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Thread: Teaching children to quilt

  1. #1
    Senior Member Cagey's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Southern Wisconsin

    Teaching children to quilt

    I was recently asked to teach a group of 6 children 12-15 yrs how to quilt. I'm concerned with the rotary cutting.
    I was thinking it might be safer to have the squares cut for them I'd like to teach them all the basics.
    I suppose I could demonstrate the rotary but have them draw around the ruler and cut on the lines with scissors. Thought I'd start with a 9 patch or disappearing 9 patch (depending on the age). Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    Front row
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    When my guild is asked to teach kids to quilt it usually means teach them to use the machine! We always start with a simple burrito style pillowcase. We prepare the kits before the class. I wouldn't let a child use a rotary cutter at all if a parent wasn't present. Pre cuts are the way to go.
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  3. #3
    Super Member
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    Jan 2012
    The Colony, TX
    I agree, the classes that I have seen for kids the pieces are already cut out

  4. #4
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Northern Michigan
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    NO CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF 18 SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO USE THE ROTORY CUTTER! in the sewing school the kids use scissors---just like our parents/grandparents did for hundreds of years...rotory cutters are RAZOR BLADES...they are not something any child should be using...i've seen (kids) who were 19 years old---singing/dancing around, happy happy- cutting blocks...and suddenly---57 stitches later....
    there is no reason why kids should not be taught to use scissors like they have for generations...after they are (experienced- have learned much- they can advance to *advanced tools*) they should not be starting with advanced tools---it's all fun & games til someone gets hurt....and a rotory cutter can be VERY DANGEROUS...it's not fun any more if you loose a finger doing it...TEACH THEM SAFETY FIRST!
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  5. #5
    Super Member
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    Apr 2010
    Centerville, WA
    I too would start them out with the burrito style pillowcase. They are simple straight lines & work up fast. Then on to a simple quilt. A 4 patch, 9 patch or rail fence would be good to start with. The rail fence would be great, too, cause it is also sewing strips together & then cutting into blocks. You could have the strips all cut out for them & let them cut the blocks with scissors. Later you could show them how the rotary cutter works, but be sure to use a glove for safety & only allow them to use it with written parent consent & only one at a time so you can be sure they use it properly.

  6. #6
    Super Member retrogirl02's Avatar
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    May 2008
    I taught a set of twins to piece & they already knew how to rotary cut. They were probably 11 or 12 at the time of their first lessons. The girls had been crafting for years, used to make those no sew baby blankets and cut their own regularly. Both were very careful and had not had any injuries from it, however, I precut their fabric in a kit form and let mom know she can work with them to cut fabric at home if she wanted to. I didn't want to be responsible for the rotary cutting. I demonstrate using shears only, even for adults....if they specifically ask for rotary lessons, I'll do that but otherwise, I keep it simple.

    Kids 6 and up are able to piece. Utilizing precut charms, they can easily make 4 patches to learn to sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, press and line pieces up properly. My daughter LOVES piecing and that's how she learned at 6. Since the twins were older, they each had very different ideas of what they wanted to learn. One preferred embroidery and applique and the other only wanted to piece. Simple strip piecing only lasted a lesson or two before both girls were ready to move on.
    OVER THE RAINBOW JANE is the name of my Dear Baby Jane----though it should be poor, neglected & may never ever be finished baby jane!

  7. #7
    Junior Member
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    Nov 2012
    My 12 year old is using rotary cutters in her sewing class at school. But she goes to that class every day and had to have a whole class on safety before using them. All the rulers also have finger guards on them. I don't worry about it. But the teacher has been teaching for years.

    If it were me for a shorter period of time than DD's class I'd go with precuts for peace of mind. But one on one I think kids that age are fine with rotary cutters so long as safety precautions are taken. I remember using them around that age as well.

  8. #8
    Senior Member lisalisa's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    Queen of California Baby
    Kids are so much easier to teach than grown ups are. We often do "Lisa's Sewing School" and everyone knows that the "pizza" cutter is strictly off limits. Better to err on the side of caution, especially with someone else's kid. I'd prefer they hurt themselves on their own time
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

  9. #9
    Power Poster alikat110's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Waco, Texas
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    My 10 y/o daughter already rotary cuts. I taught her how to do this safely. She has been doing it for at least 2 yrs. Fortunately, it is easy to do when we are in a one on one teaching environment. She understands not to let herself get distracted and she wears the smallest safety glove available.

  10. #10
    Super Member lalaland's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Yakima, WA
    I had a new group in my sewing class in September and decided their first project would be a wall hanging celebrating Peace Week. To avoid the rotary cutter issue, my girlfriend and I made kits. They learned a variety of techniques - applique, fusing, creating a block, adding batting, stitch-in-the-ditch. So my vote is for kits.
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    Thought for EVERY Day: You know all those things you've always wanted to do? You should go do them.

  11. #11
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2011
    Cadiz, KY
    Two of my friends and I teach 4-H quilting to 4 children ages 9-12. They have mastered stitching a straight line on paper, accurate 1/4" seam, hand stitching a binding, and making a 4-patch. We cut and trim all their fabrics as needed. Their use of a rotary cutter doesn't come until the 3rd or 4th year of quilting. They each have named their ripper, ie "Jack the Ripper" and "My BBF". Can't wait to see what they name the rotary cutter. We love what we do with these wonderful kids. Our 9 yr. old even won 3rd place in the Moda School Quilt Block Challenge sponsored by the Paducah Quilt Museum!!

  12. #12
    Super Member eparys's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    New England, USA
    I am a firm believer that 12 - 15 year olds can rotary cut and 6 is not a huge number to manage. That being said - I agree that the first project ought to be "pre-cut" kit type of project if it is only a one lesson sort of thing. They will want to feel as if they accomplished something and will want to go home with something in their hand. We recently did Pillowcases with 12 Girl Scouts and the pillow cases were all pre-cut and ready to go. They did great and all went home with pillow cases.

    A quilt will warm your body and comfort your soul.


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