation turned it all brown (we were assured the wonderful green leaves and flowers would return but sadly not before we left).
So, all in all we were very lucky and even though the storm, heavy winds and rain ruined one day it really was an adventure for us.

I apologise for this side story but for the like of us with our first hurricane I wasn’t to share the experience but back to the anniversary summer of needlepoint.
What an exciting summer – our 45th years of teaching, designing and writing about needlepoint was celebrated in early June with a beautiful exhibition here in London with all our new designs, details of both classes held around the country, in London  and Italy (two different trips for the first time)
Besides so enjoying putting the needlepoint exhibition together I also met up with students whom I had not seen for ages and had replies from many more.   Lovely to have news and know that they were still enjoying stitching!
The year has not yet finished so if you have been a student of ours either here or in the USA or enjoyed my books do let me know, I should love to hear from you.
The other highlights of the summer have been our two trips to Italy.  I call it the two faces of Italy two very different areas, Calabria almost most down to the very southern tip and the city of Regio del Calabria and Borghetto Calcinaia close to Arezzo in Tuscany but BOTH great places to stitch, enjoy the unique scenery and delicious local food.
It was or 9th visit t Pirapora, close to the charming medieval city of Tropea in June;  the family run Agriturismo place was as perfect as before;  home grown food, simply, spotless accommodation and many quiet corners to stitch.  While we have already booked our 10th visit next September (2017) we presented the family with a charming souvenir of the place. Here you can see our stitching group with a rather fearsome me (never fearsome in reality I promise!); the group dining, Michael the son collecting ice creams, Stromboli which on a clear evening we can see while watching the sunset.
The group visit to Borghetto Calcinaia was a first; while I have never taken a group to somewhere I have not personally visited beforehand; it was the first to hold needlepoint classes there.   Being in Tuscany there was a number of very interesting outings besides the needlepoint to enjoy.  Here is some of the group, straight off the plane and on the way to a delicious lunch at Vasco’s in the forest. 


 
Again, the accommodation was excellent, all the food locally sourced and home cooked and the vine sheltered area set aside for stitching could not have been more perfect.

Beside the trips we went on and the swimming pool one of the most exciting things that happens when a group stitch together is the opportunity of seeing gadgets that other members find helpful.
 
This was the Del Robbia Piece that the group worked during the last stay
 
As always I show some of the latest tools that have proved themselves; one special magnifying glass and light that runs on either electricity or batteries, clamps to a table or stands alone with a good steady base was invaluable (For this trip I took only the battery not to bother with extension leads etc and the clamp to save on luggage weight).
Other small items that people found useful were small curved decoupage scissors (great for getting under knots and unpicking) and pop-up needle holders (similar to a lipstick that on twisting brings the needles up.  
 
Another student had found some truly great tapestry needles made in France, we all tried them and agreed on the quality.   Fortunately I have found a source and now have stock of them so I encourage you to try them – stock at the moment of 22 and 24 size needles but may well have size 20 (for 14 mesh canvas)
If tempted by either of the Italian trips for 2017 or any of the gismos mentioned we should be very happy to send full details.

 
 

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