Quilting Is For Kids

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Caleb Marsh will soon be snuggling to sleep at night under his very own jungle print quilt -- unique not just because it is handmade, but because Marsh, the maker, is 8 years old.

The days when quilting was woman's work are past.

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Kaila Winkle prefers the hand crank sewing machine because it is easier to control. She is working on a quilt where each panel is comprised of 39 separate pieces, including the stitched appliqué of a horse.

The boys now out number the girls in the quilting class at Quilter's Outpost.

"No one will tease them," said Pat McNary, an employee of QO, who teaches the children the art of quilting.

"If you knew the hundreds of thousands of dollars nationally-known Ricky Tims makes a quilt, you wouldn't laugh," said teacher Wilma Hitterman.

The class formed as a continuation of the store's summer kids club and at seven students -- four boys and three girls --- it is at capacity.

With quilts spread out, there isn't space for them to meet all at once.

Jonathan Couch and Kaila Winkle have been coming for a year and made a fleece quit, a pillow and other things. So, they are the most familiar with the sewing machines. The others have just been working a couple of months.

"Our goal is to finish these quilts and have them on display at the October Quilt Roundup," McNary said. By that time the children will have about 30 hours in their quilts.

McNary guided her students in fabric choice and taught them how to mix fabric color and texture.

They learn how to incorporate light, medium and dark fabrics, small versus large prints and textured fabric into a meaningful pattern.

Each panel of Winkle's quilt was comprised of 39 separate pieces including the stitched appliqué of a horse.

"The design is pretty and easy, at least it's simple to me," Winkle said. The 10-year-old has been sewing for three years. She prefers the hand crank sewing machine because it is easier to control.

Even though all three girls' quilts are horse themed, each chose different fabric and sewing patterns.

The boys chose ocean fish, patriotic, fire trucks and jungle themes.

"Quilting is fun," said 12-year-old Jonathan Couch. He chose firetrucks because he loves emergency vehicles of all kinds. He got interested in sewing by watching his mother sew dog collars.

Like many skills, quilting requires patience and a smile.

Neither McNary nor Caleb, who she said is very focused, were phased when they found they had sewn the front to the batting. Getting a "free rip" (taking the seam out) from teacher was part of the learning experience.

Whatever the quilting project, it is "good clean fun," McNary said.

-- To reach Carol La Valley call 474-5251 ext. 122 or e-mail clavalley@payson.com.

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