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Reading to a Child Wrapped in a Quilt of Love – Increasing Literacy with Quilting Works!

Quilting for Literacy

Quilt Reading What could be better than reading to a child wrapped in a kid friendly quilt?
Reading couldn’t be more important to instill in our children; so making reading warm, friendly, and cozy in a kid friendly quilt just couldn’t be more ideal!  They feel your love and warmth as you read to your children or grandchildren wrapped up in a quilt together.  Not only can the quilt be used to cover eyes with anticipation, but the reading draws you and your child closer together.  There are so many fantastic books to read!  There is reading to babies, toddlers, grade school children, middle school and even high school teens.  Maybe by that time we will need two quilts, one for us and one for the teen!  The books to choose from are just endless in each of these age ranges.  Each of our children have had their favorites and for Christmas one year we purchased a copy of their favorite childhood book, signed the front of the book with memories of reading the book with the child and how the book ties into the beauty of their individuality.  What a great way to make your children feel loved and important to you than setting aside the time to read with them and enter their world with books that interest them.

Another way to help a child feel loved and appreciated is to make them a child friendly quilt to read those books in! TIP 1: Fancy quilts are not necessary; they will appreciate anything!  TIP 2: A great way to learn how to quilt is to make a quilt for a child.  That is one of the ways that I learned how to quilt was to quilt for my children along for my nieces and nephews.  I love to do the quilting of the quilt with them right along side me.  No surprises because I want them to see the way steps to build a quilt and constructed.

Quilt Reading Set 2TIP 3: A child loves to watch a loved one make something extra special for them.  Children playing along aside you as you piece the quilt top together is ideal. They can help in whatever way they can.  My children loved to see me make a quilt for them.  TIP 4: My children loved to help with picking out fabrics, designing a pattern, cutting pieces, ironing and sometimes piecing bits of the quilt together with guidance.  All the children that I have done this with have enjoyed every aspect of the project, although when they tire of things and get distracted with other items, that gives me the time to get some real work in.  TIP 5: Sometimes I involve them in the initial process and then as I build the quilt together, I continually show them it as it grows into what you designed together.  They are just marveled…. marveled that you would do something like that for them and feel loved as you do it.

TIP 6: Now we don’t want to make the quilt too difficult and keep the pattern simple so the process goes quickly and it gets finished never becoming a UFO.  TIP 7: The other reason we want to keep things simple is we want to get to the reading part of snuggling up with that child and read a book!  We dayQuilt Reading Set 5dream that possibly this quilt will be the quilt that they drag everywhere feeling that safe loved feeling when they are sick, traveling, or creating good memories with.  TIP 8: Do we really need to hand stitch the binding?  No, we don’t because if one of those hand stitches get worn out with use, then that binding is going to start to unravel.  Can’t you just picture those cute little fingers irresistibly fingering a worn spot with the binding not attached to the back and the batting now showing!  Do we really want unraveling quilts?

Quilt Reading Set 3TIP 9:
Some tips with piecing the quilt…. too many things to come apart and become vulnerable with time.  Kids appreciate the memories that these quilts bring and treasure them so keep it simple so they stay intact.  TIP 10: Thinking of hand quilting that project? No, resist the urge, the quilt is small but once again we really dream of them wanting this quilt when they are sick and washed properly without jeopardizing the construction of it.  TIP 11: So use this opportunity to try a new machine piecing, machine binding, or machine quilting technique that we have been curious to try.  AND for goodness sake…. please let’s just domestic machine quilt the quilt.

TIP 12: Don’t send the quilt to a long armer for months waiting for completion.  TIP 13: I promise you can quilt a child’s quilt.  Easy peesy and you will love it too – so lower those feed dogs on your domestic sewing machine.  Quilting three layers together is NOT difficult – I will teach you just how to do it.  TIP 14: Now we have to resist the urge to fuss over perfection, remember ladies we are NOT submitting this to a quilt show or entering it into the county fair.  This quilt is for the beloved child in your life and you know what…. I bet if you are a great lady then there are probably lots of beloved children you have around you that you want to give a quilt of literacy to.

Literacy Message to NickTIP 15: So let’s keep everything simple because the point of these quilts is to make those kids feel loved and to read to these kids we adore!  You need time and money to run to get a book that you will to read to this child with this quilt.  TIP 16: Don’t fuss over quilting details because you really want to sign the front of the book with a personal message that the child can read emphasising how important reading and the child is to you.  Below you can see my 21-year-old son’s favorite book was Good Night Gorilla, and you can see the message I wrote for him in the images.  I not only tell him that I love him, that reading is important but I also share why I think that book was so important to him because he had the same mischievous snuggly spirit as the Gorilla in the book, wanting everyone included and part of the party!  TIP 17: An extremely shocking tip for you, please hand print the message in the front of the book instead of cursive.  Kids are no longer learn how to read cursive in schools…. yes one of those lovely cut backs.  It’s okay…. just be aware of it so that your adorable child will eventually read the book and your message too.

TIP 18: As you work on the quilt, think of things to jot down for front of the book that is unique to the child and your love of reading – Post It notes are handy in my sewing station for this.

Quilt Reading Set 6TIP 19: Now picking out the fabric…. find out what the child’s favorite colors are…. dive into your stash… I know you have those colors in there somewhere.  TIP 20: You probably don’t need to spend any money whatsoever.  TIP 21: If you are new to quilting, be sure to go to a quilt shoppe or visit an online quilt shoppe to purchase fabrics.  The fabric dyes are stable and the fabrics shrink together.  TIP 22: Have a special fabric that is a family heirloom then incorporate it into the quilt!  I promise… you don’t need to follow a pattern.  TIP 23: Design your own and sweet ladies out there quilting is just about math and it is simple math – you can do it.  I have an entire series of videos that I plan to create to help you through every ounce of this process and then I’ll be learning from you.  I LOVE to learn from other quilters!  They are the best ladies in the world – gentle spirits, always willing to share.  TIP 24:  I know this is controversial… but you do not HAVE to pre-wash your fabrics!  I don’t saving loads of time with every single one of the quilts in these pictures never pre-washed.   Guess what?  That is more time reading than washing and then ironing those fabrics.  Let the fabric, batting and everything else shrink together after you complete the quilt. TIP 25:  You do not need to wash the quilt prior to giving it as a gift.  I never have and guess what… every quilt that I gifted was loved and then washed many time.  That saves you more time and I like the way the sizing in the fabric feels.

TIP 26: Now what could be a family heirloom – grandpa’s ties or handkerchiefs.  There are so many items in your home to cut up and put into a quilt making your gift even more special than you ever dreamed.  Remember when you were newly married or a new mom and you just had to get creative.  TIP 27: Pull yourself back to that creative place and pull out things that you would like to see become an heirloom within an heirloom.

Attached are pictures of many quilts that I have made for my children and the books I LOVED to read to them.  TIP 28: Notice the quilts are simple – I made them fast and I wasn’t worried about them being perfect.  TIP 29: The purpose of the quilt was to get it in the hands of the child I loved.

Quilt Reading Set 2TIP 30: I think my children, my nieces and nephews sincerely felt valued when I made a quilt for them.  I’ve made quilts for the friends of my children to comfort during difficult times they faced for instance, a parent passing away to cancer in 6th grade to have something special representing memories.  TIP 31: Giving a quilt is more than giving a gift of love it is giving part of yourself to that child permanently.

May we all celebrate the opportunity to quilt for loved ones or just special kids out there that need a little extra love.  TIP 32: Let’s combine those quilts with a book to read because quilting truly can increase literacy.  Right now I am enjoying curling up at night reading Jonathon Living Seagull by Richard Bach with my 13-year-old son.  TIP 33: Not all children are natural readers but as life changes and my 21-year-old son is a now a ferocious reader and even though he isn’t living in my house, I know my quilts are with him in his apartment at college and that dreamer of a son of mine is curled up in the quilts I sent with him to college reading those books.  The reason I know is that I’ve seen him time after time reading in his room with several quilts propping him up and covering him to make him comfortable in his reading positions.  TIP 34:  Make the quilt kid size friendly.  It doesn’t need to be a crib size or a twin size…..  there are other sizes… you just make it up!  I like to think the size of the quilt is a Reading size…. something they will drag around the house with them.  That size to me is maybe around 40 to 50 inches wide by 60 to 70 inches in length.  Just wing it – you don’t have to be precise!  TIP 35:  Remember after you give the gift, you can always read to your children or grandchild via FaceTime or Skype.  Learn how to use the technology that is available so that reading becomes a past time that goes away.  We can still read to our loved ones even if they are far away!

May we enjoy the process of creating quilts and sharing our quilts with loved ones.  May our quilts support our families as they grow up and then as our children launch in life knowing we did our very best at balancing being a good mother and parent to them with all the needs of life.  Most of all…. my motto… may the work of your hands in every way delight the souls of others to help them grow the ways they need to.  More than anything kids in the world need to feel loved and accepted – the kids in the world today face more than you can ever imagine.  I’m dedicating this blog to affirming that the quilts we make for our loved ones make a difference and they really can improve literacy when we let them know how important the individual is to us along with how important reading is to us too.  Let’s not allow reading to become a pastime with all the distractions of the world but use our cozy quilts to actually read with our loved ones and increase the self-worth of those we love.

Please share what are some of your most cherished books or quilts that you want or have shared with you loved ones!  Let me know if you want a pattern or some fabrics for the quilts above.  I can do any tutorials for you on my YouTube channel of making any of these quilts or a particular skill you want to build.  Just let me know and I can’t wait to hear from all of you!  Please I am very respectful to all quilters and their desire to pre-wash fabrics or wash quilts prior to giving them away.  We all have different styles and please don’t let any of my time-saving tactics turn you off from quilting with literacy.  It is always up to you to decide your style of quilting.  I’ve always been a busy mom with kids everywhere and very often quilt for my love of others and to relax and unfortunately at the time of life with many demands and have to get to the hands on of parenting.  So many seasons of life and we must enjoy each and every one of them!

What are your thoughts?