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Njabini 2010 February

Feb 5

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2/5/2010 9:53 AM  RssIcon

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The Wool Spinning Workshop in Njabini is moving along nicely. Since I began working with this motivated group in September, I have seen a growing confidence, improvements in their rug weavings, expansion in their product line and their inclusion of additional members of the community.

There is a camaraderie in this workshop that is heartwarming. I have included a photo of Reginah Wainaina and Margaret Njambura carding wool. This drum carder has made a tremendous difference in the group’s ability to spin wool consistently. Njabini has a lot of wool available to it. Since not everyone wants to purchase a rug, which often includes deliberating and careful decisions, we have discussed the possibilities of diversifying their products.

This January, I asked them to dye unspun yarn and to card that yarn and another batch of undyed yarn. When I came up on January 26th, I was shown some newly knitted scarves that had been knitted by two women from the community. The core group was interested in felting these scarves and trying felting in general.

I introduced felting the same day and they took the felting another step beyond on February first. In the second photo, you can see the group enthusiasm. Everyone wanted to get involved, even the littlest ones who were toddling around. The pocketed felt, first created in February, was an object of wonder. Peter Komo was up from Nairobi and Sam Bakari had to really examine this cloth from wool.

While the felted wool dripped dry, we moved into the weaving area indoors. Emma was weaving a tufted rug of her own design. I had not shown any in the group how to make this kind of rug, and was encouraged by their resourcefulness. We discussed variations on the tufting (rya knots) and all the weavers, including Reginah who is now learning to weave, made several rows of knots. Jeff immediately envisioned a tufted rug within a flat area rug and we discussed technical details. I am sure I will see the results when I visit again. Sam Bakari weaves the most detailed pieces, usually for wall hangings. I have included a photo of him with is own cartoon and his original depiction of the Sharpe’s Longclaw, the endangered bird in the Kinangop Plateau.

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1 comment(s) so far...


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Hello/Hujambo! I'm a Fair-Trade, small-business importer of quality, authentic African arts, crafts in textiles based in the USA and now also in the Nanyuki, Kenya area. I am presently in Kenya (until March 30) purchasing inventory, working with current craft suppliers and establishing new contacts. I found your contact information as I have been trying to assist a self-help group of very poor women in the Naru Moro area obtain knowledge/training for hand-spun wool for their knitting projects. They are very skilled knitters and have had no opportunity to create a market. I have much interest in what this Naru Moro group can learn from those working in the Njambini Wool Spinning Workshop. Please help me determine what might be possible?

Also, I would have interest in knowing more about what the Njambini Wool Spinning Workshop is producing and where they are marketing their items as there could be a good opportunity for my company to market their items in the USA/North America. I have just begun working with the Nanyuki-based Mount Kenya Vision Weavers to offer their handsome wool mats, carpets,wall hangings and toy animals for sale by my company. There is good interest in the USA in hand-spun/hand-woven products.

Hope to hear from you soon! I planning to be away with my husband on Mount Kenya through next Tuesday (Feb. 15, 2011), but will be available by email and mobile (0700 000 555) thereafter.

Best regards!

By Karolina Simmons Gathu on   2/11/2011 6:00 AM

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