Written by Chloe Bennet
When you have a hobby that you love, sometimes it’s hard to wait until the time is right to begin passing on your love of it to your kids. But when the moment is right and you’re all ready to begin sharing the joy of quilting, here are some tips to help get everyone through the process with only happy moments and memories being created.
Patience Above Everything Else
The most important thing you have to realize is that even the simplest quilting project can take a really long time to complete. Don’t force your kids to be doing something you know they don’t have the attention span for, because it will only lead to everyone getting frustrated. “When you begin lessons, if you’re seeing that there’s not really much of an interest, it may be best to hold off on the quilting lessons for a little longer. There’s nothing wrong with waiting for the right moment to teach,” explains lifestyle blogger from Let’s Go And Learn and SimpleGrad.
Quilting involves lots of sharp, pokey things, which can be a little bit dangerous around new learners. It’s a good idea to keep things organized in your workspace, and remind kids about using caution when using scissors, pins, and other sharp instruments. If you’ve got any doubts, it may be best to just do the cutting and pinning yourself.
Give Them Options
You may be dead-set on a certain project that you think is just perfect. But if your kid isn’t interested in it, it likely won’t go over well. If a child is able to choose the project they’re going to work on, there’s a much higher chance that you’re going to be able to keep their attention focused on that project. Sure, it may not turn out exactly as planned, but as long as an interest is sparked, you can continue widening the scope of projects.
Take a Tour
There’s no need to get into specific details, but giving kids a general idea of how a sewing machine works and what you’ll need to do to get things done. “Pressing the foot pedal, feeding the material, keeping your fingers away from the needle, and any other basic information would be great to include in the lessons you’re teaching. A great tip for helping new learners see their seam allowance mark is to run washi tape across the stitch line,” says crafts blogger at Writing Populist and ViaWriting, Anna Adams.
Hand Quilting or Machine Done
There are great benefits to both hand quilted projects as well as those that are machine quilted. Machine quilting always seems to be a huge thrill for kids. But there’s always something amazingly fun about hand quilting a project. It’s also much quieter and when you’re quilting with kids, you can go at a slower, more comfortable pace.
Keep It Easy
Kids can do some pretty incredibly things, there’s no doubt about that. But when they’re just learning the ropes of quilting, it’s best to keep projects simple if you have the choice. Start off small so you can pique your kid’s interest, then gradually build up to tougher projects.
“If things are too difficult from the get-go, it’s hard to get kids interested and keep them involved. Even though projects may seem incredibly simple for an experienced quilter, they may be really interesting to a new learner. Interest is everything, so if you can grab a kid’s interest that’s essential,” explains educator Sandra Bunnell of My Writing Way and Studydemic.
Pick Fun Things
There are so many small projects you can do that will be incredibly fun and interesting for kids. From small mug rugs and coasters to little projects for their dolls, kids will be interested in anything that is fun and geared towards their interests. Pillows are another great project to introduce to kids, because they are incredibly interesting to make and they’re also usable.
Enjoy the Time!
With quilting, precision and accuracy is key. But you may have to sit back, relax, and allow you kids to just have fun and enjoy the experience. Things may not turn out exactly as planned, it may take longer than it should, and it may be a little less perfect than anticipated, but the important thing is you’ve got to enjoy every moment enjoy each and every stitch.
Chloe Bennet is a working full-time mom.