Studio

Treasures Discovered in my Fabric Stash

Yesterday I discovered treasures in my fabric stash: a collection of what I believe to be South African Shweshwe fabrics.

Many years ago, an art quilting mentor in Oregon had shared with me some of the bounty of fabrics she inherited from her friend’s aunt who had died, who was a world traveler, and had collected fabrics from all over the world during her travels (primarily small samples and pieces, rarely yardage/metres).

I was able to select a sampling of fabrics from the huge stash of fabrics and I was attracted to a collection of blue and white fabric fabrics, that had a lot of texture to them, that I thought were Japanese textiles.

I end up shoving this collection of blue and white fabrics away with my collection of Asian fabrics and I did use a some of them to make this simple blue and white quilt years ago, along with a large collection of Japanese blue and white fabrics I got from the inherited stash:

I was just trying to put to use a bunch of the awesome fabrics I got from the late aunt’s stash, little did I understand the treasures I was using up….

So, as I shared in the August 2021 post Awesome Surprise Treats in the Mail!, my South African based long time blogging friend Mariss (@fabrications) sent me some treats in the mail all the way from the other side of the world, which included these awesome Nelson Mandela fabric pieces:

At the time I received these fabrics (June 2021), I did not make the connection to the similar other fabric in my stash, which I had mistakenly labeled as “Japanese”.

But yesterday a light bulb went on in my head (oh how dim my brain has been sometimes) and when I came across that stash of blue and white fabrics again, I took a close look at the label most of them had on the back:

3 Leopards fabric by the Da Gama Textile Company in South Africa! A little further research and the fabrics appear (and please correct me if my brain bulb is being dim) to be South African Shweshwe fabrics.

From the Da Gama Textile company’s website, here is some background on Shweshwe fabrics if you are not familiar with Shweshwe:

Shweshwe has a history going back thousands of years, with the shweshwe we know and love today making its way to SA for the first time in the early 1840s. Today, we produce shweshwe by the traditional processes, using a weak acid solution to bleach out distinctive designs. This gives the fabric an authentic look and feel, as well as the distinctive smell that consumers know and love. Shweshwe is a unique Eastern Cape fabric and Da Gama Textiles is aptly referred to as the “home of the original shweshwe”. It is not uncommon to see patrons taste, smell and feel the fabric before committing to a sale, to ensure the cloth is authentic. Shweshwe is sold by folded bolt and not on a cardboard core in roll form, staying as close as possible to its roots of origin. All of these unique characteristics date back to the long sea voyages from the UK to South Africa, which formed the original transport route for this cloth. A strong starch is used to preserve the fabric, resulting in the hard handle and distinctive smell, which disappear after washing.

The Shweshwe fabrics I am lucky to have in my fabric stash are so beautiful and have an amazing texture and feel to them. Here is a sampling of some of the fabrics I have:

All the backs are marked with either a full or partial version of the Da Gama Textile Co. label.

And here is the whole pile including the Nelson Mandela fabric that Mariss sent me:

I revisited that blue and white quilt I made many years ago and winced to see fabrics such as this example below in the quilt:

I was thinking: “I should have saved that fabric for something really special.” But then I remembered that I look at/enjoy this quilt every day as it at the foot of my bed on my partner John’s grandmother’s antique chest. So the Shweshwe I’ve already used in my stash has gone to good use!

POSTSCRIPT

I found this awesome blog post from 2018 by Urbanstax called What is Shweshwe, that is worth a read:

urbanstax.com

Did you see that blue and white wedding dress photo in the blog post made from Shweshwe fabrics – WOW!

tierneycreates

The Memory Quilt is Complete and Given

The Memory quilt I made my friend whose mother passed, using her mother’s favorite clothes, is completed/quilted and I’ve given it to her.

This is a follow up/end of the story for the following previous posts about this quilt:

I decided to quilt is myself and did a combination of hand and machine quilting. I talk more about this (and share photos) on the previous post “Update on Memory Quilt “.

Slogging through machine quilting
Mike the mini schnauzer providing emotional support under the table while I quilt

I used a floral fabric with the colors in the quilt top as the back and the binding.

Here’s the completed quilt (which is of course a rectangle, it just looks triangular from the camera angle) in my studio:

A couple more photos:

And yes that is me at the bottom of the photo above awkwardly trying to take a photo of the quilt on my cutting table in my studio while trying to use my ring light.

Something I did not mention in the previous post on this quilt – before I quilted it, we met my friend and her husband for dinner while my sister was visiting a couple of weeks ago. I brought the quilt top (not quilted yet) with me to show her.

At the restaurant I pulled out the quilt top and handed it to her to look at before our food arrived.

She started crying. She was so touched and overwhelmed with seeing her mother’s favorite clothes made into a quilt top she could not contain her emotions. My eyes started to get moist too and I was touch.

She was very happy with the final product which was delivered to her on Saturday. She wants to hang the quilt on the wall but I strongly encouraged to cuddle under it and let it be a “hug from her Mom”.

Guest Blogger, Miniature Schnauzer Musings

Guest Blogger: Ladies Please Control Yourselves…

This is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer that lives with Tierney and John. I see that pesky Beastie has had like 4 guest blog posts recently; and it is time for me to have one. (Plus I am a REAL miniature schnauzer, I am tired of that allegedly cute little fake miniature schnauzer – Mikelet.)

Last time I did a guest blog post for Tierney, I wrote about how Tierney and John tried to scare me to death in the post Guest Blog Post: How to Completely Terrify Your Miniature Schnauzer. And before that I wrote about some of my adventures as Dog Camp: Guest Blogger: What Happens at Dog Camp, Stays at Dog Camp.

In my Dog Camp post, I shared my challenges of being EXTREMELY popular at the Dog Camp I attend whenever my humans go out of town (though occasionally I stay with John’s Dad who refers to me as “his dog” even though he now has a miniature schnauzer puppy living with him).

The Dog Camp is only for smaller dogs and I am always surrounded by the little female dogs that attend camp for daily dog daycare or are boarders when their humans go out of town like mine.

Recently I spent a stint at Dog Camp when my humans went to Chicago and oh my goodness – from the minute I arrived the ladies went crazy!

The human that runs Dog Camp took this video and my human Tierney uploaded it to YouTube so you can see what happened the moment I arrived at Dog Camp!

Ladies, there is only one of me, calm down!

I am so glad to be back home and take a break from the ladies. I am neutered but it still does not matter, they all follow me around!

It is not all “Mike-stalking” by the female dogs at Dog Camp, I did also have time to play lots of ball with my buddies there:

Life in B&W, tierneytravels

Chicago in Black and White

Early July we met my brother, his wife and son in Chicago for a long weekend.

I’ve been to Chicago, Illinois many times, and each time I visit it is like visiting for the first time as I have a different experience each time.

While visiting I took a bunch for B&W photos and this post is a photoessay of my visit.

STARBUCKS RESERVE CHICAGO ROASTERY

We went to our first Starbucks Reserve Roastery while in Chicago and it was so cool! I rarely go to Starbucks and would rather support a small independent coffee shop, but I would recommend if you come across on you should visit it at least once, it is quite an experience.

Here is a photo from first entering the roastery:

MILLENNIUM PARK

We spent a bit of time in Millennium Park which is a “mandatory” place to visit on first trip to Chicago.

DOWNTOWN CHICAGO

Here are some photos from wandering around downtown Chicago.

360 CHICAGO OBSERVATION DECK

On our last day in Chicago we went to the the 360 Chicago Observation Deck at the top of the former John Hancock building. I’ll close the post with these photos from 1000ft above Chicago on the Magnificent Mile.

Beastie Adventures, From the Woodshop, Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: A Desk for Me!

I bet you are surprised to hear from me again so soon! This is the tierneycreates Beastie, and I am sneaking in for a post about my new desk that Tierney’s partner John built for me yesterday.

Tierney had a post planned today on Black & White photos she took in Chicago (my monster eyes are rolling) but I asked her to delay your boredom a day while I shared news about my new desk (which I am writing you from right now!):

Thanks to the suggestion by Catherine @Cedar51 in the comments sections of my post Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part I, that John should build me a desk, John did it and now I have my very own wooden desk!

First John came up to Tierney’s studio (which is also the home of my dog Mikelet and me) to take my measurements for the desk:

He went down to his woodshop in the basement (where my partner John Beastie lives, yes we stay in separate sections of the house its a long story – but it best not to let two Beasties hang out continuously, trust me…).

An hour later John returned with my new desk:

Then Tierney and John did a photoshoot (and I am not sure why they were giggling so loudly during the photoshoot, it was quite rude) of me at my new desk:

We also discovered the desk is great for me to sew on my Beastnina, so I can help Tierney out with her backlog of UFOs (unfinished objects for the non-quilters reading):

My dog Mikelet was getting impatient during the photoshoot because it was time for his after dinner walk:

So I stop playing with my new desk, and took Mikelet out for his walk:

So that’s my new desk story. Now that I have a great place to write I might pop in more frequently with blog posts.

And don’t worry Tierney will be back tomorrow to bore you to tears with more of her B&W photography from her delusion that she is a photographer (but just keep playing along).

Oh and to close this post – here is a photo of me back in my area of Tierney’s studio, with all my accessories made by Helen of Crawcrafts Beasties (crawcraftsbeasties.com):

A Crafter's Life, Studio, Sunflowers!

Update on Memory Quilt

Thought I would give a little update on the memory quilt I am making for a grieving friend who lost her mother, with her mother’s favorite clothes. Here is a link to the previous post if you’d like some additional background – Update on “The Challenge” .

Here is the quilt top completed that I shared in that previous post:

Originally I was thinking of sending it out for professional long-arm quilting and my friend was going to pay for the professional quilting. Then I got concerned with there being issues over the unusual fabrics I had used in the quilt (acrylic sweater, polyester scarf, velour robe, etc) with the long arm quilting machine.

I discussed it with my friend and she was good with me quilting it myself (though it would not be nearly as lovely quilting as a professional long-arm) and she would give me money for the cost of the batting, etc. She is not a quilter and does not have expectations of super high quality machine quilting on my part – whew!

Last week I was trying to figure out the logistics of domestic machine quilting and thought I better hand stitch some of the blocks that have special logos, embroidery, etc. to secure them instead of trying to machine quilt around the logos. I found some heavy embroidery thread from my stash of thread of Sashiko* stitching and did some lap quilting (in the middle of the hot summer):

(*but wait a minute Tierney: I’ve followed your blog a long time and I do not remember any posts about Sashiko stitching…Why yes, I have the supplies and started a piece like 10 – 12 years ago…but someday I am really going to pick the piece up again and then blog about it..)

It was fun and for a moment (yes only a wee moment), I actually considered hand quilting the entire quilt. But I came to my senses as that would not be very fun in the hot summer and I would like to get this quilt to my friend, who is facing some other life challenges right now, sooner than in 6 months to a year! (Exhibit A – “Seattle Scrappy” which took me over a year to hand quilt – Seattle Scrappy is Done!)

Speaking of hot summer, I recently got my first full sized tomato (as opposed to the grape or cherry tomatoes I have successfully grown) in my little container garden on my upper back deck and I was so happy!

As I joked on my @tierneycreates Instagram account, I wanted to frame it! As of this writing, I now have two full sized tomatoes. Right now both tomatoes are sitting as decoration on my kitchen counter and I better use them before they go bad!

I am also celebrating the appearance of the first sunflower in my garden. I love love love sunflowers and I’ve blogged about them several times in the past especially when I lived in my house in Oregon where I grew sunflowers every year.


Postscript

We are at that point in summer (August), where for me I am OVER summer and the heat, longing for Fall/Autumn.

I was so longing for Fall that I made one of my favorite colder weather dishes – chicken pot pie:

I made two because we help feed John’s recently widowed father (John’s stepmother suddenly passed at the end of 2021) who lives nearby and he loves my chicken pot pie!

Yes it was lovely (not) having the hot oven, in the heated up kitchen due to the hot oven, in the hot weather outside. Brilliant, eh?

Also just sitting around one evening with that memory quilt on my lap hand quilting it made me yearn for cooler weather.

But then I reminded myself that come early March, I am only dreaming of warm weather! I have to always remember to just embrace the current season I am in.

So back to relishing in my 2 full sized tomatoes and my sunflowers (smile).