Thursday, February 12, 2009


Alice, Maudah, Tumushabe and Joy are pictured here examining the first completed cushion-cover. This is one style, and the other will use strip-piecing in a rail fence setting. Alice, Tumushabe and Maudah are having great success in making both wallhangings and placemats; there are others are not far behind. But there is still a struggling group of four, and one in particular is having a lot of difficulty. It was heart-breaking yesterday to have to tell her that her placemats still needed improvement before they would be the "good quality" they must be before I can buy them from her. She has worked so hard, and she has come a long way. She is someone who knows how to cultivate the land and grow crops, to feed her children, and to put a roof over her head. Rulers, scissors, measuring and sewing are all totally new to her. I think it was me who had expectations that were too high. So I have had to modify those, and have told her, that if she is able to measure and mark a strip of fabric, to cut it out, and to sew it together with others, by the end of the three weeks, she will have succeeded. And she will, if we can then combine her efforts into items finished by others.


  1. I love that you are finding a way for the struggling sewer to stay part of the project. Life iteself knocks us down often enough. We benefit from building each other up, especially as women.

    Please tell this woman that other quilters (perhaps me?) have struggled in the early stages too. And this is with a cutting mat, rotary cutter and advanced sewing machine!! Not to mention leisurely shopping trips with friends to buy fabric and chat about pattern choices.

    The world is full of quilters who learn from their Oops! moments. And we are making these mistakes when we are not working under a deadline.

    For so many quilting is about the process - the journey and exploring the techniques. For this group it's all about the product, and necessarily so, which makes for a bit more anxiety.

    I think of the many women I know who are too overwhelmed at the thought of TRYING to quilt. They've already set themselves up to fail before they start. This group of women keeps going, steadfast and resolute. That is indeed admirable.


  2. Your empathy for this woman comes across in your comments,Pippa. We have all struggled over some aspect of our work. My heart goes out to both of you.
    Pat F in Winnnipeg

  3. Hi Pippa and Joan
    Thanks so much for letting us share in your experiences in Africa. What a great job you are doing with these women and how well they are learning!

    Jean Boyd

    Please visit my Blog

  4. Hi Pippa:
    Here is a suggestion for those who start without measuring skills: perhaps their first project could be a 'wonky' log cabin. The sewing lines could be drawn on newspaper like a foundation quilt. That way, they could concentrate on the sewing skills first and do the measuring skills in the next project.
    ps - I sent your URL out to the FAN group and my guild - ridge/meadows. Because you are doing a trunk show with us, the members are following your experiences with great interest.