Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On Our Way to Uganda

So today's the day we leave for Uganda. I'm sitting here in my nightie, not yet fully packed and not quite believing that we're going. It seems to have come up so quickly. Just before we go, though, I wanted to give a huge, huge thank you to all the people who have contributed in so many ways to the Kitambaa Sewing Project. Just to mention a couple - I found the gift pictured above in my mailbox on Christmas Eve. It's from two small children - Hailey and Tanner Sanders - who must have collected small change from friends and family in order to make a donation to the grandmothers. The box of embroidery thread below came our way from the Fredericton
Quilters' Guild. And there have been oodles of dresses and shoes donated by local folks - from the Black Fin Pub and from Comox Massage Centre, to name just a couple. Joan and I managed to get most of these packed into four large totes, and all being well, will meet up with them again in Entebbe.
And then just before Christmas, the last photo was sent to us from Rubingo, where Alice's new sewing school not has had its doors and windows added. It will be terrifically exciting to see it first hand, as well as to see all the Bitengye Designers again. All being well, I will post to my blog several times a week (it always is a bit iffy. So you will be able to follow along on our advantures with us. Until then, thank you, thank you, thank you, for all your support and well wishes and kindnesses to the Bitengye Designers and to us. We will greet the women on behalf of all of you. And have a very Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Three More Africa-Inspired Quilts

I continue to be amazed at the way various quiltmakers use African fabrics to make quilts. The vibrancy of their colours, their energy, their affirmation of life speaks volumes about the human spirit, and the survivor in each of us. The first quilt featured is one of my own. Circles of Kente-inspired cottons have been appliqued to a background of pieced Shweshwe cloth, then surrounded by couched circles of thin strips of veritable wax fabrics. It's called Celestial Dance. Next is an enlarged version of African Journey, made by Lynne Fanthorpe from Coquitlam, B.C. And lastly is a quilt called A Conversation, made by Margaret Kelly from Courtenay, B.C. I was recently invited to write an article for the Canadian Quilter magazine, on using African fabrics in quilts, and these are three of the featured quilts. Look for the Spring Issue of the Canadian Quilter to read this article - a must-have journal for any Canadian quilter.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Little of This, A Little of That

Have I introduced you to the wonderful women from Incomparable Buttons in Johannesburg, South Africa? These are the ladies that make hand-crafted buttons that I am often found selling at quilt shows and in classes. They're fired at very high temperatures, so washing machine safe. Great for knitted items, or in African Collage quilts. Next is a delightful African Collage wallhanging made by Noreen Duncan from Winnipeg. And lastly is a small wallhanging made by Trudy Thorne.

It's just terrific to see so many Africa-inspired quilts, but nowadays so many of us have first or second hand experience of different African countries, so that it's no longer an unusual thing to share stories of time spend on that great continent. In fact when I recently taught my African Collage class in Saskatoon, 11 of the 12 participants had African connections of one kind or another. It's a small world, indeed.