Home Sew-In with Emma

Emma and her quiltThis weekend, my dining room was the setting of a sew-in, attended by me and my niece, Emma. She is starting junior high in a few weeks, but this summer, her goal was to make small quilts for two of her favorite elementary school teachers (how sweet is that?). This weekend, we finally got a chance to work on them.

Emma had the centers for both quilts sewn together when she arrived. My Mom had given her the pre-cut squares, but now she needed to cut her borders. A rotary cutter lesson was in order. She was a bit tentative at first and didn’t always make it through the selvage on the first cut, but soon she got the hang of it.

Then it was time to cut the batting and the backing.

Emma batting

The batting was so soft and cozy, though, Emma had to try it out first.

After some pin basting and a brief introduction to the wonders of a walking foot, Emma was quilting away on the first quilt. We decided to do simple lines through the corners of the center squares.

Emma quilting

When we came to the borders, I suggested making some wavy lines with the walking foot. But Emma had another idea. She had seen her mom make some pretty cool decorative stitches on her machine. So Emma tested out a few and got excited about the prospect. I wasn’t sure how the quilt would feed through, since the batting had a high loft, but we decided the worst that could happen was we’d have to take out the stitches. So she give it a try, and it turned out great!

Emma quilt border

Emma quilt

For me, sewing is usually a fairly solitary activity. Thankfully, my husband is willing to talk things through with me and offer his insightful color and design thoughts. But there is something wonderful about gathering with others to sew. Emma and I set up our machines next to each other on a long table, and we even swapped machines when a special feature was needed. We talked through ideas, experimented a bit, and gave each other encouragement. And we both got a lot done (even considering we ran up to the Fabric Shack in Waynesville and stopped what we were doing for occasional cupcake breaks). Emma’s just beginning her sewing and quilting journey, but still she thought of things that I wouldn’t have and was a great collaborator. I’m hoping we can schedule another family sew-in soon.

Leave a comment


  1. Gina Rath

     /  July 31, 2013

    Emma has begun quilting early in her life, if she keeps it up just think of the amazing quilts she’ll be creating. Sounds like your ready for a quilting bee Christine!

    • It’ll be so fun to see where she takes her crafting and where her sense of style goes. At the fabric store, she picked out batiks for her next project, again, something I would not have considered for myself. Fun times!

  2. Craig McAndrews

     /  December 2, 2013

    Who is this “Emma”? She looks like an angel.

    PS – she is my daughter 🙂 and she is still sewing and quilting

  1. The Quilt I Might Take Apart | Christine Doyle

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