Learning a new craft is challenging. Teaching can also be challenging, trying to explain basic sewing principles in easy to understand terms. My granddaughter, Emma, has been a willing learner, but she exhibits frustration when she doesn’t do something right. When that happens, she needs a break and I allow for it.
Today’s project was a small charm square pillow with a hand stitched initial. Emma has a keen sense of color. She spent quite a bit of time selecting fabrics from my stash, selecting fabrics that appealed to her and looked nice next to each other. Today’s lesson involved learning how to use rulers and a rotary cutter, including handling the cutter safely. We handled the rotary cutter together, knowing that she needs close supervision until she is more skilled.
I also allowed Emma to practice her previously learned skills. She wound a bobbin, threaded the sewing machine, and stitched quarter-inch seams. She also learned a new skill: how to use a seam ripper. Interestingly, she realized during the sewing that she had veered out of the seamline. She stopped and immediately reached for the seam ripper to tear out part of the seam. No hesitation on her part to unsew and resew. That may be the perfectionist coming out in her.
Emma completed the pillow project over the course of the day by taking breaks to do other things. At one point, I thought that she had stitched enough for the day, putting the project aside and shutting down the sewing machine. Later, I found Emma back in the sewing room hand stitching her initial onto the pillow top. It is exciting to see her developing an interest in handiwork.
She’s already asking what our next project will be. I’m ready to teach her how to cut out a paper pattern and stitch together a piece of clothing. I made my first pair of pants in 4-H when I was 9 years old. My plan is a pair of flannel pajama pants. Emma is also learning to knit, from her other Grandma. Someday, she will realize how fortunate she is to have learned these skills as a child, since many of our young people are not learning them. If you’re a sewist, quilter, knitter, or embroider, pass that skill onto a younger person. We owe it to the next generation.
Until next time…happy stitching!