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The Kenya Embroiderers’ Guild is privileged to have one of the top embroiderers in the UK, Mary Hickmott, coming out to Kenya in October to teach six new techniques. They will be running a series of workshops held at the EAWL headquarters (next to Fairview Hotel). These will be open to to anyone interested in learning new techniques. Bookings are now being taken for the workshops.
Find complete information and register for Mary Hickmott’s workshops at the Kenya Embroiderers Guild.
It was party time at the Kenya Quilt Guild!! We had our usual monthly meeting but several members brought their children who participated in a cup-cake feast and in making kikoy quilts! Neela Shah (Chairperson) welcomed several visitors including Australians Meryl Lees from New South Wales and her daughter Lyn Cussons from Canberra. Darlene and Rose were visiting from the USA and Suzanne is a new member who has recently settled in Kenya having moved from Kansas.
Neela drew the attention of the meeting to the date change for the Kijabe field trip to see Deanna Gaudaur’s long-arm quilting machine. It will now take place on 1st August. A form was handed round for members to sign up for the trip and to indicate what they would contribute to the pot-luck lunch and whether they would be willing to transport others. Deanna will email directions to all who have signed up.
Neela also reminded members that there is no KQG meeting in August as so many members are away. Consequently, books from the library can be borrowed for two months instead of one.
Gill Rebelo (Education) reminded members to sign up and pay for the classes being offered by Dena Crain in September. Information is published in ‘Snippets’. ‘Goodbye to the Grid’ is a two day class Dena offers for the Quilt University which introduces the skills required for making art quilts. Neela underlined the good value of Dena’s classes, as she has attended them herself and picked up lots of useful tips and skills. The other class Dena is offering is entitled ‘True Quilts’ and includes Stack to the Back, Quilting From the Outside In, and Fuss-Free Binding. These sessions are offered 25th, 26th and 27th September. Check the Quilt Workshop Schedule for more information.
Gill announced that Pippa Moore will be coming from Canada to teach in October and suggested members look at her web site. Gill also encouraged members to join the workshop after the meeting where those who attended in June could finish the Shoo-Fly block started then and hopefully complete a Calico Puzzle block as well. These will go towards a sampler quilt to be completed during these workshops over several months. Gill had little packs of appropriate fabrics available for sale at 100/-.
Neela then introduced Darlene Tapie who is visiting Kenya on a mission trip for the Presbyterian Women of New Jersey. Darlene explained the work of a group of women who knit or crochet prayer shawls. These are voluminous, warm shawls made of a soft yarn that the makers pray over as they are fashioned. The shawls are then donated to people at the birth of a baby or when someone is ill or bereaved. Darlene asked that anyone who would like to be involved would communicate with her.
Neela then asked Maureen Dougherty to tell the group about her visit to the International Quilt Festival of Ireland in June. Maureen had been delighted to meet Martine Chamorel, our former Vice-Chairperson, there and they had looked together at the Round Robin quilts, including those from Kenya to which they had contributed. They recognized the hand blocks made by Carol Davey and Martine in the huge welcome quilt at the entrance. Maureen really enjoyed the whole exhibition which had lots of character but was most impressed by the quilted garden feature.
Neela displayed the glass crystal mounted plaque that has been awarded to Sabine as winner of the ‘best quilt in show’ at our recent exhibition.
- Members had been asked to display quilts they had made for children but there were also lots of other beautiful things on offer.
- Deanna showed a lovely single bed sized quilt in black and white fabrics with a bright green line in. She had made this for her son’s girlfriend!
- Brij displayed a pair of jeans she had decorated with multiple colourful appliqué of elephants for Village Market’s Jeanius competition. The jeans were greeted with a chorus of impressed ooohs and aaahs!
- Stacey Davis had made a fun quilt for her son with a design of trains in primary colours.
- Veena showed a bargello quilt wall hanging, a delightful combination of blues and rich browns.
- Gill is well prepared for the advent of future grandchildren with a charming rag quilt, decorated with a teddy.
- Lakhbir displayed a gorgeous double bed sized bargello quilt in twenty shades of red and black with a Möbius strip shaped design on it. She was challenged to make it as a wedding present for her daughter who must have been so pleased with it!
- Jasvinder showed her stunning dancing ladies wall hanging and a second one she had made using the same method but with Maasai dancers.
- Maureen had been stash-busting and had made a pleasing rainbow colours quilt for one of her staff members.
- Induben has been working on a beautiful Maasai village scene with a bead embellishment.
- Cheryl displayed two very pretty quilts she had made with little girls in mind. One was appliquéd with a girl in a bonnet motif and the other with pink perambulators!
Meryl Lees and Lyn Cussons had brought some samples of indigenous print fabrics from Australia which featured snakes and witchetty grubs or sylised lizards in interesting patterns and colours. Members of Meryl’s quilt guild had also made gifts for KQG. Each member present was given a beautifully embroidered handkerchief. It was such a lovely kind thought and action and very much appreciated.
We then had the draw for the prizes of the day – some kikoys! These were won by good fortune by Meryl and Lyn! There were also some KQG winners …. Neela!
In the extended break we all enjoyed delicious cup cakes brought by members and a fizzy punch made by Deanna Gaudaur.
The meeting finished with Stacy Davis from Kijabe showing some of the kikoy quilts she has made using a very simple quilt-as-you-go method. She explained how it is done and then the children who had joined the Guild for the day had a go at making them. Everyone went off happy and satisfied that we had enjoyed a great meeting and would be looking forward to meeting again in September.
Neela Shah, our recently re-elected chairperson, welcomed six guests to our May meeting as well as Magie Relph and Sarah Brewin our visiting teachers.
Neela informed us that last weekend’s exhibition at Village Market raised a good sum for the charities we support–AMREF’s Fistula Clinic to pay for corrective surgery, and the The Dream Project to support the purchase of a new water tank. She announced the winner of the “Viewers’ Choice” prizes and the winners of the raffle quilts.
There were rather fewer entries to our exhibition this year than in previous years. Members were encouraged to be more productive as exhibitions will probably take place annually in future rather than every 18 months. The location of the exhibition hall at Village Market proved less than ideal as there was little walk-in traffic and lots of noise; members were asked to think of alternative locations.
Dena Crain mentioned that several visitors expressed interest in buying quilts at the show, particularly “Dancing Ladies” and she has sent out information about pricing quilts and suggested some of the members could turn professional! There was a write-up of the exhibition in the Star and another in Asian Weekly. Dena asked for a volunteer to help her with advertising and promotions.
Sarah Brewin had taught her ‘Dancing Ladies’ quilt on Tuesday and Sheryl Fowler displayed her delightful variation on the theme with twirling guinea fowl on a rippled background. Sarah’s Rhododendron Needlers Quilt Guild in Boston had kindly donated $200 towards the KQG exhibition and are eager for some African quilts for their exhibition in March 2013. Twelve of the members present expressed interest in sending quilts to the exhibition.
Dena talked about the exhibition in Canada next year which has changed time and location. It will now be in the Hilton Hotel in London Ontario from 11th to 15th June. Deanna Gaudaur pointed out that the date change would now preclude attendance by those with children in school.
Gill Rebelo, who organises the educational side of the Guild’s activities, explained that from next month she will be arranging free workshops after the monthly meetings. These will be sociable opportunities for new members to learn skills from more experienced quilters and to make products for sale for the Guild’s charities. She asked members to offer to help and suggested they would enjoy making a ‘block of the month’ each. These will contribute to a sampler quilt for the next exhibition.
In Show-and-Tell, Gretchen Sanders-Mwaura displayed the lovely book cover she had made in Bev Rebelo’s machine quilting class the previous week, and a 20” x 10” block she has made for her Voyage Art Textiles group. It was loosely inspired by a blue painted shack she had photographed and was beautiful and original.
Nasreen Arain showed her sparkly lady’s bag. It was pretty and flamboyant, embellished with sequins. Indu Shah showed us a quilt she is making for a lucky child, with Thomas the Tank Engine and friends represented on it. She had skillfully hand quilted a design to show the clouds of steam from the engines.
Delia Spring had made two jolly and colourful quilts with dinosaurs and bones and stipple quilting for her three and six year old boys. Sheryl Fowler is making two quilts for an 80 year old friend. She showed us the first one which was a very attractive French Braid quilt in luscious shades of pink and dark red with a repeated triangle shape border.
Magie Relph talked about the classes she will be teaching in the next few days and showed some stunning examples of her work, including many of the lively West African fabrics she collects. She describes her freeform African Jazz quilts as topsy quilts! She says “Thumb your nose at the quilt police”! She went on to give an extremely interesting illustrated talk about West African cloth. She has observed and photographed artisans dyeing and weaving and printing cloth using ancient methods and shared those fascinating experiences with us.
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.
We are delighted to learn that the Rhododendron Needlers’ Quilt Guild, whose members come from 37 towns in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, have generously promised to donate the sum of US $100 towards our 2012 Exhibition expenses, as part of their guild outreach programme. We are most grateful to them for their support.
Our longtime American member Sarah Brewin, who is also a member of the RNQG, has facilitated this donation and will bring it with her when she visits us in May to teach a class based on her “Dancing Ladies” quilt, which won the Members’ Choice award at our recent African Quilt Challenge, and which will be shown at the KQG exhibition in May.
The Rhododendron Needlers have also expressed interest in our two Guilds forming a “sister” relationship to work together. As a first step they have suggested that the winning quilt from the 2012 KGQ exhibition should be sent to the US to be shown at their exhibition in March 2013. This is an exciting prospect for our Kenyan quilters.
At the last Rhododendron Needlers’ exhibition in March 2011, the famous “The Supper Quilt,” inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th century mural painting of “The Last Supper,” was on display. Made by retired American dentist, Dr. Donald Locke, this quilt is composed of 51,816 half inch squares using 350 different fabrics. It took 1,200 hours of piecing over 2 1/2 years to stitch. It has been exhibited in 6 countries and 31 American states. It will be an honour for the KQG to have a quilt shown in the exhibition which follows the showing of such an illustrious piece of work.