It’s time to revisit a blog from the past. If you remember correctly at the end of 2016, I was very concerned (and still am) about the current state of quilting. Shops are closing, please buy local, yada, yada, yada…
In my anxiety about preserving quilting, one of the last items I mentioned was that every quilter needs to teach someone else how to quilt. My happy to say that my local guild has a mentoring program for folks that come in and want to learn to quilt or learn to quilt better. This is important to keep the art alive.
However, I have a very special reason for wanting to pass the “quilt gene” along. Neither my daughter or daughter-in-law have expressed an interest in quilting. This has been distressing me, because I’m a sixth generation quilter and I was wondering if I would have anyone to leave my machines and stash to when I’m called to That Great Quilt Bee in the Sky. However, I’ve been blessed with two granddaughters. My youngest is Ell. She will be three in May.
And this is my oldest, Evangeline.
Evangeline just turned four. She has always expressed a desire to sit on my lap while I sewed. So we did just that. She’d sit on my lap and touch the start and stop button on the machine. She’d raise and lower the pressure foot. She’d depress the needled down button. She’d rummage through my scrap box and lay her “quilt” out on the floor and move pieces around until she got it “just right.” She’d ask for a Ziploc bag to take some “stash” home with her to play with.
In short, this is a little gal after her Mimi’s heart and soul. I promised her when she turned four, I’d get a machine for her that was all hers. After we celebrated her fourth birthday, that was the first thing out of her mouth. “Where’s my machine, Mimi?”
The apple definitely did not fall far from the tree with this one.
Let me explain this process. I did not want to get her a toy sewing machine. They’re great, but the manufacturing folks really don’t make those like they did in the forties and fifties when the machines would literally last for generations. They don’t sew well and usually only do a chain stitch. I knew Evangeline would get discouraged with that, especially since she’s seen what my Janome 7700 can do. So, I purchased her a real machine.
I chose a Janome Honeycomb.
It’s small – even the pedal is the right size for her foot. It has a drop-in bobbin, so we don’t have to struggle with a bobbin case. We tried it out this week and she is smitten. I’ve got to make a few adjustments, but we’re good to go. The first thing she wants to make is a skirt. I know, it’s not a quilt, but you start where they want to. Evangeline and Elli will be staying with me quite a bit as their parents are moving in the next few weeks, so I plan to take them on a field trip to a local big box store with fabric. I have a simple skirt pattern (two pieces). I want her to pick out her fabric, the notions, and her own sewing basket.
We do have rules. She’s to never use the machine without me. And while she’s sewing, I work with her only. She must wear tennis shoes. They don’t slide, the toe is closed, and despite the fact that I’m diligent about picking up stray pins, you never know when I may miss one. I cut the fabric – she’s not to touch my fabric scissors or the rotary cutter. At least for now.
There’s nothing like teaching someone else to sew and quilt. Especially when that someone is your granddaughter.
Love and Stitches,
Sherri and Sam