Anna’s First Quilt

During the school holidays Anna asked if she could make a quilt. My initial reaction was NO WAY.

Ocean Quilt

Then I thought about it for a while. Why not?  I’m kind of protective about my machines and my sewing area is generally a kid free zone. Sewing is a bit of a haven away from the responsibilities of parenting and I wanted to keep it just for me.

Then again, I have a kid who is clearly interested in what I do. I also think that my example has led my kids engage in creative activities often because they see me doing it. That’s a good thing. So after a couple of days, I said yes.

Ocean Quilt Free Motion Quilting

She chose her fabric carefully and asked me to cut her three squares from each. It took me enough courage and a lot of hovering in the background to allow her to use the iron…but the rotary cutter was a non negotiable, much to her disappointment.

Ocean Quilt

When sewing her squares together, Anna explained to me:

This quilt is the three zones of the ocean – the fish and turtles show the daylight zone, where most fish and animals live. The green area is the twilight zone, where the sunlight only just reaches. The dark part is the midnight zone, where it is dark and very few animals live.

This explanation left me a tad speechless. A quilt with a scientific twist, made by a six year old. I felt very proud! She told me later she learned about the ocean zones from the TV show Octonauts.

Ocean QuiltWe free motioned the quilt with her sitting on my lap and me guiding the quilt. It’s a crazy mess with all kinds of bizarre stitching and swirls but as with everything else with this project, I had to just let go and give her creative control.

Ocean Quilt Mermaid back

She chose a mermaid print for the back, which works really well. I had to bite my tongue when she chose a purple binding, I tried to encourage aqua or blue but she was adamant. Purple was THE choice, just because she liked it.

The whole process was a success although she wasn’t to keen on stitching the binding, I ended up doing 90% of that.

I found it really hard just to step back and let her do it, but it was good for me to see that often kids are capable of more that we give them credit for.  I’m also a bit of a control freak so making the effort to say YES was worth it and something I need to do more often.

25 thoughts on “Anna’s First Quilt

  1. It looks great 🙂 I know what you mean about letting go. I know I’m going to have to get better at that as Elena gets older. It will be worth it if it means they have positive initial experiences with sewing and other crafts…..And yay for the Octonauts!

    1. I love Octonauts. It’s one of the few kids shows I’ll happily sit and watch. (Often I learn something about marine life too!) I need to also get better at letting go when it comes to cooking. They are both keen to try but I’m so frightened that they’ll burn or cut themselves. Ah well…baby steps! x

  2. What a great first quilt and I love the description of the zones. I recognised them as soon as I read them as I’ve two Octonaut fans here and they have learned no end of interesting facts that they love to share. I think it’s great to encourage children to sew with us when they show an interest. I’ve let my eldest son, now seven, sew with me since he was four. His teddies are now well equipped with quilts, sleeping bags and pillows and he’s moved on to making bags with zippers and buttonholes. He knows he can only sew when Mummy has time to work with him and he is allowed to do everything from cutting to ironing and sewing but only with strict supervision and help where necessary.

    1. Sounds really great! I love the attitude that comes with these kinds of creative activities as well – kids are more likely to think “I can make that” rather than “I can buy that” which is a good thing.

  3. I can totally relate to everything you have said, Ros, both first and second time around. Anna looks so proud of her quilt, and rightly so. How wonderful that she was able to choose fabrics based on her scientific knowledge, and at the same time, choose one colour just because she likes it. Well done, Anna and Mum!!!

  4. Oh Ros, that is so precious. I would so be all into this too, if I had a little girl that wanted to learn my crafting skills. My grandchildren are 4 states away from me but I make the effort when I go visit and we craft. What a fantastic job she did too.

    1. Thanks Yvonne! She is very crafty and decided a few years ago that she’d like to be a vet and an artist. She still hasn’t wavered from that goal! x

  5. Anna’s quilt is so great! Not only because she wanted to make it but because she stuck at it til the end and she’s only 6! Hats off to both of you. My girls are twice the age of yours and I have a number of their unfinished projects stashed away somewhere – maybe their hearts just weren’t in them. Well done to both of you!

    1. Thanks Julie! I think the trick was to keep it nice and small so each step was fairly quick. Apart from the binding we did it in an afternoon 🙂

  6. You know what they say: if a child is exposed to sewing or other crafts when they are small, and seems to enjoy it, then that “seed” will grow into something much bigger when they are older.
    Love to see this germination process……………Nettie from Spanish Fork, UT

  7. How adorable! Both the quilt & your daughter. I love how she chose her fabrics. And yes, it can be hard to step back & let them explore their own creativity. I’m glad you were able to ” let it go….let it go….” Sorry, couldn’t resist the Frozen reference. Lol

    1. Funny you mention that song Lana -I often sing it to myself when I feel frustrated or if my kids are giving me a hard time! It strangely helps 🙂

  8. Very nice. I have tried sewing with my kids about three times over the last couple of years, both hand sewing and machine sewing, and everytime we do it I need a large amount of time to recover from the experience before I am willing to try again. I have three kids, aged 5 to 8, and they are all interested in sewing. Although my eldest son (7) has always seemed the most interested, my daughter has requested sewing supplies for her 9th birthday.

    1. That will be a lovely gift! There are so many gorgeous kits and supplies that will make sewing fun for her and not too stressful for you. I totally understand the recovery time! xx

    1. Aww thanks Deborah! The FMQ was interesting, she found it really hard to get the hang of, but it became easier once she got the feel of it, plus there was 4 hands guiding the quilt 🙂

  9. Love, love, love Anna’s quilt!! How beautiful and the scientific twist? genius!! This story brings back many wonderful memories for me of my Mom teaching me to sew and letting my creativity flow in lots of unique projects. I enjoy sewing still . . . many. years. later! Kudos to both mom and daughter!!!

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