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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.


This isn’t an unusual greeting in this world. What is different is WHEN you say it. Where I come from, it is a greeting used on the first of January. One day. When I moved to Nairobi and lived through my first holiday season, I was surprised how long people kept using this greeting. It seems one continues to say, Happy New Year!” the first time you have seen a person since 1 January. I have been greeted this way throughout January and into February! In Nairobi, “Happy New Year!” is more than a greeting, but it is a blessing one gives their friends for the coming year. So… “Happy New Year,” Kenya Quilt Guild! May 2015 be filled with God’s blessings in each one of our lives!

New Year’s is also a time of setting resolutions, or goals, for the new year. You may remember that last year I set a goal of making a new quilt every month. I saw a need to simply speed up the process of quilting. What I thought was a matter of speed ended up being more of an issue of making time to quilt. I love to sew and create, but life had a way of crowding out what I love. So I cleared away time eating things, became more efficient in the tasks about the house, and learned to say “No!” to things that I could do but wasn’t particularly good at doing. Then I had the time to do what I really love. Quilting.

In September, opportunity knocked, a request beyond what I had even hoped for. My pastor from my home in Minneapolis came for a visit and commissioned me to design and make 6 double-fronted quilts for the sanctuary of our church. They are huge – 3.5 feet by 8 feet. They would like them done by May when we visit the States. I don’t think it possible for me to have all 6 done, but possibly 5. I would have never even considered this task, if I hadn’t first discovered that I could make a quilt a month. So clean up your schedule and make time for what you REALLY love – quilting.

Happy quilting! Happy New Year, Kenya Quilt Guild!
Patty Arensen

Magical Art of Stitches 2014 Poster

Again, we are in need of assistance with the newsletter. Suzanne Waithaka along with Gill will be holding the fort for a while. Margaret has done a sterling job and has been keeping Snippets going for quite some time now and she will be relieved for the help.

The 2014 Exhibition Committee will meet within the next couple of weeks to get the organization of the show initiated. For those who need an update, the exhibition will be held 3rd – 5th October at the Sarit Centre. Any member wishing to help with the planning, may join the committee.

As an added extra this year, we will be publishing a 2015 calendar in conjunction with the Kenya Embroiderer’s Guild. It is our hope that along with the raffle, the proceeds will help fund the cost of rental. Everyone was in agreement that this was a great idea.

Sheryl had the next edition of the Mystery Quilt available for perusal on the notice board and explained how the new blocks form the inner and outer border. In next month’s newsletter, the last edition will be published. Members will have until the July meeting to finish their quilts. The more the merrier!

Gretchen spoke about two quilting projects: The Red Cross Quilt and Bethany Quilts. The volunteers have been busy making these quilts and hopefully the finished products will be shared at one of our future meetings.

The UFO day in November was not very well supported, so as an experiment, we will be having a ‘trial’ afternoon after the February meeting. Members will be invited to come with their unfinished projects, their sewing machines, etc. There will be experienced quilters available to trouble shoot any problems. All welcome.

Show and tell was excellent this month:

KQG January 2014 - 01

KQG January 2014 - 02

KQG January 2014 - 03

KQG January 2014 - 04

KQG January 2014 - 05

KQG January 2014 - 09

KQG January 2014 - 12

KQG January 2014 - 13

KQG January 2014 - 15

KQG January 2014 - 16

KQG January 2014 - 18

KQG January 2014 - 19

KQG January 2014 - 22

KQG January 2014 - 23

KQG January 2014 - 24

KQG January 2014 - 27

KQG January 2014 - 28


Ragbir will be teaching a class to make a bargello table runner in February. She brought samples of the work to the meeting and there was a great deal of interest. The class will cost Shs. 1200.00 including the template. More information will be sent out via email.

On the subject of classes, the members were asked if they were interested in future classes, especially from overseas teachers. Because earlier classes were  poorly attended, we would like to ensure that more members take advantage of the classes.

Sarah Brewin has donated two new books to the library. We still have quite a lot of the library budget to spend this year. Any members who have any books they wish us to order, please contact Raji.

The workshop is still not functioning, but we hope to get it up and running in the near future.

Next month, Petrina Spencer physiotherapist, will be giving us a talk. Members were asked to write down quilting related problems for her to answer.

A warm welcome was given to Charu’s daughter Shruti and to Patty’s niece Malindi.

The UFO day, held earlier in the month, was a great success and members were encouraged to attend future UFO days. There is so much to learn and inspiration to be had. It is also amazing how quickly and easily those old projects can be finished!

Raji, our librarian, told us about the new books we have received, including a book, DVD and ruler set. This can be borrowed for 250 ksh and a refundable deposit of 1000 ksh. She also reminded members of the library protocol.

Patty put to the members the idea of producing a 2015 K.Q.G. Calendar that could be sold at our show in October next year. This was met by a lot of enthusiasm from members. We shall discuss it further at our next executive meeting in January.

Our Christmas Party is to be held at Simba Union on 11th December, from 11.30 onwards- Karibuni!!! The dress code is red, green and Christmas! Bring lots of yummy goodies to eat and we will have fun!

Members who signed up for the Red Cross Quilt were given blocks to make ready for our January meeting. We will then arrange to meet and move on to the next stage of making the quilt. A big ‘thank you’ to those who have volunteered.

Bethany Children’s Hospital needs quilts! Members who would like to help were asked to see Patty or go to Lala Salama 100 Quilts on Face Book. Here you can find instructions to follow.

As always ‘Show &Tell’ brought a colourful array of beautiful quilts. Not only that–Kunden showed us some lovely art work by her young granddaughter and Induben bought in a lovely rag doll she had made.

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After the coffee break part of a DVD showing machine quilting techniques was shown. How easy it looked! Trying designs out on paper first is a very good tip. Manipulation of the quilt is made easier by wearing gloves and by having as big a work area as possible. Practice, practice, practice is the key and, above all, RELAX!!

Patty showed an example of Block 1 of the Mystery quilt. Follow Snippets for more instructions.

This month’s door prize was won by our visitor Shruti. Congratulations!




In Patty’s absence, Neela chaired the meeting.

Welcome to visitors:  Sue Deverell,  Sabi Meteshi, Kayuri

Attendance:  49 ladies present including visitors

2014 Exhibition:  Dates have been confirmed 3rd, 4th and 5th October, venue Sarit Centre

Out of Africa, Canada Exhibition:  133 quilts were sent, of which 40 were sold.  Dena kindly brought back half of the unsold quilts which were collected after the meeting ended.  Money and accounts will not be settled until Patty returns, which will be at the end of July.  Ludmila and Patty worked very hard.  We cannot commit to another overseas exhibition unless more ladies travel.

Challenge:  Sheryl shared her unfinished effort and more fabric was distributed.  Conditions are in last month’s newsletter.

Education:  Farhat explained the program for her ‘Silk Painting Class’ to be held Thursday, 27th June at her home.  Sheryl held the first session of her landscape class after the meeting, the next being next month.  8 ladies attended.  Brij will also offer a one day class in September, introducing jute as a medium.  Charu will start to introduce her machine quilting methods at the July meeting, members to practice over the holiday then in September she will continue with more explanation. Marsha wishes to hold her beading class in October or November.  Bev will travel to Nairobi to give her ‘Rhino Applique’ towards the end of the year.

Library:  Raji asked members to send her suggestions for new books, including the title of the book, author and ISBN.  The library is now located in the back annex along with the coffee to allow more space in the main hall for seating.

Door Prize:  This will be drawn at monthly meetings for members/guests who have signed in.  This month it was won by Sue Deverell.


Programs:  Jana gave a short talk about a new method of making a square in a square and how it can be adapted to make flying geese and half square triangles.  The library has purchased the book, ruler and DVD.  Next month Deanna will present ‘Humble Beginnings’ and requested members to bring in their first quilts to share.

Show and Tell:  There was a great deal this month, photos were taken.


See photos from the 2013 London International Quilt Festival, “Out of Africa,” on our page “2013 Out of Africa; London, Canada.”

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