Italia Invita 3: Museum Pieces

There were a couple of special museum exhibits at Italia Invita 2013.

Museo Glauco Lombardi

One of them was this Museum which is located in Parma and focuses on the cultural heritage of Bourbon rule and in particular that of Maria Luigia of Hapsburg (1791-1847).

Maria Luigia was the oldest child of Franz 1st Emperor of Austria and Maria Teresa of the Two Sicilies. As part of a set of diplomatic moves she married Napoleon in 1810.

In 1815 the Congress of Vienna assigned her the Duchy of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla and she arrived in Parma in 1816.

The exhibit at Italia Invita focused on textiles used and worn by Maria Luigia including her embroidery tools:

X-stitch from Museo Glauco Lombardi

Here you can see the scissors and tools she used to create the cross stitch of flowers.

While in this photo we see her silk threads and a design for an embroidery. My apologies for the quality of the photo but it was impossible to avoid the reflections.

Glass cabinet Museo Glauco Lombardi

I found these personal objects very moving – they gave you a sense of her as a person and not just a historical figure. This was reinforced when we later went to the Museum itself and saw her watercolours and artefacts from other pastimes.

The Museum also has an extensive collection of costumes. This one was at Italia Invita:

Gown from Museo Glauco Lombardi

This is a gem of a museum and worth visiting if you’re in Parma. It came about as the result of the passion, energy and tenacity of Professor Glauco Lombardi (1881-1970).

Maria Luigia lived in turbulent times politically and after 1831 Austrian rule of Parma and other parts of Italy came under increasing attack from revolutionary uprisings – this period is known in Italian history as the Risorgimento. Over time the artefacts and objects belonging to Maria Luigia were dispersed in various Savoy palaces.

And this is where they remained until Professor Lombardi collected them and persuaded the relevant authorities to set up and fund the museum. It’s an inspiring story.

If by any chance you’re going to be in Parma on 29 September the Museo Glauco Lombardi will be holding an event dedicated to the lace of Emilia Romagna and Tuscany in the first half of the 19th century.

You can find the Museum’s website here.

‘Tramare e Mare’

This was a small exhibition put on by a group called La Congrega from Ancona in the Marche region of Italy. Ancona is a port city on the Adriatic Sea and has a rich maritime history as a centre of trade.

La Congrega is a textile group that conserves, recycles and repurposes antique and second hand textiles. According to their website they are in the process of studying and cataloguing a data bank of some 2500 textiles.

This was an intriguing show that took you back to Ancona in the second half of the 16th century. In this period Ancona was a trade hub and a melting pot of peoples from all around the Mediterranean who brought with them a rich diversity of textiles – tapestries, carpets, clothing, fabrics and fibres.

The purpose was to show how this mix of people, cultures and trade influenced textile design and the sharing of motifs, styles, stitches and techniques around the Mediterranean. It was very thoughtfully put together.

Here’s a striking work from the exhibition:

Round Folkloric embroidery Italia Invita

What’s Next

From now on I’ll be concentrating on the various embroidery techniques and traditions shown at Italia Invita starting with Punto Antico and Reticello in the next post.

Until then, Bye!


Looking over Shoulders 2

Well I’ve been at it again – this time looking over the shoulders of the Monday morning group.

Are you comfy? Because this is a bit of an epic post and it’s still only a tiny glimpse of what goes on in the morning group which is large, enthusiastic and incredibly productive.

All this stitching is done over lots of laughter and chatting with the occasional pause for concentration over a tricky stitch or complicated bit of a design.

If you’d like a closer look at any of the work just click on the image to enlarge it.

Fran’s Stumpwork and Goldwork

In the previous post on Looking over Shoulders you saw the meticulous work Fran was doing to prepare the elements of an Alison Cole design called A Siennese Treasure. Elizabeth Braun of the sew-in-love blog commented and expressed an interest in seeing how this work progressed.

So here’s where Fran’s got to now:

Fran Novitski detail of A Siennese Treasure

and a closer view….

Fran Novitski Close up A Siennese Treasure

What do you think? Isn’t this exquisite?

and yes Fran goes to both the morning and evening group sessions because she’s our President.


We have the most amazing group of people who do awesome hardanger. They’re enthusiastic, active and happy to share their skills and knowledge with everyone including people like me who are complete newbies to this technique.

Here’s some of their work:

Evelyn B had just begun her piece and you can see the geometry of the counted work emerging:

Hardanger in hoop Evelyn Bardara from Queanbeyan

Avis had combined her favourite hardanger designs to create a piece that skilfully balances elegance and precision. Here are some elements of her design:

Hardanger X by Avis Gesling

Hardanger diamond by Avis Gesling

Hardanger edge by Avis Gesling

Doreen McG was working on this piece with a lovely repeat pattern of a flower motif:

Hardanger in hoop by Doreen McG

Hardanger lacy detail by Doreen McG

She makes it look so easy….

while Meryl F was almost finished this beauty:

Hardanger rectangle in progress by Meryl Fellows


And if all that eye candy isn’t enough for you here’s a sample of the other stitching going on……


Sandra M was working on this delicate piece of Schwalm in a lovely soft palette of colours:

Schwalm work in progress Sandra Minns


Val W was adding a real pop of colour as she knitted this jacket in angora wool:

blue knitting Val Woodward

Hatice who’s visiting from Turkey was also knitting – a very pretty cardigan for a lucky little girl:

Pink childs  cardigan with grub roses by Hatice Canturk

Now and then she’d also pick up this cross stitch and make some more progress:

Geese x-stitch by Hatice


Cross Stitch

Talking of cross stitch Barbara B was working on this very striking flower pattern called Bloomtime:

Red flower x-stitch in progress Barbara Bailey

While Faye had finished this trio of birds (Goldcrests I think) designed by Valerie Pfeiffer. Her trick of adding beads for eyes really brought these little birds to life.

Three Goldcrests finished x-stitch by Faye Guy

And Helen N transformed this small bunch of flowers into a neat biscornu:

xstitch squares by Helen Nastopoulus

Flower biscornu stitched by Helen Nastopoulis



Hazel was almost finished this wonderful Celtic Knot design in Assisi work. It’s a kit from Mary Hickmott’s New Stitches magazine.

Assisi work in progress by Hazel Frances


Vintage Embroidery

Floriana had been rummaging in her stash and found this cool vintage embroidery of a gondola. While she liked the retro look of the design she decided to add a modern touch with the fresh colours.

Vintage Gondola in progress Floriana Basilisco

Diana was also taking a vintage pattern from a 1973 Coates publication called Mix and Match in Embroidery and giving it a contemporary look with her choice of colours:

Vintage cockerel stitchery by Diana Churchill


Jenny H was also using colours with a real pop in her stitchery:

small embroidery with DMC threads Jenny Hutchinson

while Louise W had begun a delicate traditional embroidery bought on one of her trips to Germany:

German Surface stitching in progress Louise Willey



Anne D was shading this Roseworks bloom in subtle tones of red and pink:

Reddy pink crewel flower by Anne Dowling beside her Barbara A was stitching away at this design in shades of blue:

Blue and pink crewel in progress Barbara Adams


Creative use of fabrics

and on the other side of her Irene B was cleverly creating these teddy bear ornaments from a fabric pattern:

Irene Burton 4 teddy bears

not far away on another table Dorothy R was sewing ric rac on this pretty butterfly block:

Butterfly block Rhonda

and Lynne B was working away at these hexies for a bed cover:

Hexies by Lyn Baldwin



Meanwhile Lesley E had just finished one of her cute babywear sets of bib and vest embroidered with bees and eucalypt flowers. Watching her creating bullion bees, animals and flowers is like watching magic!

Baby bib and singlet Lesley Edwards

Bye for now!