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The Elna Effect

Anyone who has taken a Silk-Ribbon Embroidery or Quilting class with us in The Crafty Fox over the last couple of years will be familiar with Elna Andrew, an inspirational and life-loving lady who isn't just a teacher, because she has done so much more for us and become so much more to us! We decided to do a Q&A with Elna during lockdown, and you can read her responses below, but first...a taster of what effect she has had.

Elna and her family moved from South Africa a number of years ago, making Ireland their new home, but we had come to know her before then, as she regularly came on holidays, teaching ribbon embroidery in An Grianan and visiting us in The Crafty Fox to top up on supplies before her journey home. You see, at that stage Elna also had her own craft business in South Africa, and although she worked in analytical chemistry and textile testing, crafts were and are her passion.

We were so delighted when Elna agreed to join TCF as a tutor, becoming a Foxy Lady in 2018, where she has been teaching ever since. In addition to teaching, her 'can do' attitude has seen her create amazing quilts, dress windows, re-arrange merchandise and found a quilting club. During the first Covid-19 lockdown she made masks galore for charity and, with the aid of the quilting club, made over 100 full sets of scrubs for our local hospital staff. Also, very soon we will be launching our first Block of the Month quilt where, each month, subscribers make one block for the quilt, which is a unique design by Elna herself.

You will only get a peek at some of her amazing work here (did we tell you how prolific she is?), but just look at St. Patrick! We challenged Elna to make a quilted replica of the stained glass window in St. Benin's Church, Kilbenan, Co. Galway for our St. Patrick's Day window. Naturally, she totally nailed it! We were left speechless (which may just have been a first :-) )

Over and beyond all of what she does, she has also become a great friend to us and her class students. When we speak of Elna, we talk about 'The Elna Effect', the positivity she brings to The Crafty Fox and everyone she meets. We can't wait for our classes and clubs to resume, because all the zooming in the world is not the same as being in the company of someone like Elna who has the power to make you feel special, and appreciate that there is always good to be seen somewhere, which is something we all need to feel just now.

The quilt on the right above is the African Sky Bloom Elna mentions below

But enough from us, so let us hear from Elna herself, after we presented her with some quick fire questions:

What is your earliest memory of crafting? I remember as a child, I always made my own Barbie clothes with off-cut fabric my dressmaker aunt gave me.

What is the first project you can remember making? I went on medical pension at the age of 22 and had no job and no money. So I started making kids tracksuits with plain bottoms and patchwork tops. I made a living out of it and bought my first overlocker and, appropriately, an Elna junior club sewing machine. It was the start of a long sewing life.

What is your all-time favourite craft? I have to say, Silk Ribbon Embroidery, which sadly I cannot do any more.

When did your quilting journey begin? 2004

What's currently inspiring you? My creative nature and my addictive love for fabric! What does crafting bring to your life? Happiness, excitement, friendship, camaraderie, joy and peace What is your favourite quilt that you have made to date, and why? African Sky Bloom. I made it for my mom because the two of us love gardening and love to go the nurseries together. When we left South Africa to move to Ireland I decided to make that quilt for her because when she misses me she can just sit under the quilt and feel my love and remember the very good times we had together. She will also know my heart will always be with her. Have you a favourite colour combination? Duck egg blue, deep wine red, warm beige and olive green.

Well we can see that colour choice here!

What about a favourite patchwork pattern? That's tricky...I can't pick just one, so I have to say Log Cabin and Disappearing 9 Patch. What is your most useful tool? Seam ripper :-) And finally, if you were to give us one valuable tip you have learned when quilting, what would that be? Iron all fabric before you start cutting.

Thanks Elna for answering those questions.

So, now you know what The Elna Effect is. We hope you enjoyed reading all about it and, if you haven't already met her, get the chance to do so one day!

Keep Crafting & Stay Safe

The Crafty Fox Team

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