Our Chairwoman, Neela Shah, greeted new members and visitors, and was herself welcomed back from her trip to UK for a family wedding. Welcome home, Neela!

Neela reminded the membership that the Annual General Meeting is coming up in April and that volunteers are needed to take on the posts on the Executive Council.  The posts include Officers (Chair and Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and two Members-at-Large) and Delegates (Subcommittee Chairs).  Additionally, a call will be issued for volunteers to serve on the various Subcommittees (Education/Library, Community Outreach and Charitable Works, Newsletter, Advertising and Promotions, Membership and Exhibitions).   The Guild and all its benefits will only exist if members are prepared to offer their services.

Neela further explained that the Kenya Quilt Guild Exhibition is fast approaching:  11th, 12th and 13th of May at the Village Market.  She described the difficulties that the Subcommittee has had in trying to obtain a license for the raffle and that it may not be possible to hold one.  Patty Arensen explained the principle of an alternative ‘silent auction’ for the three raffle quilts.  This could still help to raise money to pay the expenses of the Exhibition and allow the Guild to make the donation to charity that is a feature of the event.  The charities supported include The Dream Project Children’s Home and the Women’s Obstetric Fistula clinic run by AMREF.  Neela had hard copies of the sponsorship letter on hand and a soft copy has been emailed to the membership.  This formal request can be handed to possible sponsors amongst social connections of the membership.

Exhibition “Call for Entry” forms were also ready and Neela asked members to give Kulvinder Birdi an idea of how many quilts they are likely to submit.  The fee is KSh500 per quilt.  Quilts for display should be brought to the meeting on 19th April.  Each quilt must have a sleeve on the back with a rod inserted to facilitate hanging, and a name label attached to the back of the quilt.

Gill then talked about all the upcoming classes including:

  • Bev Rebelo’s machine quilting (whole day, either 9th or 10th May) and a half day course on hand quilting.  She asked the membership to sign up so that she can gauge interest.
  • Sarah Brewin will be teaching her ‘Dancing Ladies’ quilt on 15th May.  Gill explained that Sarah has kindly donated a free place and a kit for the class.  This will be raffled at the April meeting.
  • Gill Rebelo also asked for expressions of interest in Maggie Relph’s classes in the latter part of May.  Some members are already keen to attend the ‘Broken Windows’ course and ‘African Jazz’.
  • Jasvinder Phull displayed her work bag.  She will be teaching its construction on Monday and Thursday of next week at a cost of KSh2,000.  Members were asked to sign up immediately.
  • Gill will continue her classes on hand piecing during the afternoon, after the meeting.
  • Neela encouraged other members to assist with the hand tying of one of the raffle quilts or to simply bring a project along so that the ladies can work companionably together.

Kundan Pattni displayed the new membership cards and was thanked for The Woman Shop’s sponsorship of them.  She reminded us about the loyalty points on offer at The Woman Shop.

Show-and-tell followed with some beautiful items on display.  Eight individuals had prepared ten inch squares with a hand shape on it.  These will be sent to Ireland for the 10,000 greetings quilt at the International Quilt Festival of Ireland.  There was a quick raffle to determine the three winners of the green thread supplied by Jim West, the Exhibition organiser.

Carol Davey showed her shamrock square and cleverly quilted Gloriosa Lily.

Gloriosa Lily

Carol Davey's Quilted Gloriosa Lily for the International Quilt Festival of Ireland

Loise Gitagia has graduated from the beginners’ class and showed her first completed (hand quilted) quilt to a round of applause.  She has now made six bags using the skills she learned in Rhonda Denney’s class.

First Quilt by Loise Gitagia, Kenya Quilt Guild Member

Neela showed the eye-catching African themed bag which she made in Rhonda’s class.  Jasvinder showed her three lovely beach bags.  She had made six from a pattern she found on the internet.

Jasvinder Phull's quilted handbags

Gill showed us her spectacular mitumba quilt!  She has pieced this from second hand blouses she has bought at Gikombaa.  Many were Liberty prints and the whole effect, with black tape between the blocks, was a spring sonnet!

  Jasvinder and Neela then displayed the raffle quilts which have been made by a group of ladies in the Guild.  They were most pleasing and should fetch a fine price in the silent auction at the exhibition.

Patricia Downes, a visitor from UK who formerly lived in Kenya, then showed us some samples of her incredibly intricate and delicate machine embroidery.  She is a member of a craft group in UK and goes to monthly classes with Pauline Ineson.  She is learning to make an heirloom quilt using Pauline’s book, “How to Create an Heirloom Quilt.”  Patricia has acquired some really high level skills which she has put to beautiful use.  There’s lots of homework from the class!

Embroidery by Patricia Downes

Embroidery by Patricia Downes from Pauline Ineson's workshops

Finally Veena showed us some pictures she had taken at the Dubai Quilt exhibition.  Some of the work was of such artistic and skilful brilliance that we were quite flabberghasted!

The last item of the meeting was a talk by Deanna about batting.  This apparently dull stuff that disappears inside a quilt turned out to be really interesting.  Deanna provided samples and lots of fascinating advice about choice of batting for different projects and how batting is manufactured, as well as its material ingredients affect its quilting properties.  She suggested alternatives too – using an old quilt as batting for a new one; using a blanket or flannel or fleece or even thin foam.

The next meeting will be held on 19th April.  It will be our AGM, so please come prepared to vote and volunteer to serve our Guild!