Is there anything so dear as a little child, eyes wide, eagerly asking you, “Can I sew?? Pleeeeeease, can I sew?!”
YES, my dear, YES! I feel like I’ve waited years for my daughter to want to sew…I mean to really want to sew. And now that she’s 5, she finally has the fine motor control and attention span to actually get her feet wet.
So we thought we’d start on something small.
Ha! That was at last month’s guild meeting. I was chatting with a friend, and I heard cheering…I turned around, and there was my girl, quilting her little heart out on a great big long arm, with a whole room full of giddy ladies cheering her on. It was sheer heaven for this Mamma.
But the sewing didn’t end there. We’ve been machine sewing….
But nothing- truly nothing- has been quite as thrilling as Nora’s very first block. And I don’t mean a block that she helped me sew. Or a block where I pushed the gas and she steered. No. I mean- I gave her a needle, thread, scissors, and my scrap basket, and she designed and created a block 100% by herself. I had zero input, control, and what a thrill it was to see what she came up with! A modern scrappy little window frame- hand stitched- with a pretty pink running stitch.
She waited weeks to go to guild meeting with me so she could share about her block at show and tell. And the meeting turned out to be suuuuper long…tons of important business stuff. She waited and waited and waited. I am almost tearing up now as I picture her sparkly-shoed feet dangling from the chair as she clutched her vintage beaded purse- quilt block neatly folded inside. Then finally, her moment arrived. And as we stood her up on that chair, ooohing and aahhing, something struck me to the core.
It didn’t matter that she’d overlapped the raw edges, rather than stitch the pieces right sides together. It didn’t matter that the block- as is- probably wouldn’t survive a single wash, or that she didn’t have any particular plan for it yet. For now, it’s just a block. The only thing that mattered was that her heart spilled over with joy as she showed off that block- she had self confidence that wouldn’t have rooted nearly as deeply if I’d held the reins and told her what and how to create. She knew what she wanted it to look like, and she made it happen. If she asked me to tie a knot, I showed her how to tie a knot- then she tied the next one. And somehow, without me orchestrating the event (heaven forbid I not control EVERYTHING), we unknowingly stumbled into “identity shaping” territory. I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. I’m creative enough. I make good decisions. I CAN!
As we neared the parking lot after lunch, about to head home, and idea struck (or should I say, stung?). A bee- a traveling bee, similar to the Circle 7 Bee I’m enjoying so much with 6 of my dearest online quilt friends….where each person starts by making a block, then the blocks travel around from person to person, each adding a new section and a bit more love, until finally it returns to it’s original owner- fully pieced and ready to be quilted. But this bee will be a little different.
I want to start a bee for Kindergartners…4, 5, 6 year olds. A no stress, no judgement, no pressure bee that’s sole purpose is to encourage parent/child quality time, self esteem, creativity, and a sense of accomplishment. Little bee members can hand sew, machine sew, even draw and color with fabric markets, to create a one-of-a-kind block to add to each quilt that comes their way. At the end of the bee, each child leaves with a doll quilt, precious memories, and a little deeper understanding of who they are and what they can achieve.
I think I’m going to start off by asking some close local quilty friends with Kinder-aged kiddies, to join in the inaugural round. But where could it go from there? Another, and another…oh to receive a bubble envelope covered in stickers and doodles from across the world, filled with a special note, some candy, and a kinder-perfect quilt in progress. I can’t wait to share more about this exciting adventure…let the Kinder BEE begin!