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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.

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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.”

All That Jazz

All That Jazz by Dena Dale Crain

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.

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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!


This month, Gill Rebelo chaired the meeting in Patty Arensen’s absence. After welcoming all of our members and guests, Gill read aloud Corinne Talbott’s article from this month’s Snippets as she felt it summed up the feelings and emotions of our members. This will be Corinne’s last meeting as she will be departing Kenya next month. Dorothy presented Corinne with a wall-hanging made up of Khanga mottos.

Gill related her conversations with overseas visiting quilters when she was commonly told that our Guild is quite the ‘sparky’ women’s group. She went on to give the meeting a brief history of the ladies who formed the KQG.

The Elephant Challenge will be judged in September. All ladies who have taken kits were encouraged to work on them and have them finished in time. This Challenge is the first of many ‘group projects’ that the Guild organizes in preparation for the 2016 KQG Exhibition.

The main raffle quilt for the KQG Exhibition will be a blue and white pinwheel. Some ladies had prepared their donation of blue cotton fabric; five 5” squares. We need a great deal more squares to complete the quilt and the members are urged to dig in their scrap drawers and cut, cut, cut for us.

The June Block of the Month was specifically chosen for a demonstration by Gill Rebelo on the correct method of sewing ¼” seams, both standard and scant. Gill also added that after she presses her blocks, she puts them under a square ruler to set the pressing, which has been very useful for her.

New books have been added to our ever-growing library. These were kindly donated by April Webb who is also leaving the country soon. There is an ongoing budget for new library books. If members have a preference, please speak to our librarian, Poley Bhamra.

The members were reminded that there is no meeting in August, as has always been the case. The Kenya Quilt Guild does not meet in August or December, apart from our annual Christmas Party.

The Executive Committee has been discussing possible donations for future fistula operations and to Sarah Brewin to sponsor the excess baggage incurred when she ships her washable sanitary pads to Kenya. This matter awaits Patty Arensen’s return.

Paramjeet Bawa has agreed to teach later this year. Communication has been difficult and we are not able, at this time, to confirm dates or class details. Unfortunately, Pam Holland is not available in the near future as she is completely booked up. Gill called on members to volunteer to teach and hold classes. We have a lot of local talent that has not been tapped.

Dorothy Stockell suggested members hold informal gatherings at their homes where ladies can come, sew their own projects and seek assistance on any problematic projects. Since traffic is a worry, it would be helpful for ladies in different areas in Nairobi to volunteer, thus making it easier for members living in their vicinity.

Sophie Standing’s exhibition at the Talisman Restaurant in Karen is well worth a visit. Members are encouraged to see Sophie’s work, which is very unusual.

Donna Pido offered a download on ‘left handed’ methods and also shared a belt made by the Hmong with reverse applique.

After Show and Tell, members were given voting papers for the calendar photos. Voting was carried out during coffee time.

A guest of Bibiana’s, who had made her first quilt, shared her work with us. She was inspired by the film, “How to Make an American Quilt.” It was wonderful to hear of her enthusiasm for patchwork/quilting.

Raghbir Syan had a quilt named “Shakespeare in the Park” which comprised of snail trail and stars. She backed her quilt with another quilt so it was reversible. The original design for “Shakespeare in the Park” was developed by Judy Martin.

Poley Bhamra showed a nine patch that was quilted by Raji Syan. Nasreen Arain shared her silk appliqué. Carol Davey had an interesting wall-hanging out of the hexagons she did with Sarah Brewin. Karen Crumpacker made another spiral table runner and beginner Shruthi had a bright sampler quilt. Rohini Desai patchworked a log cabin spiral piece.

After coffee, Charu Patel gave her talk on perfect ¼” seams. The secret of the ¼” is to be consistent!

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Kenya Quilt Guild 2015 Challenge Quilt

IT’S TIME FOR THE NEXT CHALLENGE-IT’S THE NEW YEAR!

Our Guild’s Challenge last year was a great chance for our members to experiment with their creativity. We had 39 entries, all different, all interesting. They made a spectacular display at The Magical Art of Stitches Exhibition.

Each member who wishes to participate will be issued a packet that contains the guidelines for the Challenge, such as size restrictions, a template and two pieces of fabric.

Starting with the larger piece of fabric and the template, you are to construct an appliqué elephant. This can be raw edge appliqué using straight stitch, zigzag, blanket stitch, satin stitch or any decorative stitch. If you prefer, you can needle turn the edges, use freezer paper, x-ray sheets or fusible adhesives. This can be attached by hand or machine. The smaller piece of fabric is for the elephant’s ear.

Your finished piece can be no smaller than 12” and no larger than 36” on any side. Shape has no restriction. The piece must be sandwiched and quilted, and it MUST have a hanger sleeve and a label containing the quilter’s name and the name of the piece of work on the back. Hand quilting or machine quilting is acceptable; as little or as much as you would like.

The elephant must be situated somewhere on the front of the quilt. The rest of the design is up to you. Let your imagination run away with ideas. Any type of embellishments may be added to your liking.

You have quite a while to finish this Challenge, so there is no rush. The Committee will decide which future monthly meeting is most appropriate and you will be advised well in advance.

If you are unable to attend the January 2015 meeting, Challenge packs are available for collection from The Woman Shop after the meeting. The cost of the kit is totally subsidized by the Guild, so if you take a pack, please make sure that you finish the Challenge.

 

YOUR CHALLENGE QUILT WILL BE EXHIBITED AT A FUTURE MEETING, VIEWED AND VOTED ‘VIEWERS’ CHOICE.

PRIZES WILL BE AWARDED FOR 1ST, 2ND AND 3RD PLACES.


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.


Magical Art of Stitches

The Magical Art of Stitches Exhibition 2014, organized jointly between the Kenya Quilt Guild and the Kenya Embroiderers Guild, was held at Sarit Centre in Westlands, October 3-5. From the Exhibition Committee Chairman, Sheryl Fowler, we have the following report:

I am sure that everyone will agree that the display for “The Magical Art of Stitches Exhibition 2014” was professional, not cluttered and very pleasing to the eye.  We have to congratulate the Exhibition Committee for hanging the quilts tastefully.  It was an entire day’s work for the ladies, but the end result was fabulous.  The general public was very complimentary in every aspect of the show.  We have a talented membership and their work was highly appreciated.
 
The Challenge Quilts and Mystery Quilts were exceptional and took the interest of our visitors.  This type of group activity is popular with our membership and we should endeavour to hold more in the future.  We hope to start a new Challenge in January and look forward to many exciting new quilts from everyone.  We all have patchwork and quilting in common, enjoy the art of quilting and appreciate each other’s skills.
 
At the exhibition, our loyal members were prompt to serve their duties and every post was manned.  The white glove ladies were on hand to help, assist and answer any questions.  They endeavoured to promote our art.  The impromptu workshops run by Sarah Brewin were well attended and enjoyed by the public as were the complimentary classes given to our members as a gift from our Guild.  Peponi Preparatory School sent 58 children and teachers on Friday.  The children enjoyed their workshop and the tours given by both Guilds.
 
The prize ribbons were awarded on Sunday morning: 

  • 1st Prize to Sarah Brewin for Kitange Cloth
  • 2nd Prize to Jaya & Jharna Kamdar for The Wedding Quilt
  • 3rd Prize to Lakhbir Virdee for Infinity
  • 4th Prize to Jasvinder Phull for Tribemen
  • 5th Prize to Kundan Pattni for Omigosh.

The Challenge Quilts were also awarded ribbons:

  • 1st Place to Jasvinder Phull for Day Lillies
  • 2nd Place to Anne Lyon for Dragonfly
  • 3rd Place to Kulwinder Birdi for Spring Flowers
  • 4th Place to Carol Davey for Comforts of Home

 
Well done to all the ladies who served on the Exhibition Committee and to our talented members who submitted quilts for the show.  With everyone’s participation, we held a very successful exhibition!

See photos of the exhibition quilts on our Gallery page.

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