Monday, March 16, 2009

Wonderful Weekend with the Girl Scouts

What happens when you take 14 Girl Scouts up to camp and teach them how to quilt? You get 14 very different quilts and 14 very excited girls.

On Saturday afternoon 14 girls ages 9-10 and 5 adults went up to the local Girl Scout camp and as a main event, made quilts. I developed the lesson plan and bought all the fabric, batting, thread etc. We had 13 sewing machines so only two girls had to share.

On Saturday afternoon we discussed the history of quilting and I showed them some different designs of quilts (a Double Wedding Ring, a Log Cabin with applique flowers and vines, and the Trip Around the World that I made). Then after S'Mores we pulled out the fabric. Each girl got to choose her backing fabric first (there were 20 backing fabrics, so even the girl who went last got to make a choice), then we went in backwards order for them to pick their 42 6" squares for the front of the quilt. I was amazed at the different designs and the girls were incredible in their creativity.

Here are some of the designs laid out on the floor prior to any sewing.

I took each girl's picture with her layout and printed it out over night so that in the morning when we started sewing that she could duplicate her layout again (we had to pick up all the fabric because we had to layout the cot sized mattresses and sleeping bags so we could sleep on the floor).

The other adults were wonderful helpers, even those with limited sewing experience. And I think they all learned how to make quilts, too, even though they didn't actually complete one themselves.

What I didn't anticipate was that we would have so many machine problems. I pretty much ran from machine to machine fixing problems. I suspect that many of the problems were caused by user error, but a few of the machines were just flaky.

By the end of the afternoon, 6 girls had fully finished quilts and everyone else's quilt was at least pinned so that she could do the tieing and I will finish the edging of anyone who brings their quilt back to the next GS meeting. I brought three quilts home with me to finish the edging with the tieing already done.

My DD (the rainbow colored quilt above pictured sideways) is so proud of her quilt. She told all the kids at school today that she made a quilt over the weekend and asked tonight if she could take it to school to show everyone. I think she'll take care of it since she knows first hand how much work it was to put it together.

I got a quilt magazine in the mail today and was glancing through it while dinner was cooking. At first, DD was like, "oh, another quilting magazine" like oh, no, how stupid, but then about 15 seconds later she was leaning over it and saying, "oh, I want to see this so I can decide how to make my next quilt". I think she has the bug. So funny.

The weekend was a great success!


  1. What a great project. I know exactly how much time and effort goes into planning an event like that. It must have taken hours and hours of planning and cutting time. But just look at those happy faces. Those girls are so proud of thier accomplishement!

  2. Hi Laurel, I just have to comment on this post. This was an amazing and wonderful and awesome project...I wish more people were like you to give of your time and effort and work to spread the joy of quilting to others! I've done quite a bit of sewing with children and am signed up to do more after spring vacation...up on an island in Alaska making kuspuks!...that'll be on my blog, I'm second time doing this project... but I've yet had the chance to quilt with any and I think this is just fantastic! I LOVE their quilts, especially the photo on the balcony. Brava to you and to all of the Girl Scouts...we need more stories and more projects like these in the news!