Quilting with Kids!
I have been working on a really fun project this year! Nollie Bean partnered with Future Stars to teach a group of young students how to quilt!!
About Future Stars
Future Stars was established in 2008 and was created to help students reach their full potential in academics and athletics. The organization supports students with mentoring, financial awareness, training, and school-related resources that are often stumbling block for school advancement. The organization primarily serves underprivileged students who have been identified by school officials as inner city and those students who have a desire to learn computer technology and/or a desire to play intercollegiate sports.
Future Stars holds an annual Hands on STEM Fair, and if you have little ones (7-15) in the Phoenix area, I recommend you check it out!
I’m friends with the founder of Future Stars and have heard about the workshops and all of the fun activities the students have been involved in over the years. They build robots, rubber band powered cars, and one time even got to tour an air traffic control tower! How cool!! As the 2021-22 session was being planned, she put out a call for volunteers and I asked her if she thought quilting would be a good fit. I mean, I like it, but would the students? It certainly isn’t as cool as an air traffic control tower, right??? But, it is totally a STEM activity and you get to use a warm, snuggly, pretty quilt when you’re finished.
Well, she thought it would be a great workshop and it was planned into the session!
I quickly got to work designing a simple baby sized quilt top that would give the students some good practice with basic piecing while still being manageable to complete in the time we had together. I was so excited to get started!!
During the first session, the students learned the basic components of a quilt, a VERY brief overview of the math involved in the creation of a quilt and then got in some practice measuring and cutting the pieces needed from their background fabric.
I may or may not have been a complete nervous wreck while they were using a rotary cutter…but we worked safely and no one had any mishaps!!
Once their background pieces were cut, they got to pick out the rest of the pieces needed for their quilts from a stack of pre-cut pieces and then we dove head first into making half square triangles. Yep - they got to witness firsthand the magic of making half square triangles using the four-at-a-time method.
The second session was full of sewing, pressing, sewing, pressing and so on and so on as everyone followed their patterns and sewed their quilt tops. They got a full blown crash course into quilting. They saw it all! How to use and re-thread the sewing machine, thread tension, 1/4 inch margins, the importance of sewing right sides together and following the pattern!
They were so proud of themselves and the progress they made at the end of the second session! The next time they would see the quilts, they would be finished!
Quilting & Finishing
Following that second session, my step mom, Lauri, and I divvied up the quilts and began working to finish them. Some tops needed a little extra love to be ready for quilting. Once they were ready for quilting, they went onto Lauri’s long arm and received some organic squiggly quilting.
We opted for some 108” wideback fabric to cut down on some extra piecing and then cut the excess into the 2 1/2” strips needed for binding. And then the binding party began!! Honestly, I should have measured the binding completely from end-to-end to see how much was made for this project. It’s definitely the most I’ve ever made out of one fabric.
In the beginning of May the first quilts that were finished were reunited with their owners! When I arrived to the workshop session, they were just finishing up some free building time and there were a few finished cars and ferris wheels being tested! I might have even seen a marshmallow shooter? So fun!
Everyone was so excited to see the finished quilts! At the time of writing this post, I have a few last quilts to finish and deliver and I cannot wait to finish the quilty reunions!! I had so much fun working with the students and they were so proud that they made an awesome, functional, comfortable work of art that can be enjoyed for years to come!! I’m hoping the experience sparked a few to pick up sewing or quilting as they get older!!