Friday, August 1, 2008

Quilting With Children

I had one of my readers suggest I try to teach others how to help children learn to sew. I have been thinking about this and decided to just jot some things here that I have learned when sewing with children.
  • Children love to mimic adults and they soak everything up like a sponge, so don't be surprised if they learn at warp speed.
  • Children's hands are small and not always as easily controlled as ours, so don't be upset if they can't get a concept you are trying to teach them right away. You may be expecting to much, try something simpler with less steps.
  • Children ARE NOT small adults, so don't expect them to be.
  • Children DO NOT learn by being yelled at, or being put down, they learn by love and encouragement.
  • Children do NOT have long attention spans, about one minute per year for the younger ones and if you get longer, than be happy, but if it is shorter, don't worry about it. Sometimes teaching a child to quilt or sew, takes several lesson sessions.
When I first began teaching my granddaughter to sew (quilt actually), I began with a very simple step and that was teaching her how to tie a quilt. If you are a quilter, this is a terrific way to get close to small ones and have them feel special.

If you are perfectionist and think there is NO WAY that a little one is touching your project, then all I can say is that I feel sorry for you, because you are loosing out on a wonderful and bonding experience.

For this first lesson, we will need the following materials:
  1. Several large needles with large eyes.
  2. Crochet thread (cotton thread or yarn).
  3. Quilt
I prefer needles with large eyes because they are easier for a child to thread on his/her own and the larger needles are easier for most little ones to hold.

  • Cut off several lengths of yarn (what you think will work for your project)
  • Show the child how to thread a needle and then let them thread several needles in one sitting. (I think it is much easier for my projects to have several different needles ready to go when I am tying quilts)
Once this is done, you are ready to proceed. When I had a quilting frame if was so easy to place my quilt on the frame or even roll the quilt and sit on the floor and quilt, but I lost my frame in our last move & do not have the funds to replace it at this time.

Sitting next to the child, have them watch you for a few knots and then have them follow you, needle down, needle up, tie once, tie twice to knot and snip. Do this several times until you feel confident the child can do it on their own. Once you are sure they can, let them do it while you sit back and praise them for doing such a great job!

If you are worried about them using scissors, most stores carry child safe scissors and these work just as well as an expensive pair does to cut yarn.

Once they have the hang of cutting the knots, show them about how far apart you want the knots spaced. My granddaughter could thread a needle, tie, knot and cut the tie and evenly space the knots when she was only 4 years old and she loved it and so did I.

I would love to know if any of my readers tries this and of course if you feel comfortable I would love to have some pictures. If you don't want me to publish them to my blog I totally understand, you can just Email me.

First one to Email me with pictures, will get a chunk of fabric from me as a thank you.

God Bless all grandparents, whether you are raising your grandchildren, living with your grandchildren, spend summers with them or even see them once in awhile, grandparents are special.

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