“Nana, I want to make a quilt,” my 7 year old granddaughter announced last summer. This statement was no noble urge to learn the womanly art of quilting. Make no mistake, cold, hard cash was her motivation.
Vivian Rose had listened quietly at a family gathering as the women reminisced around the kitchen table about county fairs in the past and the huge sums that my daughter (Vivian’s mother) and Vivian’s older cousin had earned in premium pay outs. Their quilts had been the most fun and earned the most prize money. Vivian was dazzled and convinced this was indeed her road to riches.
I explained to her that making a quilt was a big commitment of time, especially with her living across the state. We could not get together very often and we would have to work long hours in blocks of time. “I can do it,” she declared with determination. And she did!
When sewing a with a child, it’s important to remember that it is HER (or HIS) project, not yours. It is hard to simply suggest and not insist when it comes to making design decisions.
My quick and easy plan was for a 15 block quilt, 5 rows of 3 blocks. Each block would be 8″ finished, seam allowances would be 1/2″.
NOTE: Of course, I did all the rotary cutting. No child should handle a rotary cutter. She did, however, do the ironing, with supervision.
Eight 12″ blocks were cut from solid white fabric for machine embroidery and seven 10″ blocks were cut from the cat prints Vivian had chosen. Knowing her lifelong obsession with cats, I had a hefty stash of cat fabrics on hand and a Covid shopping prohibition. We had to make do with what was on hand.
She selected her favorite 7 cat prints with no concern for color coordination. Next, she proceeded to select 8 redwork cat machine embroidery designs from Embroidery Library’s Crafty Cats Redwork Design Pack in the 5 x 7 size. I’m so grateful for on-line shopping! The 12″ blocks allowed for easy hooping with water soluble stabilizer.
After embroidery, the blocks were trimmed to 9″ and were sewn into rows with the cat print blocks. They, too, were trummed to 9″. Then the rows joined together. TIP: After laying out the blocks in rows, we found it helpful to take a picture with my phone. Then sewing them together made it easier to do so without mistakes.
Vivi was very particular and most of her corners met almost perfectly. There was no sashing, as the seams were covered with jumbo rickrack. It seemed almost a shame to cover them.
A glue stick helped hold the rick rack in place, pins added extra security and the laser on my Brother Dream Machine was a great aid in guiding her stitching.
After the rick rack was applied, the backing was prepared. It was 2″ wider and longer than the finished quilt top, prewashed and pressed.
A quit label was embroidered and stitched to the backing.
The batting was placed on a firm flat surface and sprayed with quilt baste. The quilt top was smoothed over it.
The backing was placed face down to the quilt top and pinned securely on all sides. It was stitched around all sides, leaving an 8″ opening at the bottom to turn the quilt right side out.
After it was turned, the opening seam allowance was folded under and the edges pressed. Rick rack was applied to the perimeter, sealing the opening and creating an outer border.
Carefully selected buttons were sewn by machine to each intersection and the ends of each length of rick rack. They were secured in place with a glue stick.
TIP: Just as when arranging the blocks before sewing, the carefully selected buttons were photographed in place, section by section so they were visible as it was their time to be sewn in place.
Vivian learned so much while making this quilt, most importantly the satisfaction of a job well done, even though it took a long time, especially with frequent canine interruptions.
And about that plan that this quilt would be her road to riches? That didn’t work out. Sadly, due to the pandemic, the county fair was cancelled for the first time since 1923.
She handled her disappointment very well. I comforted her with news that now she had a great head start for next year, and now she has time to get more projects ready to enter. So perhaps that road to riches beckons yet. But there is more fun in the projects and the learning than the riches. And more fun with Nana. Yay!
Required disclaimer: I am a paid Brother Brand Ambassador. Not required: I LOVE my Brother machines.