Whitework embroidered alphabet: letter G

A whitework alphabet: letter G (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

A fortnight away – and one of those weeks in sole charge of two lively kittens growing daily in confidence – means that this week I’m slowing down and spending time catching up on things and people at home here in Cheltenham. Yesterday, London and Cheltenham collided daughter as No 1 dropped in on her way to a solitary writing holiday in Devon. Having booked into The Ivy Restaurant for a birthday meal, it was delightful that she could join us – and even more delightful that she ordered champagne and then paid for the whole thing! The Montpellier Rotunda, a splendid building modelled in part on the Pantheon in Rome, had been a branch of Lloyds bank for years until, shortly after we moved to Cheltenham, when more suitably it became one of the new baby Ivy Restaurants set up in a few large provincial centres. We love the fact that the building has been returned to its original use as a place of eating, drinking and meeting friends and we have enjoyed making it our place to go to for special occasions – and  only 10 minutes walk away from home!

John Piper ‘Foliate Heads’

Tomorrow will find me seriously re-engaged in long sessions on the altar frontal quilting. The wedding at Ipsden is now only 6 weeks away and I’m sure the bride’s mother would love to see the quilt in place  but is much too polite to even make an enquiry as to how it’s progressing. (It’s not for the main altar but for a table in the so-called north transept – an  altar that isn’t really an altar because the table is just a table and isn’t consecrated!) If I can get the three visible sides quilted, I shall be happy as nobody will be able to see the side facing the wall which can be done later as it will be nice to turn the whole thing round from time to time so you can see the different flowers.

John Piper ‘Foliate Heads’

Meanwhile, as I shall be concentrating on the altar frontal, here is my last whitework letter for a while. ( I shall probably take a month away from the alphabet.) G is for green man – or green person, though of course for current purposes it’s all in white! A folk symbol found carved in both domestic and religious settings, I’ve always been much taken with John Piper’s painted and tapestry versions – he calls them foliate heads – and here are a few images from my scrapbooks.

John Piper : tapestry with foliate head

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Whitework embroidered alphabet: letter F

A week in London helping out with house and childcare came to an end on Friday with me waving the family off on holiday to France. I shall remain here for the coming week to keep an eye on the household’s new members –  Mac and Mabel, two stripey ginger kittens whose age I can’t remember, except I know they’re too young to go out yet. (And small enough to both fit comfortably in the shoe box where odd socks accumulate which they have now claimed as one of their favourite sleeping sites.) Surprisingly well behaved and tolerant (the smallest person tends to go gentle pat, gentle pat, heavy pat/thump) the kittens  have been good company and one of them has already shown he’s happy to be a lap cat.

A whitework alphabet: letter F (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Though itching to get back to the altar frontal, I’m enjoying lazing in a sun soaked first floor sitting room where the light is perfect for whitework – so whitework it is this week – perhaps I’ll even manage to get ahead of myself so I can be single mindedly set on the altar frontal when I get home. Yesterday, for the first time ever  I even watched The Trooping of the Colour (the annual event marking the Queen’s official birthday)  and really rather enjoyed it. Unimpressed by series 2 of Killing Eve (for me, style smashing content to a pulp, too much gratuitous violence and really rather slow moving), this evening I’m happy to go back to reading and silence. Meanwhile my husband is free to spread his research work out over the three tables still occupying our sitting room … until my return when the 2 craft tables will go back to the garage and our sitting room will become just that once again. (Such are the benefits of my absence!)

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