I have been having a great time working with local elementary schools teaching kids quilting this year! In the past four years I have worked with students to build several beautiful projects. The first year we made one quilt per classroom, the second year we made a signature quilt that was raffled off, and this year we made 3 quilts with 3 different schools! This first was centred around a wolf panel, another was made totally from previously loved fabrics, and today I want to show you the Eagle Signature Quilt.
When designing a quilt to be made by elementary school children, you have to consider only 2 things: colour and length of subunit seams. Most of the students have never sewn before, and are either intrigued or intimidated by the sewing machine. I bring my antique handcrank to increase the excitement and intrigue while at the same time reducing the anxiety. These rookie sewists are only looking at the needle so having a marked line on which to sew makes it easier for them to complete the subunit successfully. The ideal seam length is between 4 and 6 inches long. Less than that is too hard for them to hold (they like their fingers FAR from the presser foot) and longer means they have to move their hands to guide the fabric which causes some frustration.
The second design element to consider is colour. Best friends want their blocks to be identical yet different from everyone else in their class. I've found either a wide range of fabrics need to be available to choose from, or there has to be only 2 choices. I'm fortunate to belong to a local quilting group and we often have donations of fabric from the community, as well as a willingness to donate from each other's private stash to keep these young quilt makers happy!
This quilt is being raffled off, so I kept costs to under $50 by ordering a set of pillow panels (4 pictures) for under $10 and picking up some pillowcases, men's shirts and one flat sheet all from the local Salvation Army Secondhand Store. Some other printed fabrics were found in the donation fabric at quilt group and the signatures are from a large bedsheet I've been cutting up for some time now :)
I am very pleased at how well the students made these flying geese blocks! I cut them oversized thinking I would need the room to square up some of the subunits, but most were already quite square - yay!
The bonus triangles leftover from making the flying geese made some great filler blocks which will be used to label the quilt with the school name and date. There are several blank flying geese that the staff can sign too.
So that concludes my school quilting for another year. I've already been approached by all these schools plus 2 more asking for programming for next season! I'm so happy to introduce these artistic and technical skills to children, and with any luck some of them will continue to explore! Gotta love kids quilting!
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