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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.


This month we had no visitors, however three of our members were celebrating their birthdays.  Patty blessed them saying, “May your seams be ¼” and irons never spit.”

The newsletter was sent out promptly this month, thanks to Suzanne and other contributors.  Hard copies of Snippets will not be available for members at the meeting due to the expense of photocopying and the time/effort that will be involved.  For PR reasons, all present members and past members will receive Snippets via email, but there will be an unsubscribe tool installed for those who do not wish to receive it.

Anyone who wants to sell a sewing related item or is in need of purchasing one, can send the information to Suzanne to be published in the next edition.

The planning for the 2014 Magical Art of Stitches Exhibition is well under way.  Our deposit has been paid to The Sarit Centre and permission for the raffle has been sought.  Entry forms for the Challenge Quilts will be circulated at the meeting and sponsorship letters are obtainable from Sheryl Fowler.  Members were reminded to bring along a photo of their favourite quilt to the May meeting for the calendar.

Our UFO afternoons are being supported by some members and others were encouraged to take advantage of time and space provided by the Guild.  We will be holding these afternoon regularly after our monthly meetings.

Raji spoke about the library and the new books which should arrive before the April meeting.  The list of books ordered was published in Snippets.  The members accepted the news with enthusiasm.  There are also some library books outstanding and ladies were asked for their assistance to get them back into stock.

As of April, Sheryl will be introducing the Block of the Month. The pattern will be printed in Snippets and the Guild will be providing the background fabric each month.  Members are to bring their blocks along to the May meeting, where there will be a draw and the lucky winner will receive all of the blocks made by members which should be enough to construct a quilt.

Gretchen shared the Red Cross quilt top with the membership and explained the significance of each of the symbols. Patty will be quilting the project after which it will be presented to the Red Cross Society of Kenya.

Quilt for the Red Cross Society of Kenya

Quilt for the Red Cross Society of Kenya

 

During our April meeting, we will  hold our AGM.  Anyone wishing to serve on the Committee is most welcome and should step forward to be nominated.  After the AGM Kundan will be giving her talk on Revolutionary Rulers.

Ladies were again reminded to pay their outstanding membership fees of Shs. 1500.00

A new challenge will be introduced next month, “One Yard Exchange”.  Seven ladies will form their own group and chose a theme for their fabrics, say for instance, all batiks.  There will be a quick demonstration of the fabric snipping and ripping.  Sounds fun.  The Woman Shop will put up a prize for those groups who purchase the fabric from them.

Suzanne also suggested a fat quarter exchange where again a theme is put forward and those wishing to participate bring a fat quarter to the meeting.  Those who have a fat quarter will be eligible to win all the fat quarters in a monthly draw.

Raghbir’s table runner class was a great success and those who took the class brought along their runners to show.  More ladies voiced interest in taking the class.

 

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Show and Tell this month was well supported.  Jasbir Jabal showed her sampler quilt that she had constructed with Gill.  Indu Shah had two baby quilts and also a fine example of smocking and crochet work.  Suzanne Waithaka finished three small UFO quilts made from scraps.  Dorothy Stockwell had a black and white wall hanging made by the Tentmakers of Cairo with verses from the Koran.  Rashmika Patel had a beautiful ABC animal appliqué quilt, Raji Syan shared her patchwork quilt that she had finished on her long arm machine and Sheryl Fowler had a batik quilt made in the pattern of Rail Fence Diamond.

Following coffee break, Gill gave a short talk on the history of the Tentmakers of Cairo.  She described the plain exterior of Bedouin tents and how the magnificent appliqué pieces adorned the interior of the tents.  The beautiful pieces have no batting, so when the light filters through the fabric it gives a stained glass effect.  Jenny Bowker, who was a long time resident of Egypt, has worked to promote this art all over the world. With the economic downfall of Egypt and the political unrest, the Tentmakers have suffered decline.

We watched a fascinating video on the Tentmakers, where there were interviews and demonstrations on the techniques used to appliqué the pieces.  Following this, Estelle shared her many quilts with the meeting and told us of her experiences in Egypt.


This in from Gill Rebelo:

One of the highlights of my trip to the 2011 South African Quilt Festival at Stellenbosch was the lecture given by Australian quilter Pam Holland.  Her blog is subtitled “Taking Quilting One Step Further” and Pam certainly does that!

Pam’s quilting life started when she found mentioned in a book the 1776 quilt from Sorbia, a region bordering on Germany and Poland. This quilt was made by Sorbian soldiers on the battlefield as Prussian troops marched into Bohemia around 1766.

The book Pam wrote about her quilt journey includes the emotional discovery that her own grandfather came from the area of Europe where the quilt was made.  The full title of Pam’s book is The 1776 Quilt: Heartache, Heritage & Happiness and it is published by Breckling Press.

1776 Quilt by Pam Holland

1776 Quilt by Pam Holland

The appliqué-type figures and motifs are made from pieces of the soldiers’ felted wool uniforms, using an old European method known as Silesian quilting.  We now know this inlaid method of piecing as intarsia quilting (also here).

Despite being a relatively inexperienced quilter, Pam replicated the 1776 quilt using modern methods.  The quilt later won Best of Show at the Houston International Quilt Festival in addition to several other awards.

Following the success of the 1776 quilt, Pam has made many more unique pieces.  She has now embarked on another incredible quilt project – recreating the Bayeux Tapestry – all 238 feet of it.

Detail of Bayeux Quilt by Pam Holland
Detail of Bayeux Quilt
Pam Holland's Bayeux Quilt Border Detail
Bayeux Quilt Border Detail

The original Bayeux Tapestry, made around 1070, was embroidered, not woven, on linen.  Pam is re-creating it in appliqué attached by fine machine stitching (1/16” satin stitch) which quilts the panel at the same time.

Eight panels will be assembled to make the finished quilt.  This one shows Harold, Earl of Wessex, with his hounds travelling to Normandy in France.  Pam takes this completed panel along to her lectures.  Having seen it in South Africa, I can vouch that it is an amazing piece of work.  A book and a film of the project will be launched with the quilt when it is finished.

Detail of the Bayeux Quilt by Pam Holland
Detail of the Bayeux Quilt

Pam is a prolific quilter.  She travels, teaching and lecturing, for eight months of the year and tries to quilt for six hours a day when she is at home.  If she spends less than six hours, she makes up for it the following day.

Check out her website http://www.pamhollanddesigns.typepad.com/ and browse the archives – it’s inspiring and a joy to read.  If you are interested in a beautiful set of Pam’s original block-of-the-month designs, you can have them for free, providing they are for your personal use only.

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