Not long until July! Part Two

To complete my Embroidery blog I will describe some of the stitches I have used in my embroidery work and explain why I picked them..

There are numerous embroidery stitches that are ideal to use on light fabric. It all depends on what you are trying to create. So I think that the best option is to focus on four basic stitches so that you can try them, once practised you can move onto something more elaborate.

Running stitch, back stitch, cross stitch and satin stitch.

The Running Stitch is a simple stitch very much like a tacking stitch which I use to reduce fraying around the edge of the fabric. However the running stitch has smaller stitches.
 

Back Stitch on a white pillow case.

A stronger stitch than the running stitch but similar. Used for creating a solid line. One thread or two of embroidery silk are used depending on the thickness of the line you are embroidering. Start as for a running stitch but make the sequential stitches by passing the needle back into the end of the previous stitch.
 

Cross Stitch.

This stitch can be used to completely fill an area. Bare in mind that small cross stitch like the above takes time. This particular picture took me about two months to create, working two or three hours a day.

The stitch is excellent for canvas material where the weave can easily be counted and worked over an even number of threads for each stitch. When making cross stitch to fill the design, work the first slanting stitch for the full length, then work back completing the crosses.
 

Satin Stitch on leaves on a cushion.

Again can be used to fill an area. It is worked from left to right, therefore allowing a more flat surface than the cross stitch. Lines of running stitch could be worked inside the outline first to give a raised effect.
 

Have fun and be creative.
 
 

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Why the Perigord Noir?

This question has been asked by friends, family, tourists and house hunters. The appeal to us, is that this part of the Perigord offers the most stunning landscapes as the Dordogne River cuts through the unspoiled countryside. The landscape changes at every bend in the road and there are amazing sights as you drive past the villages clinging to the rock face.

La Roque-Gageac.
 

There are four distinctive seasons from short Winters where temperatures can reach below freezing (-7 this morning) to blooming Spring and gorgeous hot Summers. Which are reflected in the seasonal produce sold in the many markets of the area.

The cuisine is rich in its diversity from duck, mushrooms, truffles, cheeses, wine, fruit and vegetables. To match this there are the amazing food festivals. this month we see the truffle market in Daglan and the Truffle Festival in Sarlat. Summertime brings the night markets where you can enjoy fresh cooked local food in pleasant surroundings.

Historical features include the many Château’s featuring pigeonniers and of course the many wonderful Beaux villages of the area.

A taster for the first time visitor to this area are Milandes, Castlenaud, Beynac, La Roque-Gageac, Domme, Daglan and Sarlat.

Medieval weekend last Summer held at Château de Castelnaud.
 

Included sword fighting demonstrations.
 

La Mairie de Daglan, Such a beautiful building.
 

Le Tour de Daglan takes a short rest in the village square.
 

Most of all it is always the people that make a place worth visiting time and again, and Daglan is no exception to this rule. You will never meet more friendly and welcoming people who are always willing to help and to make your life here a little bit better by their presence.

The weekly Craft Session.
 
 

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly

Over recent weeks Sarlat has been transformed from a beautiful medieval town to a wonderful Christmas village. The highlight being Sarlat Christmas Market (this year with a Spanish theme) and outdoor skating rink. Open until the end of December, with up to forty wooden chalets selling traditional arts and crafts, mulled wine, cakes, hot roasted chestnuts and caviar! But I saw no tapas on our morning visit!

Snow flakes flutter down in this tableau scene at the entrance to the Christmas Market.
 

I particular like the traditional Christmas tree ornaments for sale in quite a few of the chalets. Glass baubles, wooden hearts, and lots of red bows that are very popular in this area of France.

Incidentally, many French Christmas traditions originate from Alsace and it was in the town of Selestat that Christmas trees first appeared in the 11th Century. People used to decorate their trees with real fruit but one year the harvest was poor and a local glass blower from Goetzenbruck in Moselle tried to replicate the fruit by creating glass balls to hang on the branches. However, I have heard of a few more places that have been named for the origination of glass ornaments! Wherever they came from, they are gorgeous.

Facade of a Spanish Finca welcomes visitors to the market.
 

I do love this little donkey standing outside the chalet of the Donkey Sanctuary where you can buy gorgeous soap, aprons, tea towels etc. The profit goes to the upkeep of the Sanctuary.
 

New to the Christmas Market is a chalet selling Neuvic Caviar.
 

Spanish Flamenco dancers or matadors decorate many of the chalets.
 

Prints of Salvador Dali paintings hang from the trees. This painting is a particular favourite of mine.
 

Paul admiring the traditional wooden Christmas tree decorations in this chalet.
 
 

Event:-Daglan Truffle Market every Sunday from 11am until February.

26th to 30th December Merlin at Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle. This is a narrative show for young children in sound, shadows and light. Shows are at 11 o’clock, 2.30 and 3.30.

Sarlat Truffle Festival 19th and 20th January.
 
 

Deck the Halls

The ladies of our weekly Craft sessions have had a treat over the last fortnight. First we had a demonstration of garland making then this week a workshop, all under the expert eye of Carolyn Lindsey.

Boxes upon boxes of the most gorgeous decorations.
 

Carolyn giving advice and a helping hand.
 

Ribbons, ivy, lights and golden baubles are being used to make this stunning garland.
 

Brilliant Denise, I wish that I could have stayed to see the finished work.
 

My attempt. If you are in Daglan over the festive season take a look, it will be hanging on the door of our home.

Big thanks to Carolyn who will be out and about selling her decorations at various Christmas markets over the next few weeks.
 
 

Marchés de Noël
Saturday 1st December at Meyrals
Sunday 2nd December at Soirac
Sunday 9th December at Salviac
Sunday 16th December at Belves

 
 

The Dark Knight from the Tower of London.

We had a brilliant afternoon last Saturday at Château de Castelnaud where a Medieval Heritage Weekend was being hosted.

There were artisans who make swords and armour, demonstrations of various techniques and moves in sword fighting and the why and when you would perform the moves in medieval combat. With the highlight being James Hester and Stephen Pasker Shellenbean giving their extremely interesting talks and demonstrations of sword fighting from the 13th and 14th Century.

James and Stephen are historical experts in Medieval combat. James was curator of Tower Collections at the Tower of London no less. Both of the men gave talks and demonstrations in English and it was translated into French.

James Hester the Dark knight.
 

Waiting to start the tournament.
 

Stephen and James demonstrating how to win against a larger and stronger opponent.
 

James stated that the swords were extremely light and that every part of the sword could be used in hand to hand combat. Unlike those epic tournaments depicted in movies a typical fight would only last three or four strokes of the blade. While Stephan talked about the education of the Medieval Knight which consisted of geography, sciences, Latin, mathematics and music. For example, mathematics for judging how near the opponent is to you, their arm span, height and weight. Music for timing and movement, so that you strike at the key moment and move quickly out of the way. But first a knight was taught wresting from a young age, which helped to build muscle and agility so that they could use the skills in the practice of sword combat.

The tournament begins with a challenge from Kevin. The score was calculated by how many strokes made contact with the opponent.
 

A presentation of civil fencing in the 12th to 14th centuries by Olivier Gourdon and Franck Cinato.
 

An artisan describing his work producing amazing custom made armour. You could have a complete set made and be armoured head to toe in only two months for a suit of plain armour, somewhat longer if a pattern was introduced.
 

Amazing work.
 

I have always pictured myself as the next Arogorn or Legolas from the Lord of the Rings. Well a girl can dream. This sword was perfect, so light allowing me to give a good swing, it was excellently balanced.
 
 

Event:- Daglan this Saturday evening at 7 o’clock – Soiree Cabaret with Paris-Londres at the Salle Des Fêtes. With an aperitif and nibbles. Ten euro per adult and three euro for children.