The past several weeks have been a flurry of activity. I have had the privilege to not only teach a number of classes, but also to take several classes, which I will tell you more about in future blogs.
I was also asked by someone if I would be interested in teaching her 8 year old son, Liam, how to quilt. Upon meeting Liam, there was no question about the fact that he genuinely wanted to make a quilt for his stuffed animals. After I discussed potential projects, Liam, his Mom, Valerie, and I agreed upon a smaller quilt project that would be made from my pattern, B’s Big Girl Quilt.
Later in the week, Liam and Valerie met me at the Quilt Crossing where Liam carefully chose the fabrics he wanted to include in his quilt. He had very definite ideas about the colors, designs and was already sharing how he thought it should be quilted. This made for a very exciting afternoon and when he left, he had his fabric strips and borders ready for his first quilting class.
When Liam arrived for his first lesson, I initially spent quite a bit of time showing him how a sewing machine works as well as how to safely operate it. He was fascinated and asked a lot of good questions. Next, we used a design wall to lay out his fabric strips. This is a great way to audition the various colored strips to insure you achieve the look you want before you begin to sew the strips together. Then we sewed the strips together.
Liam carefully folded the individual strips to mark each strip’s center with a pin and then we matched the pins and began to sew the strips together. This took a real team effort as Liam was not tall enough to reach the foot pedal. So, he would push the pedal with his foot, while together we guided the fabric under the presser foot. We were quite a team!
Valerie was always there to cheer us on and Liam genuinely enjoyed showing her what he was accomplishing. Before long, we had the center section of the quilt sewn together.
We also had workbooks for Liam to read as well as exercises for him to complete between our weekly lessons. One week we focused on the different parts of the sewing machine, safety measures to follow when sewing, etc. Liam was not as excited about his homework as he was about the actual sewing each week.
During our next sewing session, we worked on the inside and then outside borders. We had great rhythm and teamwork on our sewing. Valerie captured Liam’s “pedal to the metal” in a photo while I was guiding the fabric through the presser foot above.
It was exciting to see the quilt come together, step by step. It wasn’t long before we had completed the quilt top. Liam was tickled to show off his completed quilt top! Next, we prepared the quilt back that Liam chose and layered the quilt top, batting and backing and pinned in place.
We brainstormed how Liam would like the quilting and he agreed it was okay for me to work on this between lessons. It was helpful because I had no doubt how he wanted me to quilt it. He asked for swirls and spirals and also specified that he would like a leaf quilted on it. In addition, he would like to have his name in the quilting instead of a separate label on the back of the quilt. Here’s what I did…
Liam was very excited to see the quilting I had completed and was quick to find all the items he had requested. During his final class, we attached the outside binding by machine and, “TA DA!” His quilt was complete! Congratulations, Liam! The most rewarding thing of all is that he is already talking about his next sewing project!