Almost one year ago, on a cool New Year’s Eve up on the Murray, my kids were wrapped up in their own quilts and the school principal just happened to be there! I was asked if I would be interested in making the graduation quilt for 2015? I actually didn’t even think about it, just said “sure” and left it at that. Fast forward a couple of months, and I had discussed the plan with teaching staff and waited until the third term before putting the plan in to place.
The 25 children were asked to bring in some fabric that represented them well – whether it be an interest they have or even a favourite colour. The diversity in prints was spectacular! And after spending a Sunday cutting all the pieces out for the blocks, I packed up my gear (as did my Mum) and headed in for a full on day (and a second day a week later) with the kids, teaching them to use a sewing machine and sewing their first ever quilt blocks!
None of the kids had ever used a sewing machine before! So it was a very steep learning curve. They were all enthusiastic – not one of them didn’t want to give it a go, and they were all surprised by how easy it was compared to their expectation.
And they were ALL incredibly pleased with themselves once their block was pressed and ready!
It was clear from the outset that this was going to be a beautiful and very eclectic looking quilt! And most certainly one of a kind….. And once the blocks were all finished, the children then took to them with fabric markers and stamped their personalities all over them! They were given great direction from their art teacher and class teachers, and used a paper template to practice (cos this little duck wasn’t re-making blocks!).
It was then my turn to transform those gorgeous blocks in to a gorgeous finished quilt…….
Ta-daaaaaa! I was so excited with how the end result looked, I finished binding it (with mathematical fabric!) and sewing the hanging sleeve on, then ran outside and took photos before racing up to school to drop it off!
All in all, there are 30 blocks – 25 students, four teachers and one paper pieced year block! And each and every one of them is so unique and different, you could spend quite some time just looking at them!
We have dogs, cats, sports. Super heroes, planets and travel. A mix of favourite colours and pastimes as well as fabrics chosen for their meaning. By far, the best part of this project was getting to know each student as an individual. Although Chelsea has been in classes with these kids for 3.5 years now, I really only knew half of them! So I would sit with them, and whilst we were sewing, would ask them about their fabric choices as well as where they were heading next year to school. One of the most beautiful answers was from a gorgeous young man, who told me he had chosen his fabric because it was like the fabric the women use in their dresses, where his Mum comes from! And right now, I cannot for the life of me remember where that was! But it made my heart sing – because so much thought had been put in to his choice.
Last night, our kids graduated! They celebrated with a graduation ceremony, followed by a sit down dinner and dance – which they all loved!
AND, the quilt was revealed! The kids were all so proud of themselves, and what they had achieved. It was lovely to see them showing their parents! From here on out, this bright piece of work will hang in the school hall, which is a lovely reminder of the kids for all the year levels below.
Some of my lovely school mum friends have been laughing, telling me i’ll be stuck with the job from now on…… But I’m completely OK with that! It’s been a beautiful way of getting to know my kid’s friends, as well as giving back something to our fabulous school! I’m actually looking forward to next year – when I get to go through the same process with my son’s grade! But I need to come up with a smaller block – cos there’s 30+ students!
Today will be this beautiful girl’s last ever day of primary school…..
And whilst I will be crying buckets on her departure, I will be feeling very thankful that I got to take part in such a fabulous project! If you ever get the chance to do something similar, let me persuade you to jump in!