Within the quilting community there is a small, almost-secret society, of lovers of the Tour de France. Le Tour runs for three weeks, starting this year on 4 July, and always includes Bastille Day (14 July).
Le Tour offers quilters some wonderful inspiration. There are the colours – team uniforms, cycles, and the French countryside. Being on the route of the tour is a big deal and the cities, towns and villages make the most of their moment in the spotlight with the way they decorate their environment.
The pattern in the roads, the fields and crops, the cobblestones all offer ideas for piecing, appliqué and quilting. The farmers will often decorate or creatively harvest their fields that are near the road.
The broadcast uses helicopter shots a lot and this gives you some wonderful views of the many chateaux and churches. They get in quite close so that you can see the patterns in the stone.
The overhead shots of the gardens of some chateaux makes you think of symmetrical appliqué blocks – in the Baltimore, Karen Kay Buckley or Kerry Gavin style. The dizzying swoosh up and down hairpin bends on the mountain roads are like rows of serpentine quilting.
Adding to all the visuals is the time – you can achieve a lot in the 3 to 4 hours of a broadcast, even if it runs to the early hours.
The final inducement to join our secret society – men in Lycra, of course!
Elizabeth Rose © 2014 (modified version of an article published in Connecting Threads, the newsletter of Canberra Quilters Inc)