Sunday, January 23, 2011


I spent the week caring for the grands in Florida.  I was prepared with hand projects to do on the plane (I can't stand to do nothing during the interminable waits at the airport.)  I also brought projects for when the kids went to bed .  One was an orange rag quilt I had cut out from the stash. 

When I arrived the granddaughter said she wanted to sew while I was there.  When she was 6yrs and 4 months we purchased a 3/4 size Janome for her.  She made her first quilt (at least the top).

Granddaughter sewing the border on her quilt.

She is standing on the dining room table holding her completed top which she had basted and started tying.  She pulled out the tying. She wanted me to quilt it on the machine.
It is made of four patch (6 1/2 inch squares) and 12 1/2 in white squares.  Her border is 6 1/2 inches.  She did all her own pinning and stitching (and sandwich basting).  She nested her seams like a pro.   She did not do the rotary cutting or the pressing.  I quilted it for her on my short arm Gamill quilt machine.

I decided she could probably make a shaggy quilt. (She is now 8 years and 5months.)  I handed her the 8 1/2 inch flannel squares and the 6 inch batting squares and showed her how to sandwich them.  She completed stacking the 49 blocks and said, "What do I do now?"  

"You have to sew an X over each block and join them together in rows." 
We proceeded in using Baba's system of Xing the blocks and joining as we went
It also works to keep the attention of an eight year old.  She was so pleased with her accomplishment of a row finished after Xing 7 blocks.  She did not act bored and couldn't wait till the completion of each row.  She was literally dancing around after finishing two rows.  She couldn't wait to sew them together and run to Mom and show her what she did.  In less than 6 hours she completed the 58 x58 inch quilt.     
Xing blocks for second row.

Still working on second row

Finishing the last seam. 
She discovered the heavy fabric needed a little tugging assistance to keep it straight under the presser foot.

A very happy granddaughter with a quilt for her mom in Mom's favorite color.  Baba clipped it for her.

Notice the machine is on a small kid's table and is just the right height for her.  To keep the foot pedal from sliding away from her during use we moistened a washcloth and put it under it.  (It wasn't wet enough to hurt the hardwood.)

She learned how to wind bobbins and thread her machine.  I took apart her machine manual and placed each page in a clear sleeve. (It makes it easier for little hands to hold and turn the pages.)  Showed her how to look in the back if mom wasn't around to help and look up for what to do if her machine knots up and other stuff.  Before I left I cut out 4 1/2 inch strips of soft ball fabrics she had picked out.  She will be attempting a 5 patch block on her own, with Baba emailing the step by step. 

Encourage your little ones to sew.  Shaggies are the best for learning control of the machine. Seams don't have to be perfect.  If you get a wrinkle no need to chastise.  When they are washed all the mistakes will be hidden by the natural flannel wrinkles.  A small doll quilt version of the shaggy would be a perfect starter quilt.  BTw..Grandaughters first Shaggy experience was as a six year old.  This one she even clipped herself.
  New Article on my blog: 
A mystery quilt designed with the novice in mind
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a blog about my courtship with my husband,
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blogs about the wildflowers on our farm
Organic methods we use, some cooking and some poetry,
blogs about Seed sprouting, insects, and garden pictures
Blog about an endangered beneficial beetle
New Blog:
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Paula said...

What a great job, Ashley! I can't believe it, 8 already? And sewing up a storm! What a super Baba!

Anonymous said...

She's a very talented student, I didn't do much but send her in the right direction. She was like a duck to water. The more she did the more she wanted to do.

Laura said...

She is absolutely adorable! Aren't you the lucky grandma?!

Bonnie said...

Great for Grandma and granddaughter. I'm waiting for mine to get a little older...2.5 years so I've got a couple of years still.

Bonnie said...

Wonderful for both Grandma and grand daughter. Great job

Sheepish said...

Bonnie, when my grandson was 3 I sat him on my lap and gave him a pair of 6 inch squares and explained about the edge of the presser foot and showed him how to feed it through. He did this with 6 more pairs and then we started pairing them...he had a ball and ended with a place mat for his lunch. (of course I had to control the speed of the machine and keep it slow..but I wonder if we had had the little machine if he could have done it all himself.)

Jennie Bachman said...

Job well done Ashley. I love your blue and white quilt. All your quilts are so pretty. Keep up the great work. Look forward to seeing more of your beautiful guilts.