A few months ago, the subject of 4-H and the county fair came up. My girls started talking about what they were going to enter into the fair this year and my oldest daughter, Lené, said, “I’d like to make a quilt, Mom.” Thoughts flooded my mind like, A quilt? Really? I made a quilt once but luckily I work at Fons & Porter and had plenty of expert help. How will I be able to help her when I am just a beginner myself. Ok…stay calm…we can do this…
Lené started looking through the new Quilty magazine that was in my sewing room. She fell in love with the quilt Bell-Bottoms and then turned to the fabric ad in the magazine and said, I want to make my quilt with this fabric. Ok, this wasn’t going to be too bad, I thought, we have a pattern that is has a beginner level 2 rating, and I felt confident that she would be able to create this quilt. Plus, she knew what fabric she wanted to use, so that hurdle was over. I got online, ordered the fabric, and we stalked the UPS man until the fabric arrived.
Luckily, we knew from the beginning that it would be a project for 4-H so we made sure to document the process (hence all the pictures). When the fabric arrived, we took it into the sewing room to get started. After the chilling but important briefing about the dangers of the rotary cutter was given, Lené put on the Klutz glove and was ready to go. I showed her how to line up the fabric with the ruler and from that moment, a quilter was born. She took pride in lining up her fabric as she cut her first 2.5″ squares. When she came to the end of the strip, she said, “Mom, take a picture, it’s the first piece in my stash.” She was even beginning to talk like a quilter!
Lené began sewing her pieces together and learned right-off-the-bat that sometimes quilters sew the wrong sides of the fabric together. Luckily, she had a seam ripper handy and was able to take care of that issue quickly.
As Lené progressed, I knew she would need the help of a more seasoned quilter. Thankfully, my husband and two girls were going to visit family in New Hampshire. My mother-in-law, Lucille, has been quilting for many years, and she was excited to hear Lené would be bringing a quilt along on the trip. They worked together to sew the quilt top, border, backing and binding. They decided that tying the quilt would the best option rather than quilting the quilt due to their time crunch. After some long hours of talking, quilting, and bonding the quilt was finished. Wow, a job well done!
Lené entered her quilt into the Madison County Iowa fair yesterday. It was a nerve racking experience, I’m not sure who was more nervous, Lené or me? The judges were very thorough and in the end, Lené received a blue ribbon for her quilt. Wow, I am so proud of her!
This quilt project was more than just sewing pieces of fabric together; this quilt brought generations together. Teaching a child to quilt is really a priceless piece of family heritage. The sewing of fabric binds families and breaks down generational barriers. Kids want to learn, it is up to us to teach them.
Until next time…keep on quilting…and make sure to teach someone you love to quilt…they will remember it forever!
P.S. I can’t end without telling you about my daughter, Ashley. She would be sad if I didn’t mention her accomplishments as well. Ashley made a pillow with her grandmother and received a blue ribbon. Maybe next year she will be showing her first quilt! She also shows our dog, Sam, in the dog show. They are happily holding their blue ribbon as well.
Mandy C. Editorial Assistant