Quilting with Children

Ellen Manson's tips

Ellen works at an inner city school in Philadelphia. She writes:

"I also quilt with kids (mine are kindergarten so that is a Real challenge). I have found that the kids just will draw to the edge and leave no seam allowance, no matter what you do.

So now I masking tape all the edges, and they only draw on the fabric.

Also, cheap permanent markers work well and are very cheap, you just have to give the lecture and watch them like a hawk.

And muslin works great too, and is cheap.

I have 32 kids in my inner city kindergarten classes, so I have to be economical. I seat them in a group of 5 for the drawing. Afterwards, I rope in a grandmother to sit with each individual child and show them how to embroider their block. Most of my kids have never seen a needle and thread before, so this is what we say in the business, "authentic learning".

You might also want to mention that preparation is everything. You must read stories, show quilts, show blocks and quilts in progress. Otherwise the process is meaningless to them.

And make several extra blank blocks. I try to encourage the kids to use a mistake as a creative opportunity, but sometimes they are too upset. I usually cut about 40 squares. And since I don't want my quilt to cover the whole school, I limit my blocks to 6 1/2" unfinished."

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