Friday, February 29, 2008

Sewing Seeds of Opportunity in Ethiopia

Whilst chatting to a customer recently I learnt of a fascinating and inspiring initiative by Welsh quilt expert Jen Jones from Llanybydder and Janet Bridge from Cardigan.

Over the past year they have made several trips to Ethiopia after a visit to the UK by CAFOD's Beverley Jones (CAFOD's co-ordinator in Ethiopia) who stumbled on Jen's quilt shop in Wales. The idea was fomulated from their conversation to provide Ethiopian women with the skills to enable them to make and sell their hand-sewn quilts in Ethiopia and Wales.

Jen said "I saw this as a unique opportunity to source replica Welsh quilts for my proposed Welsh Quilt Gallery Shop in Lampeter Town Hall. It's such a great story that poor women who became master quilt-makers in Wales to avoid destitution and prostitution in the last century are linked to women in northern Ethiopia doing exactly the same thing this century.

"Also that a dying tradition in one country is helping to stimulate market development in another. I hope that this will be the beginning of a mutually productive and prosperous enterprise."

According to Beverley "There is a long tradition of weaving and embroidery in Ethiopia. The country is just recovering from cycles of drought and war which have left the majority of its people impoverished. But now there is a possibility for developing new products and creating more income for women who would otherwise be forced into sex work or other hazardous ways of earning a living."

The Ethiopian made quilts will be inspired by the styles and patterns of Welsh quilts and made using flannel woven at the Welsh Woollen Museum at Drefach Felindre as well as the colourfull Ethiopian fabric designs.

Janet told me that on the latest trip, which Janet and Jen are taking right now, they will be training five trainers who in turn will teach ten young women. This will enable them to ensure quality control is maintained and place some good orders.

It sounds like an excellent project that could really empower people who, given sufficient skills and tools can make a difference in their own lives.

More information can be found at the links on this page and here.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Kaffe Fassett Postcard Quilt

Taking a quilt pattern from a book as inspiration and guidance for colour and then making it with your own fabrics is a great way to make an individual quilt but with a more certain outcome! One of our customers - Marian who lives in Portugal, sent us her work-in-progress of the Kaffe Fassett quilt "Postcard Quilt", which featured in Kaffe's book "Quilt Road", in a pastel colourway.

She told us, "I usually make quilts to my own designs but the beauty of the Kaffe Fassett works of art are both inspirational and irresistable . My daughter asked me for a quilt in pastel colours and so I am taking great pleasure in choosing paler colours and allowing them to flow through the quilt . As always it is not just the design but the movement and flow of colours that excites me!
I used to leave part made items on the floor of my sewing room but that was until the cat brought in a small animal during the night and ate it on the wall hanging (back to the drawing board !) Life is never dull, is it?"

She reminded us that a while ago she sent an email which explained why old ladies wear purple and orange. "Because as you get older your eyesight deteriorates and purple and orange appear to be dark blue and pink!"

We're delighted that we've supplied (apparently!) the fabrics to make twenty quilts - we hope that we see the results of many more - purple, orange, whatever... quilts in the future!

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cotty Threads and Cabot Quilting

Christine Porter, internationally known quilter, author, teacher and quilt judge has been busy making lots of projects which will be featured in her forthcoming book "Take a Break Quilts". We are delighted that she has used The Cotton Patch's Cotty thread for the quilting in both the Sunbonnet Sue wall-hanging and Lighthouse quilt shown below.

Chris has also been keeping busy teaching quilting on various American cruises as well as in land-based classrooms all over the world. In July she will be teaching on a cruise in the Baltic - its a tough life, but somebody has to do it! The Lighthouse quilt below will no doubt be a good topical quilt for that trip!

More information on Christine's quilts, books, etc can be found on her website. We look forward to seeing the new book when it is finished!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably Workshops

Alison Baxter who runs Short Courses at West Dean College, near Chichester has sent information on two courses on colour being run at the college in June.

West Dean looks to be a stunning and probably inspiring place to be for such a course and coupled with the knowledge and skills of Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably this should be a great opportunity. West Dean, according to the website, "is a unique community, a creative and rich mixture of artists and craftspeople, conservators and restorers, working alongside gardeners, farmers, foresters and builders. Managed by The Edward James Foundation, a charitable trust, West Dean is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty in south-east England."

Details of the courses are as follows:


Colour in design – a knitting workshop
June 24 • Brandon Mably • BM1 • £80
Brandon Mably has worked with Kaffe for 18 years and now teaches the knit workshops on colour. After an introduction on interpreting colour, you choose a range of colours and apply them to a swatch using stocking stitch, and also look at texture and pattern. Open to all levels.

A colour class with Kaffe Fassett – Big Diamonds quilts
June 25 • Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably • KF1 • £110
Kaffe and Brandon work together on this one day workshop selecting fabric for your quilt. You are asked to bring a selection of fabrics for this design and by the end of the day, after cutting, arranging and editing, everyone has their design pinned out ready for sewing.

Overnight accommodation is available for the night before each workshop – prices from £53 including dinner and breakfast.
Full details of the workshops are available on our website, where you can also book online:

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