On our very first day at GFS we discovered Miss Jones loves quilting! One of the activities we did to get to know each other was design a patch for a quilt Miss Jones was going to make for each of our school houses. We weren’t sure what they would look like, but they turned out great! This is the Sancho house quilt. Each little square represents a different person in our tutor group. The rocket on the top row is Miss Flett’s, our tutor, because she is a scientist and loves learning about space!
All of our houses are named after famous Greenwich people. Ignatius Sancho was a black man who was born on a slave ship. His mother died as a slave, and his father killed himself rather than be a slave, so Ignatius Sancho grew up all alone. He was sold to a family in Greenwich who were impressed by how much he wanted to learn, even though he was a slave and that wasn’t normally what happened, and they leant him books to read. He taught himself to read and write (and so is a good role model for one of our school values: scholarship!) and he wrote lots of things arguing that black people should have equal rights and slavery shouldn’t be a thing that existed. He finally became the first black man to vote in a British election!
Anyway – back to our tutorial. Mr Brown, our maths teacher, is mad about maths, and particularly patterns. This is his favourite tessellation (he has wooden shapes so that we can make it in lessons and see how it repeats). It has pentagons and stars and decagons, and we used it as the inspiration for our Maths Quilt!
We wanted to try to make a quilt of this pattern because Mr Brown liked it so much. So we designed this pattern to make a rainbow quilt! We decided that each of us would make one of the big pentagons that has one star and five decagons in it. Then we could sew them all together and make one quilt that we had all been part of!
Then we learned how to do English paper piecing from Miss Jones! It involved a lot of pricking our fingers and dropping our needles at first. First we drew round Mr Brown’s shapes and cut them out, trying to make them as perfect as we could.
Then we covered them in material and sewed it down. Some of us (Jess!) were idiots and cut holes in the very middle of Miss Jones’ bits of material! But we soon learned to always use the edges first (even if the bit in the middle was prettiest) because otherwise Miss Jones said she’d hunt us down. Our first ever stitches were really messy! But Miss Jones said it didn’t matter because in the end we’d take these stitches out, and nobody would ever know.
Doing the star was even harder!
When we had made a few shapes, we started sewing them together, with the smallest stitches we could do. We put them front sides together and sewed along the line, then when you fold it back you can only just see the stitches!
We have quilting club on Thursday, where we all squeeze into Miss Jones’ office, and sew, and talk about deep questions. Mr Brown gave us all quilting names, like Needle-dropper, and Gertrude, and the Silent Assassin, and Old Father Joe. Once Jess cut a hole in the middle of one of Miss Jones’ bigger bits of material – none of us will ever make that mistake again!
At GFS we have a drop down day every two weeks, and one day we did a teacher choice day, where our teachers chose their favourite things and places, and we all signed up. Of course the quilters signed up to Miss Jones and Mr Brown’s Maths Quilting trip! We went to the V&A to see some of the sewing things there, and we took our quilts so that we could quilt in the museum.
The museum was amazing – Trade and Rashida saw a massive carpet, and wanted to get a closer look, but the glass in front of it was so clean they didn’t see it was even there, and they bumped into it! We sat in front of the beautiful displays and did more sewing, and made loads of progress with our quilt. We even quilted on the bus and train!
Before we went home we went to a cupcake shop, and we all bought a delicious cupcake. Finlay bought three and went on a bit of a cake-over-load! Anyway – so after we had quilted for about a billion hours, we got this! (as you can see, we’re still not finished…!) This is one of our big pentagons – imagine what the whole thing will look like when we finish it (if we ever finish it).
If we ever get the quilt finished we will post another blog for you and let you see it! And if you make one using our tutorial we would love to see it too. Thank you again so, so much for sending us your scraps! We promise not to let Jess cut holes in the middle of them!!!
Quick final note from Lynne - if you would like to send the rainbow scraps to the Quilt Club of Greenwich Free School, email me or leave me a comment with your email address in and I will send you the shipping address. Scraps minimum 5" square.