My grandmother was accomplished with a needle. She made beautiful embroidered table cloths and wall hangings, some of which hang in my home today. One of my daughters still has the much loved crib quilt that grandma made for her.
Grandma taught me how to sew. I remember sitting with her at the table, me on one side, my cousin Sara on the other. She showed us how to thread a needle, how to make a running stitch, and how to knot it off at the end. She had these scraps of gingham and she would tell us to go down in a white square and come up in a dark square. Sara and I would sit for hours making designs on the gingham (at least it seemed like hours, I've never been accused of having a good sense of time.) It was in those moments that I found my joy in creating beautiful and useful things.
I didn't mean to get all maudlin, but with many of my coworkers talking about how they're juggling childcare while schools are closed, it got me thinking.
Sewing Practice Worksheet
It got me thinking about all the folks I've taught to sew, including my own children. It's all because my grandmother taught me. It's with those memories that I created two things for you today.
The first thing is a Sewing Practice Worksheet. It's a great tool to help teach beginner machine sewing. Just click here to print it on plain copy paper and sew directly onto the paper. With straight lines, gentle curves, and fun shapes, it makes learning to use a sewing machine fun. It's also an easy way to see progress, especially if you thread the machine with a bright color. Print as many as you like, or you can trace it onto muslin.
Scrappy String Quilting
The second thing I have for you is a super simple, but fun, project for the new sewist in your life. (You can go ahead and make a few too, I won't tell anyone.) Before you panic and think I'm actually going to tell you to let new sewists near your fabric stash, take a deep breath. Perish the thought. Now go make a cup of tea and calm down.
This project is all about scraps. If your scrap bin is anything like mine then it's probably time to winnow it down. Get yourself a few sheets of paper, a pen, a sewing machine, and a while pile of scraps. Watch the video above and let's get to it!
I know string quilting is nothing new for many of you. It does make a fantastic beginner project though. Think about it, for someone who just learned to sew a straight line, string quilting is a great way to practice and have something to show for it at the end.
In the next few blog posts I will give you some super easy, super fun projects to make with all those sheets of string quilting your new sewist has made.
Have you taught your children or grandchildren to sew? I'd love to hear about your experiences.