I have to declare my bias right up front, before I go anywhere else. This is my seven year old, the eldest of our smalls. She is an awesome kid, one of the most intelligent, creative and capable people I have ever met. She is a deep thinker and is kind and funny and well, just super. Also, it’s a long post. If you make it to the end, I applaud you!
This Thursday just passed, the Mr headed off with the middle small in tow for three nights to visit family. The biggest small and the smallest small were home with Mumma for the weekend and Miss 7 decided we would use our time to make a quilt for her bear.
On Thursday before school, she raided the scraps and laid out a strip quilt. That very night, we set up in the kitchen and got to work. Within an hour of showing her how to use the machine, she had made a quilt as you go quilt about 12″ x 14″ and then added in some extra quilting – there are snails in one of the fabrics and she wanted to make a snail trail. Bear is now warm and cosy.
I honestly (naively) thought that would satisfy her quilting bug and she would get distracted by other things for the weekend. Wrong.
My Amitie Textiles stash builder parcel arrived Friday and she snatched it up and then spent her Friday night fondling fabrics, mixing and matching the stash builder pack with some scraps from my sewing room and talking about making a quilt using triangles.
Saturday morning, she woke up all bossy like and asked me to start cutting for her. I did as I was instructed (while I’m ok with her using the sewing machine, the rotary cutter is a whole other step for me). I cut out all the pieces as per her direction and she set to sewing.
By Saturday afternoon, we had a completed quilt top. It was made with such fun, care and passion and it was a beautiful way to spend a weekend. The seams are not quarter inch, the points don’t meet and there are some strange extra strips in there to make up block sizes but you know what, I think this is just about my favourite quilt in the whole of everywhere!
The final three seams I had to sew for her as the top got too heavy and bulky for her, but I am so darn proud of this child and think it’s an amazing effort! The quilt is now basted and we started watching “Machine Quilting Negative Space”, a class with Angela Walters on Craftsy for ideas on quilting designs – sketching is happening as per the class instructions and I expect, like everything else, this next task won’t phase her nearly as much as it does me!
This exercise was really nice to spend time sewing with my girl but I have to be honest, it was also REALLY tough for me! There were many moments I had to breathe deeply to stop myself from interfering. To remind myself of the capable person I was working with, to allow her the freedom to create without limits and to show her that I respect her judgement.
The lessons I learnt from sewing with a small :: Breathe deeply, let go, have fun and stop thinking about the rules! Oh, and hide the glitter glue and the nail clippers from the two year old because when you are focusing on stitching, she is decorating the bedroom carpet and trimming her nails!
Do you sew with children? How much do you allow them to do? And, what lessons have you learnt along the way?