Monday, 11 June 2018

A Special Project

Back in the fall, my daughter's 5th grade teacher asked if I would be interested in helping them with a class project. They weren't sure of the details yet but they thought they wanted to make a quilt. I jumped at the chance. I have wanted to come to my daughters' school and teach them to sew for a long time and this was such a fantastic opportunity.  I had a short brainstorming session with the teachers and they mentioned it was the school's 20th anniversary next year. The school is part of the French Catholic School Board and is called Arc-en-ciel (Rainbow).  This image popped into my head:

I showed it to the teachers and we knew right away we wanted to make a version of it, and that we were going to gift it to the school for the 20th anniversary.


The students worked all year on a NPDL project (New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning). They researched people like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Jeanne Mance, and how they made a difference in their community. 

In April, I met with the teachers again and we came up with a plan. We were going to have the kids sew the quilt top and then I was going to finish the quilt for them by quilting it and binding it. They invited the ladies from my quilt group to come and help and it was awesome.

I started by cutting up 4.5" squares from my scraps. I had squares from every colour of the rainbow.

I laid the whole quilt top out in my living room first and numbered the rows so that it would be faster to then lay it out once we got to the school.

Monday morning, three of my quilting friends and I showed up at school and set up three sewing machines, an iron and ironing board and laid out the quilt top on some tables.
The students came in 5 at a time and we showed them how to use the sewing machines and how to sew 4 patches. We showed them how it was important to follow the edge of the foot to have the 1/4 inch seam. And how it was important to lay the blocks back on the table in the proper order so we didn't mix them all up.

Some were excited and couldn't wait to start. Others were a little apprehensive but after watching their peers sew a few seams, they were eager and asking when it was going to be their turn! They all did so well and although there was a little ripping out, most of the seams matched up and everyone left the room so proud of their work!

It took a day and a half of sewing to get the top done. It was great teamwork on everyone's part. Then I brought the quilt home and quilted it on the longarm.  They requested rays coming out of the cross and I did some woodgrain in the cross.

The students found quotes while working on their projects and I embroidered them in the cross.

The quilt was unveiled at a gala they had last week. It will hang in the front lobby at the school.

 This was such a special project. The kids were so enthusiastic about sewing and making something for their school. They all remember which seams they sewed and are so proud of the work they did.  So many of them went home and asked their parents if they had sewing machines and if they could take them out and sew. It was a very unique experience. One my quilty friends and I will cherish for a long time!
My daughter was so proud to be able to share her passion for sewing with her classmates and she is so happy that the quilt will be hanging in the school for a long time to come.