Visit to Cape of Good Hope Quilters, Cape Town, August 2011

When I went to Cape Town in 2011, I did a short lecture and demonstrated my Bargello block technique at the Cape of Good Hope Quilters meeting. This group is large regional guild including several small guilds from the area. There were about 200 quilters at the meeting. They had just hosted the 16th South African National Quit Festival, so much of the business meeting concerned wrap up and thank yous to the many volunteers. The Quilt Festival is a large undertaking. It takes place every other year and guilds around the country take turns to be hosts, (the one I’m attending this year is the 17th, hosted by the Oranje Quilters’ Guild in Bloemfontein).

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Simmy Schofield was President at the time and is speaking to the assembled masses. Simmy has a quilt shop in Cape Town and is a nationally known teacher. I stayed with her for two nights and we had a great time together.

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Around the outside of the hall, there was quite a quilt show, featuring some of the winners from the Quilt Festival show and quilts provided by the smaller guilds. I took some pictures, but unfortunately don’t have the details of the makers of the quilts. As you can see there was quite a range of quilts from the traditional above, to those with more of an African flavour. The Pineapple is a beautiful miniature and the colorful sampler was exquisitely hand quilted – both were award winners at the show.

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The two pictures above show two of four large sections of one quilt. I love the animals and the scenes of rural life in South Africa. All very vibrant and colorful, as are the two below. The one on the right was hand painted.

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The coordinator for the 2011 National Quilt Festival was Wanda Carmichael and she was clad in a gorgeous coat of many colors made from silks. Here she is showing it off to me. Also in the left picture is Jenny Hermans who made the coat.

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Wanda told me the wonderful story behind the coat. Here it is as she relayed it to me. “At one of our Festival 2011 planning meetings, Helen Sands, our functions convener, suggested that as our theme was “Alive with Colour”, she thought it would be a good idea at the Welcome Supper  if I wore a “Joseph coat” and danced on the stage to the tune of “Any dream will do”. I felt secure in the fact that they would never find a coat and the dramatic societies approached didn’t hire out coats.  No problem for Jenny, she set to work to create the beautiful coat that I wore! On the evening, I sat in the wings as the committee walked onto the stage with “Any Dream will do” playing in the background.  My cue was the last chorus, but Helen had different ideas!  She called me and I leapt out onto the stage and danced and danced!  She had tricked me into dancing far longer than I wanted to!   When I started my welcome speech, I was totally breathless! The coat hangs in my sewing room now.  When I see it, I think of all the quilters…… wonderful they are…… they all like to have fun…… I thought they would never find a coat and I wouldn’t have to dance!…… my committee thought I would never do it!…… Jenny had time in between all the other festival work to make the coat……..and how I had the courage to dance on a stage in public!  It must have been the coat! ”  

As well as an inspiring meeting and a great selection of quilts, there were five or six vendors in the foyer. The one that really attracted my attention was the Inkali booth. They had wonderful hand-dyed fabrics with inked silhouettes of African animals. Of course, I had to buy some…..

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