Little caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly by Raji Syan


By Raji Syan

Firstly to start of I must definitely need to give myself a big tap on the shoulder, honestly being a fulltime mom, wife, daughter-in-law at that time in short a homemaker I truly have done well for myself. I always have been a people’s person, so like a little caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly I got introduced to quilting by my sister-in-law. I did meet some extremely friendly missionary ladies that’s when my hobby rather passion of quilting came to light. The first time I attended a quilt class I was amazed at how creative one can be. I started with few pieces of local fabric that’s what was available at that time. Everything in terms of technique was about using your sight and hands. Hand stitching, hand quilting, applique all came to play, no stone was left unturned.

Ooh I am pretty sure many of us have those finger pricking memories and there’s the classic moment of “has anyone seen my glasses?’ which many of us dread. It was like going back to younger days cutting shapes from cereal boxes, paper scissors and the famous glue stick to come up with patterns, in quilting terms a BLOCK, but all in all it was a great transition into bigger greater things to come.

Apart from making good friends and recommending others with similar interests, I got to enjoy reading books and exploring more not just about myself also about quilting, they do say “practice makes perfect”, Practice I sure did that is how a good friend of mine as we do know her Neela Shah, introduced me to The Kenya Quilt Guilt (KGQ). She being a fun outgoing, go getter kind of person probably saw some kind of qualities in me “your friend is a reflection of what kind of person you are” definitely a compliment, and that’s when we formed the group. As we all had classes that would expand our skillset plus our knowledge and creativity aswell, we all decided to take a leap of faith and spoil ourselves to a retreat in Kijabe. 

All of us who wanted to travel picked and packed our projects in all excitement to explore and discover new greener pastures away from our daily lives. Some excitement is always healthy. A very close friend of mine Jaswinder Phull, part of The KQG, a humble yet a down to earth woman, Aah!! with an amazing creative drive had a great idea, as we always used to give one of our good teacher, our completed projects’ which when pieced together makes a quilt to machine quilt using a long arm machine, she thought why not purchase one of our own.

Having that thought in mind it was a dream come true for me, when she approached me I didn’t think twice but jumped to the opportunity. I was over the moon and loved the idea. We purchased one within time and eventually our dream became a small scale business. Yes we set a goal and definitely achieved it.


The answer to the question running through your mind, obviously we had few huddles here and there “the Taj Mehal wasn’t built over night”. Our machine did come through and we set it up at her premises at that point of time. Ooh it was an adrenaline rush always thinking of new ideas, products which indeed was the exciting part but as it being a commission based business we both had our internal agreements. One thing was for sure nothing came in between our friendship and our business, we had set them both apart.

Every moment was enjoyable till date, as we all now know I continue to explore more and perfect my skills in long arm machine quilting, having the machine moved to my  premises, I do have my space where I enjoy working and explore more in long arm quilting. Over time Natalia Bonner is one of my inspiration quilters like many artists, being a perfectionist is one of my added quality. I enjoy watching her videos, for new quilting techniques and try my best to learn from her. I create my own patterns using the long arm machine not only on personal quilts but the ones I do get on commission basis as well. I can say at this moment I love my space as I get the opportunity to explore also give advice and recommendation where necessary, I enjoy this aspect of my creativity in my life.