I recently started teaching English Paper Piecing to a small group of middle school girls. Some of them are crafty, others didn’t know how to thread a needle, but all of them were absolutely ecstatic to learn. I honestly didn’t expect their enthusiasm. Isn’t this the generation that's supposed to be glued to their phones and addicted to instant gratification? But it made me think- are we passing on the right things to our youth?
Many of us are parents or grandparents, and we assume that our kids and grandkids have zero interest in learning to EPP with us. But what if we included them in the whole process- from choosing the pattern and fabrics to sewing and quilting? Let’s get out of our comfort zones a bit and try to get into theirs.
My students were most excited about the modern notions I introduced them to: the Clover needle threader, Wonderclips, and they went absolutely nuts over my thread gloss from Robot Mom Sews. It was adorable to hear their questions and watch them pore over our catalog.
I suggest letting them lead. If you’re a traditionalist, let them share their excitement about a modern pattern. If 1920’s reproduction fabric is your thing, go together to shop for Tula Pink or Moda Grunge. Figure out which aspect of the process they’re the most interested in, then highlight that. I started out teaching my students about tessellations; I recommended the next time they go to a home improvement store, to take a look in the flooring section. Anything that tessellates can be an EPP pattern! Design your own pattern together!
There are so many ways to include the kids in your life in the creative process. I learned quilting from my grandmother, and now my kids love to help. And now, because I’m teaching it, I hope that the craft that is prevalent in my family tree continues to thrive in other families as well!