In June I spent a couple weeks in France with French General stitching and roaming around brocantes and vide-greniers (that’s French for flea markets and yard sales!). I came back with a little bit of stuff and a ton of inspiration. I’ll show you some more of that in a minute (the image above is from a fantastic, elegantly ramshackle shop in St. Antonin). First I want to show you what we stitched in the studio.
The project was a journal version of the stitchbook, made from scraps and inspirations found in our travels. I sure do love old cloth. It’s mainly what I look for in France and my book is a celebration of that, toile, woad dye and classics like roses and checks.
The students were serious stitchers and embraced the thought of inventing pages inspired by the experience. So many great ideas and interpretations.
This book was shorter than the full 100 day stitchbook, 12 pages instead of 20. Also on most of the books the edges were left raw and straight stitched together. It makes an excellent vacation/road project, easy to carry and perfect for stashing little treasures and memories.
This is a little of the fabric I brought back with me. Songbirds are already in progress and there’s a whole blog post about that too. And in the gallery below there are a few more favorite images and treasures.
It was a big adventure! And the first time I’ve traveled in a long time. It’s also a very happy thing to be home again and back to all the things I love doing. I am a person who loves routine, I think a lot of stitchers are, how about you?
In the corner of a sweltering hot barn jammed with mountains of dusty ancient things there was a little box of crumpled tissue. First a little silver fork pokes out. Then a tiny china lid that might belong to a teapot.
A shell thin glass vase that is somehow not broken is floating in the tissue too. I stop looking because I already know I need it and the rest should be discovered slowly and savored, each thing emerging. A tiny sterling candlestick and then unbelievably it’s mate, miniature binoculars, and the lid does belong to a teapot, the little set is complete and even has a platter. Old and wonderful. Everything about it is magic and sweet and melancholy and lonesome.
Vacations are not my thing. And technically this is not a vacation, I am in France to teach workshops with French General. I brought lots of projects to work on too, things to sew, writing projects, all sorts of fun things. But I did nothing. Almost nothing. My brain refused to participate. I did more of nothing than I ever have in my life. 3 weeks of nothing. Plus it was 105 degrees, making nothing the only reasonable choice anyway.
Glorious nothing, swimming and cherries from a tree for breakfast, loads of coffee and wine, fantastic cheese and bread. Feeling supremely happy wandering brocantes and vide greniers eating a jambon beurre and finding treasures. Mostly things for making things. Loads of that. And Edwardian garments and antique paper for the October workshops in LA.
Checkout some highlights from the France workshops and wanderings below. And if you’d like to spend time with me in France next summer signups will be open soon. Send me a message with France 2020 as the subject if you’d like more info.
ps – have you made a needle book? Find the tutorial here. The exquisite book above was made here in the workshop by Petra.
I’m headed home tomorrow and I felt my brain come back on line today. Sad to go but ready to work and think and experiment. Ready to dive into the busyness of finishing sewing patterns, preparing for the next 3 workshops and something special for September involving old paper and the forest.
And Summer is for making tiny dolls and outfitting the little ladies with summer hats and dresses and miss matched china for lawn picnics. I’ve put the miss thistle society patterns and tutorials all in one place for you and I’d love to see what you make – use #annwoodpattern and #missthistlesociety on instagram.
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