I have been hosting fellow patchworkers this week, as you know, so when I mentioned the women of Agape Quilts and Crafts who earn their living and lighten their families' money woes by making beautiful quilted items for resale, the girls were keen to visit.
Now, sometimes patchworkers happily travel a distance to find a shop, so when I tell you that we set out to find Agape's shop which was 153 kilometres away, this may sound crazy, or reasonable, depending. But, if you factor in the unpredictability of Jakarta traffic, it was a decision bordering on the insane. Especially since we didn't know exactly where Agape was located, they hadn't yet responded to my email before we set out, nor could we engage them by either landline or mobile.
However, undeterred, we set off, prepared to shop or not, and at the very least to enjoy the drive and the scenery. It was so nice to leave the city behind and head west toward the mountains. The vista of rice paddies, tea plantations, and mountain ranges from any direction was a welcome change of scenery.
A couple of stops to ask directions and 2 1/2 hours later we arrived to find a shop full of quilts behind a locked door! But closed shops don't mean as much here in Indonesia, and before long some women appeared, turned on the lights and opened up for us. Phew!
We began a two hour exercise of pulling from the shelves nearly every one of their quilts! The Agape ladies were very obliging. These ladies work in intricate stitches and it was a trick to whittle the pile down to a shortlist as there were many beautiful pieces. We each selected something that we felt we would/could never make ourselves. Janette chose a complicated star, Jacqui a whole cloth quilt with scallops and incredible hand quilting, and I chose a two colour quilt.
Mary's two colour quilt...
Shame, I have no photo of Jacqui's masterpiece, however here she is playing amongst all the Christmas goodies! Can you tell we are having a good time?
All proceeds are returned to the community - as Janette says, "we felt it was our duty to oblige"! (That's our story and were sticking to it!)
Well this is exciting! While I wrote this, Jax was flipping through a magazine and found my new quilt! How pretty! Hmmm... Another in green?