Posted in International, Islam, journaling, Rant

The Skype’s the Limit ~ Egypt

Since I signed up for the Post A Week challenge, every day WordPress emails me prompts and recent one was, What one piece of technology can you not live without?

There’s a companion post on my homeschooling blog, which is more personal, and said how important it is to have a laminator for homeschooling.   But this is important enough –history is being made, so I’m putting a textile related post here.

Up until this week, I would have said the iron.  If I didn’t have a sewing machine I would still sew by hand, doubtless making more placemats and table runners than king-size bed quilts.  And doubtless being exceedingly grumpy, too!  But without an iron you really can’t quilt, and the old fashioned irons I’ve seen at museums just wouldn’t cut it.

However, now that the Egyptian government has shut down internet, cell phones, and land lines, I would have to say Skype.  With Abu Sprout’s parents there we are in touch on a daily basis.  Now no one can get through, news crews are unable to gather information, and it’s a big black hole.  We just have to have faith.

Several years ago when Umm Sprout was in grade school our then family survived a major ice storm which left millions of people with no electricity.  We were lucky that ours was only off for five days and that we had a natural gas fireplace and stove.  But that was at least man against nature; this is man against man and much harder to accept.

So to me the most important technology is everything that connects us and lets ordinary people share what is really happening, be it Mounties Tasering an immigrant to death, tanks mowing down peaceful protesters in Tian An Min Square, or any other abuse of human rights.

Posted in creativity, International, quilting

One Way to Nurture Creativity

… live in a completely different environment.

Jinny Beyer is famous in the quilting world for being the first person to design fabric specifically with quilters in mind.  When you go into a quilt store today it’s hard to remember a time when we didn’t have a wealth of gorgeous fabrics to drool over, but that’s thanks to this lady!

Jinny Beyer started quilting while living as a transplanted corporate wife in New Delhi, India. Older American ladies decided to make a quilt and she wanted to use the bright colours from the bazaars, while their concept was very traditional with lots of white background and tame calicoes from home. Of course back in the early 70s that’s what people had to quilt with.

Dena Crain is a quilter living in Kenya.  She teaches through Quilt University and has said that the colours of Africa and the wonderful African fabrics are a wonderful inspiration but on the other hand electricity is interrupted sometimes and you can’t just run out to a craft or fabric store every time you need something, plus some supplies are not available.

structured fab


Wanting a photo to illustrate this post but not wanting to be tacky, here’s a photo of a piece I made in her Structured Fabric class which I took some time ago (some time ago as in don’t ask, ahem!) .   As you can see it’s a process piece and not quite finished.

Pippa Moore of Kitambaa is perhaps combining both worlds.  She travels to Uganda to train women raising AIDS orphans to make quilted items for sale at a fair trade price, but is based in Canada.  Check out her blog here.  And if you get a chance to hear her presentation Travels with my Treadle about her project, drop everything and go.  At the Victoria Sewing Show they had put her into one of the smaller rooms, and all of her presentations filled up (no one else’s did, by the way.)

She’s on my blogroll too as a fellow Island dweller and member of the Fibre Art Network, a Western Canadian art quilt group.

And Lucy is a newer quilter living in challenging but exciting circumstances in Sudan, and reading her blog I can see the same pioneer spirit shining through!

For myself although I’ve traveled a lot and lived in different places I’m not sure that I would have the patience to deal with the inconveniences of living outside North America.   After a couple of days in England I’m often tied in knots over how difficult it is to get things done.  What do you think?  Let us know!