This is the quilt I told you about earlier, the Africa Quilt. It took me so long to get a photo up because the quilt is humoungus. When I was busy cutting out all the fabrics for the quilt, carefully collected over the years, one of my friends said “It shouldn’t be called ‘I left my heart in Africa’, it should be called ‘I left my BRAINS in Africa.’”
It was a labor of love. I was still fairly new to quilting, and so unsure of my machine quilting skills that I actually did a lot of hand quilting – I hand quilted 1/4 inch all the way around the continent, I hand quilted a hand of Fatima in the upper NW quadrant, along with a Tunisian tea pot and a caravan of camels going in and out of Ouagadougou.
(When we were at the Embassy in Amman, one of the state-department wives jokingly told me that if you were bad, you got sent to Ouagadougou, and it always gives me a big grin to think of it.)
While making this for my husband, I had to hide it every night before he came home. One night I was still working – he hadn’t called me – and I saw him drive up. I was still desperately trying to stuff it all in the closet when he got home, and he got a fairly cool and distracted welcome, something like “you didn’t call me to tell me you were coming!” which hurt his feelings.
At Christmas, when he opened the quilt, I told him that’s what had happened and we both got a good laugh. He loves this quilt, and he has told me he wants to be buried in it.
We often go to Africa. We love to go there, and every time we go, we sew another heart on. We have been to Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia. Lots of hearts! So we say the quilt is still a work in progress.
I machine stitched in the ditch for the continent, and then did a wave stitch in the ocean, which is actually about half of the quilt. You can see how using a very light blue at the coastline, and then graduating into the darker blues makes the continent really pop out.
Hearts across South Africa:
This one is entirely 3 inch squares (there is a giraffe fabric that I couldn’t go any smaller, and that drove the size of the entire quilt) and half squares. What was really fun is after getting over being aghast at the scope of the quilt, many friends came up with fabrics for it, especially Egyptian themed fabrics, all of which adds to our joy in using the quilt. I have some fabric bought many years ago in Tunisia with Berber symbols on it which I used in North Africa, and Sudanese fabrics I used in the West African sections. There are a very few pure black squares, in places where truly awful things continue to happen in Africa.
Did I mention we love this quilt?
Update: If you want to make a map quilt, just click here. If you want to see other map quilts I have made, click Map Quilts under the Categories on the right side of this blog.