Italy another great trip..

Every time I promise myself to write a blog at least every 2 to 3 weeks and this time is no exception. 

I truly longed to share both the photographs and lovely stories about our Italian retreat with you but on my return things caught up with me.

Italian Sampler
First I had my second eye operated on for a cataract (great success thank goodness, I can see much better) then there was the Autumn class programme to plan (now available with a generous discount for multiple bookings and payment before the end of August) – let me know if you would like a copy.

But the project that I have been spending a deal of time on is the planning and stitching of the gorgeous piece for the project on our first trip to Tuscany at the end of September.  I have shown it before in my last blog.
However, as promised, news of this year’s trip to Calabria.  We were 10, two from Belgium, 2 girls joining us for the first time and 5 others who have been often before.   While even the journey out is an adventure, early start from London and a connection in Rome for those from Brussels we all realise that an early start gives us an additional day to catch up with news and have bonus stitching.  One welcome aspect is we are always met by the same driver, a welcoming face at the airport and less than an hour’s drive to Pirapora.
The group assembled for an aperitif before dinner.

From Left: Marie 'Louise, Valerie, Ann, Rita, Connie, Liz, Anne, Alice & Christine
In the past I have offered a ‘theme’ as a suggestion for the design but with so many coming regularly and their stitching becoming more exciting and individual all the time, the overall theme has ceased to be.   Actually in many ways it makes it even more exciting to see the progress made and the intense discussions regarding colours, stitches and threads!

This year the designs were particularly interesting; Sudoku was popular – two panels for the front and back of a tote bag – the front with exciting dramatic stitches and the back with more traditional stitches – all in shades of blue. 

Another blue colour scheme was an Italian sampler (see above), an outline of Italy in filled with ITALY with surrounding bands of stitchery.

The person who normally stitches in yellow worked on a gift for a dear friend, a Cross composed of flower heads and yet another worked on a painted canvas of Passion Flowers enjoying the lacy look of Shadow stitching.

Both our friends from Belgium brought the finished pieces from the previous year and I have had them made up and just sent back. 

All the food we are given is both grown and prepared on the farm, plant to plate in a very short time makes everything taste better and, it is proved, is better for you.   This year – possibly for the first time – we were invited to try our hands at pasta making; unbelievably time consuming but both fun to do (when one got the hang!) and very special to eat – did we really do all that?  

Many years ago the BBC broadcast an April 1st spook, how the spaghetti trees had a bumper harvest that year – well here is our answer to a pasta tree!

This painting of the life at Pirapora, was the memento of our 9th visit which we presented to Franco and Rosie the charming owners of this delightful place.   It was commissioned especially and shows many of our favourite activities while there, stitching in the garden, sitting at dinner with delicious wine, the weekly BBQ and not least their son arriving with ice cream for all – a daily treat.

Needless to say we departed after our 9 days of uninterrupted stitching, friendship and laughs with a tentative date for next year’s trip already talked about.

So, let me know if you would like to attend any of the Autumn classes held here in London (Class list below) or keep in touch about future Italian trips, both to Calabria in the south or Tuscany close to Florence and Venice.


Wednesday 7TH September

Wednesday 14th September

Wednesday 26th October

Wednesday 16th November

Wednesday 30th November

Wednesday 7th December


Full day Classes, £55 for a single day; £140 for any three booked and paid for together; please ask for other combinations!  New projects at listed prices.


Class fees are paid in advance and not charged if cancelled more than 48 hours before the date.


SPECIAL OFFER If a group (minimum 4) would like to come on another day Anna should be happy to try and arrange to suit.



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