The indigo cotton is soft, like faded blue jeans with the same comfortable worn-in feeling. I’m patching this baby quilt I made for Leitha when I was 28. The quilt is now used by Scarlett and is showing it’s wear. This repair will give it a second life.
I rummage through my box of beloved shwe-shwe African indigo cottons, the same stash for the original quilt. I sit by the window and add new patches to mend the worn out ones. I see my old hand stitches. Each stitch a thought, memories of our time in Labrador when Leitha was born. How I savoured hand stitching these fabrics I’d brought from South Africa encoded with memories of my steamy hot homeland. Those memories surface as I repair this quilt for my grand-daughter. Memories of Leitha as a baby, and how much Scarlett is like her. Such a tender time of love. My heart sings when both grandchildren toddle into the studio and throw themselves on the pile of shwe-shwe. This image held in my heart. Over the past year I’ve been excavating my roots of quilt making; a kind of archeology in fabric and old studio notebooks. I began stitching in my teens when still living in South Africa and my passion was to buy indigo shwe-shwe fabrics in the African market places and trading stores.
I’ve been drawn to my box of shwe-shwe indigo prints, to repair this baby quilt. and also stitch a small piece of linen with many tiny appliquéd squares. I wrote about my early African fabric buying days here. It has such a big part in my life and it bring me quiet pleasure to be still working with these fabrics almost 50 years later.