Quilting with Kids - signature blocks

Last year, I made a quilt with each class at my son's school. Each student drew on a block, then with the help of another parent, we sewed the tops together and bound them and I returned to the school so everyone could tie or sew with embroidery floss on their blocks.

The finished quilt!

Since the project went so well, I thought this year we could make one quilt and sell tickets to raise much needed funds to improve the sound system in the gymnasium.

I wanted a block that required some sewing - but not too much since 4 year olds had to be just as successful as 40 year olds! A simple 3 bar rail fence, sewn in the Quilt as You Go style (QAYG) was my answer.

My son, age 6, sewing some extra (unsigned) blocks to balance out the quilt

I found this antique hand crank machine over a year ago on an online ad. I bought it sight unseen, and have been so pleased with that decision!

I took Sissy to the school for the four Friday's in February. It turned out that each class had an excursion to the local arena for free skating, and I went along to help occupy some of the students who chose not to participate. I then returned to school and worked in each classroom to make sure each student, teacher and staff member made a block.

As mentioned above, I wanted an easy block pattern. I had a hotel quality flat sheet that I cut into 3x7 inch strips for the centre bar of each block. This is where everyone signed their name.

Originally, I had cut 2.5 inch strips for each side, but after watching the students sew, I decided to make the strips wider (3- 3.5 inch) for other classes. The smaller widths were still useable, but I had to do some easing to assemble each row.

The back of the quilt

I wanted to maximize the money raised for the school, so I asked the families for donations of unwanted shirts or pillowcases to be used in the quilt. I received about a garbage bag of material, and began the big job of cutting the squares and strips. The batting was leftover from the quilts we made last year - so that was a huge savings!

I used 6.5 inch squares for the back, and 6.5 inch squares for the batting. I lay a white strip in the centre, and pinned the three layers together, as well as safety pins in each corner to hold the batting and backing fabrics together. Each student could choose their fabrics from the bin, then they sewed a 3x7 rectangle to each side of the white strip - QAYG style!

Adding sashing to the back of the quilt.

The front of the block had an overhang of at least 1/2 inch on all sides of the batting/backing sandwich, so I could assemble the quilt by placing blocks right sides together and sewing the overhang. I used Bonnie Hunter's method of webbing the top - if you haven't tried it, check it out on her blog (located under the Tips and Techniques tab)!

I then used the 2.5 inch strips to essentially bind all the seams on the back. I have found it best to add these strips along the entire length of each row and column to give added strength to the intersections. Some QAYG techniques say to bind each seam as you make the row, then assemble the rows and bind each long row. I've found the strain on the corner intersection is pulling the fabric on larger quilts, and I need to make repairs because I didn't catch enough fabric when I stitched the folded edge down.

quilting detail

I didn't want anyone to have to repair this quilt, as I wasn't completely sure that all the blocks had an adequate seam allowance, so I quilted random designs all over. I used a variegated thread from Superior Threads, King Tut #921 Cleopatra.

This took quite a bit of time because I wanted to have quilting at every half inch, and really secure each corner section. I also wanted a variety of stitches, so I kept stopping to look up Leah Day's ideas on the free motion quilting project.

left: me, right: the quilt winner, Ashley!

We sold over 740 tickets on this quilt, and after licensing costs raised $737.50 for the school - YAY! Thank you to all my family and friends who donated fabric scraps and bought tickets. Your help is greatly appreciated!

Linking up with QuiltShopGal.com at this week's #CreativeGoodness party.

This project was on my Q2 Finish Along with Adrienne On the Windy Side

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