Kids Quilt Round Robin a.k.a Sewing with Kids
I cannot believe it's November already. Where did those Summer days go? Oh yeah, it went sewing with my girl. From May to August we participated in a really fun Round Robin. The whole process was fun and agonizing, and I will tell you why.
During the first month, my almost-five-year-old at the time was supposed to sew her own block and with that give some parameters for the next participants of the chain. I don't know if you know any 4-5-year-olds, but boy! they change their mind - a lot! One day their favorite color is blue, the next day it's yellow, the next purple and so on. So, imagine how the creative process was. I started by asking her for a theme and then showing her some quilt ideas that would be appropriate for her sewing level (which is a VVVDB: very, very, very distracted beginner).
After two Confetti stars, I tried to persuade her on trying something different. She was doing good with sewing on a line with FPP, so I wanted her to try a wonky star. She did one and then said she wanted more of the Confetti star, so we went back to paper piecing. After four of those, I was trying to avoid having 9 stars because we were running out of time to mail the block and because it was a lot of work. With paper piecing I have to cut the paper, help her center and glue the pieces, guide her sewing (reminding her to stay on the line and to remove pins), pressing, triming, aligning once again and so on. I suggested adding something larger, like a big star or the moon. At first, she wasn't interested, but then she sketched something and said she wanted a moon, so we worked on her first raw edge applique.
The final block
She picks all her fabrics, sometimes I will say something about a contrasting fabric or being too busy, but she doesn't often take my advice, but I am actually glad. In the end, I always tell her, it's HER quilt, she can do whatever she wants. After filling in in some areas, her final first block turned out very fun and bright. At first, the solid quilter in me felt it was too busy, but as some others had pointed out, it's got an Eric Carle aesthetic.
The next month, she decided she wanted to do the same thing as the block she had received. And that's pretty much what we did, following the direction to the T. It was one of the easiest blocks .
This picture was taken by Z.
Her next round was the fun outdoor theme. The block could be done all in applique, so we played with shapes and fun prints. Z decided that she wanted to make a playground, so we drew it and I cut her pieces, she picked the fabrics and pieced the back, then we did the applique process together.
She really wanted to keep that one. It turned out so fun!
The last round was the easiest and quickest block we worked on. We had to make 8 large Flying Geese blocks with the white in the center. She picked her fabrics, helped draw the diagonal line, sewn the units and joined the whole block. We worked on two blocks a day and a little over a week and we were done.
A Z size block
Here are some of the things we learned:
1. Foundation paper piecing or marked lines on a fabric really help her keep things straight-er.
2. When we work on FPP, we use a walking foot.
3. A quarter inch guide foot (the one with a bar that keeps the fabric from going over) is really helpful when sewing basic seams or joining units.
4. Let them make their own decisions. They are proud of it.
5. Don't worry about perfection, if they don't care, then you shouldn't either. (That's a hard one for me still, but I try to remind myself of it.)
6. Have a kid-size table set-up with a machine for them. It's hard to move machines all the time, so if they have their own little spot, it will make things easier to just get sewing.
7. Sew a couple seams and leave the rest for the next day. It's easy to get frustrated with their mess-ups and distraction, so whenever I feel that her attention is drifting off, it's time to pack.
8. Let them build their own stash, even if that means, princess and minions fabric. They like to have something their own.
9. Sometimes it's not about sewing, it's about spending time with you or having a common interest, so let them sew scraps while they wait for you to cut for the next step, ask questions, talk about their project, encourage them, even if it looks like it's going to be a wild mess.
Learn from mistakes
This is a block that didn't turned out great, so after a while, we took it apart, saved the center for a stand alone block and reworked the other pieces into a new and better star.
It was great to see her confidence with the sewing machine grow. We haven't finished her top yet. We decided we will make it bigger so she can use it on her bed. She wants a minky back.
Her little corner
Adding more blocks and working on some layouts
I just love where this is going. It’s so different from anything I make, but it’s so much her personality and that’s why I’m glad she didn’t listen to my advices, but instead went with what she felt true to her. I think this will turn out one of those quilts that we never get tired to look at.
Well, that is it! I hope to share the finished quilt with you all soon, but most likely after the holidays. This has been an interesting journey. It really makes me appreciate homeschooling mothers. It is not for the faint of heart.
Check out the other kids finished quilts at:
Caitlyn of @tiffanybaxter
Sophie of @thefeltedpear
Finally, I want to thank both Sarah's (BerryBarnDesigns and SarahGoerQuilts) who have been our lovely hosts and planners, for getting this going and being so organized on this round robin. Thanks ladies!