Thursday, March 4, 2010

Quilting with the Fifth Grade

Today the fifth-graders made quilt blocks, and I got to help. Each year they make blocks as part of a unit on a book called The House of Dies Drear, a mystery that features a secret passageway used by the Underground Railroad. In this unit, the classes learn that quilts may have served to provide messages to runaway slaves, and they get to make a quilt block that is later sewn into a quilt. Last year I put the quilt together, but this year I just helped today as the kids made their blocks.

They cut out shapes and glued them down to a background fabric. Most of the kids sewed down their patches by hand, but a few used the one sewing machine that was on hand. They all sewed their button by hand -- quite a feat for kids who generally hadn't ever held a needle before. I think I threaded about a hundred needles, but it was worth it just to see the kids fearlessly cut into their fabrics ........

......and make wonderful blocks like these.

One child brought in some old family quilt blocks to show, including this one from 1936 which used newspaper as a foundation. Pretty cool.

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