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