Take Me Back to Italy!

TakeMeBacktoItaly front

I have this thing for Italy.  So when I saw Va Bene!, a line of fabrics depicting scenes and buildings and landmarks from Italy, it had to come home with me.  Many of our trips are detailed on my travel blog, Traveled Mind, which I’ve maintained for several trips, and it serves as a journal of sorts.  It’s always fun to go and read it to remember the perfect bruschetta pomodora in the courtyard just beyond the steps of Santo Spirito in Florence (and is why I put the snippet of fabric showing this on the quilt label).

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The facade of the church Santo Spirito, Florence

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Brushetta Pomodora (pronounced with a hard sound: brus-ketta)

Recipe is found *here.*

So with this memory floating in my mind, I fell in love with the tomato fabric and the sights fabric and the background fabric with the Venetian gondolas and knew that I wanted to make this for Another Year of Schnibbles that Sherri and Sinta are hosting.

Schnibbles Hat Trick Version 1

This was my first attempt.  I ending up snipping off the piano key borders — even though they are in the original pattern — because everything seemed “mushed” together.  I think a quilt should have strong focal point, or perhaps several places where the eye can travel to, and with the borders and this fabric, it just wasn’t working.

TakeMeBacktoItaly detail

I also quilted the nine-patches in the ditch, and then did a heavy stippling on the triangles to smash them flat into the background, hoping the nine-patch design would pop up a bit.  I think it also helped with that no place for the eye to rest thing I was talking about.

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Windows of Santa Croce

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I’d purchased this tea towel on a very hot day when we were touring Lake Como, and tucked it away in the suitcase.  You can’t always find fabric in distant places, but there’s always a tea towel or two, showing the sights.

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Florence Duomo exterior

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Tuscan countryside

My husband is a great traveler, very adventurous, and loves to rent a car and just drive around, trying new places to eat, finding the out of the way place, avoiding the tourist traps, although he will put up with a few if the sights are top notch.  So Italy fits us well.  Enough people speak English, the food is amazing, and the scenery is picturesque.

TakeMeBacktoItaly label

So what else could I name this quilt but Take Me Back to Italy?

This is Quilt #112 on my 200 Quilts list.

It’s also my second finish for the second quarter of Leanne’s Finish-A-Long,

FinishALong Button

. . . and my first Schnibbles in Another Year of Schnibbles.

Schnibbles

 That’s a pretty big pedigree for such a small quilt, but this one can handle it.

 It’s Italian.

WIP and Scenes from Italy

I think we are all breathing a sigh of relief that we can answer our phones again without being assaulted during dinner by robo-calls from a candidate.  Or go to our mailboxes without needing a forklift for the thousands of pounds of campaign fliers.  I live in California and thought I had it bad until we talked to our son who lives in Ohio.  My sympathies to all who live in swing states; thanks for participating in the process.

So it is so nice to return to a routine, and today is Works in Progress Wednesday, hosted by Lee over at Freshly Pieced. Actually today it is being guest-hosted by Svetlana, and she echoes my sentiment of enjoying the weekly accounting that we do every week to keep us on track.

Last night as I watched the election returns come in with my husband, sister and brother-in-law (who are visiting), I was able to finish up this seventh hexagon.  I just keep the basket of pieces downstairs by the television and work on it whenever I am parked in front of the tube.  This hexie I could christen the political hexie, for it seemed like that’s what I was watching most as I worked on it.  I don’t know what I’ll do with them all–Downton Abbey starts up in January so maybe I’ll have some more completed before I have to decide.

But I have just returned from a trip my husband and I took to Italy, where he participated in the Collegium Ramazzini, a scientific conference in Carpi (a little town northeast of Bologna).  Not only did we visit Carpi, but also Bologna, Padua (and the Scrovegni Chapel), Venice, and Burano–a colorful island near Venice of brightly painted houses.

This is a wall from the 11th century in a church in Bologna.  Love those patchwork designs.  Everything old is new again, isn’t it?

I can’t believe they let us walk on this ancient stone floor from the Peter/Paul Cathedral in Venice, but here it is.

My husband found this fabric shop for us to look at (Bologna), but I only bought fabric in a shop across from the two (slightly leaning) towers.  Below you can see the man cutting my wool challis.

I’m thinking a scarf or something.  Fabric was really expensive over there.

But they do wrap it up nicely to bring home.

I’ve been collecting tea towels for use on the back of quilts, and here’s the one from Padua.  We thought it interesting that the thing we went to see most — Scrovegni Chapel with Giotto’s frescoes — was not even listed on the back.

In sunny Burano, we saw a woman sitting out by the canal making lace.  By hand.  Burano is known for its lace and lacemakers, and apparently it’s a dying art because none of the young woman want to learn it.  We watched her for a while, as she used her needle and thread to create tiny stitches and knots over a paper pattern.

Here’s a close-up of her pattern.  She’s created the main flowers, then will come back in and create the webbing to hold it all together.

I found the quilt shop in Venice!  This is right as you come off the Ca’D’Oro vaparetto stop.

But the prices are enough to make you swoon.  Twenty-one euros a meter (39″) works out to about 25 bucks per yard.  I try to remind myself of the luxury of all the fabrics we have here in the States at about half the cost.  I’ve learned not to buy quilt fabrics imported from the United States when I’m traveling, but if I have time, I’ll duck into a shop for a pattern or an interesting notion.

I’ll leave you with three photos: the first two are from the island of Burano and the last is from our final, foggy, morning in Venice, before we headed home.