Using the Catholic Schoolhouse Quilting book
Did you know Catholic Schoolhouse has a quilting book? It fits in perfectly with the upcoming Tour I history and art.
(Here’s a crazy selfie with the 6yr old sewing, baby on my lap, quilt book in hand, and 3 year old bouncing on an exercise ball in the background which has a clear warning on it ‘not for children’)
Quilting was a big part of the American pioneer woman’s life. Just imagine yourself, sitting in the front of a covered wagon, a baby sleeping in the back next to your girls playing with rag dolls amongst the supplies you’ll need for starting your new life. Your little boy dangling his feet off the back watching as the prairie grass passes beneath him. And what’s that in your lap? Scraps of fabric, some from your husband’s old shirts, an old skirt, and probably bags from flour and sugar you emptied along the way. Carefully you sew these into a quilt–a new life for old materials. Something new and yet still familiar.
I love quilts. I love their heritage, I love the art that goes into them, and I love how much they convey love itself. When someone gives you a quilt- they’re not just giving you a blanket. They’re giving you hours of thoughts, prayers and kindness with each stitch they used to piece it together.
(we love our quilts)
Maybe you don’t have the same passion for quilts, but regardless, learning to sew a quilt can be a valuable skill. If you are a Charlotte Mason style homeschooler (or some flavor of Classical meets Charlotte Mason meets whatever), you’ll have appreciation for incorporating a “handicraft” into your homeschooling. The Catholic Schoolhouse Quilting book can certainly fill the gap for a handicraft that fits perfectly into Tour I.
There are 6 lessons in this book: 1) practicing sewing a 1/4 inch seam on paper templates included in the book (This was super helpful for my 6 yr old to practice before using real fabric) 2) Rail Fence block 3) Four patch block 4) Nine patch block 5) Assembling your Quilt top 6) Finishing your quilt.
I tried the book out this summer with my 6 yr old on my own sewing machine. Here are a few thoughts and notes:
- You need a sewing machine, and you need to know the basics of using it. Sewing machines come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, threading patterns etc. This book doesn’t teach you how to thread your machine, wind a bobbin, etc.
- If you have a kid-size table, you’ll want to use it. Your child will need to be able to reach the pedal, and I guess I’m all for ergonomics. It’s nice for your student to sit square in a chair, be able to clearly see what they are sewing and simultaneously reach the pedal and control their sewing speed.
- While you could do all six lessons, the three middle ones teach three different types of blocks. We JUST learned lesson 2, Rail Fence Blocks, and skipped the other two types of blocks. Perhaps the book should have pointed this out- but if you want to make a little quilt of JUST one type of block- you’ll need enough pieces of fabric to make 6 blocks. So for us that meant 6 fabric pieces that were 6 1/2 inches x 2 1/2 inches of EACH color (ie 18 pieces of fabric) to make a rail fence quilt.(My 6yr old pieced the top of this little quilt all by herself! She tied some of it and I did the binding)
- You could use this book all year. Make a small rail fence quilt using 6 blocks, make a small 4 patch quilt using 6 blocks, make a small 9 patch quilt using 6 blocks. Then make a big quilt that mixes and matches these types of blocks. My plan is to start a 4 patch quilt when it turns 100 degrees here in July and we feel trapped inside because if you go outside you might melt. Then make a 9 patch quilt this fall sometime. Then maybe she’ll feel comfortable enough making these blocks to set loose to make her own sampler quilt in the spring.
Ok so here’s the elephant in the room question: Why would I buy the CSH quilting book when there are all sorts of beginner free tutorials on the internet and on youtube?
And here are my reasons you should think about getting the CSH book:
-The book is spiral bound like all the other CSH books, so it lays flat while you work, and you can refer to the pictures and text easily right next to you. The book won’t try to go to sleep like your tablet or laptop because you took too long to move the mouse while you were sewing.
-The book lays out the three easiest AND most historically relevant quilt blocks to try. Who knows what you’ll get on the internet.
– The book was written by Shirely Lips (and Kathy), who is a quilting and sewing teacher, has her own small business of sewing and selling quilts, long arm machine quilts, and is just an amazing person in general. She’s not just some person with a sewing machine who woke up and decided to make youtube videos. (You can see some of her beautiful quilts at her Etsy Store: The Quilt Haus)
-You’re reading this because you use CSH (or are at least thinking about it). The book has bits of information and pictures that relate quilting to history, which fits in perfectly with Tour I. What do flour sacks have to do with sewing quilts? Well, it’s in this book. Did Mary Cassatt (Tour I Weeks 16-18 artist focus) paint a picture of sewing? You betcha- and it’s in this book too. One of CSH’s biggest benefits is integrating your subjects, and this quilting book helps you do that- both in the activity itself, and also in the little pictures and info snippets throughout the book.
Thanks for reading, I hope you’re having a joy filled and blessed summer!