Sunday, 6 June 2010

On Safari in Norfolk 1

I'm just back from a lovely few days in Norfolk (now that the sun has stopped shining), which included a workshop with Magie Relph.  The workshop was called Nine Patch with a Wiggle and Magie started off by telling the group of twelve members of the Dayspring Quilt Group in North Walsham that we wouldn't be using intake of breath, one lady needed to sit down and another rushed for a glass of water, I went very pale.
Magie made two layers of contrasting fabric squarish, then cut them into three pieces with curved freehand cuts of her rotary cutter.  More calls for cold water.  Magie then showed us how to sew our curved pieces of fabric, cut them again (more freehand swings with the rotary cutter and more worried Dayspringers) and then piece the results into wiggly nine-patch blocks.  She told us not to try and match any seams as they wouldn't!  So we got started, helping each other and concentrating hard on matching the wiggly edges of our pieces, one stitch at a time at some points.
After doing two blocks I was starting to relax and enjoy myself, feeling very liberated by Magie's technique.  She told me she thought she may have "unleased a monster"!  I was not only slicing up some of my lovely Japanese fabric from Tokyo, I was even using the terrifying red fabric I've been saving for a day when inspiration and lack of fear combined.  I completed twelve blocks by the end of the day and four more when I got back to the bach and then started putting them together in groups of four to make a lap quilt.  I even decided to do wavy sashing and cut that without the aid of a ruler or a safety net.  Hey, I don't even fancy one of those Go! cutters now!  This is a photo of my blocks at the show and tell at the end of the workshop, sorry about the poor quality (of the photo, I mean).
Magie was a very good tutor and we all had a lovely day with her.  She passed on her skills and techniques in a friendly way, was always encouraging and was always available to help.  She brought lots of examples of her quilts with her and had brilliant handouts - always a bonus with the memory not being what it was!

and, be still my beating heart, a great selection of goodies to buy - which she didn't "push" at all, but nobody could resist!
Magie was in Norfolk for her annual Fabric Safari to Norfolk which took place in Mileham on Saturday.  Our illustrious leader, Ros, has already booked her to visit Dayspringers again when she comes to Norfolk on safari next year.
Why "on safari"?
Because Magie is THE Magie Relph of The African Fabric Shop.  She travels to Africa regularly, with her husband, Bob, to buy fabrics, beads, buttons and baskets and, maybe more importantly, to research and record the techniques used in creating the items she buys.  She pays fair prices to the weavers, dyers, printers, bead-makers etc in Africa, supports the small communities and ensures she brings back the very best items to sell here.  Here she is (centre, in turquoise) with two Dayspring quilters, look at that gorgeous indigo fabric!
Please go over to Magie's website and see more for yourself, there is a wealth of information there, including pictures of more fantastic quilts.  In the meantime I'm going to take some better photographs of my wiggly blocks (I took these with my phone, not as good as my camera!) and tomorrow I'll show you what tempted me on Magie's stall.


  1. Wow!I love the wonky blocks Lis might have to give that a try with your guidance,if you don't mind and I just love the red.Hope you had a nice time in Norfolk can't wait to see what you've bought.
    Love Georgie xx

  2. That certainly is a great technique for making a simple pattern look more interesting.
    Teresa x


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hugs, Lis x