Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday - All my Schoolchildren...

I'll admit it. I take a shameful amount of pride in having a nice looking classroom. I like it to be a colourful and interesting place for the kiddies to spend their time!

One of the items on my UFO/WIP list from last January was to make some more seasonal mini-quilts to hang in my classroom. I already have quilts for Hallowe'en and Valentine's Day, but I didn't have one for back to school. So I got to work on this...
By now, it will be gracing the wall of my classroom, just above my desk. In honour of my first day back to classes tomorrow, here's a little improv tutorial on how I made it!

1) Start out with some scraps. You need a pieces suitable for the pencil body, the eraser, the metal clamp that holds on the eraser, the sharpened wood bit, and the lead. The largest of mine was the pencil (yellow dotty fabric - probably 4 by 6 inches).
2. Sew the metal clamp on to the end of the pencil. As I went along, I trimmed down the pieces to make their size more suitable. I just eyeballed the proportions. It's improv, people! ☺
3. Sew the piece that will become the sharpened wood section on to the other end.
4. Sew the piece that will become the pencil lead on to the sharpened wood section.
5. Add your eraser. You may have noticed that my pencil got a lot skinnier here... I trimmed it down as I went.
 6. To sharpen your pencil, sew two triangles to the end with the lead.
7. I liked the idea that this pencil wasn't totally new, so I added a small triangle to my eraser end as well so it would look like I'd already been erasing!
8. I wanted the pencil to look like it was laying on a page, so I added a little extra to the end with the eraser. I also trimmed the white on the ends at an angle, keeping in mind that I wanted a 12 inch square quilt in the end. You could trim it straight if you prefer.
9. Add a large piece of white to the top and trim to desired size. I used Kona White, but you could use a tone on tone if you preferred. I was going for the look of a fresh sheet of paper!
 10. Add a smaller piece of white below the pencil.
11. Grab a scrap of batting and some backing and layer it up. Spray adhesive works well on a small piece like this... no pesky safety pins to get in your way whilst quilting. I used a Frixion pen to mark a side and top margins.
12. Then I quilted the side margin in red. I used a special stitch on my machine that gave the line of stitching a little more weight than usual. I did the same for the top margin. I used my normal stitch for the lines. I started out with the idea that they would be a little more than a ¼ inch apart, but the scale wasn't right with the size of the pencil. In the end, they were more like a ½ inch apart.
 13. Once you've stitched all the lines on your note paper, you can write a message on it.
14. I went wih "Welcome back!" in cursive writing. (I'm trying to encourage more cursive in my classroom this year.) I wrote it with a water soluble pen... it took me a couple tries to be happy with the form of the letters. Once it was a marked, I free motion quilted it in black. I went over each part twice to give the writing more weight. And I added a little flourish from the pencil... it just needed a little something!

Bind it with the method of your choice and there you have it!

If you decide to make one, please leave me a comment and/or a link to your blog or Flickr photostream.



  1. Replies
    1. Thanks... it was a fun project to make as I wasn't exactly sure what it was going to end up looking like!

  2. Such a cute idea, and well done too. Oh, I can see cool teachers gifts right there. something for them to hang in their classroom "Welcome to X's classroom" (or is classroom decorating a personal thing in which parents should not intervene? - you're a teacher, you tell me...) Would make some cute mug rugs too...

    1. Decorations for anyone are a tricky gift, but I think most teachers would appreciate the time and thought that goes into a handmade gift of this kind. Since wall space is sometimes at a premium, mini quilts are a good bet. But that's just my 2 cents. I hardly speak for teachers everywhere! ☺

  3. Awesome!!! I like the wood. ;-)


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