Monthly Archives: September 2014

5 Reasons Kids Should Learn How to Sew

5 Reasons why kids should learn how to sew with Ormond Beach Quilts

I love to teach sewing to kids and truly believe it should be a part of every child’s curriculum.  But since they aren’t part of an elementary students course at school, these are some of the reasons why I think parents should take the time to seek out sewing classes.

1. It’s a life skill.  Sewing is one of those skills similar to cooking that if you know it- you’re better off.  Eventually they’ll have a situation where they’ll need to sew on a button or sew a seam.  Give them the gift of knowing how to do this themselves.

2. They improve their focus.  At first it may seem daunting for an eight-year-old to press a foot pedal at just the right speed while guiding fabric through the machine all while making sure they sew a straight line, but folks they can do it- I see it in every class.  At the beginning I’ve got chatty kids who can’t wait to get started and in the end I have a room full of quiet focused sewers.  Why is this important?  Because this huge study showed that kids who can focus are more likely to have a higher degree of self control which directly impacts their future success.

3. They become empowered through learning self control.  In my classes kids use full size sewing machines- not the kid sized machines.  I don’t like these small pieces of plastic junk machines (please don’t buy these- save your $25 & go buy everyone ice cream- you’ll all have a much better experience).  However before we begin, we have a thorough safety discussion.  Most kids are nervous when they begin, so I spend time talking about self control.  I remind them that they are in control of the foot pedal & thus how fast the machine sews.  I can’t stop the machine- that’s their job, so as soon as they feel nervous at the machine, they need to stop pressing the foot pedal.  In every class I’m continually amazed at how these words empower them to be aware while they are learning to become comfortable with the sewing machine.

4. They get to make something real that’s useful.  I have two different classes that I use to introduce kids to the sewing machine- a t-shirt bag & bookmarks.  At the end of each class I can’t begin to explain to you the joy on their faces that they made something!  And then I hear about how they’re going to use that item!  The really energetic students tell me how they’re going to make more of these for their friends & give them as gifts.  For several of my students this is the first time they’ve made something they could have bought in a store & they are overwhelmed with excitement about becoming a maker.

5. They use math in real life.  This is the “sneaky” part of my classes.  We discuss measurements and fractions and area and shapes- I try very hard to use the same language they hear in math class & apply it in sewing class.  With all the testing that’s required, many teachers don’t have the time to teach how math is used, but that’s something I can teach in these classes.  One day a student looked at me & said “I kinda remember learning about this in math- so we really need to use it?”  The math nerd in my was overjoyed to be able to show her how important fractions are in life!

Convinced your child should learn to sew?  There’s still room in my classes that begin next week at Art at the Center!

Sewing Classes for Kids

Teapot & I have been sick all week, so I don’t have any quilty stuff to show you (we’ve been napping & knitting…)

But I can tell you about the sewing classes I’ll be teaching this fall at Art at the Center in Alexandria, Virginia!

Intro to Sewing Class with Ormond Beach Quilts
In the Intro to Sewing Class we’ll be making bookmarks while learning about the sewing machine and the basics of operating the machine.

Sewn Fabric Collage Class with Ormond Beach Quilts
In the Sewn Fabric Collage Class kids will use a piece of fabric as the “canvas” & use fabric pieces to create a design of their choosing.  Then they will sew the pieces & embellish as desired.  By the end of class they will have several of these pieces they can put on a ring & build upon later at home.

3-D Creation Sewing Class with Ormond Beach Quilts
In the 3-D Creations Class kids will learn how to take an idea from a sketch & turn it into a reality.  There are no limits on what they can make in this class! 

This is my third semester to be teaching at Art at the Center & I’ve never been so excited about these classes!  I’ve changed the format greatly to incorporate more play & more room for individual creativity.  I want to write on this is more depth, (once my head clears from this sick fogginess), but know that I think play learning benefits more than just toddlers- that elementary kids *need* to play with sewing machines!

I can’t wait to see your kids in my classes!

 

Big Chalk Draw

One of the advantages of moving around is that I’m constantly meeting people smarter than myself that challenge my thinking in ways I never imagined.

This move back to Virginia led me to met Kathryn who runs Art at the Center.  Aside from teaching me the wonders of process art & inspiring me creatively in innumerable ways, I admire her pursuit of community art.

Last Friday she hosted the “Big Chalk Draw” & Teapot & I walked down to join them at the insanely early hour of 8am (we take mornings easy around here.)  We discovered the parking lot empty of cars & filled with buckets of sidewalk chalk.  Parents & kids had already started drawing and the parking lot was slowly being remade into a giant canvas.

Here’s a labyrinth (they’re nuts about labyrinths at A@TC!  You should really read Kathryn’s musings on them):

Chalk Labyrinth at the Big Chalk Draw

I added a chalk quilt- a simple sampler quilt with nine different basic quilt blocks:

Chalk Quilt at the Big Chalk Draw

Before we left though, I noticed that someone/someone’s had added to my quilt:

Chalk Quilt After at the Big Chalk Draw

I love their blocks!  See that middle block on the third row from the top?  I envision enlarging that & turning it into a baby quilt!

On the way home I was thinking about the morning & here are my thoughts:
– Art was built upon art.  I may have started a drawing, but it was fair game to be added upon & become something new.  This didn’t ruin my work- just changed it.  I wonder what new things we would discover if we approached more situations like this in our lives.

– You can always start something if you’re willing to move to a new place in the parking lot.  I’m guilty of this- I get in my comfort zone & I don’t want to move, but if I just scooted 2 feet, I’d find the opportunity to work on a new project in a new light.

– Most drawings start with a line.  A LINE people!  A simple little line.  You don’t need some impressive plan in your head, you just need to start with a line.  We can take this into the quilting world too- what if we just started a quilt with a block & looked to see where it can take us?

– Draw with your kids.  I noticed striking moments of bonding when kids & parents worked together on a drawing.  The art connected them together in a new way.  They both contributed to the final piece.  They were both makers for something that wouldn’t have been without both of them.

Finally, here’s a time lapse video of the entire morning in 2 1/2 minutes!

Improv Tea Cozy

Around week 39 of pregnancy I suddenly couldn’t stand coffee.  I tried for about two days to choke down the stuff, but I finally gave up & made some tea- I’ve been drinking tea ever since.

I’ll give everyone a moment to process that- I’m not drinking coffee anymore!  (And I haven’t completely lost my marbles!)

I realized a tea cozy would be helpful to keep my tea from going cold in the mornings & a few weeks ago I had the sudden need to do some improv piecing, so I decided to finally make the cozy.

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
I used the template and basic directions from Lily’s Quilts.   Which was an excellent tutorial!  (Although it I were to make this again I’d tweak the template to fit my teapot better.)  For the piecing I used a foundation piecing technique with my scrap batiks.  (I keep all my batik scraps, no matter how small- batiks are far too expensive to be throwing away the remnants.)

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
There was little planning involved with the piecing, I just pulled fabric out of the scrap bin & looked to see how I could incorporate it into the design.  It came together quickly & was just the freeing type of creativity I needed that day.

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
I knew I wanted tight quilting & I threw the pieces onto the longarm with some Warm & Natural batting scraps & did some straight line quilting approx. 1/4″ apart using Bottom Line thread in silver/gray.  Some lines are closer than others, basically I just winged it, wanting the same freeing quilting experience.

For the lining I used some old teapot fabric from my mom’s stash that was a Mary Engelbreit or Debbie Mumm design from the 90s.  Not my favorite & doesn’t match in the least, but hey, it’s a tea cozy lining- let’s not get too uptight about things.

For the binding I used some leftovers from some project I can’t remember but I made waaaaay too much for!  I used a machine binding technique since my hand sewing time is precious.

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
Overall I’m incredibly pleased with how this turned out- I love coming into the kitchen in the mornings & looking at my beautiful tea cozy!  And it’s been very effective in keeping my tea warm so three cheers for my idea working out in reality!