Monday, October 19, 2009


While in Kenya this summer, I was inspired by kangas, a cloth used for anything and everything in many parts of East Africa. Kangas are all comprised of a border and an inner section with different patters, and a Swahili phrase at the bottom of the inner section. Apart from the basic structure, kangas vary widely in colors and patterns. Their uses are multiple, from clothing to baby slings to tablecloths, and more.
photo borrow from

In this picture, I'm wearing a kanga for a skirt.

So far, I've designed two bracelets based on the basic structure of kangas - minus the Swahili phrase. I haven't yet figured out a way to write something in one row of beads. ;)
If you like, you can imagine this says "Haraka, haraka, haina baraka." - one of my favorite Swahili proverbs, which roughly translates into "hurrying brings no blessings." (haraka: hurry, baraka: blessing, haina: there is no)

This one I've kept for myself. I miscounted the squares while working up the pattern, and I ended up with an odd number of beads for the width. Since I was planning to work in herringbone, this was slightly problematic. I did find a work-around that makes it look more like square stitch than herringbone, but there's a number of places in the red section where you can see some of the crystal fireline showing through. Okay, so it's not terrible, but I had to have some excuse to keep it, right?

I've finally gotten the beads to work up the second kanga pattern I created, so once I have a little time, I'll work on that next project!


Dawn N said...

That's very pretty. Too bad you were forced to keep it for yourself :)

Mary T Designs said...

I love the bracelet. Can't wait to see the next one!!

Marsha Wiest-Hines said...

Lovely and ethnic to the max. I might be inclined to hang onto it myself!