HW Students Learn to Quilt for ‘School Block Challenge’
Published on 12/28/17
District News Extra-Curricular HW Smith K-8 School
“Ooh, that looks so pretty!”
HW Smith students gather around a sewing machine as their classmate stitches two pieces of fabric together.
The four girls are each creating their own 16x16 inch square quilt block to enter into the 25th annual School Block Challenge, sponsored by Moda Fabrics and coordinated by the National Quilt Museum. This is not part of a class – the students elected to stay after school to learn quilting simply to gain new skills.
“We’ve sewn in home and careers class, but I’ve never used a sewing machine before,” sixth grader Miyanah Robinson said. “I like sewing because it’s fun to put the colors together. I wanted to do this so I’ll be able to show people my quilt!”
With no quilting experience, students began by looking up traditional quilt patterns. They sketched their own quilt square and then transferred it to a large grid to serve as their own pattern. While working to cut and sew pieces of their quilt square, the students took the time to jot down notes, which would become part of their required essay detailing the story behind the square and the techniques used to produce it.
“This exposes the students to something they haven’t done before,” Sally Silliman, Home and Career Skills and FACS/CTE teacher, explained. “It’s artistic and also involves mathematics. They are learning to make something with their hands and figure out how to problem solve on their own. Quilting is harder than people give it credit for!”
All blocks will be displayed in the quilt museum for a period; winners will receive a cash prize and will be displayed for a year.
Sixth grader Pierreonna Cosby showed the fabric she selected for her design – a breast cancer awareness ribbon.
“My aunt had breast cancer and she survived it, so I wanted to make a ribbon for her on my square,” she said. “My grandma was trying to teach me sewing and I want to learn more so one day, I can start my own company where I can make clothes instead of buying them.”
“My sister made a quilt block when she went to school here and she came home and made her first pair of pants,” “Sydney Beard added as she showed off her complex design featuring a beach scene. “My aunt sews a lot, too, and can make dresses and skirts. This is helping me learn so I can do that, too!”
Congratulations to the students who submitted their quilt squares – we know you learned many valuable new skills!