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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!


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!


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!

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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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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.


Our Chairman, Patty Arensen, introduced the visitors and welcomed them to this month’s meeting.  She pointed out the latest issue of the newsletter that was posted in the entry hall and asked any members who did not receive it electronically to please check their email address with Kundan Pattni, Membership Officer.

The Challenge Quilts were collected, numbered and hung.  There were 41 quilts submitted by members that were very diversified, encompassing a sphere of piecing, quilting and embellishing techniques.  The quilts are to be retained so they can be photographed.  At coffee break the ladies were to vote on their favourite quilt, prizes to be awarded afterwards.

Patty showed a quick slide presentation of the Canada Exhibition and shared her experiences whilst in Canada.  Sheryl Fowler, our Secretary, was able to distribute cheques for sales during the course of the meeting.  In Dena Crain’s absence, Patty introduced the idea of showing our quilts in Australia.  She gave a short outline of the ‘travelling’ exhibition and said that Dena would expand on the idea at a later date.

We have a variety of workshops coming up soon, the first being Brij Datta’s class on  26th September.  Brij showed a sample of the work and she said that she would take names of those interested during the break.  Bev Rebelo’s classes start in October.  The information was sent out via email to all members in advance and it was also available in the newsletter.  Everyone was very excited about the prospect of taking these classes. For those who could not attend the meeting, the lists will be at The Woman Shop from Saturday.

The Simba Union Hall has been booked on 7th November for the UFO day. This will be run as a courtesy to our members where they can bring along any and all of their unfinished projects.  Assistance for trouble shooting will be available.

In October, Bev Rebelo will give a presentation on integrating photographs into quilts.  This should be of interest to all of our members.  The first part of the Mystery Quilt will also be introduced.  There will be sample fabrics and samples of the piecing for our ladies to see.  We hope to have as many of our members participate in this project and for it to be as successful as the Challenge Quilt.

Show and Tell followed the business of the meeting.  Our members have been quite busy over the summer holidays as there were many many quilts shared and stories told.

Raji Syan, our Librarian, still has received no feedback from members about book purchases, so she will go ahead and use her own judgment.  We expect quite a few new books before the end of the year.

Sheryl gave a short talk about how she came to know about the 1600 Quilt and how to make your own jelly roll.  A fifteen minute demonstration video was shown on the steps of constructing this quilt.  For those who missed it, click www.youtube.com/watch?v=EomX7t7to_o.  It is well worth seeing.

The Door Prize was presented and the Challenge Quilt votes were counted.  1st Prize was won by Jaya Kamdar and a joint 2nd/3rd prize was won by Neela Shah and Sheryl Fowler.


The Annual General Meeting of the Kenya Quilt Guild was held on Thursday, April 18th, at the Simba Union Hall where we have been meeting in recent months.

 

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Chairwoman Neela Shah opened the meeting with a brief discussion about our recent exhibition at Sarit Centre.  The general feeling was that the show was a big success and that we will want to repeat the performance every year in future at the same venue. According to the foot traffic monitor, we had over 3700 visitors!  Even taking off numbers for our own people walking to and fro, this was a lot of people!  Our goal, of course, is to educate the general public about the beauty and functions of patchwork quilting and other needlework; we feel we did that very well this year at Sarit Centre.

On behalf of our general membership, Neela offered thanks to the Exhibitions Committee, under the capable guidance of Sheryl Fowler, who worked hard and tirelessly to put on such a great show.

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The thinking is that we should hold another exhibition next year at the same venue but during the school term so we can invite schools (May?) but not during Easter or any other religious celebrations.  With Easter coming at different times each year, and schools frequently altering their schedules, this may be a little difficult to organize, but our Exhibition Committee will do their best!

We are also grateful to the Kenya Embroiderers Guild for sharing the hall space with it.  Without this partnership, it is doubtful that the Kenya Quilt Guild could have afforded the space.  We will hold various challenges for our patchwork quilters to undertake during the year to increase the number of quilts made, thus making our contribution to each forthcoming show larger than the previous one.

Prizes were awarded during this exhibition for Viewers Choice and Viewers Choice Second Place.  Sarah Brewin was awarded the trophy by Kundan Pattni and the First Place prize, a lovely crystal bowl, was awarded to Sarah by Neela Shah, for her quilt Mnyama Viatu (Animal Shoes).  Natasha Khromova took Second Place for her quilt Point of No Return.

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All our members should have received the entry forms by email for the “Out Of Africa” Exhibition in London, Ontario, Canada.   It is very important that we receive those quilts as soon as possible.  Drop them at The Woman Shop at the Sarit Centre.  One suitcase will go almost immediately, the remainder will follow around the 9th of May.  In order to co-ordinate the quilts and get them packed safely, we would appreciate your co-operation.  When you drop your quilts, be ensure that they are labelled and that the entry forms are attached to each quilt securely so they do not get lost.

Election of officers was held with the following results:

  • Chairwoman:  Patty Arensen
  • Vice-Chairwoman:  Charu Patel
  • Secreary:  Sheryl Fowler
  • Treasurer:  Loise Gitagia
  • Members-at-Large:  Corinne Talbott and Suzanne Waithaka

Of course, our Immediate Past Chairwoman is Neela Shah, whose experience will be most useful and highly appreciated during the coming year.  Executive Council standing committees will be chaired as follows:

  • Education:   Gill Rebelo
  • Membership:  Kundan Pattni
  • Charity and Community Outreach:  Gretchen Sanders-Mwaura
  • Public Relations:  Jasvinder Phull
  • Library:  Raji Syan
  • Snippets Newsletters:  Margaret Atandi and Surinder Thethy
  • Exhibitions:  Sheryl Fowler (whose seat during Executive Council meetings will be filled by another member of the Committee as Sheryl already serves on Council as Secretary)

The Kenya Quilt Guild thanks those Officers and Committee Chairwomen who served for the last year for all their hard work–it paid off handsomely!–and those who have come forward to assume their new duties for the coming year.  Our gratitude and best wishes to all!

With the Election of Officers out of the way, it was time for show-and-tell:

Finally, Gill Rebelo gave a fine talk on the history of kangas, the ubiquitous brightly coloured cloths worn the length of the East African coast,  from Somalia to Zanzibar and inland, wherever Kiswahili is spoken.

Kangas derive from the Portuguese lenco, a handkerchief or headscarf which became popular in Mombasa and Zanzibar in the 1860s.  It is thought that the early designs were spotted, hence the name kanga, which means guinea fowl in Kiswahili.  Kangas are also known as lesos from the Portuguese lenco.

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Kangas always feature a border (pindo), a central panel with a design (mji) and a Kiswahili proverb or saying (jina).  The jina may give a political message or may be a health warning, against the spread of HIV for example, but often it is a more personal message and frequently one to be exchanged between husband and wife.  It might be wise to get the jina translated before gifting a kanga in case the message is not appropriate, although usually these messages are subtle and can be interpreted in different ways.  Examples of kanga jina can be enjoyed here.

The largest collection of kangas in the world is held by the Erie Art Museum in Canada, which held its first exhibition of kangas in 2008.  There is a strong cultural link between this museum and the Lamu Museum in Kenya.  The British Museum in London has recently had an exhibition of kangas amongst other textiles of eastern and southern Africa.  Barack Obama’s victory kanga, popular after his election as USA President, was one of the kangas featured!  There are plans afoot by the British Museum to make a documentary film on the kanga.  The National Museums of Kenya held a very comprehensive exhibition of kangas last year. and produced an interesting DVD to accompany the exhibition.


Sabine Prabhu won “Best of Show” in the Viewer’s Choice Awards for her lovely hand-made patchwork quilt during the recent Kenya Quilt Guild Exhibition at Village Market.  She was later honored by the Guild with a presentation made by Kundan Pattni of The Woman Shop of an award–an etched glass trophy, a memento of her success.

Congratulations to Sabine for excellence in patchwork quilting!

 

Kundan Pattni awards Sabine Prabhu for Kenya Quilt Guild Exhibition 2012 "Best of Show"

Kundan Pattni awards Sabine Prabhu for Kenya Quilt Guild Exhibition 2012 “Best of Show”

Sabine Prabhu's hand-made, award-winning quilt, "Kilifi Kastle"

Sabine Prabhu’s hand-made, award-winning quilt, “Kilifi Kastle”

"Best of Show" engraved glass award, Kenya Quilt Guild Exhibition 2012

“Best of Show” engraved glass award, Kenya Quilt Guild Exhibition 2012

 

 

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