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Queensburgh quilters anticipate upcoming quilt festival

An avid quilter and chairperson of her Queensburgh quilting group is eagerly waiting for the South African International Quilt Festival, which is taking place from July 4 to 9 in Pietermaritzburg. She shares about the competition.

THE South African International Quilt Festival will see quilters from all over the country, some possibly from overseas, gather at Epworth School in Pietermaritzburg from July 4 to 9.

One such quilter is Lorette Kerr, chairperson of the Queensburgh Quilters Guild, who can’t wait to get her hands on some new materials and learn new skills to develop her talent.

Also read: Lodge Crafters knit with love

“This is one of the most anticipated events for quilters as it is biennial [occurring every two years]. It’s a week of workshops, learning, exhibitions and meeting lovely people from all over the country,” she said.

One of the highlights for Kerr this year is the display of a beautiful gown – the Red Dress Project – creatively sewn using patchwork made by women from underprivileged backgrounds all over the world. Some of the women are from Khayelitsha in the Western Cape.

“The garment fares well with this year’s theme which is Voices in Cloth as it tells the story of South Africans,” she said.

This year, half the proceeds from the fees of the Red Dress Project will go towards the marginalised communities who participated in its creation.

“I am looking forward to socialising and being part of a group of creative and brilliant minds. Quilting is so therapeutic. You don’t have to be creative to learn. If you can sew a straight line, you can start to sew a quilt,” she said.

Also read: Pinetown craft group knits up a storm

Speaking about how she started the hobby, Kerr said that, in 2001, a person who worked with her gave her a stack of English paper piecing squares which she had no idea what to do with.

“The person who gave it to me assumed I would know as I already knew how to sew. I ended up giving it to my mom who ended up giving it back to me, so I started to learn how to quilt,” she said.

She recalls it not being the prettiest of fabrics so she went to a local guild to find out more about the craft. Soon after, members asked Kerr to join the group and attend meetings. Since then, she has quilted many beautiful items, some of which she has passed on as gifts to family and friends and some which she uses at home.

Also read: Pinehaven ladies knit up a storm for charity

“It is a special craft which can be as expensive as you want it to be. You can purchase expensive material or collect off-cuts. You can hand-sew or use a sewing machine – it really is up to you,” she said.

Day visitors are welcome to attend workshops at the South African International Quilt Festival to learn more.

For more information, visit www.saquiltfest2024.

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