Thursday, May 5, 2016

Quilting for Fun and Fundraising

      This February, a fellow parent from my daughter's school asked me if I had any ideas of things the kids could make to sell for silent auction at an annual fundraising event being held in early April. Seeing as sewing is so often on my brain, I suggested making a quilt that the kids help create. She loved the idea (especially since I volunteered to sew it!) and so I spent a good chunk of the month of March madly cutting and sewing and quilting. It was a hit and they ended up using it as the only item up for live auction that night. 
      It was a lot of work but good fun too. The school names the classrooms each a different color of the rainbow, and they recently voted their school mascot to be a cow. So the design of the quilt presented itself to me pretty easily. I cut out squares of muslin and gave the kids some fabric markers with free rein to decorate the squares however they liked. I provided some stencils and some ideas in case they needed some inspiration, but barely anyone paid any attention to that - they were so full of their own ideas. Then I arranged the squares in groups based on class, two rows for each class. The white squares were bordered by solid colored fabric in the color of their class. There was also a strip of the solid colored fabric above and below the rows. Then the classes were all sewn together in rainbow order. The Purples didn't participate (their students are older and they don't have as much free time in class) so I used purple to make a border so they would still be represented. Finally, I used a black spots on white cow print fabric for the backing, and made quilt binding out of the cow as well. I used the same tutorial for the binding as I did on my first quilt, because it is so clear and easy to follow with great results. 
    The top row of blue squares and the two rows of indigos are not in this picture, but this is the best shot I was able to get of it. It is a double sized quilt; about 80x88". And believe it or not, I did iron all parts of this several times. The light in this picture is really highlighting all the wrinkles created during my quilting battle. 
     I kept the quilting super simple, because I do not have a long arm machine, and this is the second quilt I have ever made! It is mostly stitch in the ditch, with a row of zig zags on the solid stripe in the middle of each class section. I learned my lesson about starting my quilting in the middle of the quilt instead of zipping a line around the border of the quilt first thing. Yikes, not sure what I was thinking. I was able to smooth things out pretty well though, and really the focus of this quilt is the kids art not my sewing. 
      I brought the quilt in to show all of the kids during a school wide talent show that was held the week before the fundraising event (the fundraiser was adult only, so I wanted to give the kids a chance to see it). It was so great to hear all of their voices exclaiming when I unrolled it and held it up! They were so excited to see their work compiled into a big functional object. "Wow!" "I see mine!" "Beautiful!" That was definitely my favorite moment. Fern came up to the front of the room to help me hold it up and display it for everyone to see. She was very proud as well, which was very sweet. She usually says she never wants to be in the talent show, and is scared to get up in front of the whole school (understandably! that type of stuff used to terrify me as well!), but she said that she was looking forward to going up there with me all day. Aw. 
      Getting the quilt squares back was like Christmas. I loved seeing what each child came up with. It was great to see themes emerge from each class (the green have a lot of bird watchers, the reds love basketball, lots of pacman fans in the oranges, etc.) and to see the differences between the age groups (ranging from K-5). Here are some of my favorites. 
Note the sloth in the red section!
   There were so many awesome images. My only regret is that I didn't take more pictures. I was too concerned with trying to keep the dog hair off everything. No small task when you are dealing with this much fabric!
   I had so many ideas for this that didn't end up making it into the quilt for the sake of time and simplicity. Perhaps there will be more in the years to come....

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. This is beautiful! You are a really talented sewestress (not a word, I think, but now it is!)
    I love your blog, Jenn!

    1. Thank you, Amy, that means a lot!