Introduce your children or school class to the art of quilting by showing them how to make a cloth project to use or share with others. Encourage children to work on an individual quilt square that can be painted or hand colored with materials that have been developed for long lasting quality.
Show children actual quilts or photos of projects that other children have worked on. Describe what quilts have been used for in an interesting history lesson. Explain that they can undertake a project to make a quilt for a fundraiser or as a donation to a children's hospital, Ronald McDonald House or other charitable organization. Provide the children with 12 x 12 cotton squares. Encourage each child to draw a picture that matches a theme you have all chosen for the quilt. Place a piece of cardboard or freezer paper under each piece of fabric and have the children paint their images with fabric paint. Let the paint dry overnight as directed in the product instructions. Have adult volunteers work with the children to pin the squares together and sew the top of the quilt. A simple twin or full size sheet will be an appropriate backing for the quilt with a quilt bat or blanket sandwiched between. Older students may be able to do the finish work putting the quilt layers together. Teach the children how to tie a knot in each square with embroidery floss for the final touch.
Purchase pre-cut quilt squares at a fabric or quilt supply store. Ask each child to write their names on one square with a fabric pen. Encourage them to trace one hand with the pen for a personal touch. Ask for parent volunteers to come into the class room and help pin each square in place. A volunteer can sew the quilt blocks and sections together for the class.
An older group of students can be taught to cut out cloth for your quilt project. Cut 3- to 4-inch wide strips to go between the quilt blocks for a more detailed quilt project that a family or class can undertake. Have each child draw a picture and write a paragraph about a favorite book the family or class has read together. Each child can work on two squares. Pin the strips to the individual block and then pin the rows of bordered blocks together. Pin the quilt layers together. Sew the quilt together.
Teach your child how to hand sew. Encourage her to pin blocks or shapes together for a quilt top. The pieces will be hand-sewn with a running stitch with straight 1/4-inch-long dashes of quilting thread. The project can be done with remnant cloth or cut-up pieces of cotton clothing in a variety of shapes. The project can be made in an easy crazy quilt style with embroidered embellishments. Share with your child that quilters from the past recycled their materials to make this elegant mixture of velvet, satin and cotton pieces into a heirloom quilt.
Suzie Faloon is a freelance writer who has written online content for various websites. As a professional crafter and floral designer, Faloon owned a florist business for nearly 25 years. She completed the Institute of Children's Literature course in 1988.