Tuesday was the fourth and final class of “Introduction to Patchwork Quilting Design” I taught to 20-plus youngsters while their moms studied the Biblical book of Ruth at a Ft. Bragg chapel. This week’s traditional patchwork block, “Cross and Crowns,” was inspired by the Bible story of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.
After the Bible story and discussion, the kids were overjoyed to receive their completed placemats. I called them forward in groups for a show and tell session about the design elements employed in their art work. Most arranged thirty-five squares randomly like the sample I showed them on Day 1. Arranging variously colored squares randomly keeps the viewer’s eye moving around the composition, making the artwork more interesting.
Some of the children selected a monochromatic design approach. We talked about “accent colors or elements” within a composition. Even monochromatic quilts can have a zinger. Most of the pinks are subdued hues in Rachel’s quilt, but the few brighter pinks add interest. In Abby’s quilt, above center, the aqua kitty cat square is the accent. Keona started out with an all navy placemat until I asked, “Wouldn’t you like to add a contrasting color?” She immediately said, “Red.” I thought she would alternate red and blue squares, but she alternated two red prints for a border around her navy squares. Very striking!
Several children chose a favorite main color and an accent color. Click the photo below, zooming in to examine the fabrics. Sarah’s placemat, on the far left, contains lots of blue textures and red textures. Various textures in a composition increase interest. Marcus (third from the left) added neutrals to his blue/green composition with a red zinger and a half square triangle for an interesting geometric difference. The fourth placemat, also blue, has red accent squares and a couple of bright yellow zingers. It is so intriguing to analyze the design elements the children employed!
Some arranged their chosen squares as a checkerboard, alternating colors. Favorite colors, favorite cartoon characters, favorite fabric motifs, all promoted creativity.
My favorite placemat (shhhh! don’t tell the others) is Caleigh’s. She was not motivated to design a placemat at all until she spied the bright flip-flop fabric squares in my bin. Then she excitedly pulled pink/purple chevrons, red polka dots, pink flowers, and teal and purple tonals for a summer theme.
A couple of the children plan to use their placemats as blankets for their American Girls dolls or stuffed toys. The youngest (age 6), quietest child had the biggest dream, that of making a lap quilt to snuggle in. She worked extra time to design six placemats which I joined with lilac sashing and borders. Jasmine was so happy to receive her kid-size quilt! (And now her three older sisters have the vision of making kid-sized quilts, too.)
What a joy to share my love of design and quilting with youngsters! It was a bit challenging for me to direct the children without dictating their fabric choices and placement. In the process I learned a lot, too.
Have you taught a child to quilt? What project did you begin with?