Monthly sewing update September

This post is very unusual in a way because it talks about all the projects I am currently working on. Normally I make a selection of the most relevant ones because I have more than ten projects running at any given moment in time. However, now I am living in Kenya I have limited access to supplies which naturally limits the UFO accumulation. Also, I’ve brought only one work in progress so it took some time for them to pile up again. I have to say that I am really surprised how many different projects I’ve managed to start so far though. In this post, I’ll first talk about my creative projects. After that, I’ll give you all an update on my life and research in Kenya.

The Kenyan quilt

This is the biggest project I plan to do in Kenya. The aim is to make a quilt out of Kenyan fabrics as a remembrance of my time here. I was sitting in a boring meeting, which probably would have been less so if I spoke Kiswahili, a few weeks ago so I took the time to sketch a first design for the quilt:

Design idea Kenyan quilt

I’ve started working on one of the blocks. This is a picture of the pattern and a progress picture of the assembly of the first block. I am so pleased with how it’s looking so far!


Meet Güs the cross stitch disco dragon

This dragon is born in Samburu which is North to the place I am usually staying. I was there to do interviews and to see the sights. However, there was not much to do in the evening so I started work on this little guy.  The neon colours made me think of the disco time so that’s where he got his name.

Güs the disco dragon WIP

In the picture, you can see I used embroidery cloth from a pre-printed cross stitch kit. I didn’t like the pattern they were offering so I improvised. Do you think I will get away with it?

The upcycle blues poem

Sometimes I write. Sometimes the things I write is poetry. This poem is inspired by an inside joke I share with my mother where we joke about messing up my grandpa’s shirts so we can quilt with them. I think many crafters will recognize themselves in those thoughts. Sometimes we really are terrible people!

The Upcycle blues

If it looks like I’m undressing you with my eyes
It’s because I want to make a quilt of your pants

If your laundry returns with a rip in your dress
It’s because I wanted it for my new bag

If there’s a stain I can’t clean on your blouse
I put it there myself so I can start cutting

Don’t trust me to iron your favourite shirt
Because I will scorch it in a place I can’t use

And don’t ask me to fold your handkerchiefs
Because I will surely declare  them lost

This is the kind of life you’ll lead with an upcycler in your house
Constantly wondering in which quilt your lost socks will turn up.
And when another tie is sacrificed to become a bag

It is also on my Deviantart where I usually share my written stuff: DeviantArt profile.

Show gratefulness followers

Lately, the amount of people who follow and like my work has grown and I am very pleased with that. Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of my followers do of awesome things themselves. To thank the people who follow me and to get to know them better I’m going to try to randomly select one every Thursday and delve into their website and articles to read with a hunger heretofore unseen in this world and give constructive comments on  the articles I like. Personally, I always love it when people comment on my articles because it gives me the feeling people actually read and appreciate what I write and I want to give more people that feeling. Because I am also active on DeviantArt I will pick a random watcher every Tuesday. When I have the opportunity I will also see if I can feature some of their works with their permission. I don’t have a ‘brilliant works from others‘ tap for nothing. It is time that includes more than my mother’s work, brilliant as it might be. I already know I will fail to do this every week, but I am going to try it as often as possible!

How to sew a phone case

I had to buy a new phone because my old one was slowly dying and I need a reliable one for my research. Because I bought a supernew one there were no phone cases available for it yet, so I decided to make my own. So far there are only pattern pieces of the case. I’ve messed up sewing a bit and have to re-think the design before I can finish it. Ah well, those things happen.

Phone case pattern pieces

Hot air balloon cross stitch

This kit was brought for the moments I am too tired to do something creative, but still want the feeling of yarn and fabrics between my fingertips. Also, I hoped bringing some kits to Kenya would induce me to finish them, because if I have to choice between working on them or working on nothing the choice is easily made. At home, there is too much distraction of potential new projects to start.

Hot air balloon cross stitch WIP

In conclusion: how am I doing in Kenya?

So far I’ve done seven interviews and I plan to do double that amount the coming week. I’m getting a lot of different views on conservation and wildlife, which is good because that is exactly what I wanted. Also, a lot of people are interested in the work I do so if I play my cards right and work hard this could become a great success! I am very happy everything is going well.  My aim is to compare different views of different stakeholders to see if that can explain the roots of the conservation-related conflicts here. In a bit more than a week, I will start with my preliminary analysis and I am very curious to see the outcome. The analysis will show me how well the method actually works and whether my hypothesis of the presence of many different views is actually true. So fingers crossed it will turn out something good.

What happens in Kenya

While interviewing people and getting to and from the office I work I’m getting to know the town Nanyuki where I live now. It is a very lively town despite the fact that it is not very big (+/- 50.000 people). It is the activity hub of the bigger district Laikipia where I operate in and everybody comes to Nanyuki to do business or to relax. Also, I’ve discovered a place with good coffee, so I am very happy here.

One thing I still have to make myself do: there are many places where people are using a sewing machine with a foot peddle and I am collecting courage to befriend some of them so I can learn and see how it works. Also, I am looking forward to order some custom made skirts and dresses from Kenyan fabrics because they have such gorgeous colours and I love clothing with a perfect fit and here I can actually afford to buy some. There is still time to do all of that though, I am not leaving this place anytime soon!

Would you like to read more?

For those who missed them here is a list of last month’s posts:

See my DeviantArt or Instagram (username: for more artwork and WIPs. You can also follow my blog by clicking on the button on the left or by filling in your email address. There will be a monthly update at the end of every month and a new blogpost every Sunday or Monday.


  1. What a lovely post! It’s nice to see all the active projects together every now and then. Your world has changed a lot I’m sure recently, and it must be nice to have some ‘home like’ projects to work on. I hope you do find the courage to ask the sewing machine ladies for some insights into what they do. What a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the lovely comment 🙂 I like writing these kind of articles as well because it helps me keep track of all my projects :-P. And it is indeed very nice to be able to relax after a good day with some homely activities such as sewing or cross stitch. I will try my best to courageous and to report back when I was!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow!! You have so much going on, I don’t even know where to start!! You’re Kenya Quilt sounds like an AMAZING IDEA, I can’t wait to check it out! Gus looks great, your phone case is such a fantastic idea, good luck with all your interviews, and congrats on your new followers!! 💖💖 I think that pretty much covered everything?? 🤔🤔 Sounds like you’re having a blast!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. I can’t say I’m an expert at any form of sewing/knitting, but I do love that dragon! And for it to have a cultural reference too is pretty awesome! 😮 Is there a reason you’re doing all those interviews? As in, are you writing a thesis or something? 😮 It sure did sound like you were based on what you shared with us, and that really does sounds fascinating. Hope you’ll have a pleasant month of November, Bella! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the lovely commentary 😊. And I am doing a thesis indeed! I study conservation practices in Kenya for my master thesis. And thanks again! I hope your November is great as well

      Liked by 1 person

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