Teaching James to quilt!


James expressed a wish to learn to use both my Featherweight machine and the treadle!  I said I was happy to teach him to use either or both, but he had to make something, not just stitch gash bits of fabric...

He chose to make quilts!  He has some very good ideas, especially the one that started' Mummy, can I have a look at your fabric?' and resulted in him running off with some of my best bits, AND spending all my quilt money buying MORE fabric to go with the chosen bits!  Which did he enjoy more...  Raiding my stash or spending my cash?  Hard to say...  He liked both!

Having chosen the bits and bought things to go with them, we washed and ironed the fabric, and while it went through washer and dryer, he got some stitching lessons on the Featherweight.  He liked the look of this 'Jamesy sized machine' as he put it!


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The first stitches!  Learning to go s-l-o-w-l-y!

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Keeping the fabric straight isn't quite as easy as it looks!


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Move those thumbs, James!  You really do not want to stitch them...

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Good lad - that's better!

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Going round corners involves remembering a lot more things - like lowering the needle and raising the presser foot!


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Once the fabric was dry, he wanted to cut the crazy shapes...

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You need as much concentration to cut the shapes well as you do to steer the sewing machine!


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Snip!  Snip!


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Do I want it this way up...

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Or would it be better that way...  Hm...


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Ooh!  Nice shape!  BIIIIG EYES!  I love this picture of his Wide Awake eyes!

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Pressing the Bondawebbed shapes to the backing fabric.


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The first set of shapes is bonded in place!  now to try sewing them!

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First James had to re-thread the sewing machine, having decided that the yellow thread Would Not Do!

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Needle threader at the ready...  Like me, he tends to peer over the top of his specs to do this bit...

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Practicing on a spare block...  Tricksy little gadget, the zigzagger...


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This is hard work, and the results are not good enough!  We will go over this with Lily when she gets back from the shop!  Zigzagging with the Featherweight was not a success, sadly.



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Having decided to put that quilt aside until Lily comes home, James started on a pile of 6" charm squares I had from a couple of swaps.  These will make a nice mad charm quilt, which will be a great practice piece for later when he wants to do pieced blocks for the red, white and blue quilt...


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I put a bit of tape on the throat plate to give him a guide, and that seemed to do the trick nicely.  1/4" seams are easy with the tape!


There will be more pictures later, next time we have a sewing session.

New sewing session, new machine!  James decided he wanted to test the Lotus thoroughly, and so he did.  They got on very well together, and he wants me to get one to keep!


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James liked the little Elna Lotus: it's about the same size as the Featherweight, so just the right size for a boy to start on!

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He found it easier to get the seams even with this machine too...

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Progress is quite fast, even though he's sewing slowly.  Concentration levels are high

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Matching edges takes patience...


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And just like his mum, James likes to sew in bare feet!


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Here are the strips all laid out in the order they will be sewn together.  This will b a sort of mad random coloured patch effect, and is made of 6" charm squares from a couple of swaps I was in last year.  We need to find a suitable border.  Could be quite a task, with all that riot of colours!

After this, the Lotus went to its new owner, and James tried the Lily 550.  He thought it was the best for zigzags, but he still has a soft spot for the Lotus!  He's also very good at the precision stuff: this has a lot to do with the model making he does with his dad, I think.  There's lots of tiny finicky detail in that, and as a result, his fine motor skills are quite well developed.  This makes the finicky bits of piecing and quilting a little easier.  His seam accuracy is much better than mine was at a similar stage in my sewing career.

James finally finished his first quilt at the beginning of August 2005.  He did all the sewing of the squares, sewed the border on after I pinned it for him, and helped sandwich and pin baste it.  He then did ALL the quilting, AND sewed the binding on after I pinned it.  I made a label for it, and this is how it turned out:

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