Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

Today's work in progress is actually a group project!

Earlier this year, some of my high school students approached me about helping them create a raffle quilt to raise money for hospice. They wanted to help create the quilt, too, so in January, we met three days after school for about an hour and a half each day.

I've organized several group quilting projects at school, so I thought I'd share some of my tips. First of all, since these group projects often involve people with little or no sewing experience, choose a project that has opportunities for lots of different skill levels. I almost always select a block that involves drawing and/or sewing on a pencil line, such as the snowball block we used for this project. You don't have to worry about quarter inch seams, and the job of drawing diagonal lines is perfect for those who don't want to sew.

(Excuse the blurry faces in the photo above!)

A successful group project involves a lot of prep/set-up. Before we met, I cut all of the 6 1/2 inch blocks and 2 1/2 inch corner blocks because I didn't want to have rotary cutting involved in the skill set! I also made several samples of the various steps so the kids would have an example to look at while they were working. The participants who were drawing the diagonal lines got to match up the fabrics and pin the corner blocks for the sewers.

At first, the kids were hesitant to do the sewing part, but once I encouraged them to try, they were pretty excited about it! We had trouble keeping up with the sewers after a while -- we were drawing diagonal lines and pinning as fast as we could! I had three machines set up (another tip is to set the machine on the slowest speed setting if your machine has this option!). I had the kids chain piece, because this really cuts down on the frustration of thread getting caught or fabric getting eaten by the feed dogs. They worked on two blocks at a time -- since each block had four corner pieces and everything was pinned, this worked very well.

It was really fun watching them work on the layout -- they kept moving things around to try to distribute the various fabrics evenly!

They helped me stack the blocks in order, and I brought them home to sew together. The snowball pattern and variety of fabrics really help disguise any variances in seams!

The kids really enjoyed the process -- by the last day, they were sprinting to the machines to get sewing. I'm looking forward to quilting this and bringing it in to school to show them the finished product!

Linking Up to Work in Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.



  1. Great group project and such a pretty quilt! It is wonderful how each sewist became more confident in their sewing skills!

  2. What an awesome project for your class MMG!! They did a fantastic job - you should be so proud. I'm thinking of doing this with my two youngest granddaughters this year to put into a Local quilt so in a year from now. Awesome inspiration!! Thank you.

  3. You ROCK and these kids make me smile! Beautiful quilt from incredible people!

  4. What a fun project! Thanks for the tips. I want to work more with young girls in groups so this is some good advice. I bet they really loved getting to create something so beautiful and for a good cause.

  5. The sewing looks good! They must be very proud of themselves. Hopefully, a few of them will continue to sew. That's such a useful skill.

  6. this is awesome! I like that you decided to use print corner pieces rather than white. it looks cool!

    I'm so glad you shared at Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation