My husband The Australian was at a conference in the Azores last week, and I managed to tag along. It made a lovely change from grey, chilly England, where Spring has been especially tardy this year. It was sunny, most of the time, pleasantly warm rather than cold or too hot, and when the rain did come it came in exhilarating ten-minute bursts that bounced off the pavements and vanished as quickly as it had come. Since the subject of the conference was a little beyond my reach, I spent some time sightseeing, and found a delightful needlework and haberdashery shop, right in the centre of the town, near the harbour. If only embroidery shops were so easy to find in England! Furthermore, it was so busy there was a ticketed queuing system, and four assistants to serve the customers.
My Portuguese is limited to “Please” and “Thank You”, but in the Azores it seems that almost everyone speaks English, so I was able to explain that I am interested in embroidery and was looking for an Azorean or Portuguese project as a souvenir of my visit.
We found some patterns, and some suitable fabric and thread for the cutwork design I had chosen – a lovely crisp, fine cotton and a hank of DMC floche.
Then I found something else, and couldn’t resist it, because the eccentricity of travelling halfway across the Atlantic and then buying a book of patterns from Yugoslavia rather appealed to me!
So, in total, I came back with two pattern booklets for a variety of Portuguese and Azorean embroidery styles, some fabric and thread, and an entirely unrelated booklet about a form of embroidery from Eastern Europe. As if I didn’t have enough to do!