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Kundan Pattni, professional quilter

Kundan Pattni, Kenya Quilt Guild member and officer

Have you checked out the Bernina Web site and registered for Bernina eNews?  Guild member Kundan Pattni did, and she shares with us this update for the holidays:

Jump-start your holiday gift crafting with our Hanging Letter Holder project made special with BERNINA embellishments. When used in combination, decorative sewing stitches make an impressive border and are fun to stitch-out. With machine embroidery, the addition of lettering to a design combination allows you to customize this project for each person on your gift list. Quick to make and joy to give, the Hanging Letter Holder will be on your hit parade of gifts.

As a featured 5 Series Webinar project, access the recording of our recent Organize in Style online webinar class to learn techniques for making your version of the Hanging Letter Holder. See how you can take your creative ideas to new heights!

Have a look at these and other great projects at Bernina!



African Pots Quilt Painting by Ron Harwood, Ailsa Craig, Canada

African Pots Quilt Painting by Ron Harwood, Ailsa Craig, Canada

African Pots Quilt by Gill Rebelo

African Pots Quilt by Gill Rebelo

Above is a painting of my quilt African Pots by Ron Harwood of Ailsa Craig, together with a picture of the original quilt that it depicts.  It is hanging in Ailsa Craig Park, together with a painting of a Russian quilt from the Russian exhibition held in Ailsa Craig in 2007.

Painted quilt from the Russian Quilt Exhibition held in Ailsa Craig, Canada, in 2007

Painted quilt from the Russian Quilt Exhibition held in Ailsa Craig, Canada, in 2007

The plan is to have one quilt from each international exhibition painted and on permanent display.

After Garnet and Suzanne, organizers of our 2008 exhibition in Canada, relocated to London, Ontario, where our 2013 exhibition will be held, the local townsfolk in Ailsa Craig decided to continue the tradition ofinternational quilt exhibitions which Garnet had begun. To commemorate each country exhibiting, a painting will be displayed in the Park.

Gill Rebelo

Pauline Mang'ana, member of the Kenya Quilt Guild

The first time I cast my eyes on some quilts from a quilter living in Kenya then, I knew the quilting bug had bit me! I immediately advised myself that I was to learn this art and craft of patchwork in quilting, even if it cost an arm and a leg!

It was back in 2004 while I lived in Kijabe that Jana Mead, a member of the Kenya Quilt Guild , became my source of inspiration. I began to understand there was a sparkle of life at the end of the horizon, if I set my hands to stitch.

Later I enrolled for a course in Fashion and Design at Buru Buru Institute of Fine Arts in preparation for becoming a quilter in future.  The college equipped me with much knowledge in sewing and today I run a fashion and design shop in Eastlands, the economic gateway into Kenya. My shop exhibits the excellence of my workmanship in stitching as seen in the photos.

Quilt by Pauline Mang'ana, member of the Kenya Quilt Guild

In 2009, my dream of being a quilter started to gain shape after I was invited to the Kenya Quilt Guild meetings. I acquired much knowledge in the area of quilting as I positioned myself in the Quilt Workshop Schedules  and translated much of this knowledge into quilts. I was convinced that a day would come when I would walk strong even after stumbling just like a child. I was now sure that what one settles for in life is what rules them. The main question was why settle for average stitching when one could  become phenomenal?

Quilt by Pauline Mang'ana, member of the Kenya Quilt Guild

In answer to this, I pressed on to get more education from the Kenya Quilt Guild teachers. It is at this stage that I decided to  connect with Raji Syan, one of the talented and knowledgeable Kenya Quilt Guild teachers, who teaches beginners or more advanced quilt students how to do hand piecing.

As I continued to be passionate about my classes with Raji, I knew that the door to the ordinary was completely shutting and a door to the extraordinary was slowly opening. The sky was now going to be the lower limit for me!

I overcame many mental obstacles and challenges including transporting my machine to class through public means.  I was, however, convinced that the endurance I practiced was the preparation to position me for greater things. Part of my dream in quilting was to create a platform where I would orchestrate quilting skills to present and future generations. I had a great desire to leave a legacy behind of imparting quilting skills to all.

To date, I have made over ten quilts, ranging from wall hangings to bed quilts.   I made my first quilt, the Irish Chain, while expecting one of my daughters. It was be a gift to her. The second quilt, the Kitchen Garden was a wall hanging and many more as seen in the photos. My love for hand quilting and appliqué is passionate.

Since then I have attended many quilting classes and learned new techniques including how to make quilting bags from African bead work using a crochet hook. I source most of my beads from Masai markets, which are open-air markets that move from one venue to another across the city. I have been able to bead and sell some  items like  glasses, bottles, belts and pens to other parts of the world.

Quilt by Pauline Mang'ana, member of the Kenya Quilt Guild

I have  also attended several workshops with International Teachers, who have visited and taught patchwork quilting or other needle arts in Kenya.  I now confidently enjoy sharing quilting  techniques with all the quilters I come across knowing that what Casey Leisure said is true: “An enlightened woman will not seek to be understood, she just enjoys the company of like-minded people.”

It has been a long journey for me and a challenge for me to do better even as I hold the position of the Chairman of the Kenya Quilt Guild Exhibition Subcommittee, and have the honour to sit in the Executive Council.  I extend my welcome to  many who want to quilt with a warning that once you start quilting, you many never stop!

Bernina Machine EQ2C is my choice of machine which makes my work very enjoyable and produces very gorgeous blocks. The machine is well maintained and  serviced by The Woman Shop at Sarit Centre in Westlands, which is the Kenya’s foremost patchwork quilting shop, selling fabrics, notions, quilt books and tools, and selling and servicing Bernina sewing machines.

In no uncertain terms, the overall excellence attained through all these trainings and experience is reflected even in the littlest of my quilt pieces.  Surely I can resound that “The sky is the lower limit; those who say the sky is the limit have no imagination!”

My passion for quilting has grown over the years and I will continue to press on to a higher level.

Kenya Quilt Guild member and Past Chairwoman Diane Bannister is finishing her course work for a Master of Public Health Leadership Degree from the Uganda Christian University.  The program is focused on Save the Mothers and Safe Motherhood.

Diane’s class asked her to make a wall hanging to be presented to the facility as a gift from their class.  She enjoys the fun fabric in the background that shows all the women and some mothers with children.

"Save the Mothers," a patchwork quilt by Diane Bannister, member of the Kenya Quilt Guild

In Africa, a woman has a 1 in 16 chance of dying due to pregnancy or delivery related complications.  We need to change this to save the mothers of Africa.  A mother plays such an important role in society and family that her death has very strong negative consequences for both.

The Kenya Quilt Guild is very proud of our member, Diane Bannister, and we wish her well in her academic endeavours!

This is just in from The Quilt Show, courtesy of Deanna Gaudaur who drew our attention to the right place:

“In honor of International Quilt Day on March 17, 2012, The Quilt Show, the web TV show hosted by Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson, will “open” all of its shows from the first nine series–that is, from show 100 through show 913–for the entire weekend of March 16-18. This means that–for three special days–everyone will have the chance to view these 117 shows, featuring some of the quilting world’s leading artists, for FREE.


Share this information with all of your quilting friends. It’s a fantastic opportunity to enjoy three days of learning and fun without leaving your home… all for free.  Log in to enter, enjoy the shows, and thanks for helping to spread the word!

Don’t yet have an account at The Quilt Show? Now is the perfect time to create one!”

Have a great weekend, everyone!!!

Deanna Gaudaur, a happy quilter and member of the Kenya Quilt Guild

Deanna Gaudaur, a happy quilter!

Farhat Khan's hand-painted silk scarves

I started quilting in 2006, when I joined Kenya Quilt Guild.  Later I served on the KQG’s Executive Committee as the Newsletter Editor for two years.  I participated in almost all the KQG’s yearly exhibitions including “The Quilts of East Africa” in Ailsa Craig, Canada, in 2008.

Africa inspires me, both the wildlife and African cultures are rich sources of inspiration. Whenever I can, I participate in African challenge quilts.  I depict hand carved wooden spoons, the Jacaranda tree, and beautifully carved gourds in my hand painted quilts/wall hangings.

Silk is a supple material and is loved by everyone. It is produced by silk worms. In places like Japan and China, people raise the worms to produce silk. The female moth lays about 500 eggs. After about 20 days the eggs hatch. The caterpillar feeds on mulberry leaves.  When they reach maturity, their body becomes translucent ready to spin a cocoon. A silk worm is capable of spinning up to 1500 meter single silk thread in 48 hours.

It may take more than a hundred cocoons to make a small silk scarf. It’s worthwhile to get a small piece of pure silk to make a scarf, likewise a very expensive pursuit, but once I am through with painting it, it pays my hard work off simply by looking at it.

Farhat Khan's hand-painted silk scarves

I started painting silk scarves and material to make my own clothing as a pastime. It felt so gentle to the skin that I started loving it. It seems that it runs in my blood now.  I am making an effort to at least let people know about it. Some of the samples that I made are shown in the pictures. Many are in the process of making.  Some I use to make quilted wall hangings.

Farhat Khan's hand-painted silk scarves make beautiful quilts

Pure silk absorbs color and is fun to paint on. Washing at home needs lot of pampering. Silk is washed with lukewarm water and is naturally dried. I do not wring the water out or deal with rough hands, a soft gentle touch is required. I do not iron directly. There has to be a cotton cloth between the iron and the silk. The best way is to get it dry cleaned but I have to give special instructions to the dry cleaner about ironing. It does not form static electricity as other synthetic fabrics like nylon do.

Find more information about Farhat, her fabric painting and quilting on Facebook.

I began with patchwork. Its therapeutic precision, discipline and repetition reawakened my mind, which had been rendered void by severe depression. Having retired from nursing in 2005 I immediately joined the Kenya Quilt Guild where a whole new creative world opened up for me.

With three traditional quilt tops ready to be quilted by someone else I met Alison Farmer, a prolific hand quilter. With a little blood and a few tears she taught me to hand quilt and I was well and truly hooked!

Living in Kenya for twenty-three years has given me a passion for all things African. It’s wealth of inspiration almost matches the infinite possibilities of quilting. All this can be somewhat overwhelming and as a ‘budding’ quilter I like to be guided,  whether it is by a book, a challenge, a theme or a teacher.

My aim is to flower as a quilter and develop more as an artist in my own right.

I have a passion for fabrics, colour, beads and embellishments. I love dabbling into other mediums that can later be incorporated into quilts. I am inspired by the vastness of Africa, her quirkiness, the wildlife, landscapes and people.

My marriage to Peter, a Kenyan, has given me tremendous insight in to the Kenyan way of life and its challenges. Through him I have been given opportunities that I would never have dreamed. We have a luxury tented camp for tourists in the Masai Mara, a haven of peace and beauty.

I have exhibited in the Kenya Quilt Guild shows in Nairobi and at Ailsa Craig in Ontario, Canada, and have sold several wall hangings. Currently I am working on a commissioned piece and a ‘round robin’ quilt that will be exhibited in Ireland next year at the International Quilt Festival of Ireland.

Quilting is unifying. I know that I could contact a quilt group anywhere in the world and be welcomed. I thank all the friends I have made through this art for their inspiration and guidance.

Sun and Sky by Gretchen Mwaura

Sun and Sky by Gretchen Mwaura

Helping Hands by Gretchen Mwaura

Helping Hands by Gretchen Mwaura

Vuvuzela! by Gretchen Mwaura

Vuvuzela! by Gretchen Mwaura

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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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