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Chairperson Neela Shah opened the meeting with acknowledgement of guests, visitors and new members. She and Vice-Chairperson Deanna Gaudaur showed a few Santa bags, encouraging members to sign up to make more of them for the upcoming holiday season in hopes that we might sell them to benefit our charities. Deanna had coordinated shapes ready for appliqué, and offered a prize for the most popular “people’s choice” from all the bags that would be made.
Gill Rebelo displayed a few crazy-pieced Christmas stockings. She will be offering a workshop teaching our members how to make these charming holiday novelty items on Thursday, November 15th, in the afternoon after our regular meeting at Shalom House on that day. Phillippa Yusuf will also be teaching some fun crochet items that afternoon. Those interested in participating should sign up with Phillippa Yusuf as Gill will be out of the country until much nearer that day.
A suitable venue is needed for our annual Christmas party this year. If any of our members can host our group, please volunteer by letting Neela Shah know. Deanna suggested that instead of giving gifts to each other, this year we might think to bring food donations for those less fortunate. Stay tuned as plans for the Christmas party are made; we will let you know full details in due course.
Reports on Dena Crain’s two-day workshop held in September, Goodbye to the Grid, were most positive. Everyone enjoyed the workshop and a few people brought their works in progress to show what they designed and made.
This discussion led into show-and-tell.
Dena finished show-and-tell with a presentation of her African beaded quilt, a work in progress, as an introduction to the morning’s demonstrations. She and Charu Patel presented two different ways of beading with a hook instead of a needle.
Dena’s method uses a latch hook, something hard to find in Kenya but we hope Kundan Pattni will bring some back from her trip to the US for the International Quilt Festival and Market in Houston. Working with beads pre-strung on a thread that is still attached to the spool, Dena practices Kantan couture beading. She keeps the beads on the face of the work and the hook underneath it, making chain stitches on the underside of the quilt top that catch one or more beads on the surface of the work.
Instructional videos on YouTube:
Beading Supplies: Lacis Tools & Materials
Charu Patel works with the tiniest of crochet hooks. She keeps the thread underneath the fabric, draws it up with the crochet hook into a loop on the surface, drops the loop, picks up a bead with the hook, then picks up the loop again and passes the bead over the loop. Reinserting the hook into the fabric, she catches the thread again to complete the first stitch and begin the next one.
Dena’s method is fast but Charu’s method produces exquisite quality. Which method might suit you best is for you to decide, perhaps different methods for different projects, but it was certainly good to see both methods demonstrated side-by-side.
The Exhibition Committee will hold a meeting on October 19th at Jasvinder Phull’s house. It is still not too late to join the Exhibition Committee if you are interested. You will be most welcome to attend the meeting and lend a helping hand, especially as we are facing a very busy year in 2013. We are in contact with International Quilt Festival Houston and American Quilter’s Society about the possibility of showing our quilts after the London International Quilt Festival in Canada in the United States.
We are also negotiating with the FibreWorks artists from South Africa about having their Major Minors IV exhibition of some fifty 10-inch square quilts shipped up to Nairobi for exhibition here on its way to or from Canada where it will be included in our show there, along with work from Gabon (Paula Benjaminson), Zimbabwe (through Bev Rebelo) and possibly Tanzania. We hope to have about 200 quilts of our own on exhibition in London, Canada, so please–keep working on your African quilts!
Dena announced that Quarke, Quilt Artists of Kenya, had a couple of sales during their recent exhibition at Karen Country Club and that they will be holding another exhibition at Village Market over the weekend of November 23-26, open 10 am until 7 pm each day. Kenya Quilt Guild members are welcome to visit the show and to bring their family and friends along.
We had a brief discussion about acquiring retail selling space at one or more of the various craft fairs held throughout Nairobi in conjunction with holidays (Christmas or summer). Everyone agreed this is something we should do. Now all we need are members to be making things for sale and letting us know about upcoming events in time for us to apply for selling space in them. The Council will do the rest by making the applications for space, paying the fees, and calling for volunteers from amongst our members to be present to sell our goods. Money from this venture can go either to offset the expenses of workshops or exhibitions, or it may go to charity. Either way, everyone’s help will be much appreciated.
Next meeting: November 15th, Shalom House. Note on your calendar that there will be no regularly scheduled meeting in December. Details about our annual Christmas party will be forthcoming via email notification.
The Kenya Quilt Guild held its April meeting as its Annual General Meeting for 2012. Chair Neela Shah welcomed a rather limited turn-out of members (29 with one guest) for the AGM. Apparently, some schools are not yet back in session, so some of our members were still on holiday. After a brief introduction, Neela held the Election of Officers for 2012. These were elected as follows:
Chair: Neela Shah
Vice-Chair: Deanna Gaudaur
Secretary: April Webb
Treasurer: Loise Gitagia
Members-at-Large: Brij Datta and Jasbir Sokhi
Dena Crain, author of the current KQG Constitution, explained the functions of the Subcommittees which support the Executive Council in six areas of the Guild’s work: Membership, Education, Exhibitions, Community Outreach and Charitable Works, Advertising and Promotions, and Newsletter Publication. Dena exhorted members to be involved in this “painless” way! Membership of a Standing Committee is not onerous and only one person from each one is required to attend Executive Council meetings once a month. A sign-up sheet was passed around and a good number of members pitched in as follows:
Raji Syan (Librarian)
Community Outreach and Charitable Works
Advertising and Promotions
Dena Crain (IT only)
With Election of Officers and structuring of the Subcommittees out of the way, the Guild voted on the proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Kenya Quilt Guild. One of these was that Snippets, the KQG newsletter, would be discontinued unless a volunteer editor was found at the AGM; this was obviated by Margaret Atandi and Jane MacAskill who have proffered their skills to maintain the newsletter. Snippets survives!
The second proposed amendment to the Constitution was to change the date of the AGM to the April meeting date. Sheryl Fowler proposed (seconded by Gretchen Mwaura) a change to the amendment: the AGM shall take place on or before the third Thursday in May of each year. Two thirds of those members present at the meeting needed to approve the change by a show of hands in order for it to be adopted. There was a unanimous vote in favour of the change to the amendment. The acceptance of the amended proposal was also unanimously supported.
Gill Rebelo reminded members of the exciting programme of workshops on offer in the near future and encouraged those interested to sign up and pay a deposit or in full as soon as possible in order to ensure a place:
- Mon 7th May a.m. or p.m.: Bev Rebelo, Hand quilting, KSh500 per half day at the Rebelo residence in Loresho
- Tues 8th May: Bev Rebelo, Machine quilting, KSh1500 full day at Shalom House
- Tues 15th May: Sarah Brewin, Dancing Ladies, KSh2,800, full day including kit at Shalom House
- Fri 18th May: Magie Relph, Broken Windows, KSh 1500, full day at Shalom House
- Mon 21st May: Magie Relph, African Jazz,* KSh 1500, full day at Shalom House
- Wed 23rd May: Magie Relph, Extreme appliqué*, KSh 1500, full day at Shalom House
- Thurs 24th May a.m.: Magie Relph, Adinkra Stamping, KSh 800, half day at Shalom House
- Thurs 24th May p.m.: Magie Relph, Creative Strip Cloth, KSh 1200 incl fabric, half day at Shalom House
*Please note change of dates for these 2 classes.
Plans for the upcoming Exhibition at Village Market on 11th, 12th and 13th May are well in order. Dena designed and had printed 30 copies of a colourful poster advertising the exhibition. She encouraged members to sign up and take copies to display in public places. Those who have to pay to display may claim the cost from the Guild if they keep and present their receipts.
Neela suggested that posters should only go up a week to ten days before the exhibition. Members were also encouraged to sign a roster to volunteer their services in various roles at the exhibition. This really is a joint effort, and both posters and the duty roster can be found at The Woman Shop until 5th May. Stop in and collect a poster for displaying at your church, school or other high-traffic public place. Sign up for a two-hour stint as a welcoming hostess, raffle table worker, membership recruiter or white glove lady. Your help will be much appreciated!
Jasbir and Jasvinder were collecting entry forms and fees for quilts which members wish to show or sell at the exhibition. Members were reminded that any forms submitted after 19th April would attract a penalty fee of KSh300. All quilts need to be delivered to The Woman Shop or to Neela or Gill by 5th May. Neela explained that members may submit two quilts each for exhibition but extras will be accepted and may be displayed, depending on the space available. The entrant will be reimbursed their entry fee if the quilt is not included in the show.
Neela announced that formal approval for the raffle of Guild quilts has been received from the Betting Control and Licensing Board. However there has not been time to get the tickets printed for the AGM and members were asked to collect ticket booklets from The Woman Shop and to ensure they bring money, stubs and unsold tickets to the exhibition.
Pauline Mang’ana displayed the cup which will be awarded to the “People’s choice” for the best quilt in the show. The second prize will be a kanga.
For Show-and-Tell, Indu Shah showed the progress she has made on a quilt for a young girl. She has embroidered the pieces most attractively. Brij displayed a delightful quilt made of Amish fabrics she acquired on the Guild’s trip to Canada. Bria Gaudaur showed two quilts – one an image containing the letters LOVE was well received and the second, designed for a toddler, was most suitable for the Kenyan environment as appliquéd cars attempted to climb rick-rack hills! Deanna showed a quilt with appliquéd letters of the alphabet and a fun image to go with each one. This is the “first grand-child quilt” although she may have to wait a while before she can give it away! Deanna Gaudaur, Bria’s mum, then showed us a masterpiece of machine quilting. A New York Beauty design, the quilt had not been pieced but squares and complex designs were traced onto the fabric and then coloured with machine stitched free motion quilting. It was absolutely stunning!
Dena Crain then gave a masterly talk on the subject of how to care for our quilts. She listed the factors that damage quilts, such as
- light which can fade colours and cause fibre disintegration, moisture which can encourage the growth of moulds and other decomposers,
- staining by sugar solutions, wine, chocolate or tea or the sebum from finger tips which can all cause permanent marks,
- physical damage can be caused by insects, rodents, dogs and cats and their body fluids can also cause permanent staining,
- dirt from dusty environments causes discolouration,
- abrasion – friction can damage fibres and result in holes in fabric, and
- temperature extremes have similar effects.
In order to avoid the factors listed above and the permanent creasing caused by folding, quilts should be stored face down in stacks on a flat surface such as a mattress protected by a cotton (100%) sheet. The stacks should be evenly distributed so that there is no lumpiness to warp the quilts. A white cotton sheet should cover the stacks and the curtains of the room can be kept drawn.
Alternatively, the quilts can be rolled, with rod in place. The rolling should begin from the top end, ensuring the edges do not catch and crease, and with the top side of the quilt on the outside of the roll. This expands the top fabric a little so that any creases form on the underside of the quilt. The presence of the rod stops the roll collapsing inwards, again introducing creases into the fabric. Rolling from the top downwards ensures that loose curling is at the bottom end of the quilt and this will fall out when the quilt is hung from the rod again.
The rolled quilts can be stored individually in cotton drawstring bags, which are longer than the quilt is wide, thus closure of the bag can be more effective. Plastic bags are not good for quilt storage.
A sleeve is attached to the top of the underside of the quilt to contain the rod. The sleeve should be pleated in such a way that there is more fabric on the outer surface of the sleeve than in the portion of the fabric attached to the back of the quilt. The sleeve then accommodates the rod so that the quilt lies flat and does not curl around the rod when hung. A double hanger sleeve means the quilt can be hung from the centre of the rod as well as by the two ends. If a rectangular bar of wood is used for hanging the quilt (rather than a round one) then the screw eyes should be attached on the two ends of the bar closer to the top edge. This ensures the quilt is not tipped forward as it hangs.
Exhibitors were also reminded that the rod from which the quilt is suspended for display must be one inch shorter than the width of the quilt. It is useful to write the name of the quilt on the rod in felt tip pen as well as the dimensions of the rod. This makes it easier to locate appropriate rods from your collection.
When carrying a quilt as hand luggage, Dena has designed a canvas belted bag that contains the rolled quilt wrapped in a white cotton sheet. When transporting larger numbers of quilted pieces, Dena advises hard-sided luggage. However, aeroplane weight restrictions have forced many quilters to resort to soft-sided luggage. Dena protects the quilts from damage in such a bag by packing (bundling) them in a very specific way. She has cut a cardboard template that fits the base of the bag. She lays the quilts on a flat surface in an even stack so that the pieces all lie diagonally to one another. She then places the template on the top of the stack and folds the quilts around it so that each is folded on the bias. This means the folds are softer and the creasing less pronounced. The folded packet can then be placed neatly in the bag. Dena advises that the items to be packed are laid out ready and only placed in the bag just prior to departure to minimise their time in the folded state. An overnight stop means the quilts get some relief too. They should be unpacked and laid out on a flat surface or draped over a spare bed or the back of a sofa, then re-packed immediately before departure.
After Dena’s fine presentation, the meeting was adjourned.
The Kenya Quilt Guild holds its Annual General Meeting on Thursday of this week at our usual meeting place, Shalom House off Ngong Road near The Junction and next door to L’Arena Pizzeria. The meeting will open at 10:00 a.m. We will have election of officers and calls for Subcommittee volunteers to establish a new Executive Council. Then we will debate two Constitutional amendments, one to change the AGM date to the April meeting, and the other to suspend publication of Snippets indefinitely. Anyone who is not a member in good standing may not vote for officers or amendments, so if you have not yet paid your dues for 2012, please come prepared to do so BEFORE the meeting begins.
The business portion of our meeting concluded, we will have a brief show-and-tell, followed by a presentation by Dena Crain on how to care for our quilts. Dena will discuss the enemies of textiles, how to travel with quilts and how to prepare quilts for long-term storage as well as how to hang and display our lovely quilts.
Don’t forget that before our next meeting in May, we will be holding an exhibition at the Village Market. That happens over the weekend of the 11th, 12th, and 13th of May, and the show will be open from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. each of those days. Volunteers are needed to help work the show.
If you plan to exhibit one or more quilts in the show, bring your completed Call for Entry form and the appropriate amount of cash to pay the fees for showing your work to the AGM on Thursday. Any Call for Entry form submitted after Thursday will be charged an additional 300/-. Make certain you have completed the correct Call for Entry form; if it asks you whether you want the KQG to sell your quilt, that’s the right one!
Quilts for the show can be delivered to The Woman Shop, to Neela Shah or to Gill Rebelo any time up until the close of business on Saturday, May 5. Quilts received after that date will not be exhibited.
Anyone who is interested in patchwork quilting is invited to attend both our AGM and our Exhibition. Come to meet us, see what we do and how we do it, and to join in the fun and appreciation of patchwork quilting we share. Visitors are welcome, but there is an entry fee of 200/- payable at the door.
We have quite a few workshops coming up in May. Follow our Quilt Workshop Schedule for more information to be posted soon.
See you Thursday at Shalom House!
During the last monthly meeting, the members of the Kenya Quilt Guild were introduced to the “quilt-as-you-go” techniques. If you missed the demonstration or forgot some details you can find all information on internet for free:
Many other different sites are available and it is worth searching and browsing through them to find one that suits your need!
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:
The November Guild meeting had a somewhat smaller turn-out than usual; this probably due to the date: American Thanksgiving Day! Several of our American members made the effort to attend anyway, although they needed to leave early.
Business decisions included what to do about a financial shortfall from our exhibition, whether to use raffle money to make up the deficit or to use Guild money to pay the balance. We learned that legally we could not use more than 20% of the raffle income. In the end, we agreed to dip into Guild money to pay for the hall rental, and that meant we could put all the raffle money, some 84,000/=, towards charity.
We also discussed the five sewing machines now owned by the Guild. With no functioning workshop at present, these machines now lie idle. Storage of them is a problem. After some discussion, the subject was postponed for further consideration until the new year.
There was some discussion about exhibition scheduling. Statistics showed that we had better turn-outs for our April or May exhibitions than for those in October, when so many other arts and crafts festivals are gearing up for holiday sales. Some members felt we should have an exhibition annually, that most of us would not keep quilts for two years while we waited to show them. Others thought that biennial exhibitions would be more appealing to the market and easier for the Guild to manage. We generally agreed to plan our next exhibition for April or May 2012, and to reconsider the advisability of annual versus biennial planning at that time.
Deanna Gaudaur was awarded the cup for Best of Show from our October exhibition for her quilt, Story Book Farm, beautifully made.
Following the business part of our meeting, we had some show-and-tell. Photos below tell that story (click to view larger images):
Linda Renner, shown above with her quilts, is “the Global Bag” lady. Linda is the Kenya Field Coordinator for the Global Bag Project. Read more about her and the Project at http://www.globalbagproject.com/. Jana Mead and Deanna Gaudaur are affiliated with the Africa Inland Mission Kijabe Hospital.
After show-and-tell, and a quick tea or coffee, we heard a talk given by Gill Rebelo on boutis. Read about that in the next post.