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I am a quilter living in Woodbridge, Suffolk who has made quilts since I was a teenager. I also ring bells! Both are great British traditions....I will try to feature some of my antique Welsh and Durham quilts, the quilts I make myself, my quilting activities and also some of my bellringing achievements. Plus as many photos as I can manage. NB: Double click on the photos to see greater detail, then use back button to return to the main page.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

FOQ - Tentmakers of Cairo

The Tentmakers were the centre of attention at the Festival of Quilts. Jenny Bowker from Australia was in charge and gave two talks on the craft.

The tentmakers work very fast, making large applique hangings that were formerly used as awnings at weddings, funerals and other occasions. Considered rather old fashioned by Egyptians and largely replaced by printed fabrics, the pieces are now mainly sold to tourists. Everyone was fascinated to see their working techniques. Surprisingly, there is a base under layer beneath the background fabric that is very coarse although the applique fabrics are of cotton/polycotton. The designs are made on pricked paper and then traced with pen on to the background fabric. The shears were huge, the stitchwork very fast. The applique was not the finest but the result was stunning.

Two tentmakers had flown in from Cairo with works to sell at quite reasonable prices. These sold quickly and all had been sold by the end of the show.

I liked the hangings with birds - especially a large one in shades of green.

Sorry these are blurred - the area was teeming and the lighting not good. This is one of the larger hangings with geometrical patterns.

Another larger hanging with floral patterns. Bonnie MacCaffrey was due to go to Cairo to film the tentmakers in February but had to cancel her ticket in the wake of the disturbances. She was able to film them at the NEC. She posts free Vidcasts on her website - so watch out for her film on this craft when it is posted.

There will also be futher vidcasts taken at the FOQ - but only on subjects that would appeal to her American audience!!

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