In Honor of Quilting

Learning Statement Paragraph
The students will learn about the history of quilting, including materials, styles, colors, and the different cultures who participated.  They will also learn how to do different kinds of stitches. The students will use fabric needles, and thread to express their ideas.  They will each contribute a quilting square that will eventually become part of a collaborative quit.  The students will be asked to write one page stating what the person they chose did positively in society, as well as why they chose the person whom they did.

Connecting to the Quilt Index
On the right are some specific quilts from the Quilt Index that you might like to use to introduce this lesson, many of which feature the names of prominent African Americans:

To find even more African American quilts on the Quilt Index, Searching the text 'African American' in the 'Religious, Ethnic and/or Cultural Affiliation' box on the search page.

Context and Background Information
The students will be working on the quilt during National Black History month.  They will study artist Faith Ringgold and be working to create a final collaborative quilt done in a similar style to Ringgold's.  They may use internet, books, or magazines if they need further ideas/inspirations about Black members of society, living or dead, who have contributed to the greater good in some way.  The students will read Scholastic Art, April/May 1994, Volume 24, Issn. 1060-832X, featuring Ringgold to further their knowledge and understanding of the artist.

Materials for 20 Students
• Fabric
• Yarn, embroidery floss, thread
• Needles
• Buttons, sequins, ribbon, etc. for embelishments
• Scissors
• Acrylic paint
• Paint brushes, water containers, palettes
• Scholastic Art Magazine
• (42) 12 x 12 inch fabric squares, (22) brightly colored and patterned, 20+ solid and plain.
• Sharpies
• Stitching handout

Process-Day 1
Set up and Preparation time: none
• The students will each receive a copy of the Scholastic Art Magazine featuring Ringgold.  They will take turns reading out loud through the whole issue, with the teacher asking questions to ensure comprehension.  There are suggested questions on the fold out page of each issue.
• The class will brainstorm African American citizens who have contributed positively to society.
• The students will have the remainder of the hour to research people they would like to honor on a quilt square, or begin doing a sketch of their idea.  They may want to take notes if they are researching because they will be asked to provide information in a short paper about why the person they chose was a benefit to society.

Process-Day 2
Set up and Preparation time: 5 minutes
• The students will do a sketch of their ideas.
• Those that are ready may begin creating their quilt square design using the provided materials.  Each student will need to create a ½ inch border on their fabric square using the Sharpie markers.  This border will disappear when they are sewn together.
• The teacher will demonstrate to the students how to do a whip stitch and a straight stitch, and pass out the handout of how to do other stitches (from the website
• The students may use quotes on their square if they see fit.  They may use acrylic paint if they wish in addition to the fabric and other stitching materials.
• They will continue to work on their quilt square until the end of the hour.
• The teacher will demonstrate to the students how to do a whip stitch and a straight stitch.

Process-Days 3-8
Set up and Preparation time: 5 minutes
• The students will continue to work on their quilt squares until they are finished.
• They will be required the one page paper to complete the assignment.
• The students that finish first will begin sewing their quilt squares together.  The quilt can either be in a rectangle or square, which ever the students decide.  Students that finish early may also create another quilt square, depending on the configuration decided upon for the quilt.
• Students that finish early may also begin sewing the border together, and the border to the center of the quilt.  The border will be made from the brightly colored 12 x 12 inch squares, emulating the borders of Faith Ringgold.
• The students doing the border work will need careful and repeated instruction regarding the alignment of the squares and sewing techniques.
• The final quilt will be hung somewhere in the school for display.

The students will be successful if they are able to work harmoniously to construct a group quilt.  They will hopefully leave knowing how to do two or more stitches.  They should be able to talk knowledgably about their chosen individual, and compose a page or so about his/her accomplishments.  The students will be trying to create a detailed, meaningful quilt square.  Careful craftsmanship will be important.

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