Frances Bell

home at last – for all the mes


#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 .

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.

#femedtech#femedtechquilt#OER20craftopen educationparticipationquiltquilting

francesbell • February 24, 2020

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  1. Jenny Mackness February 24, 2020 - 2:36 pm Reply

    This is wonderful work Frances. So lovely to see the progress you have all been making. This first quilt looks beautiful. I love how colourful it is. Fantastically well done to you all.

  2. francesbell February 25, 2020 - 10:06 am Reply

    Thanks Jenny. It has been hectic at times but truly joyous work. I have thought about many things as the quilt has evolved, including the third paper we wrote together with Mariana. I have thought about the role of social media in people’s association with each other, whether you call it community or network. Good and bad comes through social media, and this has, almost exclusively been a good thing.
    I am sure that two things that make a difference are that the material artefact emerges from concrete work that people have done with tangible textiles; and that we had a clear theme that people could interpret in their own way in creating their squares. The stories at are beautiful, often moving artefacts in their own right.

  3. #FemEdTechQuilt – Getting There – FemEdTech Quilt

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