Friday, March 6, 2015

Quilt Sharing

Today I had the privilege of bringing my Sisters' Ten Quilt II into 5th grade at my school. The students are currently reading the book Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson - a Newberry Honor book that, IMHO, is worth many, many reads. It's a gorgeously illustrated story about several generations of one girl's family (I won't spoil it for you further). A central theme is that all the women sew for different reasons. If you have kids 9 or over, they can handle the subject matter and they will appreciate it for sure.

Anyway, the books starts with slavery/the antebellum period, when women created "show ways" or quilts that "showed the way" North to freedom. As a historian, I have to admit that this account of history is debatable, but the most basic part of it is important: this woman's ancestors learned to sew for a purpose. My Sister's Ten Quilt II had several similar blocks to the quilt blocks in the book: flying geese, North Star, Crossroads. The kids were astounded that I had them on my quilt!

They ask all kinds of questions: "How long does it take to make?" (this one I calculated at over 50 hours), "How much could you buy it for?" (probably about $1,000, but I'll never sell it, so it's priceless), and my favorite: "So, you do this in your free time?!" Hahaha. They oohed and ahhed at the back of the quilt ("I love the rose!" "I love the butterfly!"). The teacher and I drew some interesting parallels between my sewing and the book: I can go to the fabric store, while those woman could not; I sew with a machine; they sewed by hand.

Kids' excitement is infectious. They were astounded when I told them I made a matching one in different colors for my sister. :D Some said they wanted to learn how to sew! I can't wait to work with students all over my district tomorrow as we make a quilt for one of our 7th graders, who is battling leukemia. I'll be sure to take pictures and share. Time to finish packing up all my stuff!


  1. How awesome! What fun to be able to share this with them and make so many connections to the book. Sounds like you made quite an impression on them. Way to recruit!!

  2. I love the excitement that comes with sharing your work with others who really appreciate it. Funny you mention the dubious history in that book (I have a full blog post about that tomorrow!)... I saw your Facebook post about tomorrow, too. I hope it goes well and is a lot of fun.

  3. What a cool way to make that book and story more relatable for them! Sounds like a fun day!

  4. That is really cool. What a great thing to share.

  5. What a great hands-on lesson! I love the connection to the book, and the fact that you are then making a quilt with students, too! I hope it went well -- looking forward to seeing how it it turns out!

  6. This is so awesome! It's great that a) you had the opportunity to share AND tie it into the lesson, and b) the kids were excited about it. How cool?!?!?!


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