Quilting with Children

Linda Cook's experience of making quilts with her grandsons

Linda wrote:

I am quilting today because my 15 year old grandson (Andy) made a quilt for a school project three years ago. His project was to draw or to make a quilt with each square meaning something to him. By the time he got all the information and decided to have Nana (me) help him we had one week to get the quilt done. I had done a lot of appliquéing on sweatshirts for gifts for everyone in the family so I had a lot of theme fabrics. We ironed the things he picked out onto the 12 quilt blocks. He picked out his sashing and backing and he sewed everything together and quilted the top by machine with nylon thread. He received an A++ on his project. His quilt has hung in homes his grandfather and uncle build for the local Parade of Homes in what would be a child's bedroom.

I figured if he could make a quilt I should be able to. I have taken classes, joined a quilt guild (almost 200 members), have become the newsletter editor for the guild, joined a small group, and am addicted to quilting. I watch very little TV and spend most of my spare time at the sewing machine. I thank him ever so often for inspiring me to become a quilter. I even entered a wall hanging in our local Institute of Arts in a juried show and mine was one of ten picked to hang in the gallery for the month of June. I was very excited and thrilled since I have only been quilting three years!

My six year old grandson (Wil) has filled all my bobbins since he was three and we fill about three dozen at a time. All three of my grandsons have made wall hangings with 4 inch theme squares. Wil was having a hard time reaching the foot pedal so we usually put it on a plastic milk crate but then I read somewhere to have the young ones stand up and that works fine. I usually have sat behind him to make sure his fingers weren't getting too close to the needle. Aaron (12 years old) has a denim and flannel square quilt started for Boy Scout camping. I taught the two older grandsons to thread the machine, change needles, change bobbins, and sew ¼" seams. I live with Wil and Aaron and Andy spends a lot of time with us also.

Andy just pieced two thirds of a Bargello Heart together for my youngest daughter's wedding present. I pinned strips together, went to work, he sewed them, I came home and pinned more, etc. He also made a quilt block for a church raffle quilt that we put together over the July 4th weekend. My daughter brought star blocks from Boston that other women had made, pieced her blocks, and we were one short so we cut one for Andy to make. He gets out the seam ripper and corrects his own crooked seams, etc. Sometimes he comes over on the weekends to spend time with me and sew.

All three grandsons made 12 Americana squares to trade with other family members-some of the adults don't have theirs done but the three of them do. Wil's was simpler but the other two made pieced blocks.

I have three sewing machines and one is a Phaff computerized and all three use it plus the older two machines I have. They have such a sense of accomplishment when they complete something and see it hanging. I enjoy the time spent with each of them and think it is so great they enjoy sharing my hobby. I made Wil a spaceship quilt for naps at daycare and he picked the fabrics for the spaceships, laid out the squares, and then told me they needed fire coming out of each one so I added a decorative stitch in red thread.

If you'd like to share your story on these pages, please email Heddi at qwc@thecraftstudio.com.

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