400 Kids Made This

The auction quilt is finally finished! I’m excited about the result, but I think for this project the process of teaching kids to sew was more important than the end result. We’ve been working on this over the course of the past two months with more than 400 children ranging in ages from three to twelve.

As you can see, the stitch pattern starts off simple at the top with the three and four year-olds, then becomes increasingly more complex as you move further down the quilt, going in order and ending with sixth grade in the bottom strip.¬†After the kids finished the embroidery, we then sewed the nine strips of fabric together and parent volunteers helped to hand quilt it. The quilt is approximately 5′ x 5′ and is really meant to be hung on the wall since it isn’t very practical with all these stitches.

The children really seemed to enjoy the process and I think many became interested in sewing. Kids come to sewing with far less trepidation than adults who have never sewn before, but many were still intimidated. Once they picked up the needle, they all learned quickly and seemed to really enjoy it. The best reward for me was seeing the kids’ enthusiasm for sewing; learning a new skill with such tangible results can be extremely satisfying for children. My idea for this quilt came from our experience with Montessori learning, where sewing is a routine part of the environment, so I knew the kids could do it. This whole experience reminded me of the need for these hands-on skills in our digital age — hopefully home ec will make a comeback.

I think that the combination of bright colors and beautifully imperfect stitching gives it a wonderful folk art feel. I hope someone will love this handmade style as much as I do and will want to buy it. There is a lot of love in this quilt since it took more than 800 hands working together to make it!

Special thanks to Whipstitch Fabrics for donating the fabric for this quilt. You can read more about the design and preparation for this quilt in my earlier posts here, here, and here.

35 comments to 400 Kids Made This

  • Suzanne

    I got shivers reading your post and looking at the end result. This project was a big undertaking with both process and product results. Thank you for sharing it!

  • I don’t even have a connection to the school and I would buy it. Everyone should be very proud of all the hard work!

  • what a wonderful quilt, I’d buy it too! love that children made it, makes it even more special!

  • Beautiful; I love it!

  • This is absolutely gorgeous! I love seeing the progression of the stitches.

  • Bravo on everything – from undertaking the project, making the color and stitch choices, teaching the children (and adults), and seeing it through to completion! I suspect a bidding war will come – you will have to let us know. :)

  • Wow. This is truly, truly a very real accomplishment! I am so incredibly impressed with you Ellen!

  • This is so great! Love the colors and the stitch designs. Way to go kids!

  • How fantastic! They did a great job :)

  • love love love. I love that you organized something like this. I love that all the kids cooperated at it and leaned a little about sewing. I love the end result. BEAUTIFUL!

  • Wow! That is absolutely incredible! Breathtaking!

  • This turned out exactly as I pictured it from your description: beautiful, heartfelt, sweetly imperfect, and wonderful to see. I just love everything about this whole project, and I’m enchanted by the end result. What a lucky school to have you as a parent, willing to invest in all these kids the way you have!

    Hope it brings in a MINT! :)

  • amy

    wow! this is really beautiful! what a great project! on a smaller scale this would be fun to do as a family.

  • It’s so beautiful!! And so special to have had so many little hands touching it – and just think how their little hearts were touched right back by doing this task!! How wonderful!

  • Wow, how pretty! What a great learning experience!

  • Bridgett

    Wow! This project really waarmed my heart. What a great experience for those kids thanks to your hard work!

  • I LOVE this!! I’ve been watching the progress on your blog and the end results are wonderful! I think this is a great idea and I agree, home ec needs to make a comeback…

  • Congratulations, I know how much time and hard work went into this beautiful quilt. What a great experience for the children to be involved in creating such a wonderful work of art. I am so very impressed with the outcome, it is just beautiful.

  • just beautiful and what a rewarding experience.

  • I love so much about this quilt! It embodies so much of what a quilt can be and mean. Fantastic!!!

  • It is beautiful! I have no doubt that it will be cherished (after bringing in lots of $$$ for the auction!) :D

  • i love this! i have been talking with my son’s principal (he just started school this year, 5 years old) about teaching the kids knitting and have been wondering how i could also introduce sewing – this is a fantastic idea!
    my son loves hand sewing and you’ve got my mind in a whirl – perhaps we could do something similar and then sell raffle tickets to raise funds for the school at the end of the school year!
    did each child work on the same strip (per age/class group) or did they each have a small piece (square) and then sewn together?
    I’M LOVING THIS! Thanks SO much for sharing :D
    x candice x

  • It is amazing ! All your hard work has really paid off, it looks fantastic.

  • Absolutely stunning!

  • AnnaPK

    Your quilt is beautiful!!! I am so glad you have shared it on the blog! When I saw your earlier postings about it, it inspired me. My daughter, who just turned 4, and I are doing some simple embrodiery on squares that I am going to sew into a quilt for our new baby, due in July. Thank you so much for sharing your idea to teach the children to sew! I hope our quilt will be something the new baby will treasure, and it is helping my daughter feel close to her soon-to-be baby brother. Thank you!

  • Line

    I’m not a quilter, I’m a beginning sewist with no sewing machine, so I’m even more impressed by these kids’ skills. The result is truly beautiful: might even try such a design some day.
    Just a question, out of curiosity (I dont’ think I could afford the quilt and its shipping to France): do you have any idea what will be the starting price for the auction?
    Have a lovely day!

  • Lovely, each child put his print on this quilt, they involved with their skills and innocent souls. This worth more than all the money in the world.

  • Wow!!! It’s amazing how simple solid fabrics, beatiful threads and a lot of children with a great teacher can do!
    It’s soooo beautiful, Congratulations to you all!

  • Joyce

    Beautiful quilt! Could I get some more information about how you organized it? My daughters’ elementary school makes a school quilt once every six years, so that each child will make one quilt block during their elementary school years. The quilts are displayed throughout the school (not sold). As each child can embroidery whatever she/he wants on their block, there is no overall design. I find your quilt so much more appealing, and I wonder if you have some ideas about how I could impose some design constraints without stomping out individuality. Any thoughts? Thanks!!

  • Wow this is amazing. You and the kids should be so proud. I really hope it goes to a good home.

  • Robin

    If you wrote up a little pattern for a group quilt, I would buy it! I am especially interested in where it was hand quilted by grownups. Stitch in the ditch on the lines? I just don’t see it.
    I am in love with this.

  • I just wanted to say that I have really enjoyed seeing this project come together, and the final result is gorgeous! best wishes!

  • Wow! Fantastic post.i will try this with my kids.please keep in touch for more information.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • wow. I am inspired. I might need to attempt one of these myself…is that crazy?

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