Thembi finished quilting both of her Saw Tooth Star blocks.  We may need to do a little more stitching on one of them as the block is a little puffy.  We’ll sort it out tomorrow.  We may even do some hand quilting with embroidery thread. 

I felt that it was essential that we do some strip piecing and some half square triangle units.  So we made a nine patch and then some half square triangles that aren’t going to find their way into our project. When I explained how to put them into a quilt, Thembi’s eyes lit up.  I knew exactly what she was thinking!  Sometimes a girl’s just got to do what a girl’s got to do!!!

After that we started doing our appliqué. As appliqué paper and freezer paper are not readily available in Zululand, and are a little expensive, I decided that we should use the same method as freezer paper appliqué but using normal printer paper. 

We drew up some very simple flower shapes that have concave and convex curves.  We also did some leaves.  We cut out the paper shapes and then stitched them onto the fabric, then cut out the fabric shapes with a seam allowance.  Thembi struggled a little with cutting the seam allowances.  We had to do several flower shapes before we got the seam allowances big enough to use.  Thembi mentioned that her students would be so much better at the cutting out than she was! 

We turned the seam allowances over onto the paper and tacked them in place so that the fabric shapes were the perfect flower shape.  I then showed Thembi how to sew the appliqué shapes onto the background so that the stitches are invisible.  This Thembi loved.  Once I had demonstrated the technique, Thembi said that it was so easy.  She stitched the shapes beautifully onto the backgrounds without a visible stitch anywhere. 

We had started 3 appliqué blocks and by the end of the day, Thembi had finished off two of them. 

Thembi leaves at noon on Friday.  This means that we only have a day and a half left to teach Thembi enough for her to get started in teaching her students at the school.  We have a huge amount of work still to cover and I am nervous that we won’t get it all done on time. 

Thank you, Eskom!  Yet again you have managed to foil my plans!  The power went off at 8:45am and only came on again after 5 in the afternoon. I had great plans for this day and they all went out the window. 

Not to be outdone, I decided that today was as good a day as any to teach Thembi how to do embroidery.  So Thembi first finished her final appliqué block, then we upgraded the appliqué blocks with some embroidery.  Her stitches weren’t great to begin with, but as the day went on and more stitches were demonstrated, Thembi gained confidence and her stitches became more even.   

We did outline stitch, back stitch, running stitch, seed stitch, feather stitch, fly stitch, French knots and one or two others.

Again we discussed the best way to teach her students how to embroider.  We decided that drawing lines on the fabric would keep the stitches even.  It was a joy to see Thembi enjoying the process.  I could envision her teaching her students the little that I managed to teach her in the small amount of time available to us. 

Something really sweet happened today.  While we were busy working, two hornbills came by for a visit.  I can never remember if they are crowned or crested hornbills – they’re the ones with the red beaks and they chirp very loudly but ever so sweetly.  There have been quite a few snails in my garden lately and they must be a tasty treat for a hornbill because these noisy birds would arrive with snails in their beaks and bash the snails against the window frames to “peel” them before eating them.  They spent hours chirping away and bashing against the windows.  Thembi and I had such a good laugh.

Because the light deteriorated in the late afternoon, we decided to go to the mall so that Thembi could do a bit of shopping.  She mentioned that in the town where the school is, there is one bank, one popular chicken take-away outlet and a very large general store.  There are no other shops at all.  For any other shopping one has to travel 2 hours to Eshowe, two hours to Melmoth or three hours to Vryheid.  We really do take our shops for granted.  That being said, the small town that I live in doesn’t have a bank, a supermarket or a takeaway!  I guess the big difference is that I only have to travel for 20 minutes to get to a shopping mall.