#FemEdTechQuilt – Getting There

The FemEdTech Quilt project has been an amazing project and we are not there yet – we have to get not one, but now four quilts to #OER20.

The quilt has been in planning since summer 2019, and we launched it in November 2019 in a post at OER20 conference website. It seemed like quite risky venture and there was much discussion and review of our Call and Support resources.

Thanks to Anne-Marie Scott, the quilt has a digital home in a SPLOT (thanks to Alan Levine) in a sub-domain of the FemEdTech website. So check out http://quilt.femedtech.net .

In the event, #FemEdTechQuilt has been a wild success with about 90 contributions of squares and fabric.

This weekend, Suzanne Hardy, @glittrgirl, arrived to help me assemble the the material#FemEdTechQuilt in my house in Macclesfield. We did a bit of sorting and planning on Friday night so that we had the squares in 4 piles, one for each quilt.

Suzanne and I were up at 8.00 a.m. on Saturday morning stitching the 6 inch squares into 4s. We were ready when the volunteers, an additional 5 women from the U3A handicraft group and friends, started arriving at 10.00 a.m. to lend a hand. The #Macclesfield7 did whatever they were asked, ironing, cutting fabric for sashing, stitching and making tea. We stopped for lunch at 12.30, and refreshed by minestrone soup and crusty bread, we really got cracking in the afternoon. By early afternoon the first quilt was put together, and the next three followed quite rapidly, so that by 4.30 p.m., all four quilts were pieced and sashed, looking like this.

First quilt pieced
First quilt pieced

Here’s a series of photos taken during the day that gives an idea of our progress

Screenshot_2020-02-24 Suzanne on Instagram “Border on one #femedtechquilt”

Click to see album

On Sunday morning, Suzanne and I cut and pieced the borders for the 4 quilts and stitched the borders to the first of the 4 quilts. It’s magical that this point it really starts to look like a quilt, even though there is a lot more work to be done. The backing needs to be created, and the wadding sandwiched between the quilt top and back.

Pieced quilt top
Pieced quilt top

After that each quilt needs to be quilted (my favourite part) and finally bindings applied. There is a final stage for our four quilts but I think we’ll save that to tell you about at OER20.

There is a lovely story associated with our choice of blue fabric for sashing and borders of the quilt. Last month, I was talking with Jacki (one of our Saturday volunteers) about choosing a fabric for this and wondered about black. She told me a story about a project she was doing 15 years ago with a youth group, where they had created fabric art pieces that needed to be mounted on to a backing. Like me, she was thinking of a black background, but her late mother, who was a talented textile artist recommended a “dead blue” background. Jacki then showed me the banner and I realised what she meant. The background recedes, making the elements stand out.

Gawsworth Banner
Gawsworth Banner

So about 10 days ago , I went shopping to Abakhan’s in Oldham Street, Manchester, and managed to find 2 large remnants of a dead blue craft cotton. As Abakhan’s sell craft cottons by weight, I got it at a bargain price.

The fabric we are using for the backings is all donated but that’s another story.

Measuring and Correction

my first task at quilting class
Log Cabin – my first task at quilting class

I attended my first quilting class today at the Quilting Box and this is what I achieved. I have done some quilting over the years, and been quite pleased with what I have achieved but I knew I had a lot more to learn – I just didn’t quite know what. Textile crafts have so much to tell us about learning in general.

I joined an ongoing class where participants make a series of 12 inch squares, each one from a different quilting pattern.  It was social and inspiring to see what others had achieved.  I started with log cabin that I had done many years ago.  Prior to the class, I had chosen fabrics to use for this square and subsequent ones in my quilt.

Violet's quilt in progress
Violet’s quilt in progress

Something I have learned from my recent baby quilt projects that are all about colour and fabric, was to be bold in choosing fabrics to go next to each other. Other people at the class commented on the strong colours I had chosen and liked the finished effect.


I brought my own sewing machine and bits and pieces to class but I did encounter some new technology – a square transparent ruler that helped me measure what I had done, a sewing machine foot that helped  me make 1/4 inch seams and flat-headed pins to mark places where I had gone wrong. But what I really learned from dear Edna, the teacher, was how to make a perfect 12 inch square by measuring and correction. So I measured and cut the fabric pieces and sewed the seams as accurately as I could, and then Edna showed me how to press and measure at each second round so that errors could be marked with a flat headed pin and corrected on the next seam.

The measuring was under my control, for improvement not for a final judgement, and Edna was around for advice.  That gave me the confidence to achieve a 12 inch square, knowing that I can also apply the measuring/correction technique to other projects. And I was delighted with the finished effect of the fabric combination. So checking, measuring and correcting are all part of learning, with a teacher to support learners’ development of confidence and resilience in a social setting with other learners. Even things that can’t be measured such as choosing fabric combinations are learned by individuals in social settings.