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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.
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.”
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
Sheryl Fowler taught a strip quilt technique class in her home. Everyone had a great time and learned all about strip piecing.
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.
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!
Here are Gretchen’s directions:
- Plastic sheet
- 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
- Magadi soda ash
- Dyes (powders)
- Ice cubes
- Washed, dried and ironed fabric- americani (cotton muslin), silk
- 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.
- Add the washed, dried and ironed fabric and leave soaking for at least 10 minutes.
- Remove fabric from the soda mix and wring it gently to remove excess liquid.
- Arrange fabric onto the grid. Top with ice cubes.
- Gently sprinkle the powdered dyes (you need very little) onto the ice as you want.
- 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.
- Rinse the dyed fabric under cold water until the water runs clear. Dry and iron the ice-dyed fabrics.
- Added experiments–thread, tie, knot, use wax or starch resists, etc.
- Keep a bag of ice cubes in the fridge- you never know when you might have the urge to dye again!
On March 25-26, the Kenya Quilt Guild is pleased to present the art quilt workshop Reflections, taught by our own Dena Dale Crain! This is the art quilt class for everyone, as it teaches even beginners how to use mirror-imaging to create original patchwork quilt designs.
The class format is different for this workshop, with reduced hours to avoid heavy traffic in Nairobi. The class begins each day at 10:00 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m. There is a surprise adjustment to compensate for the shorter time spent in class!
Full information, including the supply list, can be found on our Quilt Workshop Schedule page.
We now accept Mpesa payments, so you can register and pay by telephone. Contact us with the contact form in the sidebar at left to learn the telephone number. Otherwise, register during our regular meeting on March 19 at The Sikh Union off Forest Road in Nairobi.
Patty opened the meeting, welcoming the visitors and then wished our members with birthdays in November a happy day. She then shared the applique pillow slips that she purchased in Zanzibar over her holiday.
Sheryl gave a short talk on the importance of pressing correctly, followed by a PowerPoint video supporting the main steps.
Dorothy collected the Block of the Month ‘Chevrons’ and performed the draw. The Winner, Poley Bhamra, kindly returned the blocks for a redraw as she had also won the previous month. Our newest member, Janet Wildsmith, was then the lucky winner. Janet was also drawn the winner of the door prize, but returned it. April Webb won a pack of Moda squares and folding scissors.
We made a small profit from the Exhibition and the Committee had approved a donation of KES 50,000.00/- to The Kenya Red Cross. We had already presented the wall hanging to them during the closing of the Exhibition last month.
Anyone who participated in the ‘Torn Fabric’ activity was asked to bring their projects along to the January meeting. The Block of the Month will continue in January as our Christmas luncheon will be held in lieu of the December meeting.
Future teachers and education was discussed. Jasvinder Phull is contacting Paramjit Bawa from Oman to see if she will consider travelling to Nairobi to teach. Members were encouraged to research her on the web. Gill Rebelo, who will be attending the London Quilt Show, will seek out teachers for the Guild.
The Christmas lunch, 4th December, will be held at Patty’s home in Lavington. Directions and a poster will be sent out the members closer to the time. This will be potluck affair and each member/guest has been asked to bring along a gift worth no more than Shs. 500.00.
In January members have been asked to speak about their individual accomplishments over 2014 and Sheryl will demonstrate Prairie Points.
Bibiana, who is relocating to South Africa soon, shared a new technique for making chevrons. Instead of constructing them in the traditional patchwork method, she cut and folded a piece of fabric. See http://www.make-it-do.com/sew-it/crazy-for-zig-zags/
We have calendars and kits for sale; this will continue at each monthly meeting.
Show and Tell: Carol Davey shared her ‘Summer in the Park’ quilt. Gretchen had a number of small wall hangings which she had made for a specific project, along with a large blue and white quilt. Janet Wildsmith presented her baby quilt and her fussy cut Dresden plate wall-hanging. Bibiana finished her spiral table runner and Marcia had her beaded lizard. Tinu had two table runners that were made from old curtains.
After the coffee break, Dorothy Stockell had a number of ‘upcycling’ projects to demonstrate. Her talk was enjoyable and informative. She began her talk with two cushions that were made from old men’s shirts. The front of the shirt was used for the back of the cushion, buttons being the opening for the cushion insert, the front the background for the applique. She had a quilt made from head bandanas and a crazy quilt made from men’s ties. There were denim handbags made from jeans and wall-hangings that incorporated buttons.