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Patchwork traditionally has a social aspect which has been brought into play in the current children`s competition of the Patchwork Gilde e.V. (patchwork guild). In Afghanistan hand embroidery has a long tradition; in Laghmani, a village north of Kabul, mothers and their daughters – the youngest 12 years old – create embroideries. The project is run in the spirit of helping others to help themselves by the Deutsch-Afghanische Initiative e.V. in Freiburg/Germany (DAI/ www.deutsch-afghanische-initiative.de). The women and girls embroider 8cm x 8cm squares. While complete in itself, the embroidery also provides an inspirational starting point for personal projects: the squares can be embedded in embroidery and are particularly suitable for patch work and appliqué. Each participant was given an embroidered square, provided and paid for by the patchwork guild. The brief was to incorporate one of those squares into a 50cm x 50 cm quilt. The German children were also given an information pack describing in detail the life of the Afghan embroiderers to give them a better understanding of their living conditions.
The quilts thus became collaborative creations, worked on by a girl from Laghmani and a German girl. A fantastic idea! We will send photos of the children`s quilts to Laghmani to show the girls what has become of their beautiful embroideries. A CD with 104 photographs showing the complete collection of submitted quilts together with comments will be available from Deutsche Patchwork Gilde e.V. for €5 plus postage. Participation in the competition was very high – 103 quilts were submitted and judged in three age groups. Each entrant received a surprise bag from the guild as a reward for taking part and five major prizes were awarded in each age category.

text and photographs by Eli Thomae
(Patch-Kids department of the Patchwork Gilde Deutschland e.V.)
Translated into English by Solveigh Goett