Thank you textile lovers of the south of England for making our first
World Textile Day in Romsey a great day out

Wow! Our World Textile Days have already been a smash success in Wales, Scotland and Norfolk. But the amazing number of enthusiastic textile lovers that thronged the hall for our first outing in the south of England at Romsey, Hampshire on 5 April took us a bit by surprise. Amazing!

We've already had some lovely 'thank you' emails, as well as a few helpful suggestions for making a great day out even better next year.

For example, due to fire regulations, we were only able to accommodate 70 people sitting for the morning and afternoon lectures by John Gillow and Martin Conlan. To those who missed out, we can only apologise. We were truly surprised by the numbers and are aiming to find a solution for the future.

We also had a technical glitch with the morning slide presentation. Without going into detail, again we are very sorry. We were able to solve the problem for the afternoon session and now that we know the answer it won't happen again. Promise!

Thank you Meon Valley Quilters

The home-baked goodies courtesy of Meon Valley Quilters were fantastic: Bob especially liked the lemon drizzle cake!

Thank you Romsey Quilters

Thank you also to Romsey Quilters, who graciously supplied the quilt stands we needed to display our textiles.

Watch this space for details of next year's event. In the meantime, our three remaining World Textile Days in 2014 are:

  • 21 Jun - Scotland
  • 20 Sep - East of England
  • 1 Nov - West of England

More info: www.worldtextileday.co.uk


Textile fanatics fill the hall at World Textile Day
in Romsey, Hampshire on 5 April

Joan Fisher of Khayamiya Egyption Appliqués
discusses a wallhanging by the famous 'Tentmakers of Cairo'

NEW stripes & clouds batiks

It's been a busy couple of months since getting back from our winter travels to Ghana and The Gambia.

Bob has just now uploaded a whole new page of great new hand-dyed batik fabrics - mainly beautiful stripes, cloud and crack designs.

View and buy: Batik stripes & clouds fabrics

Click to order batik fabric

Aji 014

Click to order batik fabric

Crack 007

NEW scarves and kikoys on website

Our latest collections of mud cloth scarves from Mali and colourful, practical Kikoy wraps from Kenya are now online as well.

View and buy: Mud cloth scarves from Mali

View and buy: Kikoy wraps from Kenya

Mud cloth scarf from Mali

Kikoy wrap from Kenya

Contemporary prints from Akasombo Textiles Ghana

When ever we travel the dusty roads of Africa, we're on the lookout for new and exciting textiles.

Ghana has long been a hot-bed of African fabric production: both hand-dyed batik and top-quality, factory-produced African wax prints.

New ideas, new ranges and new designs hit the market every year. Our customers are very particular, so we have to be a bit careful experimenting with completely new lines. Having said that, here's one that we know you'll love!

Da Viva African prints are produced in Ghana by Akasombo Textiles Ltd right along side their long-established ATL brand of African wax prints.

These colourful designs are especially popular as a fashionable dress-making fabric in Ghana and Nigeria.

We think they are particularly suitable for patchwork and quilting, as well.

View and buy: Da Viva African prints

Proudly African inspired

Click to order

'Rabbit' by Rachel Wright

We really enjoy showcasing the creative endeavours of our customers.

Not only does it show off their work to the world at large, it also shows you how you can use our African fabrics in your own work.

Be inspired!

More inspiration: Using African Fabrics

Click to enlarge
© Rachel Wright

Bid on a plank quilt and raise money to help Musa's clinic in The Gambia

The planks are in and the bidding is now open in The No.1 African Fabric Shop Challenge

The seemingly crazy idea of cutting up a quilt into 'planks' of fabric and selling the planks to quilters to make into all-new quilt creations rolls ever-onwards.

All of the money raised so far - over £700 - will go to support the village clinic of our friend Musa Jaiteh in Sukuta, The Gambia.

The next phase - selling all of the new quilts by auction to raise even more money for the clinic - is now underway.

These are really fabulous quilts with a great story to tell. Some are by everyday quilters who have stretched themselves to the challenge. A few are by some very well-known and respected textile artists.

The quilter who started it all - our friend Helen Conway - has just launched a dedicated website: Buy a Plank Quilt Auction. Go there NOW to view and admire the quilts. You can also bid to buy your favourite quilt right on the website.

Direct link: Place a bid NOW!

Spread the word: let's go viral

Now we need to generate as much interest - and as much money! - as possible. Please help us.

Online bidding closes at 5 p.m. on 27 April 2014. You can also bid for a plank quilt in person at the British Quilt and Stitch Village, 25-27 April in Uttoxeter, where you can see all of the quilts on exhibition.

Thank you for supporting Musa's clinic.

Read the backstory

Detail of 'Strip Village':
Magie Relph's plank quilt in the
No.1 African Fabric Shop Challenge

The original quilt before we chopped it up:
No. 1 African Fabric Shop © Helen Conway

www.helenconwaydesign.com

Wow! Baskets, baskets and more baskets

Still at last year's prices!

We went a bit crazy on the basket front last month when we were with our great pals Greg and Okalah up north in Bolgatanga.

The quality, variety and colours this year made choosing our baskets harder than ever. Which means we have a house-full of fantastic new baskets.

Even better: for the moment (at least), we've been able to avoid a price increase. So, you can buy this year's baskets at our 2013 prices. Howzat?!

View and buy: Bolgatanga Fair Trade Baskets

Okalah and 'the boys' after a buying session
with the weavers in Bolgatanga, January 2014

NEW Kuba cloth and mud cloth

Sourcing these genuine textiles is getting more difficult thse days. Kuba cloth comes from The Congo and mud cloth from Mali - both regions struggling with rebellion and chaos.

We are lucky to have reliable connections, however. So at the moment we are still able to offer genuine Kuba cloth and mud cloth at suprisingly tempting prices.

On our Kuba cloth page, we now have a few rare examples of 'cut-pile' Kuba, as well as the more common 'flat weave' cloths.

View and buy: Kuba cloth

View and buy: Mud cloth

Genuine Kuba cloth
from The Congo

Click to order Kuba cloth

Genuine mud cloth
from Mali

Click to order mud cloth

Our acclaimed book

African Wax Print: A Textile Journey

African wax print holds a very special place in Magie's heart. When she first ventured into the chaos of an African market in 1984, African wax print fabric just grabbed her. It hasn't let go since.

Not only does Magie use African wax print fabric in her work as a textile artist, she has done extensive research into its history, manufacture, design, use and importance as an icon of African style.

So here we have it: the only book devoted exclusively to African wax print fabric!

Only £13.95

I love this book. It is interesting, informative, funny, thought provoking. The Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. Spring 2011.

Magie and Bob took me on a magical journey to Africa through not only their words, but the images and inspirational textile art that illustrate their story. A fabric feast to make your mouth water. Janice Gunner, stitched textile artist and author of Shibori for Textile Artists.

The African Fabric Shop Supports the Dream Children's Home in Kenya

Africa is very important to us and we travel there as often as we can to source new fabrics, beads and baskets. In addition to supporting small-scale craft producers, we try to give a bit more back to Africa by donating to small African charities.

On Magie's latest trip to Kenya she visited the Dream Children's Home in the Ngong Hills near Nairobi. This inspiring project provides shelter, food, clothing, medical care, counselling, education and hope for needy orphans who have nowhere else to turn.

We are now supporting the Dream Children's Home directly through our own modest donation programme. For every sale of our Safari and Skin Print fabrics and Safari Print Adventrue Packs, we donate a percentage to this very worthy cause.

Find our more: www.dreamchildrenshome-kenya-orphanage.org

And donate directly: www.betterplace.org

Using African Fabrics

Thanks to many of my loyal and creative customers, I've been collecting digital images of quilts, wallhangings, clothing, bags - you name it! - all demonstrating how you can use African fabrics in your work.

To show these images to the world, I've created a new page on the website: Using African Fabrics

I'm going to try (!) to keep this page up-to-date with new images as my customers create new and exciting things.