After a very long week, I finished work early Friday and did a little shopping. My first purchase was this
I saw them last week at Shoprite (chain grocery store from South Africa) and I knew I had to go back and get them. I hope the shortbread is good but even if it isn’t, it’s worth the $1.
After buying my snack, my colleague Bertha who’s from Lilongwe took me to a locally owned fabric shop to look at traditional fabric. The women in Malawi still wear the traditional chitenji (cha-ten-gee), a 2 meter long piece of fabric wrapped around the waist. Until about 15 years ago, it was illegal for women to wear pants. Women would wear a chitenji over their pants. A lot of women still so do that today. Most women use a chitenji to make a sling so they can carry their baby on their back. The fabrics and colors are stunning.
The particular place we went to had mostly green and blue fabric. I’m not sure if colors are seasonal or territorial. I have seen many women with beautiful yellow, orange and red print chitenji.
I picked up 14 meters (about 14 yards) of fabric for about $18.
Bertha wanted to have a dress made and of course I jumped on that bandwagon. I bought 6 yards of the fourth fabric from the left and will some of it for a dress. We took our purchases to area 9 (neighborhoods are numbered) to an beautiful woman who was going to turn them into custom made dresses. They will be ready on Wednesday before I leave. Aren’t the fabrics stunning? They are hand dyed and all but the middle are made in Malawi. The middle one is from Tanzania. I didn’t notice until about 10 minutes ago.
So the question is, what am I going to do with this fabric? I have a few ideas.
1. Use them in a quilt
2. Cover a headboard with them
3. Table runners and place mats for us and as gifts
4. Framing some of the prints and hanging them up or stretching them over canvas
It’s obvious that I’m thinking of using the colors as palette for one of the guest rooms.
What would you do with the fabric? I’m open to ideas.