Fabric To Make My Heart Sing

Today I am cutting for a new quilt, another scrap quilt, another Africa quilt. I came across this wonderful piece of fabric. I believe I got it from my French quilting friend who lived in Ghana, but it also may have come from the international trade fairs in Qatar, where Africans would come and sell their fabric.

Did you know that fabric manufacturing in Africa has been hit hard? The problem is what they call “Dead White Peoples’ Clothes.” Bales and bales of used American clothing land in African countries, and no one believes that living people would part with clothing in such good condition, therefore, dead peoples’ clothes. Bales and bales and bales, literally TONS of clothing dumped in Africa, and it has nearly killed the need for locally produced fabrics and clothing.

This fabric celebrates the Nonvitcha à Grand Popo, which I can only guess is a celebration either of the birthday of or the reign of “The Grand Popo” of Benin. That guess would be wrong. Wikipedia says the Grand Popo is “a town, arrondissement, and commune in the Mono Department of south-western Benin.”

Don’t you love this fabric?

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8 thoughts on “Fabric To Make My Heart Sing

  1. Violette says:

    It’s a shame that these clothes have adversely affected fabric production in Africa. I am building a collection of it myself for a future project. Most of the
    African fabric vendors I see in Chicago are peddling American made fabrics that look African. You can tell the difference.

  2. worldquilter says:

    Absolutely, you can tell the difference, just in the colors! I was lucky, Violette, I have been able to find some from Senegal, the Sudan and from South Africa, and I had a very generous friend who bequeathed me many of her West African pieces, which I treasure.

  3. Hannah says:

    I just got back from South Africa and stocked up while we were there! I managed to find a few nice pieces and plan to get cracking fairly soon. Also stocked up on some batting – good job hubby and I travel light so there was plenty of room in the suitcase for it all! 😉

  4. worldquilter says:

    Have fun, Hannah 🙂

  5. I wonder how far you are in your new quilt since April ? I look forward to seeing more of this lovely fabric. Grand-Popo is a town, as you say, in the South of Benin; as for Nonwitcha ? a name of someone ? I am happy I brought back many African fabrics from Madagascar, Central and West Africa. I have seen many bales of “Dead White Peoples’ clothes on African markets. Absurdities like ski outfits coming from Europe too. Synthetic materials, very cheap, that people prefer to their local coton clothes. Very sad and unfair for the traditional African manufacturers.

  6. worldquilter says:

    You are so right. We mean well, we think we are re-cycing. Who knew? We thought the clothes were going to the poor and homeless in our own country. The African fabrics are so unique, their color choices so different.

    I am in the quiltling process now, Isathread. Photo will come soon, insh’allah.

  7. i just found your blog after googling ‘map quilt’… wow! i love your work and thankyou for sharing! your fabrics and the way you put them together are amazing… i have a few quilts on the go too. my first ever quilt was made from old denim jeans, alas it is *still* a work in progress. i am finally feeling ready to complete it this winter. i have three other quilts in various stages of (in)completion, but i am going through an obsession with maps and travel and i really want to start planning out something soon! thanks for sharing your instructions on map quilting – using graph paper seems so obvious to me now…! i wish i had the discipline to quilt *and* blog about it too…!

  8. worldquilter says:

    Jasmine, I hope what you will find is that map quilts are really, really easy. It’s almost all squares, a few half squares, and maybe a quarter/square now and then if you need to put in some mountains. Most of the map quilting is in the ditch, and I usually do waves in the water, another easy, repetitive stitch. When the quilt construction is so easy, it is easy and fun to do embellishments – a few personalized applique blocks here and there, some quilting embellishments in other places. I love these quilts 🙂

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