What I Learned from 20 High School Girls

Santa, FMQ

A few weeks ago, I had the distinct privilege to demonstrate free motion quilting  to Mrs. Schellinger’s Creative Quilting Class at Forest Lake (MN) High School.  The class of twenty girls have been working on quilts all semester and Mrs. Schellinger invited me to give a quick tutorial on quilting options.  While the girls politely listened as I began the lecture and demonstration, it was plain to see what they really wanted to do is try it for themselves.


The classroom machines were less than ideal for FMQ.  The machines sit on top of a bench (not set-in cabinets) and they did not have darning feet, Supreme Sliders, new needles, etc.  (See the Seven Steps to FMQ here).   The students were undaunted. We used the standard sewing foot, lowered the feed dogs and lowered the pressure on the presser feet.    It was a “Make It Work” moment.

LESSON TWO:  Use what you have and find a way to “Make it Work”!

Creative Quilting ClassI demonstrated a few motifs for the class and brought several samples of my work to share.  The students tried the recommend patterns, but were soon creating their own motifs.  They did a fabulous job developing their own stitched doodles!

LESSON THREE:  Follow patterns, but don’t be afraid to go your own way.

Creative Quilting Class

My return to high school gave me new ideas and inspiration for my own quilting.  (In January, we will have a tutorial inspired by one of the high school students.)

LESSON FOUR: Surround yourself with creative people.  Their creativity will rub off on you.

Creative Quilting Class

I had a great time teaching Mrs. Schellinger’s Creative Quilting Class and while I hope I inspired them, I know they inspired me!


19 thoughts on “What I Learned from 20 High School Girls

  1. Thank you Lori for your kind words! I can’t wait to share this post with the class, they will enjoy their 15 minutes of fame!

  2. Thank you for sharing your lessons learned.
    I am certain they were thrilled with your instruction and expert advice.
    You are inspiring

  3. How wonderful! I have learned through the years that we learn much through our children. I wish I could have been there…. Thank you for a great year of inspiration. I am new to quilting and am finishing up my second quilt for one of my granddaughters. I can’t wait to see what the new year brings. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and joyous New Year. Wanda

  4. AWESOME!! I love being around young people! They just go for it usually with a big ol’ grin on their faces! And think they are so creative because they aren’t soo serious all the time. These were great and FMQ or any sewing in Highschool….lucky kids! I was happy to hear that…seems a lot of our schools have ditched that! Fun Post!!!

  5. Awesome! I have a high schooler and it seems he just soaks up knowledge. I wish I had someone like you who came to my high school when I had sewing. We made jumpers and a skirt….. I didn’t sew again until 30 years or more later. If I had known about quilting, maybe I would have been sewing all those years.

    • Jeanette you made me laugh!! I made a red polka dotted pair of overalls–the “rebel of the class!” Big bell bottoms of course too..Yay for the “70’s” LOL! And I wore them…so embarressing now! OOiivey!!Good Memories! I would of loved quilting in school too!!! 🙂

  6. What a fabulous gift you and their teacher have given them…the gift of quilts and quilting is stupendous!!! How lovely that there is a school still interested in teaching sewing in any way!!

  7. This is an excellent post! I was impressed that you talked about what you learned more than what you taught. The photo of you watching the student as she worked was wonderful. You clearly were thrilled with this experience! Involving the students is the best way to teach. I’m proud of you, and happy for these creative students!

  8. Fabulous!
    Sometimes it takes a child to show us that you can.
    We’ve made rules that keep us back, kids don’t know the rules and do what they want!
    That’s why I love teaching my granddaughters to sew and quilt.

  9. How wonderful that you got to share your talents with the high school kids! And how awesome is that, that they are taking quilting in school?

  10. Great post, i was thinking about doing some quilting with my students. Having some trouble with the logistics like getting the sewing machines into the school and finding time. I will go through with it though, thanks to your post!
    Happy holidays!
    esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo com
    ipatchandquilt dot wordpress dot com

  11. How fun! I have a friend who is a math teacher who is making her middle school students design a quilt block with all the appropriate math, then cut each piece out, stitch them together, and come out with a quilt block. How cool is that? Love the way those kids worked with what they had.

  12. I can’t believe it either. I thought home economics was taken out of schools. Good to to know I was wrong. I am glad you shared your experiences with us. I always remember my sewing days in jr High. I happy these girls will remember their sewing experiences too.

  13. Pingback: Nikki’s Jigsaw Puzzle-A FMQ Tutorial | The Inbox Jaunt

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