I’m really excited about the Quilt Africa Challenge being run by Miriam Galadima Benson from Nigeria. You can follow the link to read her blog post about it.

African fabrics are so exciting to use and so different from what we get. They are characterised by being bright and cheerful and evoke the brilliant colours and heat of their homeland. They can have really big motifs or medium sized or small motifs. Naturally, we quilters find the smaller prints easier to use, but the big prints are like getting two fabrics in one and they are really fun to fussy cut.

I have the most fun trying to display them to best advantage, and overcoming my desire to be conservative with colour. Letting go of colour is my biggest challenge, but it is just so much fun to break loose and let the colours clash and bond. It is amazing how good it can all look.

My first quilt with African fabrics. I tried to use complementary colours and I fussy cut where possible. The wax prints are so clearly detailed and very special. I used them in the background for the stars. The big prints enabled me to fussy cut out the dolls outfits and the stars. I was really happy with the result and the way it showed off the fabrics.

In my second quilt I was running short of fabrics, but I split them into warm and cool, and dark and light. I then used these to create contrast. The big prints added movement, and the contrast of colours added warmth and vibrancy.

Now, I’m looking at making a third quilt and I’m pondering over how best to display the big prints. Here are some of my thoughts.

This uses the smaller prints in combination with a feature print of tulips and combining the purple, lime green and yellow in a complementary colour scheme.

This pattern is using the big flower as a feature surrounded by some of the smaller prints to create the ovals and using the geometric print as a border.

This pattern uses the mid sized prints to create the stars and borders. I like the way straight lines can create curves, and I like the warmth of the pink and purple against the brightness of the yellow.

This is another pattern I’m playing with. I’m trying to look for patterns that are more contemporary and a little bit different. I’m still trying to find the fabrics I really like for this pattern.

This is a snowball with a nine patch. The nine patches can be scrappy and as long as the snowballs contrast in value with the rest, the block works really well.

This was a pattern that reminded me of farmers fields with irrigation channels and smaller vegetable patches. I like the way the colours glow against the dark.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to do for the Quilt Africa Fabric Challenge, but I am confident that whatever I do, the fabrics will be amazing and I will enjoy the journey.


    1. Sue Griffiths Post author

      Hi Suzanne, lovely to hear you enjoyed my blog. I’m trying to work out how you can search for past blogs, but so far I haven’t worked it out. I will let you know when I work it out myself!

    2. Sue Griffiths Post author

      You are right, it’s so hard to search. Most of mine have been tagged ‘quilting” . At least a lot if mine come up if I use that tag. Everyone’s name is at the bottom of their blog, so you can see who you are reading. The only other thing I can think of to do is copy the links and paste the message in a reply. I’ll try that.

    3. Sue Griffiths Post author

      Hi Suzanne. The search engine only seems to search titles in the blogs. So I think I need to add something to my titles that will make it easy to search. In the meantime, if you search ‘Sydney’ ‘Australasian’ ‘English paper piecing’ ‘storage’ ‘sids’ you should get most of mine. I also have my personal blog under Duckcreekmountainquilting.com. Thanks so much for taking an interest and highlighting the problem.

  1. giniscanlan

    Fantastic fabrics! I’ve made a couple of quilts using African prints, they’re very easy to get hold of in London although most seem to be imported from the Netherlands. I’ll take a look at the website, it sounds intriguing. Another really nice blog Sue. Your writing is always so interesting.