Patty welcomed back the members after the summer break. Quite a few ladies had their birthdays in August and they were joined by those celebrating theirs in September for a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’. The visitors were then introduced.

Gretchen collected the twenty-three Challenge Quilts. The remainder of the quilts that have not been finished will hopefully be submitted before too long.  Since the appliqué was an elephant, Gretchen is interested in encouraging members to donate their work for sale in aid of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. During the coffee break Guild members had the opportunity to view and vote for the Challenge Quilt of their choice. The winners were:  1st Prize:  Majeet, 2nd Prize: Brij and joint 3rd Prize: Jasvinder and Raghbir.

The artwork for the Kenya Quilt Guild 2016 calendar is not yet complete. The calendars should be ready for sale in the near future and ladies were positive that sales would be good this year. The money derived from the calendars will help pay for the hall rental for the 2017 Kenya Quilt Guild Exhibition at the Sarit Centre.

Gretchen reported on our charity projects. Dream Children’s Home now has no fewer than sixty-nine children. They have a vehicle and a garage, but still are in need of support. FreMo, the small maternity centre, charges KES 5,000/- per birth, but they are pressed for financial support. We have recently donated two blood pressure machines to the organisation. They are in need of baby clothes and nappies. There were embroidery threads for sale, proceeds to go to Christine Kibuka to help her purchase fabrics and to the maternity hospital.

Gill spoke about education. Unfortunately, one of our prospective overseas teachers has had to decline, however Sarah Brewin will teach in November. We had good positive feedback on her suggestion of machine appliqué of her animal shoes. Gill’s beginners’ classes resume in early October.

Gill has also received an invitation from South Africa’s SANQG for those interested in taking an online course to become a certified quilting teacher. Any applicant must make the designated sample block and pay Rand 1500. This is a twleve-month course which begins in February/March. Anyone interested, please contact Gill.

After coffee, Veena Sennik won the door prize, then Show and Tell commenced. Veena had a Ricki Timms four-by-four.  Anne Lyon finished her quilt top made from the June BOM.  Suzanne Waithaka made a small wallhanging from an oil painting the she had repurposed.  Nandan Shah showed her chevrons and Gretchen Mwaura made a pink wallhanging for her great granddaughter.  She also made a pillow case from the machine quilting that she learned from Charu.  Nirmal Jeet showed two pieces, a baby quilt with teddy bears and a sampler.  Summer in the Park, tube quilt technique, was Jasmine Morelli’s share.  Lakhbir Virdee had a bright and colourful crazy 8’s quilt. From a pattern in one of the library books, Raji Syan made a lovely quilt and she also had a table runner that was machine appliquéd. Jasvinder Phull had table mats and a chop block quilt, along with a mystery quilt that Jana Mead introduced.

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Dr. Pauline Macaulay from the UK spoke to us about the Talking Quilts Oral History project, an undertaking by The Quilter’s Guild of the British Isles. Talking Quilts was inspired by a similar project in the USA, QSOS (Quilters Save Our Stories), part of the Alliance for American Quilts.

Pauline and her committee record stories of quilts. The members preserve, record and share people’s stories to be archived.  The project also recognises quilt trends.  Pauline is a volunteer who goes around the UK and interviews people who make quilts and writes their stories.  “Talking Quilts” is linked with the “Fine Cell Work” project, a charity that teaches prisoners quilting as a form of rehabilitation, as ‘paid, skilled, creative needlework to foster hope, discipline and self esteem.”  Pauline shared a lovely story of Sylvester, a Polish prisoner from Wansworth Prison who loves quilting and how it helped him with prison life.  She shared another heartfelt story of a mother who lost her daughter, aged 15, to a motor accident.  She used all of her daughter’s clothing to make a beautiful quilt which was therapy for dealing with her loss.

The Kenya Quilt Guild meets next on October 15. If you are a quilter living in or visiting Nairobi at that time, we invite you to join us!

Patty Arensen, our Chairman, is still overseas. In her absence Gretchen Mwaura chaired the July meeting.

Suzanne Waithaka was welcomed back after a year away, as was her mother who visited Kenya. There were no other guests or new members present. Neela Shah was congratulated on her birthday.

Gretchen drew everyone’s attention to her article in Snippets which was about ‘inspiration’. She spoke about her recent visit to a French cathedral and how the magnificent ceiling was the highlight. It had been constructed using tiles to create intricate geometric patterns and designs.

We are already starting to prepare for the Kenya Quilt Guild Exhibition next year. The Sarit Centre hall has been booked but will be very expensive. The planning of raffle quilts is underway and members were reminded that we will need hundreds of blue five-inch squares to complete it. Everyone has stash and a scrap bin, so please help the Guild and give as many squares as possible.

The workshop will be up and running in September. Volunteers are needed to work on kits and the raffle quilts. Members are asked to come forward with ideas for kits to sell. Some suggestions are luggage tags, table runners, tray clothes, cushion covers, etc. We wish to raise money by selling these kits to help in funding the rental fee for the hall.

Sponsors are also necessary. Members are asked to name companies that might be interested in supporting the exhibition. The planning for the calendar is in progress. The deadline for submitting quilts is the end of the month. The photographer and art designer are responsible for choosing the most photogenic pieces, but we plan to use only one quilt per member. We expect to have the calendar published by the end of September. Again, the proceeds from the calendar go towards the hall rental.

Since the Challenge and Mystery Quilt displays in the last exhibition were such a success, we will prepare similar presentations next year. The Challenge quilts will be judged in September and the Mystery Quilt will be introduced at the same time. We also intend testing our members’ creativity closer to the exhibition when we have a table mat competition, details of which will be sent out next year.

Our jewellery sale raised KES 16,000/-. The Guild will add another 24,000/-, so a total of 40,000/- will be donated to Fremo Maternity Unit in Dagoretti. They need curtains, blood pressure machines and drip stands. Charu Patel also donated 25,000/- earned from the sale of her quilts to The Dream Project.

Show-and-Tell, as always, was exciting! Kundan Pattni had a large hand quilted piece constructed of broken blocks entitled ‘Sea Breeze’. Jasmine Morelli made a patchwork quilt, bordered by a hand appliqued border, ‘Blue Birds’. Gretchen Mwaura presented an art quilt wall-hanging ‘Half a Yellow Sun’. Raghbir had stitched table mats and a hexagon centre piece. Kulwinder Birdi and Jasvinder Phull shared their advanced machine quilting samples that they had done with Charu Patel. Tinu Bhachu used a 9 degree triangular ruler to cut fabric and then pieced the fabric together to form a circular pattern.

After coffee break, the door prizes and Block of the Month were drawn. We stress the importance of reading the directions for the BOM as there were a few mishaps where members used the incorrect colours and the pieces were not stitched together correctly. Unfortunately, not all members who took BOM kits in June returned the finished blocks.

Dorothy Stockell gave a talk on “Embroidery Embellishment”. She spoke about how she uses embroidery stitches in her work and how the stitches actually quilt her pieces. She emphasized that it is extremely beneficial to use a thimble while sewing. Dorothy does not use a hoop when she works. She sits at a table and holds the fabric taut. If using embroidery floss, use 2 – 3 strands, but she suggested using Perle as it does not split. The most useful stitches are chain, feather and blanket.

Dorothy recommended YouTube videos by Mary Corbet which contain simple and clear instructions for basic and complicated stitches. Amanda Rolfe also has good videos.

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There is no Kenya Quilt Guild meeting in August; we will see all our quilting friends again in September!

This month, Gill Rebelo chaired the meeting in Patty Arensen’s absence. After welcoming all of our members and guests, Gill read aloud Corinne Talbott’s article from this month’s Snippets as she felt it summed up the feelings and emotions of our members. This will be Corinne’s last meeting as she will be departing Kenya next month. Dorothy presented Corinne with a wall-hanging made up of Khanga mottos.

Gill related her conversations with overseas visiting quilters when she was commonly told that our Guild is quite the ‘sparky’ women’s group. She went on to give the meeting a brief history of the ladies who formed the KQG.

The Elephant Challenge will be judged in September. All ladies who have taken kits were encouraged to work on them and have them finished in time. This Challenge is the first of many ‘group projects’ that the Guild organizes in preparation for the 2016 KQG Exhibition.

The main raffle quilt for the KQG Exhibition will be a blue and white pinwheel. Some ladies had prepared their donation of blue cotton fabric; five 5” squares. We need a great deal more squares to complete the quilt and the members are urged to dig in their scrap drawers and cut, cut, cut for us.

The June Block of the Month was specifically chosen for a demonstration by Gill Rebelo on the correct method of sewing ¼” seams, both standard and scant. Gill also added that after she presses her blocks, she puts them under a square ruler to set the pressing, which has been very useful for her.

New books have been added to our ever-growing library. These were kindly donated by April Webb who is also leaving the country soon. There is an ongoing budget for new library books. If members have a preference, please speak to our librarian, Poley Bhamra.

The members were reminded that there is no meeting in August, as has always been the case. The Kenya Quilt Guild does not meet in August or December, apart from our annual Christmas Party.

The Executive Committee has been discussing possible donations for future fistula operations and to Sarah Brewin to sponsor the excess baggage incurred when she ships her washable sanitary pads to Kenya. This matter awaits Patty Arensen’s return.

Paramjeet Bawa has agreed to teach later this year. Communication has been difficult and we are not able, at this time, to confirm dates or class details. Unfortunately, Pam Holland is not available in the near future as she is completely booked up. Gill called on members to volunteer to teach and hold classes. We have a lot of local talent that has not been tapped.

Dorothy Stockell suggested members hold informal gatherings at their homes where ladies can come, sew their own projects and seek assistance on any problematic projects. Since traffic is a worry, it would be helpful for ladies in different areas in Nairobi to volunteer, thus making it easier for members living in their vicinity.

Sophie Standing’s exhibition at the Talisman Restaurant in Karen is well worth a visit. Members are encouraged to see Sophie’s work, which is very unusual.

Donna Pido offered a download on ‘left handed’ methods and also shared a belt made by the Hmong with reverse applique.

After Show and Tell, members were given voting papers for the calendar photos. Voting was carried out during coffee time.

A guest of Bibiana’s, who had made her first quilt, shared her work with us. She was inspired by the film, “How to Make an American Quilt.” It was wonderful to hear of her enthusiasm for patchwork/quilting.

Raghbir Syan had a quilt named “Shakespeare in the Park” which comprised of snail trail and stars. She backed her quilt with another quilt so it was reversible. The original design for “Shakespeare in the Park” was developed by Judy Martin.

Poley Bhamra showed a nine patch that was quilted by Raji Syan. Nasreen Arain shared her silk appliqué. Carol Davey had an interesting wall-hanging out of the hexagons she did with Sarah Brewin. Karen Crumpacker made another spiral table runner and beginner Shruthi had a bright sampler quilt. Rohini Desai patchworked a log cabin spiral piece.

After coffee, Charu Patel gave her talk on perfect ¼” seams. The secret of the ¼” is to be consistent!

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The Banyan Tree Project by Eleanor Viegas of Goa   Eleanor Viegas sent out a call for help in Goa. In her own words, Eleanor says,

My aim in Goa is to help keep the textile arts alive and arrange workshops in Peace Cottage to encourage women to  take up or come back to the craft of embroidery and other textile arts. In Goa the skills are dying and I am now linking the craft to the idea of meditation and a stress free life.

I don`t have funding to bring people to Goa but I do have a creative peaceful space near the beach where friends can stay. It would suit someone who was already thinking to travel for inspiration and a holiday. I stay in a very quiet part of Goa and who ever comes may like to travel around and stay in other parts of Goa or India.

The possibility of an international project which links women and embroidery/patchwork in different parts of the world interests me. One project I am currently working on is The Banyan Tree Embroidery project. I am in the process of setting up a website.

  Eleanor is eager to have quilters come to teach classes at the Peace Cottage in Goa. Find out more about Eleanor Viegas and her call for help:

The April meeting commenced with the Guild welcoming its newest, youngest member, 10-year-old Wambui, who is Gretchen Sanders’ grand-daughter. Wambui came to the meeting with her first quilt – which is definitely a first for so young a first-time member! Then again, as Patty remarked, Wambui has had the benefit of learning at the feet of an expert, her grandmother!


The Kenya Quilt Guild’s AGM was then held, during which the Chairperson, Patty Arensen, gave a succinct report of the Guild’s activities during 2014, particularly the successful exhibition held in October 2014, and thanked all the members for making it a good year, overall, for the Guild. The Treasurer, Lakhbir Virdee, also submitted the report and accounts of the Guild for 2014, which have been duly audited. Members present at the AGM duly approved these reports as well as the newly nominated Committee members.

The following were elected: Patty Arensen (Chairman), Charu Patel (Vice Chairman), Jharna Kamdar (Secretary), Lakbir Virdee (Treasurer), Karen Crumpacker and Elizabeth Cheserem (Members at Large). Standing Committee chairs were elected as follows: Dorothy Stockell (Membership), Gill Rebelo (Education), Poley Bhamra (Library), Jharna Kamdar (Newsletter), Gretchen Sanders (Exhibitions), Sheryl Fowler (Public Relations).

Rohini Desai gave a small talk containing various tips for those Guild members who use older machines. Gretchen Sanders-Mwaura reminded members that the Jewellery Sale is now on, and that the Executive Committee has decided that the proceeds from the Jewellery Sale be donated to a maternity home.

Patty reported that the Executive Committee decided Challenge Quilts should now be submitted at the September meeting, instead of the July meeting, since the latter usually has slimmer attendance. The Challenge Quilts will be voted on at the September meeting and the prizes will be Kshs. 1,500/-, Kshs. 1,000/- and Kshs. 500/- gift vouchers for The Woman Shop.

With regard to the Block-of the-Month, Patty advised members that several people who have won the BOM blocks in each month have reported that many of the blocks have been very poorly made. Members were requested to kindly ensure that they use good quality 100% cotton material when doing the BOM, and also ensure that the BOM is made on a best-efforts basis.

Poley Bhamra reported that the Library Committee posted Library rules on a wall in the Library. Members are expected to read and understand these rules before borrowing books. Patty reminded members that the Guild intends to publish a calendar for 2016.

Members are requested to bring a picture of a quilt they have in possession at the June meeting, where the quilts to be included will be chosen. The selected quilts will be professionally photographed in July, and it is hoped that the calendars will be ready for sale in October.

Patty then gave an informative and interesting demonstration on how she converts photographs into raw-edge applique for her quilts. The meeting closed with our usual show-and-tell, and we all got to admire each other’s quilting efforts!

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The March meeting was full of exciting news on the Guild’s upcoming plans and projects.

Dena gave a talk on her upcoming workshop – Reflections, generating considerable excitement for it!

Gretchen reminded everyone about the planned jewelry sale to help raise money to buy sewing machines for the workshop. The jewelry will be on sale in the April meeting.

Patty reminded all members present that April will be the Guild’s AGM. The Notice of the same had been included in March 2015’s Snippets and the Agenda would be circulated that day.

Patty advised members that the Challenge Quilts would be due for submission at the July meeting when they would be voted on. The prizes would be Kshs. 1,500/-, Kshs. 1,000/- and Kshs. 500/- gift vouchers for The Woman Shop.

Karen showed members present some of the wonderful fabrics purchased during the Guild-arranged field trips to the River Road area.

Patty advised members that given the success of the 2015 calendars, the Guild has decided to publish a calendar for 2016, but this time, it will be done solely as a Kenya Quilt Guild project, and not together with the Kenya Embroiderers Guild.

Members will be requested to bring a picture of a quilt they have in possession at the June meeting, where the quilts would be voted on. The selected quilts would be professionally photographed in July, and it is hoped that the calendars will be ready in October.


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The Kenya Quilt Guild February meeting was centered around education – we want to become better quilters!

This past month Gill Rebelo began a new series for beginners.


Gill Rebelo, Education Officer for Kenya Quilt Guild

Gill Rebelo


Sheryl Fowler taught a strip quilt technique class in her home. Everyone had a great time and learned all about strip piecing.


Sheryl Fowler, Secretary of Kenya Quilt Guild

Sheryl Fowler


We began to sign up for next month’s 2 days class by Dena Dale Crain, “Reflections.” This class will be held at Simba Union 10:00 – 3, 25-26 March. The cost is 4000/=. You may sign up at the next meeting. To reserve your spot, you must pay in full.


Reflections, art quilt class by Dena Dale Crain

Revelation, a Reflections quilt by Dena Dale Crain


We are purchasing a sewing machine to use in our revived workshop. Gill and Sheryl have donated the proceeds from their recent classes.

We are also going to have a jewelry sale to raise money. Go through your collection of jewelry for some items that you are no longer wearing. Bring them to the March meeting and the following meeting, priced and ready for sale. We will have a sale of our jewelry and all money will go to a new Kenya Quilt Guild sewing machine!

Gretchen Sanders demonstrated how to ice dye cloth. The effect is a watery, irregular pattern. Beautiful! We hope you all found the demonstration exciting and you are eager to experiment!


Gretchen Sanders-Mwaura's ice dyed cloth

Gretchen Sanders-Mwaura


Here are Gretchen’s directions:


Ice Dyeing


  • Plastic sheet
  • Newspaper
  • An old washing up bowl
  • A wire mesh that fits over the bowl
  • A small bucket
  • A measuring jug
  • A small yogurt pot
  • Rubber gloves
  • Water
  • Magadi soda ash
  • Dyes (powders)
  • Ice cubes
  • Washed, dried and ironed fabric- americani (cotton muslin), silk



  1. Prepare a soda mix according to how much fabric you have. Use 50g of magadi soda ash to 2L water. Mix well with gloved hands.
  2. Add the washed, dried and ironed fabric and leave soaking for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Remove fabric from the soda mix and wring it gently to remove excess liquid.
  4. Arrange fabric onto the grid. Top with ice cubes.
  5. Gently sprinkle the powdered dyes (you need very little) onto the ice  as you want.
  6. Leave aside and wait for the ice to melt. Leaving even longer will allow the dyes to penetrate more, making them more light- and wash-fast.
  7. Rinse the dyed fabric under cold water until the water runs clear. Dry and iron the ice-dyed fabrics.
  8. Added experiments–thread, tie, knot, use wax or starch resists, etc.
  9. Keep a bag of ice cubes in the fridge- you never know when you might have the urge to dye again!



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