"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Inner City Quilting Project

It has been a busy - and happy - several days enjoying my kids while they are in town.   Both girls have gone home and son and daughter-in-law are only going to be with us a couple of more days.  :(.  I took down the Christmas glory, today, and had a nice nap while son and daughter-in-law were out cavorting around the city, up to god knows what. 

Daughter-in-law is an inner city high school math teacher in Manhattan, teaching high risk children.  As a class project, she had them design and sew quilt blocks using some sort of high falluting formula that I would need a pencil and paper to follow.  I'd given her a ton of my scraps some months ago to get started.  The kids designed their own blocks, selected their own fabric and stitched them together.  She had them chalk in the seam allowance to make it easier for them to end up with twelve inch (finished) blocks. 

The first day or so she was here, she presented me with their treasures:


My, my.

Every quilter out there knows what I was feeling - like a racehorse in the starting gate.  And I was tickled to death to have an excuse to get into my sewing room even though I had company.  It is my mental health therapy, afterall!

Like most new quilters, particularly since they didn't have rulers to square up their masterpieces, there was a variety of sizes. 

Some of them just had personality - that is all I can say.  It was so much fun to look at their individual blocks and think about what they were thinking when they put the particular colors together.  I will say this for them - they were daring!!  They seemed to be drawn to checks and stripes - clearly they are fearless.

This MAY be my favorite one (although I really couldn't choose): 

What a gutsy choice of fabrics!  When I was initially pressing them, I discovered that the creator had used staples!  That young alpha male obviously was not going to tolerate any lines getting out of line!

So I started out by squaring them up.

 I ended up squaring them to eleven inches (finished) and I didn't think that was too far off.   

One little soldier was marching to the beat of a different drummer and that caused me to do some head scratching to figure out how to get him to fit with the other blocks.

 I ended up putting him on the outer edge and it all worked out fine.  I loved his fabric choices!  I think he was going for different shapes.  Or it might have been a "she."  

You can see the difference between before and after squaring up:

(the one to the left is still in its wild state - isn't that a gorgeous choice of colors?).

And here it is after squaring up:

Here they all are on the design wall, squared up.

About that time, we took a break to go out to eat and visit the Oklahoma History Center.   I love the blue Oklahoma sky.

This was an exhibit at the museum:

When we got back home, I went back to the babies and put sashing on them. 

Then I added sashing to the outside to give more stabilization.

I was really pleased with how it began coming together.  Kind of looks like primative folkart, don't you  think?

I had to face the fact that even with the sashing to stabilize it, the quilt was not going to hold together for long because of some of the loose stitching in the seams. No problem, I just used some fusible web and muslin on the seams to keep them from pulling loose (when I first started, I did this a lot with my own blocks).

I added a black border to make it pop. 

At this point, I didn't want to give it back.  I just wanted to keep it for myself!

In keeping with the scraps theme, I dug through my old solid muslin and pieced together a backing. 

I did my own version of wild and crazy!

I hope the kids don't mind that the girls came in to help.

My longarm is not set up, yet, so I layered it, birthed it (a quilt construction technique) and if I have time, I'll try to quilt it on my Janome.  Here it is with the batting on top.

I used some fusible web to close the opening where I turned it inside out.  Here is how it turned out (before quilting):

I am delighted with it and hope the kids enjoy it, too.   They did a great job and taught me a thing or two about how pretty things can be when you step outside your comfort zone. 

Happy Quilting,

Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


Stephanie D. said...

I love it--if you can't stitch it into submission, staple it, Baby! lol

BilboWaggins said...

Bless you for turning these blocks into a beautiful quilt - who knows how your efforts might inspire one or two of these kids once they see the finished piece, (we'll say nothing about how much you enjoyed having to work in the sewing room - ha ha)

Miriam said...

The quilt looks great! The kids will be amazed when they see how wonderful all their blocks look together.
Great to hear you had some great family time with all your kids home for Christmas.

Thearica said...

These children are going to grin from ear to ear when they see their finished quilt!

And most likely ask to do it again! better watch out...They might get bit by that bug...the quilting bug that is.. :)

Penny said...

I think we are going to tie it.

Shogun said...

What a great project and great quilt. I ran a veggie gardening group for an at risk population of elementary school kids one summer and they loved it. One little guy who was particularly quiet would happily spill his thoughts while digging around in the garden.

ranette said...

Great quilt Penny...the kids will be so happy and proud. Tying it sounds right for this quilt doesn't it?

We haven't seen that blue Oklahoma sky for days up here in Stillwater...I'm ready for it.

Suzanne Kistler said...

I love the sashing you added. It sets each block off to its best advantage. Kudos to your daughter, for passing along the quilt-bug to her students. Odds are that all of them will remember quilting and more than one of them will take it up in earnest. What a good way to channel their energies!

Nancy said...

Fabulous quilt Penny! What a great idea your daughter had. Those kids will be so proud. I'm really interested in the fusible and muslin over the seams to hold them together. I have an early pieced top I've never quilted because I'm afraid some seams won't hold up. Thank you! I'm off to cut some strips and start fusing!
Glad to see you made the move to OK without incident and everyone is settling in well.

swooze said...

I love this quilt. Sounds like it really made you use your noggin'!