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I recently attended a work shop with Patty Arensen of Kenya Quilt Guild about turning pictures into quilts. All the attendees thoroughly enjoyed seeing photographs taken by cameras or phones transform into beautiful handmade wall hangings.

I adored the idea so much and found another convenient way to do the same. I found this link of printing directly onto fabric: Yes, it is very possible.

print on fabric


A few months ago I attended a cutwork embroidery class by Mary Hickmott. She used the same method, and it came out beautifully on cotton fabric.

There will be a few trial and errors sessions (and a lot of printer ink) but it’s worth giving this method a try. The link above has complete instructions for printer settings and materials required.

Happy printing!


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!

Members signed into the meeting.  Visitors were welcomed to the meeting.  Raji Syan, our librarian, shared her favourite book with the members:  ‘Colour Play’.  Loan of books Shs. 100.00, magazines Shs. 50.00 and DVD Shs. 150.00 per month.  When returning books, please either place back in numerical order or give the book back to the librarian to file.  The library will be moved to the back room temporarily, then in July when we move to the larger hall, everything will be in the same room.

Relocation of KQG supplies for our workshop will be done soon.  The workshop will be in operation from September at Sheryl’s home.  The purpose and operation of the workshop was explained.  Members will bring their own machines and work on projects.

A report was given about the outcome of our exhibition “Magical Art of Stitches.”  Shs. 75,000.00 was donated to AMREF in support of the fight against obstetric fistula.  Our next exhibition will be the first weekend in October 2014 at the Sarit Centre.  The venue will be booked and shared with the KEG.

For the “Out of Africa” exhibition happening in mid-June in London, Canada, four of our ladies will be traveling to attend and work at the show.  Over 130 quilts were sent.  We are trying to find a way to send quilts that were submitted late.  Members will be notified if something opens.

KQG has issued a new challenge to its members.  The rules governing the challenge have been printed in the newsletter.  Due date is the September meeting and there will be a viewers’ choice prize.  Fabric pieces were distributed to those members who wished to participate.  These will be in a special display at our next exhibition and will be judged.

Upcoming demonstrations and workshops include:

  • Charu Patel will demonstrate a machine quilting technique at the July meeting and wants members to practice it over the summer holiday, ready for workshops in September.
  • Bev Rebelo will teach classes involving hand and machine quilting. She will also be able to do her “Rhino” project.
  • We will book teachers from England and Canada next year.
  • Gill encouraged local teachers to take classes.
  • Landscape class:  Kits from Canada are available for purchase from Gill.  Sheryl will take two half day sessions:  One following the June meeting and one following the July meeting.  The charge for both classes is only Shs. 1,000, with the money to go to charity.
  • Sampler workshops will continue after the meetings.
  • Gill also holds beginners classes at her home once a week.

There will be no more monthly raffles, but a door prize to be drawn at each meeting.  Only members who remember to sign in, will be eligible.  This month’s winners were Raji and Sampa.

Our show-and-tell session, as usual, was remarkable:

Gill Rebelo gave a presentation on Modern Quilting.  These quilts are primarily functional pieces such as coasters, mats, cushion covers and so on.  They are usually asymmetrical designs with less repetition in pattern.  This makes the designs minimalistic, and they incorporate an increased use of negative space and often involve architectural influences.  Made with improvisational piecing, the quilts utilize bold colours set against a neutral background.  More information about Modern Quilts can be found at The Modern Quilt Guild.

In conclusion, Brij Datta was awarded a khanga for best dressed khanga lady from our previous meeting.  Congratulations, Brij!

The next Members’ Meeting will be Thursday, 20th June 10.00 a.m. at the Simba Union.  Please be on time, and don’t forget to bring your own coffee/tea cup!

Stitch Show Poster

The Kenya Embroiderers’ Guild is privileged to have one of the top embroiderers in the UK, Mary Hickmott, coming out to Kenya in October to teach six new techniques.  They will be running a series of workshops held at the EAWL headquarters (next to Fairview Hotel).  These will be open to to anyone interested in learning new techniques.  Bookings are now being taken for the workshops.   

Mary Hickmott Embroidery Workshops in Kenya

Find complete information and register for Mary Hickmott’s workshops at the Kenya Embroiderers Guild.

The June meeting was a very interesting one, starting with our officers arriving to set up only to discover we had been moved out of our usual meeting hall to an upstairs room.  Although that caused a small flurry of activity, things quickly settled down and the meeting proceeded without further interruption.

We had a somewhat unusually large turn-out of guests and visitors, and Chairperson Neela Shah welcomed everyone, including one or two new members.  Sadly, she then called for a moment of silence in memory of our recently deceased friend, Rowena Buxton.  The last few weeks have been a sad time for the Guild as we have each had to accept this most unfortunate loss.

Deanna Gaudaur has issued an invitation to our members to visit her studio at Kijabe for a demonstration of her long-arm quilting system.  Of course, this necessitates a social outing complete with car-pooling and a sign-up sheet to control who will bring what dishes for lunch.  When our members cook, the eating is top-notch, so if you’re a KQG member or guest, you won’t want to miss out.  Date for the event is August 1, and it’s not too late to join in on the fun!

Sarah Brewin will be back with us later in the year, so everyone is encouraged to work on their African quilts to send with her for exhibition at the Rhododendron Needlework Quilters Guild in Boston.  From there, the quilts will be forwarded to Canada where they will be shown during the “Out of Africa 2013” exhibition to be held at the London Hilton Hotel in Ontario, Canada, June 11-15, 2013.

The International Quilt Convention Africa 2012 is fast approaching, scheduled to run July 27-29 in Johannesburg. Members are urged to make airline, accommodation, workshop and social function reservations immediately so as not to miss out on the opportunity to participate in this historic and fun-filled event:  the first ever professionally organized quilt festival on the entire continent of Africa!

Gill Rebelo also encouraged any of our members willing to do so to participate in Village Market’s Jean-ius fashion design competition.  Details about that can be found on the Village Market Facebook Page.

Show and Tell photos are below:

Our guest speaker was textile artist Sophie Standing, whose work is much in demand.  Sophie produces images of African wildlife and domestic animals on cotton canvas by applying raw edge appliqué of a wide range of printed cotton and other fabrics, followed by machine stitching.  She described something of the processes she goes through from initial sketch to finished piece.  She stretches her completed pieces on stretcher frames, ready for decorative framing.  Sophie’s work has been so successfully received by Kenyans and international visitors that she has commissions booked for the next two years!  Well done, Sophie; we all greatly admire your work!

Sophie Standing

Sophie Standing, Textile Artist

Sophie Standing, Textile Artist

Sophie Standing, Textile Artist

Sophie Standing, Textile Artist

The July meeting will be a children’s quilt day!  All attendees are invited to bring any children they know who might like to learn about patchwork quilting plus 1 dozen cupcakes, and be prepared to teach and learn with the young people.


The Kenya Embroiderers Guild is a small group of embroiderers who meet at the East African Women’s League Headquarters at WEAL House on Bishop’s Road in Nairobi on the second Thursday of every month except for August.  We open the doors at 9.30 a.m. and we all enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and a snack.  The meeting starts at 10.00.

We have an annual membership subscription of KES 1,200/-.  We also have a monthly charge at the meetings attended of 50/- for members or 150/- for guests – this helps with the charge for use of the room.  We already have an excellent library of donated books and recently we have been able to purchase specific additional books and magazines.

Our aim, as with the Kenya Quilt Guild, is to bring in international embroidery teachers to present workshops.  Towards the end of last year we had our first successful overseas presenter, Mary Hickmott, who created five classes especially for us:  Mountmellick, crewel, canvas stitches, goldwork and hardangar.  Kits with all materials required, plus needles, were part of the subsidised workshop costs.  We are working on another such series for the beginning of next year when new techniques will be introduced.

Our monthly meetings are actually workshops and different subjects are introduced–often by Gail Langton, the Chairman, who has knowledge of a broad range of techniques.  However, we do encourage members to participate and indeed this month Sara Shamil one of our members who comes from Sri Lanka will be introducing cutwork embroidery.

Each presenter creates a small kit so that we can go away and practice what we have been shown.  We keep the cost of the kits to a minimum and sell them for KES 300/- which has to cover the cost of materials in the kit and the Guild.  This is just to give us all a chance to see if the technique is something we may want to explore further.


Cut thread embroidery

Cut thread embroidery

We would love to welcome you at a meeting and can perhaps even tempt you to give a workshop on ribbon embroidery at some time in the future.  Our next meeting will be Thursday 13th October.  Workshop on cut thread embroidery by Sara Shamil; this is what we will be making.  Please bring back any library books or magazines.  Small change always appreciated and a plate of something to share if you can.  Many thanks and look forward to seeing you there.

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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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