Nuts for patchwork

Perhaps you’re wondering where this post will go after you have read the title – if you are concerned please be reassured, all will be fine!!

Patchwork always plays a role in the Fete de la Chataigne in St Pons, and this year was no exception.  Past tense because the Fete took place on the weekend of October 26/27, 2013.  As ever the Fete de la Chataigne was worth a visit, if for no other reasons than for the sheer variety of stands and the entertainment on offer.  Let me start with the patchwork though.  The exhibition is always held in the Chapelle des Penitents, a former chapel which is now used as a community space.



The stone walls provide a good backdrop for the quilts and embroideries, which have been lovingly stitched by the 20 or so members of L’Atelier Picoutaille. Every two years a new exhibition sees the light of day, and this year’s new show had ‘the home’ as its theme. The variety of works is amazing and I hesitate to hazard a guess as to how many hours must have gone into the combined works – perhaps too many to count.

Pieces ranged from large bed-cover-sized to much smaller works.

There was also a display case of old boutis work, where the relief is produced by padding with cotton wool.  Exquisite to look at, but I’m sure not very easy to produce!

Some of the ladies of the Atelier Picoutaille were working away as we got there, mostly on small things such as pincushions, which were sold on the spot.

Maisons de Campagne, a haberdasher’s shop from Montpellier, had a stand next to the ladies and their projects, selling a beautiful selection of patchwork fabrics and embroidery patterns, and everything in between.   I find that this exhibition is usually a great stop for small christmas presents!!

As for the rest of the fete, there were many wonderful stalls – a good few of them selling food of course,

…and baskets of many kinds.

This year the entertainment was a re-enactment of the visit of the bishop of St Pons to the building site of the cathedral, during the early 18th century.  The local theater group, La Compagnie de la Source, had set the scene outside the cathedral, with a big stage to one side and a squirrel wheel (or treadmill crane) on the other.  The squirrel wheel has people inside, walking back or forward to raise or descend heavy loads.  The rope winds around the axle so even a relatively light person can lift heavy stones.  Next to the squirrel wheel was a stonemason, who was working on a cross vault.


There was also a machine for making rope, and I managed to take a video for you of how it works.  Note to e-mail subscribers:  please go to the website for the blog to see the videos.

The soundtrack in the background is of the stonemason chipping away at his stone and chatting with the onlookers.  Right at the end of the video you can hear the little band of soldiers singing Alouette, a popular children’s song, as they march towards the square.


The soldiers and the capitan were very amusing and entertained the crowd before the main show started.

The costumes for this year’s show were amazing, and it seemed as though a good part of the town was participating!

And then there was the band – Pescaluna – playing traditional and mediaeval music.

IMG_8716I have two videos for your entertainment:

To escape the drizzle I visited the cathedral – amazing what can be found in some churches!  I seem to have photographed a lot of grotesque faces which are carved in the wooden panelling!

The sacristy was open, and I couldn’t resist a look.  The structure alone is impressive, and the items on display are beautiful.

The embroidery is incredible and some of the metal objects are amazing – I’m glad I don’t have to polish any of them :-)!

Then there was a corner of seemingly abandoned things.  The statue looked rather sad and left out, and the tabernacle had definitely seen better days!


IMG_8658But hey, I almost forgot!  We are here to celebrate the chestnut harvest!!  So here you are, enjoy your cornet of hot, roasted chestnuts!  And remember to come back again next year.



5 thoughts on “Nuts for patchwork

    • Hi LaVaughn, the boutis work always amazes me – the painstaking work of stitching and stuffing, I guess it’s something to do on the long winter nights!! In two year’s time there’ll be a new show, so start planning 🙂


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