Saturday, May 14, 2011

A QUILT.....REALLY???

Before we moved to Lagos, a friend mentioned that she had heard of many expats who quilted in Nigeria.  I laughed and stated, "That will be the day when I start quilting".   She thought it was especially funny since my sewing skills have been non-existent.  OK, truth be told, she laughed out loud and the word "Hysterical" was used a few times!  In fact, my good friend does all my sewing for me......patches, valances, etc.. and I have been very grateful.   She came over one day and needed a needle - and the only one I could find came from the little emergency sewing kit obtained from the American Airlines business class travel pack along with 6 colors of thread.  I was deemed hopeless AND happy with the title! :)  

I mentioned to my mother (who is also talented in sewing) about expat women quilting.   We decided that she needed to start worrying about my mental status if she ever heard of me quilting!  She also thought it was funny and actually laughed at the thought of me getting bored enough to start a quilt.   We've had some fun on Facebook just mentioning the "Q" word and that post started a lively discussion of over 25 comments - none of which were especially flattering about my sewing abilities!!! 

OK - friends and family - time to EAT MY WORDS!  I've started quilting!!   
I totally, totally get it now.....The African fabrics are vibrant and fun and oh, so beautiful.  I am getting addicted to fabrics, like I have been addicted to scrapbooking paper in the past.  I love to shop in the outdoor markets and am learning the difference between Wooden, DaVita, Adire, Batik and Java prints.  I have purchased fabric made in Ghana, Nigeria, Benin and Kenya.  The fabrics are so unique and I want to use them all and display them all proudly.  The textures, the color, the patterns, the design - just amazing!  The women here are willing to teach and encourage and many have never sewn in the past either.  But with all these fabulous fabrics, we have to do something - and quilting is the logical answer. 
So the process has begun!!  I bought a rotary cutter and mat from an expat who was moving, then bought a pair of real sewing scissors (my first pair ever!) and a quilting ruler from a friend.  I borrowed a sewing machine from Kristiann and a large electrical converter from Juli.  I copied directions to get started and have spent many luxurious hours just measuring and cutting scraps given to me by new friends.  I have pieces from Lindy's curtains and Juli's skirt, and Sheila's projects along with lots of other patterns from generous friends.  I am making a 'Steps to Freedom" quilt with my African pieces and am thrilled with the process.  
 
So far, I 've cut out 80+ 4.5 inch black squares, 80+ 4.5 inch strips,  80+ 6.5 inch strips, 80+ 11 inch strips and 4- 2" squares - all shown above.   I am busy laying it all out and putting together the puzzle that will someday be a quilt.  It's a fascinating process and exciting to see the pieces come together.  I am just learning one step ahead, so I don't overwhelm my brain! 
   
The biggest adventure in international moves is learning new things, with new friends in a new location that I can cherish forever.  I'll let you know how it progresses. 

Grandmother Holt would be so proud!  :) 

 

4 comments:

Donna said...

You are ahead of me! I have sewn all my life and attended many quilting sessions. I have started a baby quilt and started a couple of others, too. But I don't know Adire from calico and had very poor luck at my one outdoor market shopping expedition for fabrics. You can use my sewing machine when I get there. Will you teach me about the fabrics and where to find the good stuff?

Janet said...

Donna - We'll make a good team! Absolutely!

Judy said...

i think this is awesome. It would probably take a move to Africa for me to start quilting too. But you've shown me - one never knows. I love how you are embracing everything. Enjoy!

Erica Nicole said...

Those fabrics are beautiful! I bought some fabric when I was in Kenya but have yet to do anything with it. And Grandmother Holt would be very proud :)