I started this project with high hopes I would create a beautiful one-of-a-kind quilt full of color and proof of my hard work. I started the project with high expectations that I would overcome my lack of patience and further develop my skills in the sewing department. I was up for the challenge but one thing that beat me during this project was time. I started off strong with sewing the front of the quilt but the many challenges in April (TPAs, lesson planning, etc.) threw me off-track and it was difficult for me to complete the project. In addition, my mom’s sewing machine (from the 1970s) died during the making of my quilt and I cannot afford to buy one. I looked around and there was a sewing place called Quilt in a Day. They offered to rent a machine to me for $7 to use in their store but every time I went, the regular ladies in their late 50s-70s were in the sewing rooms and there were no more machines to rent out to me. This became a frequent occurrence. One of the ladies offered to finish the quilt for me if I paid her money but I politely refused because it would one, be dishonest for this project, and two, it is not the same unless you do it yourself.
Though I still need to finish sewing the batting (middle) and backing (back), I may not have sewed a full quilt but it is rather remarkable for me to have taken time to start the quilt and I am determined to finish even though it will likely be finished after I finish the program. This is a project I want to see completed and though I need more time past the time to finish for this class, it will be done I guarantee it. I know I could have done better and accomplished more in sewing this quilt but as a teacher and lifelong learner, failing is a big part of the learning process. Though this project was important to me, I felt my decision to put the students, my responsibilities, and TPA 3 and 4 before the 20% project was the right decision.
What I've Learned:
Even though I didn’t accomplish my goal for the 20% project, I felt I learned a lot about sewing, the process of making a quilt, and how to use a sewing machine. I was taught how to sew by hand so using a machine was a new challenge for me, especially refilling the thread and bobbins. I felt I learned more about sewing and quilting my own way even when I was following advice from online tutorials from YouTube and Pinterest. I have improved my level of patience by participating in this project and I feel this helped me be more patient with my students. The project spurred me into buying quilt fabrics, proper fabric scissors, batting material, thread and other supplies. These supplies will be useful for me to finish the project and when I or my mom need to use them for other sewing projects. I need to invest in some thimbles so I do not cut myself like I mentioned in my blog. I felt I was able to address my inquiry questions I had at the beginning when I was getting started. I did have questions throughout the sewing process of my quilt and I was able to figure them out with the help of the tutorials/research. My enemy for this project was time. I chose a project where time and patience is imperative to complete a quilt, as well as a proper sewing machine. I was unable to complete the project not because of the sewing instructions/process but because of the amount of time needed that I did not have (I stay at school to plan after school hours and do homework) and the sewing machine I was using could no longer be used.
I have a beautiful front to my quilt, I have the batting and backing fabric, sewing supplies, and I will have to get my hands on a proper sewing machine. Maybe I’ll bribe one of the sewing ladies to stay home for an afternoon so I can have a space to sew. One of my initial reasons for choosing a quilt is that I wanted to overcome my low level of patience and not give up. Though I did not complete my quilt yet, I feel I have accomplished this goal because I still plan to work on the quilt and see it complete. I have not tossed it into the trash or put it in a bag stuffed in the back of my closet. It is a project I want to complete at my own level and speed. I do not want to rush through it and have it be a quilt that falls apart quickly or cannot be used.
Reflection on Inquiry Questions:
1. How much fabric do I need to make a quilt? I chose to do a lap size quilt and the measurements are 34" by 47 1/2".
2. Are there different quilt patterns and sizes for beginners? There are some websites that offer quilt patterns for beginners but it is really up to the individual. They recommend a patchwork quilt and there is no size for beginners. However, it is recommended for beginners to use the size, Twin, XL Twin or Lap quilt to start out with before moving up to the larger quilt sizes like Full, Queen, and King.
3. What website blogs or videos will be the best tutorials for me? I found that Pinterest sewing tutorials and step-by-step YouTube videos worked the best for me. I was able to listen and see the sewing instructions and I could always replay video if I needed to.
4. Would it be helpful to join a quilt club? I chose not too join an official quilt club during my 20% project. I found myself sewing at odd hours and usually clubs meet at someone's house or a sewing store. I felt I did not have room in my schedule to attend a weekly quilt club. It is a good idea for more long term projects though.
5. What pattern should I choose for my quilt? I wanted to do something related to Disney at the beginning but I wanted to incorporate beautiful variety of colors. For the front of my quilt, I decided to do more of a rainbow spread of colors using different color shades. For the backing (back of quilt), I decided to go with a indigo purple with flowers pattern that was simply and did not take away from the brightness of the front.
6. How do I turn photographs into quilt patchwork squares? I remember watching "Stepmom" with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon and I thought it was so cool how the kids' Christmas presents were quilts with photographs of them with their mom. I did not use this for my quilt but I found a rather helpful link.. http://www.wikihow.com/Transfer-Photographs-to-Fabric
7. Do you just use needle, scissors, and thread, or are there other tools? I found that you need numerous bobbins and spools of thread for the sewing machine, a flat square ruler, sharp fabric cutter and scissors, steam iron and ironing board, pin needles to hold fabric in place, and a wide space with a flat surface to keep everything organized.
8. Where do I buy fabrics and materials? How much will it cost? I was able to acquire some of the materials from my own home like the sewing machine (until it died on me), iron, ironing board, ruler, pin needles, thread and bobbins. But I had to pay for the fabric, the batting, fabric scissors. All in all the materials I had to buy including the fabric and batting cost me a little over $100. If I was able to rent a sewing machine, that would have been $7 a session but the sewing regulars were hogging them. I did my homework and shopped around for fair prices so I wouldn't pay a ridiculous amount for supplies. The experience and memories of making a quilt and using it is priceless.
9. What kind of thread do I use? Higher quality cotton thread and I used white because cheap thread can break easily and give off lint when washed.
10. What can I do to make sure my impatience doesn't get the best of me so I do not quit? I admit there was a few times where I wanted to quit because the sewing process was taking forever. I kept telling myself I was not going to quit, I was making something beautiful, and I made sure to take stretching breaks to give my hands and mind a rest.
11. How helpful will social media be? I felt social media i.e. Twitter, Weebly, Google+ were helpful because it was nice to see the encouragement I received from the other teacher candidates as well as Jeff and Leigh. It was helpful to use Internet resources for advice, tips, secret tips, videos, and pattern ideas. Though I was working on the project by myself, I felt I had support from numerous sources especially if I was struggling to sew a part of the quilt. I could easily go on a video and watch them as a guide.