Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Zakka 2.0 Books-for-Baby Quilt

This week's Zakka project is a baby quilt.   I loved the book theme of the quilt, but simply did not have time right now to piece 16 blocks.  Pictured below is my version -- the "Learn to Read, Read to Learn" wall hanging.
 Reading instruction is an essential part of my teaching -- both teaching students to read, and at the same time teaching them how to learn from their reading.  It is an exciting process!
 This book wall hanging will join my other quilted pieces in my classroom.  After some difficulty with the apron paper piecing pattern, I was a bit hesitant to try this one.  The open book portion gave me a bit of trouble on the first few (and sadly meant pulling out that seam ripper!), but by the third one I was getting it.  I'm pleased with the results, and am excited to hang this in my classroom.

I love the backing on this.  I've been holding on to it to make a tote, but it just seemed perfect for this project.  I think I still have enough for that tote, too!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The joy of teaching...

As an elementary school special education teacher, I enjoy the art of teaching.  I love everything about it, with a possible exception of numerous meetings!  Even these are not so bad when the topic is something I am passionate about.  But the greatest joy, by far, are the students!  The challenge of meeting them where they are at and moving them forward is a task that is never the same from day to day, includes hours of pondering and planning, trying strategies, changing strategies because a certain one did not work, and most of all seeing and feeling the joy a student (and the teacher!) has when they make progress.  TODAY, however, my blog really is not intended to be about the joy of teaching at school, but rather, the joy of teaching a rising second grader to sew!  (Sewing?? Does everything have to come back to sewing??  No, but in this blog is usually does!)

This summer I've had the privilege of teaching my grand-niece to sew.... much like I gave her mama sewing lessons some 20-some years ago!  During the first lesson she decided that she wanted to make a quilt for her doll -- appropriately named "Big Dolly!"  Out came the box of scrap fabrics.  We spent much of our time that day with "H" picking out the fabrics she wanted to use.  After talking about ideas, and cutting out squares, I put out an old doll blanket of mine on the table, and told her to play around with square placement.  She knew exactly what she wanted to do and laid out this lovely design.

To add an additional design feature, she chose a flower from another fabric, and fused it to each corner piece.  She had such a great design, and as I looked at it, I could hear myself thinking ... great design, but we are going to need to get these squares sewn together side by side...could get a bit complicated for this project... So, in my nice teacher voice, I began telling "H" that usually in a quilt we sew the squares to each other to make a design.  "Well," she began, "I was thinking we could sew them to a fabric just like this."  Oh -- how brilliant!  How simple!!  I helped with ironing the edges under and after watching me sew one edge of a square, "H" did ALL the rest of the sewing on the quilt!
The look of delight on her face was priceless...and the joy of teaching once again was realized!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Yum-Yum Apple Bib

Patchwork, Please! Sew-a-long Project No. 6
The first project in the "For Kids" section of the book is a bib.  Not having a use for a bib at this time, I almost passed over the project.  My desire to try every project in this book, however, got the best of me ... and so I now have a "Yum-Yum Apple Bib"!  The project went together quickly, though I did make a few changes in order to use items I had on hand.
 I'm not sure why I was drawn to pink, but decided to use this very cute Riley Blake fabric I had on hand.  I paired it with a pink linen and pink pin stripe, also from my stash.
 Rather than pin the apple template as the book suggested, I traced it only freezer paper and ironed it to the front panel.  This made it very simple to sew around the edges to hold the quilted pieces together.  I added a layer of batting to give the bib a bit of extra thickness.  For others participating in the sew-along you may notice I made my ties a bit different from the pattern.  I only did this because I did not have enough of the wider bias tape to follow through with the ties as well!  I love finding ways to "make do" with what I have -- especially when waiting (as usual) to the last minute to finish up a project! :)

Stayed tuned for next week's project -- Dino-Mite Hat!  Another project for little ones!
Check out my bib and others here on Lindsay's blog link.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Diamond Patchwork Placemat

Week # 5 Project -- Diamond Patchwork Placemat -- This placemat project looked very simple to me, but turned out to be quite a challenge!  I wonder if any of my other Patchwork, Please! sew-along sewists felt the same??  I had such good success with the paper piecing method on the tea cozy, that I thought the simple lines on this one would be a breeze.
The instructions said to use a paper-piecing method or other preferred patchwork method...  I was demonstrating to my daughter-in-law how simple this method was ... and ... yikes!  How DO you get all these pieces in the right order when they repeat 1, 2, and 3 several times.  (That will only make sense to those of you who know the pattern!)
 The directions did not make sense to me for this strip, so I tried one way, but half was through realized it would not work, so out came the seam ripper!  Grrrr....  Then I tried another way, and came out with the shown results.  As you can see my corners are cut off a few places.  Double Grrrr....
Oh, well.  On this one I'll be happy with the overall look...

...which I love!  Red has been a favorite color of mine for the kitchen section of this sew-along.  Next week's project is a bib -- to kick off the "For Kids" section.  I'll be linking my project to the link section at LRStitched.