Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Margaret's Vietnamese quilt top

On our first quilting day for 2010, there were lots of new quilts and tops to show, and to tell about. Margaret's Vietnamese quilt top has a more unusual provenance than most, and she kindly agreed to give us some more detail about it:

I was in North Vietnam in November with husband Roger and daughter Katrina (celebrating her 40th birthday!). We spent a couple of days in Sapa in the highlands, where it was very cold and damp, with spectacular scenery when the mist cleared. Some of the tribal people of that area are Black Hmong. This quilt top is from that group. I bought it in the Sapa market from a lovely young woman who said she had made it herself, she shared the stall with her mother. It has strips of cross stitch, a braid in dark red, indigo dyed pattered fabric, and heavy dark indigo dyed fabric, sewn together by machine.

On one of the walks into the valley we came to a display of indigo works. I was excited about this as I’ve tried some indigo dyeing myself. The guide had pointed out to us the indigo plant nearby. There was fabric hanging out to dry, and a large vat of dye. I couldn’t get any more information. Katrina bought a more interesting quilt from this ‘shop’, which I think is better than this one.

In the market in Sapa people were selling powdered dyes, mostly in dark blue, but I needed translation to find out how they use it. The colour runs and runs, but must eventually stop. The people wear clothes made from these fabrics – probably now for tourist reasons. They are all very keen to sell their goods – I now have a few!

It was an interesting experience walking through these villages. Maybe tourism is exploiting them, but it also brings income through these cottage industries. We appreciated being able to see them.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that is a lovely story.

    I love indigo too.

    A group of students from our school was also in Sapa in Vietnam in January, and they were not prepared for how cold it was. They wondered how the village people made it through such cold weather.