I had a speaking engagement at a small quilt guild in Central City, Nebraska recently. I had the pleasure of meeting three little girls that evening, and I got their parents’ permission to tell you about it.
I arrived ahead of the meeting time in order to set up and gather my thoughts. People were trickling in, and I noticed a woman with three girls. I had time to spare so I went over and introduced myself. I was delighted to learn that the girls were with their grandma, who is teaching them to sew. They have already made several quilts and are excited about making more.
In a followup email, Jeanice Steinke shared more about her granddaughters:
“Ava is a fifth grader. She has made…a small baseball quilt of Four Patches…The next venture was place mats…she has made doll quilts for her little sister also.
“When Ava heard about the guild making quilts for kids in foster homes she wanted to make one. I helped with the instructions and cutting. She did all the sewing, even the straight seam quilting. She made a pillow case to match. Ava loves helping others and she enjoys what she is doing. I hope to teach her the love of quilting.
“Emma is a third grader. She has made a small quilt for herself and…doll quilts with…straight seams. Her favorite thing to do is to go through my stash and create fashion. She uses Ava as a model and makes clothes by pinning them together—I don’t let her cut or sew the fabric since I might want it for quilts.
“Brooklynn is so much fun. She thinks grandma can make anything. I have pictures of her using her pretend sewing machine beside mine. She even has a cutter without the blade and a mat. I have set her on my lap and let her sew along with me to make doll quilts.”
Show and tell featured a bonanza of charity quilts made by Jeanice. The girls had helped with some of them, which will go to the local hospital, Royal Kids Camp and the Christmas of Sharing program, among others.
It was such a joy to visit with the girls and to help encourage their interest. I believe their grandma is helping them build skills for a lifetime. Think about it:
- They’re spending time with creative adults
- They’re learning to meet people
- They’re thinking and conversing about abstract concepts
- They’re developing fine motor skills
- They’re learning to be comfortable with an audience
- They’re experiencing the joy of giving
- Their grandma’s love is being poured into them
- They’re gaining self confidence
- They’re having fun!
I could go on and on, but if you’ve ever sewn with a child, you know what I mean. It is so much fun! Even when it’s hard work (and it usually is), it’s energizing. It’s a really wonderful thing to pass what you know on to the next generation. Jeanice and her granddaughters are to be congratulated.
If you have never sewn with a child, maybe you could start. If there’s a grandchild, or a neighbor, or someone at your church or a local school who might need an adult to show an interest in them, quilting is the perfect vehicle for that. Here’s a free easy pattern for a star pillow you might want to use.
If you’ve made even a few quilts, then you know enough to help someone else. If you have passed quilting on to someone, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!