Sewing with My Granddaughter

Those of us who quilt, or enjoy any hobby, know the joy of passing it on to others. Since I made my first quilt almost ten years ago, I’ve wrangled one sister into it, and she’s passed it on to others. I’ve also tried to inspire and help many more. Yesterday I had the pleasure of working with my granddaughter —  the very one for whom I made the first quilt!

She and I had talked about a project, a quilt for her little brother. They are farm kids and John Deere is a big part of their lives. The barn and shed are filled with equipment, implements far larger than their great-grandpa could have imagined. She thought her brother would like a John Deere quilt. What do you think?

After we talked, I found fabric online with John Deere logos. It wasn’t obvious from the description that the fabric was printed panels, not simply designed yardage. I bought “3”, which turned out to be a length of three panels, rather than three yards.

Yesterday we finally had a chance to work together on a design for a quilt. She agreed that she’d be happy to use one panel whole, and add to the bottom. I think we’ll probably add to the top, too. Because she is new to sewing, this will give us a pretty good shot at a completed project she’ll be happy with.

Before we started I showed her all the medallion quilts I’m working on. She really focused on the design issues while I explained some of the problems I had and how I fixed them (or plan to.) So when similar issues came up for her plan, she understood quickly how to deal with them.

Using one panel allows us to cannibalize the other two for tractor parts. 🙂 After we talked through a plan, I cut pieces from one of the panels and we discussed how they would connect to each other. She watched while I used the rotary cutter to square pieces. And she listened carefully when I showed her the quarter-inch presser foot, and how she can use the little guide to sew her pieces together.

I was really impressed with her concentration. We spent almost four hours designing, pressing, cutting, and sewing. She did all the sewing, while I handled cutting and ironing. One thing she was clear about was using a diamond-in-a-square block.

I showed her how it can be designed with only one square in the center, or with two. She definitely wanted two. She picked the blue plaid to help bring the blues back into the border. The funny yellow chicks print is one I used in her bed quilt, too.

She did all the assembly of the bottom border as it is so far. You can see the selvage edge at the bottom of the printed panel. Everything below that is made from parts she sewed.

To finish, we’ll figure out how much more needs to be added on to the border section, and then edge it with the tractor border that surrounds the panel above. And we’ll need to talk about whether to add anything at the top of the quilt, too.

I wish I had a picture of her concentrating so hard at my machine. She did a great job, both with paying attention and with her sewing.


8 thoughts on “Sewing with My Granddaughter

  1. Thread crazy

    What a great day you had with your granddaughter and a beautiful quilt. I know you are so very proud of her and her accomplishments. I too have “sewn” a few projects with my granddaughters, but so far no one wants to make a quilt. Guess they’d rather I do the quilt making but I haven’t given up hope. Still have two younger ones to enfluence!

    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Don’t ever give up hope! I have two sisters. When one of them and I made a wedding quilt for the other, the one who worked with me said she would make 9-patches, but she wouldn’t do any half-square triangles. NOW she has a quilt in the AQS Des Moines show this week!!! We’re still working, oh so gently, on the other, who sews but does not quilt. Ah, but she will join us in Des Moines, so who knows what will happen??? 🙂

  2. Mary K

    That is such a cute quilt. Coming from a farming family, I can appreciate the very well done design. She should be very proud of her quilt. Especially since it is for her brother.


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