Friday, December 11, 2009

A New Grandmothers' Quilt

Earlier this week, I had a visit from Margaret, Maria and Florence - all quilters who are involved in making pieces for the second collection of quilts for a local group of Grandmothers to Grandmothers, raising funds for the work of the Stephen Lewis Foundation; and all quilt artists in their own right. Margaret and Florence gave me permission to photograph this first piece, which they made collaboratively, using pre-printed fabric from Africa. I love it! The main reason for the visit, though, was to select scraps of African fabrics from my collection, for possible incorporation into the "Turning the Tide" quilts. ("Turning the Tide" is the theme for this year's quilts for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.) It was great fun upending a box of leftovers onto my table, and going through them. Ideas for new quilts were flying around almost as fast as the tidbits of fabric. Then Margaret produced a quilt made from another collection of African fabrics. It never ceases to amaze me how wonderfully all these wild fabrics work together. And the great news is that she's donated it to the Kitambaa Sewing Project, and once it's been quilted, we will start selling "opportunities to own" this quilt, with 100% of the proceeds going to our work with the Bitengye Designers in rural Uganda.
Thank you, Margaret!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Kitambaa Sewing Project Update

What do squash have to do with the Bitengye Designers? Well, everything. Joanne Colleaux, an enterprising fund-raiser from the Salmon Arm area, had an abundance of spaghetti squash in her garden this year. Joanne was already a supporter of the Kitambaa Sewing Project. So one Guild meeting she took an Alice bag packed with a squash, and a set of Bitengye placemats, set as though the squash was the main course, for her "show and tell". She then sold all of the squash, and is donating the proceeds to the Sewing Project. This is certainly one of the most enterprising fund-raising efforts I have heard of to date! But there are generous people all over Canada who are once again donating to this project, and making our second workshop with these remarkable ladies possible (less than 6 weeks now until we fly!)
This week we have tremendously exciting news, in that we were able to let her know that we have now raised enough money for her to begin building the classroom for her Sewing School.
(she has plans to add a dormitory at a later date, so that students from afar can board with her while they study). She had already earned enough to have the land levelled and to have the bricks made, so now she has enough to begin putting up the walls. So all of you out there who have purchased one of her now-famous bags, or one of her other items, know that you have been part of seeing this happen. A huge thank you to everyone, particularly to those who have made a direct donation to Alice's school. I can't wait to see it, and will be sure to send you photos once in Uganda.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Africa-inspired Quilts

One of the delights of our trip to Uganda earlier this year, was collecting some remarkable batiks in the craft markets. In some cases we even managed to meet the artists responsible for making them. We sold out of all that we brought back with us fairly quickly, but kept back a few for ourselves to work with. These first two wallhangings are the work of Joan Darling, who has added free-motion stitching and beading as well as borders to the batiks. The first wallhanging of two women carrying pots on their heads is part of our fund-raising efforts for this year's trip to Uganda, and is for sale for $125. The second wallhanging of a woman walking in the rain, is not for sale. Aren't they delightful?
The quilt below is made by Ann McLean, owner of The Country Quilter in Richmond, Ontario. The Richmond Guild made all the blocks for their October block-of-the-month challenge, and Ann put all the blocks together with African fat quarters from Kitambaa Designs, as well as from her Ugandan friend, Petwa. I love the colours in it. There's nothing quite like silouetted animals against a sunset sky to evoke the feeling of Africa. Except perhaps the music.
It is six weeks today that we fly to Uganda, and preparations are well underway for the next workshop. Thank you to so many of you who have collected unused embroidery floss for us to use with the ladies, as well as all the other miscellaneous supplies we will be taking with us. Now we're busy making samples up of "new designs" to take with us, and filling totes with fabrics, particularly the black fabric that is so hard to find in Uganda. We'll be sourcing out local supplies for this once we get there, but have no way of knowing how successful we will be.