Foster Teen Quilts

About three months ago I came across an email asking for donations for graduating foster teens.  It was more than your typical monetary solicitation, this woman was asking for umbrellas & wastebaskets for these teens.

See, when teens age out of the foster system, one day they in the custody of the state, the next they are on their own.  They leave with mostly the clothes they are wearing & that’s it folks.  They don’t get to go shopping to decorate their new apartment paid for courtesy of their parents, they don’t even get a set a sheets.

In Alexandria however a social worker is trying her hardest to give them a start.  She has arranged a graduation ceremony to recognize this huge milestone in their lives & is working with the community to give them a wastebasket of basic items.

I read the initial email & immediately knew I wanted to give them quilts.  But truly I had no idea how I would pull it off.  Granted it was only seven quilts, so it seemed possible in theory, but Teapot was in between crawling & walking, & I wasn’t getting much sleep.

I knew several women in my mom’s group quilted & I was familiar with the string quilt project Quilts from the Bluffs runs where the blocks can be sewn by many different quilters.  I took this idea to the women & to my surprise they were excited & anxious to start!

We sewed & sewed & sewed.  Those who didn’t know how to sew contributed by cutting & pressing strips as we sewed.  We sewed during nap times, after bedtime, while babies crawled around our legs, together at meetups, alone in our homes.  I longarmed all the quilts & then led a class in machine binding for the women.

There are seven graduating foster teens this year, three men & four women.  These are the masculine quilts.

On the red quilt I used a freehand square meander pattern that I love for men’s quilts!
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

On the blue quilt I used the “Square Spiral” pantograph that works up nice & quickly while adding interest.
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

On the green quilt I used “Zebra” which is fast becoming a favorite.
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

It was an empowering project for the moms.  We all have babies under two years old & the most surprising realization for me this first year of Teapot’s life is how all your life becomes this child & much of what you used to do is impossible to do anymore.  Through all of us working together & supporting each other, we were able to make seven quilts in ten weeks with babies.   This was no small feat, but our love for these teens they’ve never met gave us the determination to finish.

In my next post I’ll share pictures of the feminine quilts & also share some data about foster children.

*also thank you to Kathryn Coneway who help me photograph these quilts!  I learned a lot about photography from watching her work those two mornings as we documented these quilts!

An Afternoon of Sewing

This past week I had a large project for a customer & to ensure I got in done in time, I scheduled a babysitter for two afternoons.

To my surprise I finished the project in one afternoon!  (It’s amazing how productive I can be when I’m not working in the evenings exhausted from a full day of chasing after Teapot!)  So instead of cancelling the sitter the next day, I decided to use that time for myself (& make things for Teapot, but whatever, I was still making & I wasn’t working!)

First up were 3 wet bags:

Wet bags by Ormond Beach Quilts
I had bought a package of 3 large PUL squares from the big box store back when I had the great idea to make diapers.  Since I quickly realized that was not for me, this package had been sitting around unused.  I opted to make some wet bags for our swim suits, cloth diapers when we’re out & about, who know what I’ll use the third for, but it’s nice to have available.

I used the 10 minute pencil case tutorial, but increased the size to 15″x24″.  While the first didn’t take 10 minutes, the third definitely did & I highly recommend this tutorial.  I chose this one because it had french seams which I like for wet bags.

On two of the bags I used some black grosgrain ribbon, so we’ll see how I like using it.

Wet bags by Ormond Beach Quilts
Then I made a second wet bag for Teapot’s diapers:

Diaper Wet Bag by Ormond Beach Quilts
So we do cloth diaper part time (Kawaii diapers with liners & disposables at night) & I made this pattern before & loved it, we just needed a second to have available when the first is drying.

I used some of the fun Sake fabric I won when I participated in a contest sponsored by Kona Bay Fabrics.  Three cheers for using stash!

I also finished binding a quilt, but I can’t show that quite yet.  Well, ok.  Here’s the back:

Longarm quilting by Ormond Beach Quilts
I used a new pantograph Moxie by Leisha Farnsworth- I love her style & can’t wait to get more of her designs!

Moxie

Moxie

It was a wonderful afternoon- Teapot had a great time with the babysitter & I actually made stuff!  Luckily for all of us, our new favorite teenage babysitter is available for the rest of summer!

do.good stitches for June

My do.good stitches bee is done! I finished them this past Saturday morning during an open sewing meetup for my mom’s group in my studio.

June do.good stitches by Ormond Beach Quilts

This month we were instructed to use the Quarter Log Cabin blocks tutorial by Red Pepper Quilts.

We were also instructed to make 3 blocks & to add one additional row to make them 8″ square.

Our color palette was yellows, oranges, reds and pinks .  From my strip scrap bins I dug out enough for a pink, yellow & red block.

I used white on white prints in the blocks as I discovered I didn’t have any fabrics that were mostly white with bits of yellow, pink or red.  I think the effect is still there though & it’s a scrap quilt, so while this is a controlled scrappy quilt, I think it still works.

I can’t wait to see how the quilt comes out with everyone’s blocks!

You can check out May’s final quilt on our group’s Flickr page!

June’s Quilt of Valor

A week or two ago, I pulled another Quilt of Valor off the longarm:

Quilt of Valor longarmed by Ormond Beach Quilts

I believe this was pieced by Anna D. & I’m not sure of the pattern, but it looks like it’s comprised of 4, 5″ squares.

  • One is in the center.
  • Two have been cut in half to make 2.5″x5″ rectangles which are placed around the center square.
  • The last 5″ square is cut into 4, 2.5″ squares which are then placed in the corners.

Quilt of Valor longarmed by Ormond Beach Quilts
I used the Zebra quilting design again & love how it looks!

Quilt of Valor longarmed by Ormond Beach Quilts
Zebra by Hermoine Agee, 8"

Rachel’s Patriotic Star Table Runner

Rachel S. recently finished her version of the Patriotic Star Table Runner & was gracious enough to share pictures with me!

Rachel's Patriotic Star Table Runner. Pattern by Ormond Beach Quilts

Rachel’s Patriotic Star Table Runner.

She used Bunny Hill Design’s Celebration fabric by Moda.

Rachel's Patriotic Star Table Runner.  Pattern by Ormond Beach Quilts

Rachel’s Patriotic Star Table Runner.

Isn’t it perfect for summer?  I love the sailboats!

Also, take a close look at her quilting.  She did very simple quilting on this runner- just “Stitch in the Ditch” around the stars & then in the border she quilted straight lines.

Rachel's Patriotic Star Table Runner.  Pattern by Ormond Beach Quilts

Rachel’s Patriotic Star Table Runner.

Many times I show fancy quilting here, but this is a great example of how sometimes fancy quilting isn’t needed or necessary.

I also know that this was part of a UFO competition for her & sometimes simple is better because it helps us finish our projects faster instead of getting caught up in planning “Over the Top Quilting.”

Again, I want to say a special thank you to Rachel for sharing these pictures & encouraging us to work simply so we can finish & enjoy our projects!

Also, you can purchase a copy of this pattern in my Etsy shop!

New Quilting Designs!

I’ve been on a Pantograph buying spree lately!  Here are the new designs that can be longarmed on your quilt!

Be sure to check out my Quilting Designs to see all your options.  (Which by the way has been updated into hopefully an easier to read format!)

Jazz

Jazz

Seaweed

Seaweed

Peacock

Peacock

Mod Dotz

Mod Dotz

Good Vibrations 2

Good Vibrations 2

Ebb and Flow

Ebb and Flow

Dewdrops

Dewdrops

Bump & Squeeze

Bump & Squeeze

Bread Basket

Bread Basket

Bangkok

Bangkok

Aqua Flame

Aqua Flame

Moxie

Moxie

echo blossoms

Echo Blossoms

Dahlia

Dahlia

Pirouette

Pirouette

Peacock feathers

Peacock feathers

Celebration of Intention

Part 3 of my Evolution as a Teacher

Another piece I’ve started incorporating into my classes is Celebration time, which really to me is more the Celebration of Intention, rather than the Celebration of a Finished Piece.

Celebration of Intention
A huge guiding factor in Kathryn‘s way of teaching is that it’s about the process, not the finished product.  I didn’t realize how eager I was for the celebration of process, but as soon as I realized what this was about, my mind ached for this focus on intention.

At the end of every class we gather on the couches & everyone takes a turn talking about their work of the day.

Celebration of Intention
Why did they choose that fabric?
Why those shapes or patterns?

Celebration of Intention
And what I love the most: Do you feel the piece is finished? Sometimes we don’t know then if a piece is finished, but we just have a feeling & we need to stop & think about our work.

Celebration of Intention
In an earlier Celebration, one girl commented that she hated her piece & wanted to throw it away. I felt this needed discussion. Instead of just disposing of what we don’t like, let’s stop to think about what made us dislike the work. Was it a design choice? Thread choice?  Do we need to add something to it to improve it, or take something away?  Did it even begin in a place you wanted it to start?

I feel there’s a need to stop rushing from project to project working only for completions sake. We need to slow down & think about our work, become involved & truly connected to what we’re making.

Creating is a part of us & if we work for production, we don’t give ourselves the space to grow.  We grow by learning & reflecting.  The Celebration of Process gives us this space.

Read Part 1 & Part 2 of my Evolution as a Teacher for more background about my journey.

Quilts of Valor

Monday evening this came off the longarm!

Quilt of Valor longarmed by Ormond Beach Quilts

It’s for the Quilt of Valor program & will most likely to given to a local Veteran.

If you’re not familiar with the Quilts of Valor program, I high recommend checking out their website.  It’s a fantastic program that supports combat veterans & those who were touched by war.

Quilt of Valor longarmed by Ormond Beach Quilts

It was pieced by Anna D. & she used the Disappearing 9-Patch pattern.  This is a great pattern for scraps & works up quickly!

Quilt of Valor longarmed by Ormond Beach Quilts

I used a new pantograph, Zebra by Hermoine Agee- it reminds me of the flag waving in the breeze.

Zebra by Hermoine Agee, 8"

For the backing Anna used the 10″ square method.  I’ve never used a backing like this before & I was quite impressed by how easily it worked.  It’s also nice because it guarantees the longarmer to have enough extra fabric.  We need the extra room in a backing in order to pin it to our leaders (that’s how we get the quilts on the frame) & for our clamps to hold the sides to prevents puckers.

Quilt of Valor longarmed by Ormond Beach Quilts

It was a joy to quilt & I can’t wait to longarm Anna’s next quilt!  The recipient is sure to love this quilt.

The Evolution of a Teacher, Part 2

Be sure to read The Evolution of a Teacher, Part 1 first!  This post will make a bit more sense!

Yesterday I started telling the story of my teaching & left you at the point where I had observed Kathryn teaching.

I went home & had a serious discussion with myself on how I taught & how I could possibly move forward.  This is what I knew:

1. I didn’t like how my current classes were going.  The students didn’t own their work & it seemed to me that they weren’t looking forward to what they could make in the future.  I feel that education should spur the student to take the lesson, make it their own & move forward.  That wasn’t happening.
2. I could tell that the kids I was working with had a lot of stresses put upon them.  They also had a lot of “this is how it’s done.”  And in a way, my project based class was just adding to that burden.
3. I wanted the students to love sewing, & I didn’t feel that they were falling in love with sewing.  Yes they had a good time & enjoyed class, but I didn’t feel they loved sewing so much they wanted to convince their parents to buy them a machine & again, own their sewing experience.

So I sat down thinking how I could change the class.  I wanted them to love the medium of sewing.  I also wanted their creativity to come through & for them to own their projects.  I knew that collage was a large part of Kathryn’s studio work (have you read Collette?) & quickly realized paper collage can easily be translated into fabric collage!  Thus the Fabric Collage Class was born.

Fabric Colllage

The first class was a hit!  It was so much fun & drastically different.  I began by giving the sewing machine rules & then guidelines/suggestions for how to make their collage & then I let them go.  We started by using 6″ squares of white fabric.  I’ve included pictures of their work throughout this post.

Fabric Collage

The class also just ran smoother.  There was more listening & fewer distractions.  They were more willing to focus to thread the needle.  There were fewer needles that became unthreaded.  It was a completely different class from the project based classes.

Fabric Colllage

I also was strict about us having clean-up time &  Celebration time.  There were fewer clean-up protests, & Celebration time allowed us to stop & talk about their work.  There’s more I want to say about Celebration time, but I’m going to leave that for another post.

The next series I taught was 3-D Creations.  Here I went through the basics on how to add dimension to our fabric pieces, mostly using the technique of adding “stuffing” or poly-fil.  Here was struck me was that they didn’t just create art, they also created elaborate stories as they worked.  The art became bigger than just the fabric- it became part of something else- something entirely theirs they needed to bring to life & share with the world.

I love how this method of teaching inspires the students to act on their own.  I love how given the chance to have reasonable responsibility, 8-10 year olds are able to safely & efficiently use the sewing machine.  I love how this encourages to ask “what next?”  They are constantly evaluating their work and asking how can it improve.

The greatest gift I received was this past May when I had two repeat students & on the first day one told me all the things she had made over Christmas break (a sewing machine cover, an infinity scarf, more dolls & all of these weren’t from patterns- she knew what she wanted & planned out from her ideas how to make these!) & another told me she had asked for a space in the basement where she could keep her sewing machine up at all times, so she could easily go & sew whenever she liked.

These students are learning more than how to sew.  They are learning to work through problems thoroughly.  They are learning to be present while working.  They are learning how to ask questions & search out answers themselves.  To deal with challenges as they arise.  They are telling stories in a new way.  They are using math & applying design techniques and evening learning some physics along the way.  And they are doing all of this through intentional play.

collage 3

The Evolution of a Teacher, Part 1

I recently wrapped up a session of my Fabric Collage class for kids & had several revelations I wanted to share.  But first, I need to share how I got to where I am today.  Because you need to understand that before you I can share these thoughts.

I started off teaching project based classes.  All the kids would come to class & I’d have a sample of a specific project & they’d all walk out the door at the end of class with basically the same item.  And it worked.  Sort of.

Art at the Center
And then we moved to Virginia & one morning as I was walking to the Farmer’s Market, I noticed the sign for “Art at the Center” in a cute white house & stopped in & chatted with the owner, Kathryn.  I mentioned I taught sewing & before I knew it, there I was teaching again.

I did the project based classes again, but as I chatted with Kathryn over time I became interested in how she taught.  If you had the opportunity to visit the old building, you probably noticed that it wasn’t your typical Art room.  There was an abstract mural in an “active” state, there were signs all around about how to rethink art, there was advice to parents on how to incorporate improv art into their lives.  It was different because rather than talking about how great art is, this place seemed to resonate with “Make Art.  Play with Your Art.  Think About Your Art.  Own Your Art.  Know Why Your Art is Yours.  Know that Art is a Process.  Respect the Art of Art.”

This idea of playing as art intrigued me & I asked if I could observe Kathryn teach.

The result was mind blowing.  I’d never seen something like that before!  8 kids walking around the room all doing their own thing, but everyone was calm, it was quiet & everyone was working.  I mean- they were working.  They were serious & focused & you could tell by the atmosphere that these kids had art to make; they were busy owning their art.  And Kathryn wasn’t all in their business.  She was hanging out in the background, reminding them of some of the rules of clay & letting them be.

At the end, they gathered around a table for “Celebration” & the kids talked about their pieces.  They spoke about what inspired them, what they found challenging & what they enjoyed.

After leaving that class I knew I wanted to change my classes.  I wanted to create an atmosphere of an active self directed studio.

Thanks for reading the story of my evolution!  I hope to have the next part posted soon!

The Evolution of a Teacher, Part 2