Whenever I have visited my grandchildren over the years and when they visit me, I always have a sewing project in the works. So, of course, they wanted a sewing project too. I have always let them select fabrics from my stash and create whatever they want. They loved laying out squares of fabric for a quilt, making fun projects for their friends and had all sorts of different ideas.
When school started this year, Polly decided one morning before school that she needed a bag for her iPad and whipped one up….no need for a pattern…Emmett decided that their new puppy needed a bean bag chair and figured out all on his own what to do.
When she was only 8, Polly asked for a sewing machine for Christmas. Now at ages 13 and 10 they are both adept at the machine. They disappear for a while and return with a finished project.
So, it was with a lot of memories that I enjoyed this exchange with my son-in-law, Rob, when he was organizing the basement.
Rob: As I organized the fabric bin in the basement, I can’t help but be astounded by the resourceful and efficient use of material.
Jinny: It’s so much easier to cut a chunk out of the middle.
Rob: That’s right. And when Grandma is supplying the fabric, who cares!!!
Jinny: Never ending supply. Maybe I’ve been too generous.
Rob: They remember every piece of that fabric you’ve given them. It’s kind of amazing. I also found out that Emmett has been leading a double life and is actually Spiderman…so many secrets in the fabric bin.
As we were getting ready to post this new blog entry, some of us received by email a blog entry from last year. It seems to have been floating around in cyberspace since then. We apologize for any confusion. Please ignore it but pay attention to the new entry below.
Row by Row begins this week!
We have been super busy preparing for the Row by Row Shop Hop. For those of you not familiar with the program, it is a worldwide shop hop. Each participating shop designs a panel for a quilt or a stand-alone mini quilt and creates a pattern for their row. You can travel to any of the participating shops and receive the free pattern for that shop’s “row” and most shops have kits available. Make a quilt from the patterns you collect. If it contains at least eight official rows, take it to a participating shop. If you are the first person to bring a finished quilt to that shop, you will receive 25 fat quarters of fabric. If your quilt contains the row from that shop, you will receive an additional prize.
The theme this year is “Taste the Experience” and the designs are created to fit that theme. This year for fun, the shops who are all part of the Quilters’ Quest shop hop in October decided to get together and plan a coordinated quilt for the Row by Row shop hop. We decided to make each of our rows like a vintage diner sign. Since I am known for growing hot peppers and for my hot pepper jam recipe, our row shows the jam and the peppers. When you pick up your free pattern you will also receive the recipe for my hot pepper jam.
In order to simplify sewing all those letters, we created a printed panel for the sign and for the “hot” label. This makes creating the row so much easier!
We are also participating in the Row by Row Junior and have a free pattern for “Jelly” the jellyfish for any child who comes into the shop. Kits are also available for purchase.
Go to the Row by Row website to read all the rules and to find participating shops by state and country.
Since I know that many of you cannot travel to the Studio, I didn’t want those of you who live far away to feel left out. In keeping with the spirit of the event and theme, I designed a tessellating pattern for both a lap size and mini size quilt which I call “Forklift.” Since these are not officially part of Row by Row, we have patterns and kits available online and in the Studio.
Plus, in addition to the Forklift quilts, we also have our “Palette Pleaser” fabric license plates. So, no matter where you are we hope you’ll be able to take part in Row by Row not only at your local shops but with the Studio, too.
What a better way to spend Valentine’s Day than with the grandchildren. My husband and I flew out on February 13th and almost missed Valentine’s Day altogether.
Our flight arrangements included a one hour layover in San Francisco. That would give us enough time to make our connection and arrive at our destination just as the kids were getting out of school.
Well, we boarded our plane and then sat and sat and sat and after about a half hour the pilot came on and said they they were waiting for a part for the cockpit. Fifteen minutes later he said they got the part which was a new oxygen mask for the pilot’s seat and we would be on our way soon. I immediately wondered what happened on the last flight that now required a new oxygen mask for the pilot. We were not enlightened on that point.
Ten minutes later we were informed that oxygen masks are specific to each aircraft and the one they brought didn’t fit this plane, but they found one on a plane in a hangar away from the airport. They were sending someone for it. We were updated on when the person picked up the part and that he would be back right away. Half hour later we were informed they they finally arrived with the correct part, but the reason it took so long was that the person bringing the part got a speeding ticket on the way back.
Now I have traveled a LOT. I have heard all kinds of reasons for delays, but this was a first for me. Good thing the San Francisco plane was also delayed by a little and we made our connection with only three minutes to spare. If we had missed that plane we would have had to spend the night in San Francisco.
As is always the case when I visit, the kids immediately ask when we can sew something. They also bring out all the clothes and animals that need a little repair work done.
Emmett brought out a pair of socks with holes in them and I told him I hadn’t brought my darning egg. He said “That’s okay Grandma, we have some maracas. You can use one of those!”
I visited my grandchildren a couple of months ago and Polly carefully showed me her Treasure Box containing all kinds of items that were going to go into the trash that she rescued for projects. There were empty tissue and paper towel rolls, an interesting button, empty spools, odd pieces of yarn, etc. She and her brother, Emmett, have amazingly creative minds and put together all kinds of creatures and art.
So in anticipation of Polly and Emmett’s visit this Thanksgiving, I started collecting items for a Treasure Box here. The box contained plastic tubes and pen holders, threads that accumulated at the shop from tearing fabric for fat quarters and kits, scissors, scotch tape, duct tape, lots of fabric scraps, felted wool balls, and so much more.
When they arrived and I told them about the box, they could hardly contain themselves and wanted to delve in right away. Of course, it had to be emptied where the activity was going on…….the kitchen table. So for a week we ate in the dining room and the kids had their on-going projects to work on in the hubbub of activity.
The first thing they went to was the fabric and they said they wanted to make Halloween costumes for next year. Emmett wants to be Darth Vader and Polly wants to be a peacock. I told them we would need larger pieces of fabric than what was in the box so we went to the shop. Emmett immediately found solid black fabric and Polly found a batik that she thought would make a perfect peacock skirt.
I decided it was time to introduce them to the sewing machine so that went on the kitchen table as well. They both caught on very quickly.
While I was showing Polly how to work the machine, unbeknownst to me, Emmett had cut a hole in the middle of the black fabric for his head, two holes for arms and found a decorative belt to go over his shoulder. He made a hat from a black file folder and my black microwave vegetable steamer and his dad helped him tape batting inside so it wouldn’t slide around his head.
Among other sewing, Polly and I made holiday napkins for her mom and dad for Christmas along with her peacock skirt. Emmett made a quilt with squares, a hat and clothes for stuffed animals and dolls. What a wonderful feeling to share my love fabric and sewing with them!
Of course, in the middle of all the activity, our washing machine died Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. We were able to get a new one Friday and the kids immediately latched on to the box it came in and spent the next several hours creating their “Time Machine”.
Five rolls of scotch tape and three rolls of duct tape later……
In the midst of all the projects, we also had cooking activities and fed and took care of the animals I borrow from a friend whenever the children come for a visit.
Needless to say I’m a bit worn out. But happily so!
We’ve just returned home after spending a week with our daughter, her husband and our two grandchildren who are now seven and four. The grandchildren love to work on art projects of various sorts and are quite imaginative. Usually when I visit, I have a sewing project that I am working on and they always ask if they can have some pieces to sew too. A couple of diamonds sewn together becomes a butterfly, a few squares become a blanket for a stuffed animal, etc.
I often take them a small gift of various art supplies, scraps of fabric, and other fun craft items. This time, I decided to take half yard pieces of some of my Safari fabrics that they could turn into whatever they liked. I thought they would enjoy the animals on these fabrics and the bright colors.
Well, they LOVED the fabrics but, right off the bat, my grandson said “Will you make me a skateboard shirt?” My granddaughter pounced on that idea and said “Will you make me a skateboard dress?”
My heart fell a little because my daughter doesn’t have a sewing machine, I had no patterns and I thought there wouldn’t be enough of any one fabric to make these garments. I told them I wasn’t sure the pieces would be big enough. They said that that was okay because I’m always sewing different fabrics together and they wanted “patchwork” clothes. They immediately picked out the fabrics that they wanted in their new clothes.
So I set aside the amounts of fabric I thought I would need, drew some sketches to show them, and measured. They told me exactly where they wanted each of the fabrics and, while I cut and sewed pieces together for their garments, they cut pieces and created a myriad of projects for their stuffed animals, dolls and their dog. My grandson even created a new garment for me, taking pieces of the fabric and taping them together to form a shirt.
I have to admit my thoughts journeyed back to seventh grade where all the girls in the sewing class made gathered skirts with a waistband all by hand. By that time in my life I had been making clothes for several years on my mother’s treadle sewing machine, and longed for the sewing machine for those long seams. While I love hand piecing my quilts, for garments a sewing machine definitely comes in handy.
At any rate, the children had a ball. I loved watching them with their creative little minds and I wondered when they would be old enough to have their own sewing machine. Hmmm…grandma has a gift in mind.
Passing along our love of quilting to future generations helps to mark our history and links us as families and communities. I am thrilled that my granddaughter, Polly, loves to sew and I see this sharing of our art form with my customers and staff.
Staff member Nancy discovered a willing helper while machine piecing one day. Whenever she hears the sewing machine running, granddaughter Kyra, 18 months, drops her toys and comes running. She loves to choose the fabric squares and sits on her Nana’s lap to sew. Nancy always keeps a stack of scrap squares by the machine for Kyra to help sew.
Staff member Linda always brings a project with her when she visits her grandchildren. Grandson Andy was curious and wanting to copy what Oma was doing. He holds the needle and takes stitches now on the special projects that Linda brings him.
We don’t have to sit with needle and thread or sewing machine to share our love of quilting.
Customer Angela V. and daughter Erin were in the Studio last month choosing border fabric for their quilt. Erin loves to help her mom design quilts and choose fabrics. She doesn’t do the sewing yet but you never know what the future will bring.
Jinny Beyer Club member Judy I. recently brought her granddaughter to a meeting. Caelyn, 5 ½, likes “blanquettes” as she calls them. She has not started sewing yet but loves to play with her grandmother’s fabrics. She is always cutting out shapes and they glue them to paper making quilt designs. What a wonderful way Judy is instilling in her granddaughter an appreciation of quilts and maybe an understanding of why her grandmother loves to sew.
It is no secret to quilters that children can learn much from the process of quilting. We have heard of teachers incorporating the making of quilts into the curriculum to teach subjects such as math, social studies, reading and writing. I think we, however, just want to share what we love. The Sisters of the Cloth quilt guild in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, has a wonderful motto: Each one teach one. Maybe that’s what we should all aspire to do especially with children. Just imagine all of the new little sewers we can create.
I don’t remember learning to sew. It is something I have always done. I don’t remember learning to thread a needle or making a knot or taking a first stitch. I do remember sitting in a grocery store at age 5, waiting for my mother to shop and knitting. I only remember that because people were amazed that this small child was knitting. I don’t remember learning to knit either.
What children are exposed to at an early age, even if they are not adept, they still feel they “know how to do it.”
My granddaughter at age five likes to sew. She probably won’t remember learning because it is just something she knows. When she was just a baby she was fascinated watching me stitch. Then one day at age 10 months I saw her pick up two of my patches and rub them next to each other like she was sewing. A few months later crawling across the kitchen floor, she found a needle I had dropped. She held it carefully in her hand, crawled over to me and said “Here you go, Grandma”.
She was two when I had her “help me sew”. I would start a stitch and have her pull the needle through. I was using my tiny betweens 11 needle and a single thread and I showed her how to close her hand over the thread as she pulled so the needle wouldn’t come unthreaded.
At age three and a half she was cutting with small scissors. I remember one day the baby sitter came and saw her with the scissors and quickly took them away saying those were for grownups. She got huge crocodile tears and her feelings were so hurt. She said, “But I can sew. I’m a good sewer, and I can cut carefully with scissors”.
Every time I go to visit, I have a sewing project with me and Polly always asks if she can help. Mostly I’ve been working with diamonds and I give her some to sew together. The last time I went I had squares. She said, “But I like sewing with diamonds. They are easier to sew than squares.”
She has figured some things out on her own. For instance, she has a hard time putting the needle in and pulling it back out and she figured that if she pinched the fabric she could put the needle through and get her in-out stitch at one time.
September is National Sewing Month and it has had me thinking about what starts us sewing and what we can do to pass it on. In next week’s blog, I’ll share with you how those around me are helping spread their love of sewing. I’d love to hear from you about how you have sparked that interest in children: email@example.com.