I recently attended a work shop with Patty Arensen of Kenya Quilt Guild about turning pictures into quilts. All the attendees thoroughly enjoyed seeing photographs taken by cameras or phones transform into beautiful handmade wall hangings.

I adored the idea so much and found another convenient way to do the same. I found this link of printing directly onto fabric: http://thegraphicsfairy.com/print-fabric-freezer-paper-method-2/. Yes, it is very possible.

print on fabric


A few months ago I attended a cutwork embroidery class by Mary Hickmott. She used the same method, and it came out beautifully on cotton fabric.

There will be a few trial and errors sessions (and a lot of printer ink) but it’s worth giving this method a try. The link above has complete instructions for printer settings and materials required.

Happy printing!

After Patty congratulated those who had birthdays in March, we welcomed back a past member, Kamer, and she introduced our visitors, Adele and Jenny.

Those ladies who had not completed subscription forms were asked to do so as we are desperate to update our membership list and email addresses.

Sponsorship needs for the exhibition were discussed and members were encouraged to seek donations from any contacts they may have.

Gretchen taught her ‘Crazy Quilt’ class and those who attended shared they work with the group.  Patty will hold her class on 14th April, but has made it mandatory that fees are paid in advance to avoid any absentees.  She has asked that no one attempt to transfer faces, be they human or animal, in this class.

In April we will hold our AGM and Donna Pido will be giving us an interesting visual talk on Masai beading.  For the AGM we have volunteers for most of the positions, but we are still looking for someone to fill Membership and Charity places.

Anyone who still has outstanding money from sales of calendars, please turn it over to Neela or Lakhbir.

Sheryl explained the March issue of the Mystery Quilt and had samples for the members to examine.  There is still time to start the Mystery Quilt.

The raffle has been approved for the Exhibition.  We are waiting for the complete list of sponsors before we go to print.  The workshop will open next Thursday where kits will be made for sale.  Only Elephant Applique Challenge quilts will be printed on the calendar and the note cards.

There has been a hold up on the Pan African Friendship Quilts, Good Hope Quilters Guild, South African, but they are scheduled to arrive soon.

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Show and Tell was tremendous this month with dozens of pieces shared with the meeting:

  • Suzanne made a travel wallet and book-bag.  Both patterns are for sale online.
  • Raji, Jasvinder and Jaya all made Bargello table runners.
  • Raji finished her Elephant Applique Challenge and also had a baby quilt to share.
  • Kamer presented a quilt that she had made from embroidered blocks.
  • Lakhbir had a quilt piece with brightly coloured stars and also a baby quilt with a giraffe motif.
  • Veena made a quilt from a jelly roll and a Drunkard’s Path.
  • Ragbir had a baby quilt with Scotty dogs.
  • Carol made a woven carpet from khanga fabric and another quilt made from scraps that resembled those made by Gee’s Bend.
  • Indu had a Bargello bag and a Masai painting that she had beaded.  She also made a quilt with small cars.
  • Joyce’s first attempt at patchwork quilting was a set of tablemats and a table runner.
  • Charu had wonderful examples of her intricate machine quilting which consisted of a whole cloth quilt.  She shared her methods with the group.
  • Patty made another ‘Serengeti Sojourners’’ on consignment.
  • Jasmine finished a quilt made with 2 ½” squares. She had found the pattern on Pinterest.
  • Jasvinder made an applique baby quilt.
  • Rose had blocks that she had won in a BOM and pieced them together to make a lovely quilt.  She machine quilted the piece.

The talk from FreMo Birth Centre was interesting.  They provide prenatal care for mothers in Kawangari and are on call for any pregnant woman in need.  They opened two years ago and have been successful in assisting many women.  Adele made a donation and brought a bag of baby essentials for donation.  The Guild has already donated to this organisation and will consider another in the future.

Sheryl gave a talk on methods of making the Le Moyne Star and showed a video on a quick technique.

There was a smaller than usual turnout in February as some members were busy with mid-term holidays and others were taking Mary Hickmott‘s embroidery class on paisley designs, organized by the Kenya Embroiderers’ Guild. Chairwoman Patty Arensen chaired the meeting and started by welcoming visitors and new members. Members were happy to welcome back Indu Shah after a long absence necessitated by her husband’s health problems, and Surinder Thethy, recently returned from three years in the UK.

All members were asked to fill in forms to update contact details and to offer their individual skills to help the Guild committee with their expertise.

Sponsorship forms for the Exhibition were distributed with a request for everyone to make an effort to bring in sponsorship money as the fee for the hall hire has risen steeply this year. The minimum donation for sponsors to be acknowledged on our posters etc is K Sh 5,000/-

At the March meeting a member of staff from FreMo, Kawangare, to whom we have recently made donations, will tell us about their work. Sheryl Fowler will show a quilting video.

The April meeting is the KQG AGM. Members are requested to be present to elect a new committee for the coming year. Patty requested nominations for two places on the Executive Committee. Please check with Patty or other Committee members if you are interested in serving. There will also be a presentation on Art Quilts.

On March 16th, Gretchen Saunders will be holding a fun class on Crazy Quilting at the Sikh Union. This will be a full day class for 1,500/- and the proceeds will be donated to charity. There are a few places left. Contact Gretchen for further details or send a message to the KQG Gmail address.

In April there will either be a fabric dyeing class held at Amani ya Juu, off Riverside Drive, or Patty will hold a class at her home on transferring photos onto quilts. More news on these later.

Members were requested to return unsold calendars, and sales money received for those they sold, to the Guild committee, so that accounts can be finalized. It is proposed that a calendar will be designed for 2017 using photos from the recent elephant quilt challenge, together with elephant note cards. These are to be ready for sale at the exhibition.

Re the exhibition, KEG have agreed to join KQG on a one third basis and they will have one third of the hall for their exhibits. It has been agreed that KQG will have no final judging, There will be two awards – Vistors’ Choice and Guild Choice (each Guild member having one vote only).

The Workshop is scheduled to open at Sheryl’s house on Lower Kabete Road on March 3rd and will be open every Thursday morning, apart from the 3rd Thursday of the month, following the opening.

Gretchen demonstrated the next stage of the Mystery Quilt in Sheryl’s absence.

The PanAfrican Friendship Quilt Challenge is underway and the quilts will shortly leave for South Africa.

We had a good selection of quilts for Show and Tell, including colourful kanga quilts from Carol Davey and a quilt made for her son’s wedding by Patty, with her own dress fabric from her wedding outfit used on the back. The door prize was won by Jasvinder Phull.

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After the coffee break we were glad to welcome Dena Crain, down from Baringo to give us a most interesting talk on Kawandi quilts from India. These distinctive quilts are made by the Siddi people, descended from Africans, who were transported to India by the Portuguese and other nations over the last four hundred years. Their quilts were brought to the attention of the art and quilting world by Professor Henry Drewal, from the Department of Art History at University of Wisconsin, Madison. He describes the making of a Kawandi quilt below:

“The quilters start at one of the corners of the sari and work their way around it, usually in a counterclockwise direction,” he says. “They fix patches made from the family’s old clothing to the sari with a running back stitch that eventually covers the entire quilt, both patchwork top and sari bottom. Some quilters create small, close-spaced stitches, others spread them further apart. The stitches exhibit a distinctive rhythm that is part of the individual quilter’s visual signature.”

All That Jazz

All That Jazz by Dena Dale Crain

Inspired by the Siddi quilts, Dena has devised her own version, of this technique, worked by machine, which she has called Quilt-As-You-Sew. Dena explained the technique as patchwork with no piecing, and showed us several beautiful samples of her quilts made in this way. She challenged members to try the method and to teach it to others in Kenya – in other words to bring the technique back to Africa.

A 2011 exhibition of Kawandi quilts can be seen at Museum of the African Diaspora.

There was a sizeable turnout at the January meeting.  We had three new members register and a few visitors were present. Chairperson Patty Arensen welcomed members back from the long holiday and wished everyone a Happy New Year.

Patty reminded everyone that subscriptions are due to be paid.  There is a questionnaire  for members to complete so the Committee can get a ‘feel’ for matching interests, skills and talents with needs for help this year.

It is important that we have up-to-date information on members so the address book can be current and everyone receives monthly Snippets.  We had some complaints that emails are not getting through; however, we had a lot of bounces from email, too.  This happens when members fail to notify Jharna of email address changes. Please make sure we have your current email address; thanks!

To make our meetings more sociable, we would like members to sign up to bring plates.  At present only a few members bring food for the coffee break.  We need volunteers to run audio/visual equipment. Members are encouraged to write articles about their quilting experiences for Snippets.

The Kenya Quilt Guild has a big year coming up with our patchwork quilt exhibition scheduled for the first weekend in October. We need as many quilts as possible.  The raffle quilts are underway. The Exhibition takes place 7th-8th-9th October; quilt hanging is on the Thursday beforehand.

The first Exhibition Committee meets soon after our January monthly meeting.  Again, we call on members to hang the quilts and to work during the show.

Sarah Brewin brings with her this year a group of quilting visitors. They are interested in taking classes.  The hall may be shared with the Kenya Embroiderers’ Guild, 1/3 KEG and 2/3 KQG; this is yet to be confirmed.

We have had no reply from Daphne Sheldrick about the donation of the Challenge Quilts, but we have another contact to try.

We will print raffle tickets when we receive permission from the Kenya Betting Control and Licensing Board.  Members receive two books each; each book contains 10 tickets @ Shs. 100.00 each.  It is important for these tickets to be sold as the raffle is the main fundraiser to assist in paying for rental of the hall.

Eight KQG members are participating in the PanAfrican Friendship Quilt project.  Each member received 5 fat quarters and they were to add another 5 fabrics to construct the beginnings of a wall-hanging.  Once done the piece is to be sent to their ‘twin’ in another African country and their ‘twin’ will send theirs to the KQG member.  Each in turn adds their bit and returns the quilt to the original quilter.

These quilts will be exhibited in South Africa just one week before our exhibition in October.  If anyone knows someone flying from S.A. to Kenya on Wednesday 5th October or Thursday 6th October who would be willing to bring the wall-hangings, we would appreciate the contact information on this person.  We will pay for the extra piece of luggage.  This will be a wonderful addition to our own exhibition.  Please contact either Gretchen or Patty.

We intend to sell quilt kits at the exhibition.  Once the patterns are made and the supplies organised, we need volunteers to come to the workshop on Thursday mornings to help cut them out and package them.

Patty Arensen’s 2015 projects for church wall-hangings have been completed. However, the work has worn out the presser foot on her machine.  Rohini Desai undertook to secure the part and repair her machine.  She is a trained, certified Bernina repair person and her work is reasonably priced. She also tutored Patty on the use of her machine. Use the contact form in the sidebar to ask us to put you in touch with Rohini.

We move forward with education and hope to have many classes and workshops this year. The next class scheduled is Gretchen Mwaura’s offering on Crazy Quilts on 16th March.  Spaces are limited to 15, so please sign up as soon as possible.  The charge is only Shs. 1500.00 for the full day, proceeds to be donated to charity.  Full payment must be made by the February meeting.  Patty will teach her photo transfer to raw edge appliqué class, too, but she can take only a few students.  Please contact her for more information.

Library discards were for sale at the meeting.  It costs only KES 100 to check out a book for a month.  Patty recommends ‘Art Quilts,’ which is a new book.

Most of the Kenya Quilt Guild 2016 calendars sold, but there are some members who have not either returned unsold calendars or brought in money for calendar sales.  It is quite important that we close the books on these calendars, so please return or pay for calendars immediately; thanks!

The Mystery Quilt is in full swing.  Sheryl Fowler had the instructions and the samples for the January edition.  There are some members who are in the process of making the quilts. These quilts will be displayed at the exhibition.

The Guild has made a donation of KES 20,000 to Freemo, a maternity hospital in Kenya.  They need more baby supplies and clothing.

Show and Tell:  Elizabeth Cheserem had finished her Elephant Challenge. Brij Datta made a baby applique quilt.  Gretchen Sanders Mwaura also finished her Challenge using Crazy Quilt techniques. She also had another small quilt that incorporated transparent windows filled with colourful beads.  Suzanne Waithaka had handbags, patchwork and quilted.  Lois had a table runner that was pieced and machine quilted, along with an iPad case.  Jasvinder Phull made a teddy bear baby quilt.  Raghbir made a child’s quilt with cars.  Tina Fataure hand-painted and quilted a wall-hanging.  Lakhbir Virdee showed her colourful alphabet quilt and Gill had a variety of African fabric bags that Pat had made.  Bindi won the door prize after coffee.

The program this month was “Sashing Ideas” by Gill Rebelo.  Gill showed members and visitors how to piece together blocks with plain strips of sashing. She demonstrated simple sashing, but with inserted cornerstones.  The purpose of sashing is that it focuses attention on individual blocks.  If the same fabric is used in the sashing as is used in the background, it makes the blocks ‘float’. Different fabric accentuates the blocks and lifts the quilt.  With no sashing, there is no focus and the blocks merge together.  The more ‘plain’ areas in a quilt, the more quilting is required.  Never overwhelm a quilt with too many sashings or large borders. No more than ¼ or 1/3 of any quilt should be sashing and borders combined.

Next month, Dena Crain will speak about a different method of quilting, one that involves no piecing!  The March program is yet to be organised.

The AGM takes place in April, and we elect new officers then. Think now about whether you can serve as an officer, or if you believe someone else would do the job well. We need nominations soon!

Next meeting: February 18

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Our October 2015 meeting was highlighted by the visit by Pam Holland, an international quilter, and her tour group of fellow quilters.  We shared our usual meeting with them with a few African themed quilts made by our members.  We had a market of African fabrics and embellishments available for our visitors to purchase.

The most amazing part of our meeting was Pam Holland herself.  She is a warm and approachable woman with the most unusual and comfortable looking shoes!  She gave us a digital presentation about her creative process and then opened the suitcase full of quilts she created.

This is when the magic started.  We pored over her quilts with awe and admiration.  Pam’s style is wide.  Some of her quilts are whimsical and childlike.  They make you smile at their vivid colors and happy characters.  Others are like gallery pieces of art. The thread work is so detailed it is as if her machine was like a paint brush.  As the quilts marched out of the suitcase, the quilters gathered around them talking in hushed tones as if they were in an art gallery, as indeed they were!

We would like to than Gill Rebello for all her work and persistence in getting Pam to come and speak to us. Without her gentle friendliness and tireless attempts, we would not have had this opportunity.  Thank you, Gill, for not giving up!

Besides leaving us behind inspired to try something different or practice on perfecting our quilting skills, Pam and her crew left many gifts.  We have beautiful fabric and antique embroideries from Thailand along with gifts of fabric from the States.  Pam left us two copies of her alphabet book. “The Adventures of the Amazing Alphabet” reads at first like a children’s fantasy book, but then moves into a quilting book.  The back has designs ready to be copied and traced for a whimsical quilt or pillow.  She gives full, illustrated instructions and on how to do this.

After the meeting, the Kenya Quilt Guild Executive Committee treated Pam’s group to a potluck lunch at Gill’s house and then a fabric tour around Nairobi. We took Pam and her group to the shops where we find African fabrics, embellishments and other inspirations.  It was a wonderful day of quilting activities for our members–a day to remember and a hope that Pam soon returns to teach a few of her classes!

This month’s meeting began with a comedy of errors.  Gretchen’s  computer, with her talk  on crazy quilts, crashed the night before the meeting.  It was unsure whether or not we would be able to proceed as planned, but on Thursday morning the computer was revived enough to retrieve the PowerPoint presentation.  Patty then bought her computer to hook to the projector, but forgot the adapter.  The adapter was then emergency delivered and we proceeded with our original plan!

On Monday of the same week, Sarah Brewin, from Boston, MA, taught a class on accidental landscapes.  Sarah brought the fabric from the States in the form of kits for the class.  On Thursday, many of her students returned with their completed projects.  Sarah was also able to show us the various steps of this year’s Mystery Quilt.

Our Christmas Party will be at Patty Arensen’s house on 3 December 2015 at 12:00.  It is a potluck lunch.  The meetings of the new year demonstrations have yet to be determined.

Our 2016 calendar of our quilts is available for 300/=.  They are beautifully done calendars of some of our members beautiful work.  The proceeds will go to benefit our show next year.

The Woman Shop is have a sale of all quilting materials and notions 20% off to all Guild members.

Panafric Friendship Quilt:  We have been asked to join quilters across the continent of African in being “twinned” with another quilter.  Each participant will be given an assortment of fabrics to include in her quilt.  Begin a quilt and then it will be sent to the twin, who will add to the original quilt.  Then switch the quilts once again to finish off the original quilt.  All quilts will then be shown together in quilt shows around the continent and eventually returned to their makers.  If you are interested in participating, contact Renee through the Kenya Quilt Guild for more information.

Our workshop will be opened at Sheryl’s house beginning in January.  We will work every Thursday beginning at 10 am.  Our first task is to work on the raffle quilts for our October 2016 show.

Subscriptions for membership are due in January.  Cost for membership is 2000/=.

Show and Tell was once again enjoyed by all.

Gretchen gave a very interesting talk on the history of Crazy Quilts.  We learned how this fad started around the turn of the century and the symbolism and messages of these quilts.  We are looking forward to a class on this form of quilting and trying it out for ourselves.


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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!

Welcome to the Kenya Quilt Guild!

Find us based in Nairobi, Kenya, happily quilting away. If you're around, look us up. We're always happy to make new quilting friends!
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October 2016
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