Quilting, 4-H, and Family

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

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15 thoughts on “Quilting, 4-H, and Family

  1. I am 65 plus and grew up in 4H. My children spent time in 4H. Some sewing. But one thing kind of off the subject; but I thought I’d share. If you think that it is too far off the subject, you can remove it. During one meeting we had a judge, lawyer and police officer speak to the 4H’ers. They indicated that they had never had any trouble with them, because of the respect that they had learned.

    We had fashion shows, fairs, etc way back when. This sure brought back a lot of memories.

  2. I too, learned to sew in 4-H Club. I’m glad that they now use pictures to document the process to show that the work was really done by the girl. The quilt is pretty and so is she!

  3. I also learned how to sew in 4 H more than 50 years ago.. Very good experience especially learning how to use a seamripper. At that time clothes were more important to make than quilts. I now have more fun quilting. It is more forgiving.

  4. So happy that the girls are even interested in sewing. And this makes for great memories of hlp and encouragement from Mom and Grandma.
    My 26yr old GD has discovered sewing is a way to spruce up the house, nowdays there is the computer as a resource, too.

  5. My son was a 4H member all through Middle and High School. His accomplishments were in music. I am a beginner quilter. Your daughters are learning a wonderful skill that will increase their creativity and thinking skills. I wish that the majority of girls their age would follow in their footstep. The quilt and pillow both are beautiful and well made, but the dog stole the show. sooooooooooocute. I am looking forward to their next project.

  6. Mandy you must be so proud of your girls..At 46 (this year) I entered my first quilt in the local fair and won a blue ribbon, also.I can understand that nerve racking experience.I hope they continue with quilting and sewing and look forward to seeing their work in the future.

  7. It was so good to see the progress pictures. What a good memory making time! My daughter was in 4-H for 9 years and made several sewing projects. She is still sewing and has far surpassed me in skill. She is not a quilt maker but has made memory quilts for her three children as they graduated high school.

  8. I’m 63. Been sewing since age 8. Started quilting only a few years ago. I gave my life to Jesus at 49 and learned The Proverbs 31 wife sews quilts for her bed! I just finished an all appliqued, all handsewn quilt for the lady who first told me about Jesus. Her name is Vi Maki. She’s 93. I sent the quilt this week not knowing what was happening to her at this time. She called to say she just got out of the hospital from cancer surgery. She said the quilt was exactly the pick-me-up the doctor recommended for her recovery! Keep quilting. Friends and family love receiving them. And of course, we love making them for them. Congrats girls on the blue ribbons and to your mom and grandmom. It is God who gives us this ability. Make Him proud and you will do great projects!

  9. Your gals are doing a great job in 4H and I am proud that they have interest in sewing, which I wish all kids would at least learn…..what fun to fall back on sewing at some point. I just retired from my job so hope to start getting more quilts made…..I just took 3 rag quilts to the Henry County fair and won 3 blue ribbons….I haven’t entered anything for years! My son and daughter both made at least 1 quilt during their 4H years as I wanted them to at least experience sewing for one project if not more! I was a 4H leader and quit now that they are both done with 4H. I just retired from my job also and am on to bigger and better things……I became a 4H fair judge this year for the first time….a long time dream and really enjoyed the fairs I judged for this year! Your girls are on the right track…..they are 4Hers!!!!!! What a wonderful experience my kids got from being in 4H and MANY other kids have also benefited as well! Good luck and start working on those projects for next year!!!! All my best!

  10. My 10 year old step-great granddaughter wanted to learn to sew this summer. She has been with me one day each week this summer and it has been a fantastic experience. Not only have we gotten better acquainted, but she is learning to sew. Just yesterday I told her about my 4-H experience when I learned to sew and today I read this blurb here on Fons and Porter–how ironic can that be. My great granddaughter’s name is Allie and she is making a 16 block scrappy quilt. It’s a little difficult for her to keep interested very long, so we take a lot of breaks, but she is so proud of her work and so am I. She started by making a pillow case for herself and one for her little brother. This helped her learn to keep her seams straight. I’d recommend a pillowcase for anyone starting out. We’re planning a lot of projects for the winter months. My summer has been wonderful because of Allie.

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