Quilting with Children

Vikki's Charity Quilt Overnight Project

Vikki writes:

"I organized an event here that I called the "Charity Quilt Overnight: Sew till you drop" with the purpose to make 3' x 4' cuddle quilts that would be given to our local Head Start preschool program. All the local older Girl Scouts were invited to attend (with leaders & adult helpers). These are girls in Middle/Junior High School through High School. The fee was $5/ girl, adults free. The $5 paid for a pizza supper, juice & milk for breakfast (troops provided own cold cereal & soft drinks), & batting for the quilts. We used a local church for the event, so there was no rental fee.

The troops also were to bring 48, 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" precut squares of fabric per quilt they intended to make. Some girls wanted to make a quilt all by themselves, others worked in pairs or teams. A local drapery seamstress donated much of the fabric for the backings, and everyone was to bring 6 strand embroidery floss for tying the quilts. The troops were also to bring as many sewing machines as they could, plus an iron & ironing board. I brought my CD player and all the girls were invited to bring their music CD's so we had a variety of music to listen to while working.

I had 30 girls (6 from my own troop) and 12 leaders/ grownups attending. A good crowd. Many of these girls had never sewn before or used a sewing machine or even had any concept of how to make a quilt.

However, I planned ahead, and made a display board, with samples and simple descriptions, on how to make the cuddle quilts. I included definitions of terms that are common to quilters but uncommon to non quilters and examples of the right & wrong ways to do something (not matching seams properly, etc.). I sat everyone on the floor in front of me & explained the whole process, pointing out the samples on my display board. I had also attached all my samples with Velcro so they could be removed, passed around, etc.

You never saw so many girls work so hard! They all referred to the display board for most of their questions. There was no complaining, just eager diligence. And, we made 30 quilts!!! The leaders made a few quilts too which are included in the total.

Some girls stayed up till 3:30 am sewing. We had to insist they go to bed (mostly because the leaders wanted to go to bed.) Many girls went and bought fabric the next day to make a quilt for themselves.

The quilts all have labels sewed to the back that say: 'This quilt is made with love by: (their first name(s) & GS troop #) wrap yourself in a hug from me.'

And yes, we'll be doing this again next year. The Girl Scouts want to make this an annual event."

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

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