Mary Ogwel carrying 45 lb. box
of product to HMQS booth
Salt Lake City, (April 17, 2006) Attendees of the third annual Home Machine Quilting Show (HMQS) 2006, April 5 -8 at the South Towne Expo Center in Salt Lake City, Utah took the event theme, “In To Africa,” to heart by donating nearly $1,600 and six treadle sewing machines for women entrepreneurs in Kenya.

The theme for HMQS 2006 was inspired by one of the show exhibitors, Mary Ogwel, a native Kenyan. In Ogwel’s home village of Kwoyo-Kochia, the women sew, make quilted bags, weave baskets, make pottery, tie-dye fabrics and anything else they can do by hand to help their families.

Ogwel, who currently lives in Seattle, has lived in the U.S. for 17 years, but makes several trips each year to her homeland to purchase the handmade artifacts. She then offers these unique and colorful creations at shows all over the Western United States through her company, Maendeleo Imports. Maendeleo Imports was the featured exhibitor at this year’s HMQS.

It is Ogwel who made HMQS Show Director, Ann Collet, aware of the needs of the women in her home village, which is two-fold: They need treadle or hand-crank sewing machines and they need a place to work and do business. Most of these women live with their entire families in small huts where they eat, sleep, cook and live in a space no larger than 10’ x 10’. The women need to rent a space (approx. 200 sq. feet) in the village where they could sew and sell their products.

“It is my vision for the participants of HMQS to be able to use our event as a vehicle to extend their influence for good to the community and the world. I want to personally thank the attendees of this year’s show for their generosity,” says Collet.

Many attendees donated monetarily to the cause with their show admission, while scores of others bid in a silent auction of African-themed quilts pieced and machine-quilted by guilds from all over the Rocky Mountain West. These quilts were part of a Quilt Challenge sponsored by Cranston Fabrics. The Silent Auction alone raised $1,111.46, with all the proceeds going towards the humanitarian project.

Six generous attendees donated treadle sewing machines to the cause, with one of the attendees actually spending several hundred dollars to purchase a machine from e-Bay for donation. Collet plans to travel with Ogwel to Kenya this summer to personally deliver the machines and monies raised for the building rental to the women of Kwoyo-Kochia in behalf of HMQS.

HMQS event management is still asking for an additional six treadle or hand-crank sewing machines to send over to these women. If you have a machine you can donate please contact Ann Collet at (801) 298-3844 or by e-mail at . HMQS will also accept monetary donations by mail for those wanting to help with machine shipping costs and building rental funds. Donation forms can be found on the event web site at www.hmqs.org.

HMQS is pleased that several thousand attendees from all over the nation enjoyed more than 200 colorful, machine-quilted quilts on display, learned at the feet of experts at the free demonstration area and took classes from 25 of the nation’s top machine-quilting instructors. This year’s award winners in the juried quilt competition took home over $12,000 in cash prizes. The show also boasted 100 exhibitor booths, featuring the latest in machine-quilting tools and techniques.

Major sponsors of HMQS 2006 include the Home Machine Quilting Association, Husqvarna VIKING, Creative Sewing Centers, and the Gammill Quilting Machine Company. “We want to thank our sponsors, vendors and instructors for making this event an overwhelming success. We’re looking forward to next year’s show, April 19 21, 2007,” says Collet.

For more information about how you can help with the “In To Africa” project or for more information about participating in HMQS 2007 go online to www.hmqs.org or call (801) 205-4701. Photos of HMQS 2006, as well as photos of women in the Kenyan village, are available on the web site.
For more information on HMQS 2007 please contact Event Management at (801) 205-4701 or by e-mail at .

©2006 Home Machine Quilting Association