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Jim West of Sew Many Places is Chairman of the Festival.
Part of the Patchwork Promises team, our Kenya quilters include Martine Chamorel, Grethen Sanders-Mwaura, Rajminder Kalsey, Gill Rebelo and Kundan Pattni. This team and others are being coordinated by well-known Irish quilter Nikki Foley. We will be excited to see what wonderful quilts they make this year, under Nikki’s guidance, to go to Ireland from Kenya next year!
The International Quilt Festival of Ireland on Facebook is the most immediate and current source of information. Find further information there.
A new patchwork quilt book, Quilts Around the World, by Spike Gillespie, Karey Bresenhan, Marsha MacDowell, Hollis Chatelain, Carolyn L. Mazloomi, Karen Musgrave, and Laurel Horton, has just been released.
Quilts Around the World features an article about quilting in Kenya by our own Gill Rebelo, and a photograph of one of Dena Crain’s beautiful art quilts. The book is available from Amazon.com.
The 2010 Kenya Quilt Guild Christmas Party was held on Wednesday, December 8, at the lovely home of Bibiana Pereira, Guild member and editor of our Snippets Newsletters. About 30 of our members gathered there for an afternoon of food, fun and fellowship, and they were not disappointed!
Sharing a wonderful pot-luck buffet of primarily vegetarian Indian-style dishes, everyone was well fed and glad they came to the party for lunch. With plenty of punch and gluwein, Bibiana’s wonderful chicken dish (recipe, Bibiana, please?) and cake, the guests enjoyed a real feast.
Members participated in a series of games which entertained and amused them. First was a competition between two teams to see who could unpick a patchwork block fastest. That competition was a “dead heat,” but everyone enjoyed the challenge. Next was a game of charades, played by acting out the names of patchwork quilt blocks, a variation on the game that proved most enjoyable to Kenya Quilt Guild members.
Last was a competition amongst sets of two partners. Each team of 2 selected a few wrapped crayons (so no one knew what colors they would get), and was challenged to design a Christmas gift wrap. This competition explains photos below in which Guild members seem to be drawing on paper. Let’s hope they use their sketches as inspirations to design a few quilts!
We hope those Guild members who were able to attend the Christmas lunch had a wonderful time with their quilting friends. Many thanks go to Bibiana for the use of her home and the pleasure of her hospitality, and to the Guild’s Executive Committee, especially Chairman Jasvinder Phull, for helping to organize this very special occasion. Thanks, also, to Lakhbir Virdee and Natasha Khromov for the photos below.
We know those of our friends who could not attend were with us in spirit; perhaps you can join us next year. For now, we wish everyone a wonderful Holiday Season and patchwork-filled New Year!
Our good friends, Garnet and Suzanne who own London, Canada, shop Cotton-by-Post and the North End Sewing Centre, have announced that their next international quilt festival in London will be an exhibition of Hawaiian quilts! Our show, The Quilts of East Africa, was held in nearby Ailsa Craig in October of 2008, and the Quilts of Ireland were there last year. We wish Garnet and Suzanne loads of success with their next show, and hope to see them again in Kenya before too long!
The Kenya Quilt Guild’s blog needs your help!
No one person can attend all of our activities personally; who among us can manage that?!
However, someone – anyone – who attends a Guild event – like our upcoming Christmas party or a regular monthly meeting – can send in details and photos of it. From a few notes (“who, what, where, when, why and how”) and one or more photos taken during the event, together we can develop posts for the blog that will help keep it fresh and give it the professional touch we have needed for so long.
If you attend a Kenya Quilt Guild meeting or function and are willing to take a couple of photos and make simple notes about what happens, you will be serving the Guild in a most important way. As a Guild blog reporter, you will be helping to keep all of our Guild members (especially those of us who could not attend) informed about our activities as well as helping the Kenya Quilt Guild become more prominent in the general online world of quilt guilds, making us more highly visible to quilters in other countries.
If you wish, you can be granted access to the back side of the blog which is called a “dashboard.” You can be enrolled officially as a Contributor so that you can upload your photos and write your notes as text in a blog post. As a Contributor, you will not have full control over the blog, but you will have the full support of the Administrator. We will be able to see your blog posts before they are made public, edit them for spelling, grammar and tone, edit your photos as necessary, and help you improve the quality of the written reports you produce.
You will not have to worry about any of the blog’s management issues. You will not be able to change settings or features of the blog. You will not be able to damage anything on the blog, so you need have no fear of doing anything “wrong.” Your posts must be approved after editing and before they can become public, so that is an additional safeguard.
If you are willing to help out as a Contributor, you will receive full credit for your blog posts, and you will slowly and gently come to understand how a WordPress blog operates. Who knows? You might one day want to set up a WordPress.com blog for yourself! And, if you are useful as a Contributor, you can work your way to becoming an Author and maybe even an Editor.
To learn more about becoming a Contributor, please see
. The more contributors we have for our blog, the healthier the blog will be.
If you prefer not to have any hands-on involvement in our blog, you can instead send us notes and photos of events and functions you attend. If more than one of you reports about an event, all those details can be joined into one post, so please don’t be shy about letting us hear from you. We will be delighted to receive your perceptions about any of our events, meetings, or outings, and to turn those into high quality content for our blog.
Please let us know (use the contact form in the sidebar at left) if you are willing to help out by becoming either an official or an unofficial contributor to the Kenya Quilt Guild blog. Your help will be most appreciated by all our readers!
This page is for Kenya Quilt Guild members’ private use only, to help anyone in the Guild tell all other Guild members that they have something they want to sell. The ads are free, so you can let us know any time you want to sell something privately and directly to another Guild member and we will place an ad on the page for you.
If you’re in the mood for shopping, you can check our Classified Ads page at any time to see if there is something there you would like to buy. If you find some great bargain or treasure you simply cannot live without, you can contact the seller directly through our Kenya Quilt Guild Members page and close the transaction privately between yourselves.
Be sure to let us know when it’s a “done deal” so we can remove the ad from the Classified Ads page!
At the November 2010 monthly meeting, Gill Rebelo gave a presentation about boutis, one of the lesser known techniques of quilting that is undergoing a renaissance in popularity today. Gill’s report:
Derived from and similar to Italian trapunto, boutis is a French method which developed in the 13-14th centuries near Marseille, thus its other name “Marseille work.”
Trapunto is a process of quilting with wadding or batting included, cutting into the back of the work to add extra filler and then closing the cuts. The result is what we would consider a proper wholecloth or appliqué quilt with extra stuffing in some places.
Boutis (pronounced boo-tee’), however, is made by stitching two layers of fabric together without filler. Lines of stitching are usually kept close together and running roughly parallel. After all the stitching is completed, the channels of space between lines of stitching are filled with cotton or wool roving or yarn. No cuts need to be made if a needle that is thick enough to carry the yarn can be passed through the threads of the cloth. Roving is trimmed about 1/2 inch away from the cloth and the ends are pushed in with a little stick like a toothpick. The “wound” created by the needle then heal themselves, and the excess roving inserted allows for some shrinkage.
Boutis is a Provençal word which means “stuffing.” A boutis is the name used in France for a wholecloth stuffed quilt. The earliest stuffed wholecloth quilts made in Europe are three Sicilian quilts, thought to date from the late 14th century, which were made as wedding quilts, two of which are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum. They depicted the love story of Tristan and Isolde.
The technique emerged again, in the 17th century, in Provence in southern France, as Matelassage quilts. These were composed of two layers of fabric, the bottom one often coarse and the top being a fine fabric such as silk, sateen, linen or a fine cotton, sandwiched together with a stuffing of carded cotton or silk in between. These were quilted with running stitches to give a raised surface between the stitches but did not contain any cording or stuffing. When washed the cotton shrank to create a puckered three-dimensional look.
Pigure de Marseilles, which became popular in the 18th century, was a more refined version of this. Again, fine fabric was used for the top and a coarser one for the bottom, without a layer of batting, and these two fabrics were stretched on a loom. The quilt pattern was drawn on top and the outlines were stitched with either running stitch or backstitch, which creates a stronger outline. Parallel rows of running or backstitch were worked to create narrow channels as a background to the design motifs which were stuffed by drawing a fine cord or tightly rolled fabric through the narrow channels, using a special blunt-nosed boxwood needle which is also known as a boutis. This was inserted from the back of the quilt, between the stitching lines, without making any cuts in the fabric.
In the 19th century, boutis as we know them today started to reappear as a renaissance of the earlier techniques. These quilts were more refined, made with a fine cotton, linen or silk used for both the back and the front of the quilt. These quilts were reversible, unlike traditional trapunto work which revealed cuts made in the backing and used to insert stuffing.
In the 18th and 19th centuries the boutis were usually made in plain white fabric but occasionally strong colours such as yellow, red, indigo and bronze were used.
Embroidered embellishment motifs, sometimes called Marseilles embroidery, often used to enhance boutis became larger. The varied designs included flowers, hearts, oak leaves, fruit and berries, cornucopia, and fertility and religious symbols such as crosses. Embroiderers also used naïve symbols inspired by events in their own lives.
Traditionally, items made with boutis methods included special baby blankets called “petasson” for newborns, baby’s christening caps and layettes, counterpanes and quilts, women’s petticoats and men’s waistcoats. Because boutis requires fine workmanship, these articles were intended for special occasions such as births, baptisms and weddings. A bride often wore a boutis petticoat under her wedding gown, often in traditional green or red, and boutis items were included in her trousseau.
There was much demand for boutis items from the wealthy in England, Holland, Germany and Spain. Boutis work fell out of fashion in Provence in the early 20th century. Recent revived interest in handwork has brought it to life again. There are now many books and classes teaching the method.
Links to more information about boutis include: