Our Italian Adventure 2017

Our trip to Tuscany was fabulous, just as much fun stitching as our previous visit and interest in wonderful places that they had organised for us to go.
However, before I tell you, and hopefully tempt you to join us next year (we are working on dates around the end of April 2018) I must refer back to my last blog with tips for travel and mention some important items I forgot –
When taking a floor frame (the Lowery is my favourite) do take the Allen key to help re-assemble it on arrival.   Before leaving home it is also a good moment to put a little Vaseline on all the screws; (this is recommended and makes swivelling to get to the back for finishing off much easier)
When taking any magnification be sure to have some cover for the lens.  Some models have a ‘bag’ or metal disc but these strong magnifiers can easily cause a fire – even for short periods like a quick lunch!
So, I do hope you found all these tips useful and I am sure that you have some of your own – please do share them with us, I should love to hear from you and pass them on, with your permission, in a future blog.

So back to our trip, we went by Ryanair to Perugia (pickup is included both from the airport there or the railway station at Arezzo (excellent trains to destinations like Rome and Florence).    It was an early start but means having a wonderful lunch in a very special restaurant in the forest – one of those places one would never find by oneself and a true Italian experience!  

Then on to Borghetto Calcinaia to unpack, unwind and catch up with Gilly & Dennis’s news, even a swim for relaxation in the heated pool and generally enjoy the amenities and spectacular views.
All food is locally sourced and delicious, breakfast, lunch and dinner with wine is included.  So next morning, after a lovely breakfast (Gilly’s granola is fab.) we started the stitching.
The project we worked on was the del Robbia Fruit Wreath; last year we did another Wreath panel with the Paschal Lamb in the centre and another wreath to coordinate and possibly make a pair was voted for.   This Fruit wreath had clusters of lemons and the Arms of Arezzo in the centre.    Similar to the first one Shadow stitching was used.
If you are not familiar with shadow stitching it allows the painted design to show through and gives both a soft gentle look and takes less stitching time that the traditional basket weave.

While this type of stitching it is comparatively new to me, some years ago I designed a series called ‘Patchwork’.  Here the canvas was painted in a patchwork fashion of colours and then stitched over with lacy stitches allowing the paint work to show through.   One had a beautiful Iris painted, another allowed the stitcher to have their initial.

Within the Fruit Wreath design, each student choose to do the complete design as the original or use elements to suit their desires.  One left the whole of the centre free to take a mirror, another replaced the Arezzo coat of arms with her own shield! and yet another stitched only the Arezzo Castle with a dramatic border.    Everyone working on a similar theme makes for a useful exchange of ideas which I find so rewarding.  I shall hope to share some of these variations when finished.
Besides stitching – no hardship sitting under a vine covered patio – we were also there to visit some of the Tuscan treasures, medieval hill top villages, interesting museums and art collections, churches with important art work and of course a little shopping!  Sadly we did find our rate of exchange (both dollars and sterling) not contusive to many purchases.   

This time we revisited Anghiari. The village famous for the Battle in 1440 and the painting by Leonardo da Vinci slightly later (1505) to commemorate it.   This painting has been lost although some believe that it is ‘under’ a fresco in Florence.   Arranged for us was a private visit to the famous Busatti Linen factory (web site Busatti.com/en if you would like a peep at their range) and a leisurely walk up and down the narrow streets with countless photo opportunities. 
On another day we went to Sansepolcro the birth place of Pietro Della Francesco and home to one of my favourite museums, the Aboca Herb museum (abocamuseum.it/en) but should you visit be sure to pick up the guide book.    That evening we had  a great dinner in one of Dennis’s favourite restaurants Il Dongione in the nearby village of San Giustino. 

Both Gilly and Dennis are already working on some alternative visits for us next time, there are so many great places to visit we only have to return to firm favourites from the previous visit.

I do hope I have given you some idea of a stitching retreat such as this;  I keep it small, friendly, almost entirely price inclusive and a great solution for people who wish to travel, stress free, with a likeminded group.

A full fact sheet (being prepared as we speak) with some great early bird offers) will be shortly available and I should be happy to send it to you

Finally if you can’t wait till next April, we do have a trip to Calabria in Southern Italy this September for which again I should be happy to send details.







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