OMG March goal: School quilt with panel

This is my third year where I bring my antique hand crank sewing machine into local elementary schools to help them make a quilt. To make it even more interesting, this year I am working with 2 local schools! Previous quilts are marker dyed here and rail fence here

After the rail fence quilt had been on display at the school for a week or so, it was noticed by a prolific quilter who works at many schools. This wonderful woman donated the fabric shown below as well as 2 panels for our quilt projects! The school teams are the Timberwolves, so the fabric is well received and appreciated! I plan to use one panel this year, and save the other for a future project.

The beginnings of a quilt!

As I mentioned, the school had been donated two panels, so I decided to make HSTs from two blue fabrics and a constant solid white so each person could sign their name to the block. I wasn't sure how many staff and students were at the school, so I didn't have a layout designed before I went to the school. Actually, I still don't have a layout because I haven't decided which of the two panels I should use in the centre.

Panel 1 has two beautiful wolves, and a dark blue and border. This one would allow me to do some creative designs with the signature blocks - flying geese or a diamond border or maybe a zigzag border or maybe just a geometric border of triangles with blue on the bottom left corner...I might even be able to have 2 borders with the signature blocks if I measure everything out correctly :)

Panel option 1: dark border, smaller image

Panel 2 has such beautiful colouring! This is a larger panel, so I don't have as many layout options with the HSTs because there is a limited number of signature blocks. I could however add some solid fabrics around the corners for example to fill in the space, or only use signature blocks on 2 sides of the panel, or make some stacked flying geese with the HSTs and add a stem so they look like trees along the long sides, or my brain keeps imagining ever more ideas without even setting any fabric on my design floor! (Yes, I use a design floor - aka the living room floor - to view my quilts before assembling. I find it's more convenient, and if I have about 3 hours to work on the machine, I can usually get a quilt from block stage to flimsy.

Panel option 2: pale blue and grey nature scene, larger dimensions

So this month I need a goal for OMG - and this is it! This quilt doesn't have a specific deadline, but should be completed before April, so I have some serious mental debating and rearranging to decide on a layout to make this quilt a reality.

Have you ever thought about teaching youngsters how to sew/quilt? It's not as intimidating as it seems :) My experience with introducing basic sewing skills to so many people in a short time has provided a unique perspective on what these rookies are thinking when they are using the machine.

  • Students are looking at the needle, and are very successful when sewing directly on a marked line
  • Unlike an intimidating electric machine, the hand crank is a novelty and not scary. Everyone from 4 to 40 (I'm being generous with the upper age :) will excitedly use it
  • Shorter seams are easier to sew than longer ones
  • Having a system where 3 or more students can be in different stages of their block helps with shy or nervous students
  • Keep instructions simple
  • Be prepared to offer assurances of excellent workmanship at least 100 times in a 2 hours period.

If you have any suggestions about how to decide which panel to use, or what type of borders to make with my HSTs, please send a comment! I might need some professional advice on this one :) Linking up to OMG March goal.

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