South African National Quilt Festival 2011, Stellenbosch, 06.07.11


Patchwork Quilting? Say again? The amount of South Africans who are unaware¬† of the art of patchwork quilting always surprises me. For years I had a mother who would say, “Look at the patchwork quilt!” “Look at the Quilt!” on every North American television show to grace our screens. After promising to get into the craft for years, she has finally managed to sew more than a dozen quilts over the last 3 years.

Painstaking work, quilts were initially designed to make use of all the left over scraps from previously sewn garments, old clothes that can’t be worn anymore, old ties, etc. Scraps have a purpose in life, quilts! These days, however, the craft has advanced, both in technology and in the acquisition of scraps – meaning there are a lot of quilting shops filled with materials all around the world.

This week, the 16th South African National Quilt Festival 2011 came to Stellenbosch in the Western Cape. Bloemhof Girls’ School played host to the dozens of quilts created by South African women…and men! Yes! This is hobby for all people! ‘Alive with Colour’ is this year’s theme and the exhibition (held from the 1st to the 7th of July) is filled with all sorts of quilts, from the weird, quirky, picture styles and the good old fashion kind – bed covers – my favourite. The venue also offered a tea room with a simple menu. Today’s choices were sandwiches (ham and cheese/chicken mayo), cottage pie and milk tart.

Overall it was a colourful display of art, filled with hours and hours of hand sewing / machine sewing which was enjoyed by all who viewed the works, although, it’s fair to say we all have our preferences!

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