Sunday, September 22, 2019

The "Sisters" are back

Hi everyone, we’re back, well at least for occasional postings.  I am Clare Cross, one of the Secret Sewing Sisters, and thought you might like to see what we occasionally get up to. I make absolutely no promises that there will be frequent or regular postings. 

Since Meghan wrote our last post in 2016, there has been a lot of “movement at the station”, as A.B. "Banjo" Paterson would have said. There have been many new quilts; some finished, others not, several overseas trips for individual members to quilt shows in Europe and the States, quite a few new fabric lines from Di, a collaborative book between us and Quiltmania, a very unwell Di (who seems to be making a healthy recovery), and a trip earlier this year to France and The Netherlands for several members to attend and represent ourselves at quilt exhibitions, “Pour L’Amour du Fils” in Nantes, France, and “The Secret Sewing Sisters Quiltmania Tour” in Amersfoort, The Netherlands.

2019 has been a HUGE year for The Sisters. Firstly, our gorgeous Di was diagnosed with a nasty illness that has kept her out of the public eye, (she’s now so much better, and hoping to make an appearance again very soon) so we suspended regular sewing days in order that Di did not miss out on our get togethers. We are all still lovely friends who have an ongoing connection to each other via our friendship and quilting. We miss our days out sewing with our “sisters”, perhaps one day our sewing days will recommence.

Secondly, our book, “Labors of Love” was launched at the “Pour L’Amour du Fils” quilt show in Nantes, France.

Thirdly, our quilts have had a lovely year travelling around the globe. They have been to Nantes in France, Amersfoort in The Netherlands, Cornwall in England, Washington DC in America, and back to France for an exhibition in Alsace.

And last but certainly not least, the quilts will arrive home very soon, and some of them will be exhibited at a show, here in Melbourne, as a fundraiser for the Leukaemia Foundation. Some friends of Di (she has so many), asked Di to ask some of us to display a selection of our quilts at a show that is being held on 5th October 2019 in Blackburn. 
Of course, we said YES!!

What a year, and it’s only September!!!!

Ok, now to tell you all about our trip to Europe

No one actually invited any of us to go to Europe for the launch of our book, “Labors of Love”, but a few of us decided that we were important enough to be present! Without too much consultation amongst us, we told Carol Veillon from Quiltmania, and Petra Prins from “Dutch Heritage Fabrics” that we were coming, booked flights and accommodation, and off we went.

Of course, we had fun!! When we all met up in Nantes, it was like a reunion, as if we hadn’t seen each other in such a long time. Everyone had stories to tell of their exploits since leaving Australia; Merri and her husband Patrick had been visiting relatives and travelled to Spain and Portugal, Clare had travelled solo in Paris and the Normandy coast, Sue and her husband David, on their very FIRST overseas trip, had first been to England, and then crossed the Channel to France, Meghan had visited family in England, and then Deb and Meghan caught up in Paris before travelling to Nantes.

The 5 intrepid Sisters who invited themselves to Nantes, in front of Di’s gorgeous quilt, “Mary Anning’s Sea Shells”.
 Sue, Merri, Clare, Meghan and Deb.

By now you’ve probably all seen the Quiltmania #132, about the Pour L’Amour du Fils 2019 show, but here are some photos of our quilts on their very first international stage.
Merri, and her quilt “Merino Downs.

Meghan, and her “Floral Farrago”

Kerry Roe’s “Atlanta Botanica”

Sue’s “Curtain Call”
Clare’s “Kew Gardens”
Ann Ransom’s “Pheasants Among the Stars”

Deb and her “Wandering Minstrels”
 There were visitors from many countries, and although quite a number of them didn’t speak any English at all, and I can speak a little bit of French, (I'm still hoping that what I said, was what I meant to say), we did all speak the same language; Quilts.

There were utterances of “Superbe” and “Magnifique” which of course we did understand. 

Merri took great delight in showing off the backs of the quilts, much to the delight of the visitors. The “Sisters” seem to put as much effort in to selecting the backing fabric as they do for the front; that perhaps isn’t always the case with other quiltmakers. Most of us try and have some correlation between the front and the back, although our gorgeous sister Ann always tries to go for “WOW” rather than correlation.

 A “selfie” of us sitting down in the midst our very busy book signing schedule.
We were amazed at the attention we received from the many of the show; many photos of us taken alongside our quilts and multitudes of copies of our book were signed. We relished being “minor” celebrities for a moment

Deb and her “friend” who obviously have the very same excellent fabric appreciation

Following our visit in France, we met up again in Amersfoort, The Netherlands, a week later, to meet and greet our many dutch (and other nationalities) “fans”. By now Deb’s husband, Geoff, and my husband, Anthony, had arrived, so all the husbands got to see their wives in the limelight.
Sint Joriskirk (St George’s Church), Amersfoort.
The venue for this display was the absolutely gorgeous church; St Joriskirk (St George’s Church) a medieval church right in the middle of the town square.

 The feel of this display was so different from the Nantes exhibition, which is how we usually expect quilts to be displayed, this time the quilts were hung in the arches of the church, which meant that you could see the quilts in all their glory; this exhibition was a lot more intimate.

The absolutely gorgeous Carol Veillon, (Quiltmania Publishing Director), who convinced the Secret Sewing Sisters to take up the challenge of reproducing or reinterpreting some of the vintage quilts owned by and published in Quiltmania’s “Meanderings of a Quilt Collector” by Jane Lury

 Whilst in Amersfoort we got to meet many of our “friends” who also had quilts in the book. Unfortunately I didn't take photos of all our friends and their quilts, But I assure you we had a lovely time meeting and making new friends.

Renée Ferré  

Renée's quilt,  " Ah! Les belles toilettes"    

Petra’s “Queen Victoria”
Apologies to our new friends that don't have their photos here. If I do come across some photos of these gorgeous people, I will certainly address the issue. 

Deb and Clare having a laugh

We certainly had the most wonderful time away together. We shared some wonderful times and meals together, and loved exploring both Nantes and Amersfoort. The only dampener on the trip was that our friend Di was unable to join us; she was holed up in hospital for the whole of our time away. The BEST news though, is that Di is feeling so much better, and very keen to get on and make some more quilts.

I hope you've all enjoyed this update; we've been busy as usual, and I'm sure we will have more stories to tell you in the future.