How LRN2QLT Works
Three patterns in one day—how can they finish?
They don’t finish everything, but they go home knowing how to finish. That’s the key. You get them started, you get them hooked, and then you send them home with the tools to finish. It sounds like a lot to do in one day, but young adults are eager to be challenged. They finish one pillowcase and take home fabric to finish the second. They finish a patchwork throw pillow and they get a good start on a flannel rag quilt.
How can one teacher keep up with so many beginners?
We recommend a teacher/student ratio of 1 to 3, at most 1 to 4. Beginners have lots of questions and need lots of help with their machines. Everything is new. Teachers should take nothing for granted.
Where do the students get the tools and sewing machines they need?
The answers to this question depend on whether you are a quilt shop or a quilt guild. When QUILTMAKER hosted the first LRN2QLT Day for 12 young adults in their twenties, we provided all of the tools and fabric for them at no charge, including the sewing machines. We felt it was important to send the students home with the tools they needed to continue sewing and quilting. Here are some possibilities for you to consider:
1. Quilt Shops
a. Provide loaner machines for the day and to take home for a couple of weeks. Use entry-level demonstrator machines, the machines in your classroom or trade-in machines.
b. Put together starter tool sets to sell as a part of the class. Make the class free, but sell a kit that includes rotary cutter, mat, ruler, scissors, and pins.
c. Offer a free LRN2QLT class to anyone who purchases a machine from you.
d. If you don’t sell machines, partner with a local sewing machine dealership to provide machines for students’ use. Suggest they offer a discount to anyone who buys a machine within the next three months.
2. Quilt Guilds
a. Use education or scholarship funds in your treasury to buy entry-level sewing machines. The ones we provided were $169.00 MSRP. Your local dealership might give you a deal when they hear what you’re doing. Guilds are often looking for good ways to invest their money, and what better use than to start someone down the path to quilting?
b. Ask members to donate machines they’re no longer using. c. Ask members to clean out their sewing rooms and donate rulers, scissors, cutters, mats and other tools they’re no longer using. (Make sure the tools are still usable.)
3. Students bring their own machines.
What about fabric?
For our LRN2QLT day, we provided all the fabric at no charge to all the students. We did some pre-cutting and packaging to save time on LRN2QLT Day. It is important to have a sample made for each of the three projects so that students can see the end result.
Fabrics: We chose batiks in colors to appeal to young adults. We pre-cut body fabric, trim and contrasting bands to size and packaged them in kits. Note: We prepared pairs of each fabric, thinking the students would want two matching pillowcases, but each of them preferred to choose new fabrics for the second pillowcases, so they swapped. Next time, we’re kitting singles (and we let them swap between those, too—anything to make them happy). These were brand new, beautiful batiks and these 20-somethings loved them.
Skills Learned: Threading the machine and turning it on, winding a bobbin, putting bobbin in machine, setting the stitch length, sewing 1/4" seam, basting by machine, reverse stitching, pressing.
Fabrics: We raided our stash to put together a variety of kits composed of 3 fabrics each. The star and background each required a 12" square and the border and backing together required 1/2 yard. We pre-cut the 12" square and half-yard cuts, but we didn’t pre-cut the pieces for the patchwork. Each kit also contained batting, muslin backing for the patchwork pillow top and a 14" pillow form.
We had 12 students that day, but we prepared 24 kits, so they had plenty of choices. We kitted reproduction fabrics, novelties, batiks, and contemporary prints. We offered color combinations that were bright and bold, dainty and feminine, and warm and masculine. We were always surprised by what the students chose. At the end of the day, we allowed them to take a second kit home with them as a “bonus.”
Skills Learned: rotary cutting, flip-and-stitch triangles, sewing 1/4" seams, matching seams in patchwork, layering, machine quilting, pillow finishing.
Flannel Rag Quilt
Fabrics: We provided flannel kits to make large throw-size quilts for each student. In order to save classroom time, we pre-cut all the squares of flannel and batting for each of the quilts. The quilt design is a checkerboard and is made using two complementary fabrics. Each kit contained all the squares of flannel and cotton batting needed to complete the quilt as well as a spool of thread that could be used for both piecing and quilting.
Skills Learned: layering flannel rag quilts, machine quilting assembly-line style, chain sewing, piecing with large seam allowances, clipping seam allowances, the proper way to wash and dry flannel rag quilts.