Creative articles about quilting

Introducing the BERNINA Ambassador for Quilting in South Africa

Hi all the lovely quilters! I thought I will give you a bit of background about myself and my quilting practice and then show you some of my work. I have been a quilter for over 25 years and I have tried all different kinds of quilting techniques. I started off with hand-quilting but as all of you know, life can be quite rushed. Today I only do machine quilting and I have my domestic machine, Bernina 770 as well as a Bernina Q24 to work on. I regularly compete in National as well as International quilt competitions and I have won a couple of prizes which put me in the Master class category. The reason I enter these competitions is mostly to inspire my fellow quilters to enter and learn from the experience.

What an honour it was when Bernina asked me to be their ambassador for quilting in South Africa at the beginning of this year! It has been and still is a very strange year but luckily we quilters have our passion, quilting, that keeps us not only busy but also sane!

Tilly de Harde Ambassador for Quilting in South Africa

When we went into total lockdown at the end of March, my fabric stash cupboard and my machine embroidery stash were full and I was ready for the three weeks that lay ahead. Little did I know that the three weeks of total lockdown would stretch over a couple of months! What always seemed to other people, a bit of excess buying of fabric, turned out to be me, being totally prepared for this time of isolation! On days when I did not have a project lined up, I spent practicing my free motion quilting on the longarm machine. I also tried to use the longarm machine for various other purposes and not necessarily for free motion quilting, which is really what it is designed for. More about this in future blogs!

I discovered certain facts about myself and living in isolation. It was not half as bad as it could have been if I didn’t have my quilting to keep my mind occupied! It gave me the time that I needed to think ‘through’ a project without interruptions. It gave me ample time to practice, practice, practice whenever I felt like it. I also found time to get to know a bit more about social media and how that can help us quilters to share our work and inspire more people all over the world!

I will show you a couple of photographs of some of my work and I hope you will leave comments in the comment section. Keep watching as I will post short clips of me in action in front of my machine in the near future. There will also be a short tutorial on my experience with machine couching on the Bernina Q24 and various other interesting things you can use your longarm and your domestic machine for.


This is a quilt that I created a while ago where I protested against the senseless killing of our beautiful Rhinoceros. I call it   No More…. Bushfire! below was my entry in the 2013 National Quilt Festival held in Bloemfontein (RSA)

Awakening was a challenge quilt where I tried to express the depression an artist feels with the loss of creativity and then the spiraling effect when inspiration takes place. It was entered into the 2015 National Quilt Festival in Kwazulu Natal

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  • Laura Phillips

    Thank you for sharing such inspirational work. Well done. Absolutely beautiful 

    • Tilly de Harde

      Thanks for a lovely compliment Laura! It is my goal in life to inspire people!

  • Linda Livingston

    Thank you so much for sharing. I will be in So Africa in March if all goes well. May I know where to reach you there?

  • Carolyn Ziegler

    When I visited So Africa from the United States I was introduced to Tilly by a good friend.  Tully’s kindness and generosity are remarkable, and then I saw her quilting.  I quickly became a fan of all her quilting compositions and motifs. Excellent workmanship. Incredible  designs.  Tilly, indeed, is a master quilter and I’m delighted to be her friend. Congratulations! Well deserved!

    • Tilly de Harde

      Thanks Carolyn! That was a good visit! I remember all the interesting activities Tertia and you did at the time. Thank for your kind words, I really appreciate it! Keep reading my future blogs for interesting tips and facts from my quilting life!

  • Gillian Van der Merwe

    Tilly, you are an inspiration to us all. I am in awe of your talent.

    • Tilly de Harde

      Thanks Gill, it is always a pleasure to have you in my classes! Keep reading my blogs for interesting tips!

  • Angela Fraser

    What a treat to see that you have started a blog. Your work is beautiful and so inspiring. I loved your modest “won a few prizes”.  What that actually means is “win just about everything you enter”, all of which are totally deserved. Looking forward to your future blogs.

    • Tilly de Harde

      Thanks Angela! I try to inspire people everywhere with my work so it really is wonderful to get this feedback! Keep reading my blog because soon I’ll be posting something about couching with the Q24 as well as with any domestic sewing machine!

  • Lezette Thomason

    Love your work! Congratulations on becoming a Bernina Ambassadore! I have been one for years but am now retired. I had a company which I sold 6 years ago called Children’s Corner Patterns. I traveled and taught classic children’s sewing. Nothing sews like a Bernina…Nothing!  Best of luck to you!

    • Tilly de Harde

      Thanks Lezette! I agree with you 100%! Enjoy your retirement and I hope you have lots of time to create now!

    • Tilly de Harde

      Thanks Shanaaz! It’s so lovely for you to say this about my work! Keep reading my posts (there is already a second post published!)

  • Lynette Van der Merwe

    Your quilts are stunning! They inspire me.. love to read the next blog.

    • Tilly de Harde

      Thanks Lynette! The next blog is available for you to read. A bit more about where I find my inspiration from.

  • Shirley Prakke

    Your work is beautiful. I look forward to future blogs. Well done!

    • Tilly de Harde

      Thanks Shirley! So lovely to hear from you! Check out the next blog…it was published a little while ago.

    • Tilly de Harde

      Thanks Gayle! Be sure to read the next blog about where I find my inspiration from!

  • Patricia Suttmiller

    I love all of your work, but the Australian fires one is my favorite. Amazing use of colors and thread painting.


    • Tilly de Harde

      Thanks Patricia! Yes, these fires could be anywhere in the world but you would be surprised to hear that this was a figment of my imagination! I just love that there is beauty in destruction. Check out my next blog to see what inspires me.

  • Cindy Pilkington

    Thank you for sharing your position with Bernina and your beautiful Quilts!

    • Tilly de Harde

      Hi Cindy, it’s my pleasure! I love inspiring artists all over the world! Have a look at my next blog for more inspiration!

    • Tilly de Harde

      Thanks Anita, such a lovely compliment! Read more in my next blog!

    • Tilly de Harde

      Thanks Kathy, such a lovely compliment! I always try to inspire people with my work. There’s more in the blog following this one!

    • Tilly de Harde

      Thanks Elize! Inspiring people everywhere….that’s what I like to do! There is more inspiration in my next blog!

    • Tilly de Harde

      Thanks Carol, the next post has been published so you can read a bit more about what inspires me. I will be posting regularly and I will remind you on social media.

    • Tilly de Harde

      Hallo Gerda, dankie vir die mooi kompliment! The Rhino, No More…. is in a private collection here in South Africa. I also love it even though the message in it is so sad.

  • Esna Gouws

    This is really inspiring and beautifully done. Keep up this amazing skill Tilly.

    • Tilly de Harde

      Thanks Esna! I’m busy with a wholecloth quilt on the Q24 at the moment and will post photos of it at a later stage. In the meantime, have a look at my next blog!

  • Sharon Wright

    Lovely quilts Tilly. Your creativity is always inspiring. I enjoy your classes as they push us to another level of creative challenge! Looking forward to seeing where else the journey takes us all. 👌💐

    • Tilly de Harde

      Hi Sharon, thanks for the lovely words, I really appreciate it. Yes, we do have fun in our classes! Keep reading my blogs for more interesting ideas, tips and photos of my work…the next one is already available for you! Enjoy!

  • Pat Finke

    Your quilts are outstanding, so happy for you. I can’t wait to see what else you have up your sleeve, congratulations!

    • Tilly de Harde

      Hi Pat, you will have to go and look at my next blog on what inspires me! Thanks for the lovely compliment!

  • Tarina Van Wyk

    Woorde kan nie die kunswerk beskryf nie. Dis fantasties!!!

    Jou werk LEEF!!!

    • Tilly de Harde

      Hallo Tarina! Dankie vir jou mooi woorde! I always try to inspire people everywhere so it is really nice to hear back from them!

  • Jenny Smith

    Beautiful quilts enjoyed your blog looking forward to reading more and seeing more of your work

    • Tilly de Harde

      Hi Jenny, thanks for a lovely compliment! My next blog has been published if you are interested in what inspires me!

  • Karen Brown

    WOW What beautiful inspirational quilts you have made, congratulations.

    • Tilly de Harde

      Hi Karen, thanks! I love to inspire people everywhere so keep watching and reading my blog for more inspiration!

    • tillydeharde

      Thanks for the lovely compliment Tina, I will be posting more of my work soon!

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