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Thread: What is the best task for kids?

  1. #1

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    When introducing kids to quilting, what tasks do you think are best to start them with? I'm thinking really little kids, so safety is an issue. I wouldn't start with rotary cutting, but where should we start? Sewing - by machine or hand? Cutting the traditional way? Tracing templates? Applique? Ironing? What tasks are interesting and likely to be successful without being too dangerous?

  2. #2
    Super Member grammyp's Avatar
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    How young are we talking? My 4 yo grandson can iron and trace templates. I wouldn't want him to cut them out yet, but the 7 yo can. I would think even youngsters can hand sew simple squares together. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Maybe fusible applique? Start them out by drawing squares and circles on paper, then sew on them without any thread in the needle. When they catch on, trace squares and circles and fuse them to blocks and let them stitch them using a blanket stitch. Teach them to go slow and steady, and on a larger circle, they shouldn't have to stop and adjust very often. If you use a varigated thread that matches the applique and background, it will hide the little boo boo's too :wink:

    They could have a very cute cuddle quilt quickly with this pattern. A 10 or 12" block with a 8 or 10" circle or square in the center would work up fast.

    You could help them sew the blocks together, and do a simple SID with a wider zig zag stitch. Or use a serpentine stitch, so it they wander a bit, it doesn't show up as much.

  4. #4
    Super Member Qbee's Avatar
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    For itty bitty I would think that "designing" the quilt with paper would be best. If they are too young to cut shapes out, they could color squares and put them in a design....then older could draw shapes, color them, cut them and glue in a quilt pattern, etc. Just slowly moving up the chain. Start with blunt scissors and blunt needles like they use in some crafts. They could have a big time! :D

  5. #5
    Junior Member oldhag's Avatar
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    I started my dgd with pre cut squares of White fabric. She drew pictures on them with sharpies. Then she sewed borders on the squares and we used them to make decretive pillows for gifts. Her great grands, and aunties etc. loved them and she had fun designing them. It was quick and simple, just what she needed to hold her attention and produce something in a very short time. No fuss over sewing straight, just letting her explore her creativity her own way.

  6. #6
    Super Member C.Cal Quilt Girl's Avatar
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    One of the Holiday keep'em busy projects for the kids this year will be to draw and color blocks, for a group project, they can trace pic or draw there own, then color in with perm marker/fab marker, to be put together later. Can then be donated to a kids charity.
    Other wise hear I'm bored, so we try to bring along a project that all ages and genders can be a part of.

    Always offered the dishes but no takers, imaging that :) LOL

  7. #7
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    let them play, let them choose colors. You never said how old these kids are.

  8. #8
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    My 6yr old DGS wanted to [quilt] so, I took a couple of stray blocks and let him sew them together and sew on a border put a back on it turned it and he has a table runner.He took it to school to show everyone his quilt that he made.He was so proud.

  9. #9
    Super Member jrhboxers's Avatar
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    I baby-sit four little neighbors once in a while. They are all 3-4yo. and think that my quilting/sewing is the greatest thing since sliced bread. They all received quilts for Christmas last year and use them on a daily basis.

    So when they are over here, they want to sew. They are working on blocks of white Kona Cotton that I have cut and ironed to freezer paper to give them some sturdiness. They each pick out 5-6 pages from coloring books and I traced these on some of their blocks. They colored them in with fabric markers and I set the inks by ironing them. I have then taken some pictures of each of them and they are printed on the same size square. There are also blocks that have the outlines of their hands and feet too. Sarah Grace has some applique pieces that she has cut out with Fiskars school scissors (after I traced the outline on the backside of the fabrics). Oh, and they have each made a 'signature' block too.

    I am going to take all of their blocks and just make a really basic block quilt. They each went to the fabric store with me - and lunch - and picked out their 4 fabrics.
    When I only have one at a time, we work on putting the blocks together. They stand between me and the machine and they help guide the fabric through. Sarah Grace and JD REALLY love this step. And JD ALWAYS wants to put a new bobbin in the machine - he finds this fascinating.

    I am planning on tacking this quilt, so they can help with that too. I figure I can pull the needle through and then they can pull the ribbon the rest of the way, and help cut the ends.

    This a surprise for their parents for Christmas and we have been working on these since June. I think that they have been able to keep this a secret which really surprises me. This quilt will be a real snapshot of each child at this specific time in their lifes - reflecting everything about them. I know that if I had thought of this when my son was small, I would truly cherish a quilt like this. And the kids are SO proud - I can't wait to present them their quilts.

  10. #10

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    Thanks for the replies. I didn't say how old the kids are because I know that different kids will be ready for things at different ages. I am more interested in ideas for what to start with first and ideas for what to do earliest. I've never drawn on fabric, so those ideas are great. I never would have thought of it. Letting them design and do some things with the machine - like the bobbin - also sound like great ideas. Actually, my husband likes winding the bobbins. I have no idea why, but he loves it, and I have to call him into the room whenever it's time to do one. I suppose kids could be the same way. Thanks, ladies, and keep them coming!

  11. #11
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    My mom had square blocks of different colors already cut out then let my kids pick which colors they wanted to use. They loved picking their colors and the simple lines were enough for them to get used to the sewing machine.

  12. #12
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    The kids want to do the 'big fun' stuff first so let them start by using the machine, if nothing but lowering the pressure foot for you.

  13. #13
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    These are some of the things my kids do-
    cut fringes off washed FQ
    glue scraps onto pieces of paper (for toddlers)
    sew on the sewing machine their own doll quilt (if they are very small they sit on my lap)
    hand me pieces of fabric I need to iron
    sort and fold
    help with basting

    My now 13 yr old is an avid quilter and she made her first quilt at around three. With my help ofcourse. Others make their first quilt when they are older. It all depends on how precise they are. Also I have them tie quilts well before they do quilting. I found hand sewing much harder then machine sewing for them to do.

    Rotary cutting is the last thing I let them do. Now at 13 I let DD rotary cut under my watchful eye. I had a friend whose 10 yr old sister cut herself with a rotary cutter at a class at Quilt in a Day. Just not worth it to me.

    Besure to do it all in small increments spaced over time. that way they keep enjoying quilting. do not forget their snacks and some of mom's/gram's chocolate treats.

  14. #14
    Super Member Jennifer22206's Avatar
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    my (almost) 2 year old loves to color on white fabric with fabric markers. She "draws" all sorts. We have laminate floors in the house and I cut out 12 or 14 inch squares and use painters tape to tape them to the floor so they don't move when she colors them. I don't allow food or drink in my sewing area - we always take a "break" every half hour - that's my daughters attention span to coloring.

  15. #15
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    my granddaughters started at 4 (they had already been collecting fabrics and had a good stash :)
    i picked up a little singer machine and a little carebear table and chairs so they had work area that worked for them...not trying to deal with my (over-size to them) machine and table.
    i did all cutting and pressing; they would lay their fabrics out on the floor, arrange them how ever they wanted and then start sewing them together. i did not take any of the joy of their accomplishments from them by critizing ; they only received praise even when a seam was 2" wide. their project! each girl made a very special quilt for their daddy who is in the military. i even turned a dresser on it's side for them to stand on so they could quilt their own quilts on the long-arm...all 3 of them (now 15, 14 & 10) still sew, and are quite good! the middle child designs purses for her friends and is an awesome hand embroiderer. the oldest makes quilts, the youngest makes pillows and fun stuff...they love to create!
    my biggest tip (and lots of people whole-heartedly disagree) is don't sweat the small stuff, let them create without criticism...anything can be (fixed- out of site) to make it work and they feel so (empowered) when they finish that pillow, quilt, rice bag; what ever. keep things (kid-sized) so they do not have difficulties reaching. and let them create. you will learn lots from them.
    and as for the stash...my youngest gd is the (worst) when it comes to fabric (really takes after her grandma) if they go to any store and it sells fabric she will not leave the store without a piece (at least a fq) she has been feeding her stash since she was about 2 1/2. when ever the girlcome to visit they know that my fabric shelves are free-they can use anything at all they want to as long as they are making something and not being wasteful...well that youngest girl one time she had a fabric in her stash i wanted to use a little piece of...i helped my self, she wasn't there...used a 4" square from a yard of fabric...well i will tell you what; i was in big trouble when she saw the quilt i used a piece of her fabric in! she knew right away and let me know, her stash was not there for anyone to just paw through! i responded with ... you help yourself to my fabric all the time and i only used a little piece. she said...well you can buy fabric when ever you want...i have to talk my mother into it, and that's not easy!
    so, i grin and help their stashes...and i buy my own :)

  16. #16
    Junior Member caspoohbear's Avatar
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    for my 7yr old nephew and 4 year old niece I had them pick out fabric they wanted and "measure" how much they needed to fit on a pillow form.
    Then I sat at the machine and had them stand and operate the foot control (with the speed low) saying "go" "stop". Was the perfect level for them for a first project. Then we made puppets the same way, and once they were sewed they colored the puppet faces with fabric markers. They were supposed to color the whole puppet but they decided they wanted to cut and sew clothes, a hat and hair, I used the needle to put yarn on for hair but had them tie the knots and cut it the length they wanted.

  17. #17
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    I went in to my son's third grade class to show them some quilts and teach them some basic stuff. I took graph paper for them to design some blocks and I had some "cheater cloth" with quilted designs printed that I had sandwiched with backing and batting. I had pre- threaded needles and showed them how to hand quilt. They LOVED it - especially the boys. Their gym class was after this, and the gym teacher actually had to come and find the class because they didn't want to stop quilting!

  18. #18
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    Many years ago as part of the "Art Ladies" for our school we did a program on quilts and had cut out many shapes and sizes and colors of construction paper for the kids to make a quilt square picture. They were amazed that they all had the same colors and shapes to choose from but the final pictures were all so different. With so many students we couldn't use real fabric, but the idea worked.

  19. #19
    JT
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    Jane,
    I hope you will share pictures of these quilts when they are completed. I'm sure the kids & parents will feel especially blessed by both you and the kids creations! Sounds like fun!!

  20. #20
    Junior Member Kieta's Avatar
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    My 4 1/2 year old is starting quilting this fall. she has a nice selection of scraps all sorted out and ready to go. we plan to make a string quilt. luckily, my viking has speed control so i have her on the lowest speed. i put the foot pedal up on a stool for her to reach. i'll do any cutting for now. she can probably help press things if i lower the iron board way down for her. just be creative and let the child show you how much they can handle.

    side note - Jane, you are amazing. great ideas! 4 at a time that qualifies you for saint hood!

  21. #21
    Super Member quilting cat's Avatar
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    Five yo hand sewn project: A sock puppet with button eyes, embroidered mouth,yarn hair stitched through the toe and knotted.
    First quilt: precut squares -- let child choose layout, piece in rows; keep project small.

  22. #22
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    As long as you explain safety precautions and how to use the tools first, the kids do well. I have had 4 year olds cutting and sewing and seven year olds using the rotary cutters. The children are never left unsupervised, and reminded of safety rules. I believe the tools should be the proper ones as well as sharp and easy to use. I think the accidents happen more if one is struggling with blunt or inadequate tools that are not sharp enough to do the job. If you do the cutting and sewing the kids don't get used to using the tools properly.My sister and I used to cook family meals from the age of 9 and our practise came earlier than that, so I think sewing is the same.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Quilting Nonnie's Avatar
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    My granddaughter, who was 7, and I made a quilt. I bought a charm square pack and let her play with the layout until she was happy.

    She was able to sew on my Janome and iron. She was quite good with the machine. The first few times she didn't pay attention and really sewed large seams I picked them out for her. On the next mistake I told her that the next time she would be picking out the seam herself. She paid much more attention and her seams were better. She absolutely loved her quilt. I sewed on the binding. She helped tie it.

    The same summer my grandson, 10, and I made a quilt. I went to a very easy quilt. He picked the fabric. His sewing ability was much worse than my seven-year-old granddaughter. He couldn't pay attention from the start to the end of the seam! I think every seam was sewn and picked out at least twice. He almost made it through the whole thing. He did love steam ironing. He steamed so much he ran my iron out of water!

    This is my grandson's quilt
    Name:  Attachment-119930.jpe
Views: 9
Size:  46.4 KB

    And my granddaughter
    Name:  Attachment-119931.jpe
Views: 6
Size:  31.2 KB

  24. #24
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    You could even start them out on pillow cases. Just a few seams & their project is finished. Makes them proud that they can start & finish in a day.

  25. #25

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    I love that idea!

    Quote Originally Posted by Halo
    You could even start them out on pillow cases. Just a few seams & their project is finished. Makes them proud that they can start & finish in a day.

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