|Success! 7" x 5" Pieced Units with 1 1/2" Center Strip|
I was using Harriet Hargrave's Quilter's Academy series initially, starting with the beginning lessons in the Freshman Year book. Anders, my 5th grader, enjoyed learning all the facts and nitty gritty details about thread ply, fabric grain, and rudimentary textile science in this book, but when I tried to do the first exercises with him I quickly determined that I did not feel comfortable with him rotary cutting or handling a steam iron. After all, I still burn myself with that wicked iron on a weekly basis, and watching him try to control a slippery acrylic ruler while slicing with a razor-sharp rotary cutter made Mommy nauseous. So I'm doing the cutting and pressing and he's focusing on learning to sew straight, even seams and keep his raw edges lined up properly so that his units finish the correct size. For a child who is just learning to operate a sewing machine, that's plenty! If he was trying to learn the sewing, pressing, and cutting all at once, it would be much more difficult for him to determine where he had gone wrong when his finished units didn't measure up. With Mom cutting and pressing, he can concentrate on one variable at a time, just like they teach him in science class. Don't you love how everything is connected to everything else?
So, as per the exercise in Hargrave's Freshman Year book, Anders was working with 2" wide strips of fabric cut into 7" lengths. After seaming three strips together, he should have a finished unit measuring 7" x 5", and his center strip should be precisely 1 1/2" wide.
|Vintage Singer Adjustable Seam Guide on my 1951 Featherweight|
|Similar Seam Guide for Modern Berninas|
All of Anders' fabric had been cut ahead of time, and as he seamed pieces together, I pressed and starched them. When we measured the first unit he was very discouraged to find that the fabric edges had slipped apart while he was sewing, resulting in a fence rail unit with a center strip measuring 1 1/2" at one end and more like 1 5/8" at the other end. I frog-stitched it for him and had him do it over. The second try was practically perfect on that unit, and all of his remaining units finished the correct size on the very first try. We worked for about an hour and a half before he started to lose interest and wanted to call it quits for today.
|Anders' Finished Units, 5" Wide x 7" Long|
|Anders' Sewing Setup|
Since school is in full-swing, we're on a bi-weekly schedule with our sewing sessions. Usually one son is at my mom's house working on oil painting while the other one is in my studio with me, but Grammy isn't available for painting next weekend so I'm considering attempting to work with both boys at once -- Anders continuing to work on his fence rail blocks, and Lars with his counted cross stitch project. Theoretically this should work just fine, as long as I have them each set up at opposite sides of the room... I'll probably make my final decision about this on the way home from church next Sunday, based on the Brawling-to-Brotherly-Love Ratio going on in the back seat. ;-)
Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to starting the next block in my Jingle BOM quilt! What are all of you sewing this week?
Have a wonderful week, everyone!