Maridadi – half way around the world and (almost) 40 years

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This quilt has come together after a very long time and gone a very long way to get here !

About 10 years ago, my mother and I visted a quilt show where we were drawn to a stall selling fabrics that had been printed in Africa. This was particularly interesting to us as my mother had worked, married and had 2 children in Uganda before leaving during the Idi Amin regime. I, obviously, was one of the 2 kids, and, although I remember nothing about Uganda, it has very much been part of the cultural background of my life.

As well as a couple of small kits, I bought a stack of indigo FQ planning to make a quilt from this book  which really showed off the fabric. I took them home and washed them – resulting in flooding my kitchen with bubbles ! I had forgotten the stall holder telling me that the reason the fabrics were stiffer than usual was because the factories did not wash the fabric after processing it to save water. After cleaning my kitchen floor, I dried, pressed cut and pieced my blocks with a plain white sashing. I also began to piece the borders, carefully trying to show off some of the manufacturers marks on the reverse of the fabric.

Then I abandoned my quilt, because Chronic Fatigue Syndrome crept into my life and began shutting it down. I had long periods off work and was too tired to spend time with friends. Quilts were too heavy to manipulate and I couldn’t concentrate on embroidery. My textile crafts were shrouded in bags and boxes, shelved behind curtains.

But I was lucky, because I recovered after three years …to then have a baby the following summer ! Not enough time or space to quilt then !

But baby girl grew and we moved house and a few years later, my aunt visited from Canada, bringing with her some of her downsized crafting stash. Including a gorgeous turquoise length of african fabric, bought in a market when she visited our family after my brother’s birth. Immediately, I thought of the indigo quilt and knew it would be the perfect backing. But all I did was stash the gifted fabric away with the quilt top…

…until this year. determined to make a quilt for a friend’s new baby, I went through my fabrics and decided this was the year to finsh the UFOs. Oh, I have a few of them – the wedding quilt for friends who have been married for 8 years and have 2 babies, the millenium starry quilt… – but it was my african indigo quilt that sang out to me. After making ( and finishing !) the baby quilt, I finished piecing the borders before quilting and binding the african one.

And here it is.

I don’t often name my quilts, but this one is definitly “Maridadi”. Maridadi means ‘pretty’ in Swahili and is actually the name of the turquoise backing fabric.

I love this quilt. I plan to have it in our spare room – when I can stop stroking it each time I pass. I have entered it into the “Quilting Is Murder” challenge on Flickr, as that was a real spur to get a move on !



  1. C.Foreman said,

    February 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I look forward to seeing it soon.If you’d made it 10 years ago I’d have snaffled it for our room. Such happy memories and there are more textiles for you here.

  2. February 4, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    I loved reading your entry….quick is very nice…blues make up so wonderful….I just love all the patterns that are offered…I am a traditional quilter basically …I call them utility quilts…I make them to be used…I wash them before giving them away to make sure they do not run…I use what we call ‘color catcher”…a piece of fabric we put in when washing that will collect any color that comes out…been nice visiting…see you on Quilt for us…

  3. Jennifer Tomassetti said,

    February 5, 2012 at 8:50 am

    I saw your link on Quilt With Us. So glad you recovered from your illness to move on to motherhood and a productive life. Quilting is such a wonderful part of life. I love your quilt. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. C.Foreman said,

    February 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    It is just as good as I’d expected.The indigo died blue varied patterns are shown off beautifully by he simple white backing.The elegance and simplicity of the front pleases then, turn over, and you have the joy and vibrancy of the stylised African motifs on the bright turquoise.East meets West Africa. Thank you!

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