A NEW WAY TO TACKLE AN OLD CRAFT – Kody Suit intently focuses on his stitch, as young people have for centuries, indeed millennia. He is sewing together small pieces of fabric to create his square for the class’s quilt. – Photo courtesy of Krista Marihugh
Submitted by Krista Marihugh, AmeriCorps staff, La Conner school district. Fifth grade students at La Conner Elementary are connecting with the community again, this time through a special service project benefiting “Quilts of Valor” and “American Hero Quilts.” The project is organized by Roxann Heffelfinger, from Fidalgo Island Quilters, and is sponsored by the Anacortes Arts Festival’s Giving Back program. The process of completing a multifaceted quilting project is as technical as patchwork and quilting itself. It began with a two-hour instructional presentation in the classroom. After learning about different patchwork styles and the three layers of the quilt sandwich, the art of quilting came to life when the students visited the Pacific Northwest Quilt and Fiber Arts Museum. In conjunction with this learning experience, they created their own 9-patch blocks, a traditional beginner’s block. Volunteers assisted students with the sewing process and provided hands-on use of a quilting machine. While the students’ contribution is complete, the hard work and dedication of many volunteers will transform the simple squares into a beautiful quilt by sewing the blocks together, followed by quilting and binding. Fidalgo Island Quilters have worked with the La Conner Elementary fifth grade classes since 2015. This year’s quilt won’t be finished for several more months, but last year’s quilt project is complete and ready to display. This unique quilt integrates tribal arts with a project about local salmon. By using a special technique, students transferred 42 salmon drawings onto fabric bordered with 9-patch blocks. The quilt is titled “The Long Journey” and will be featured at this year’s quilt show, “Quilts in Bloom.” The quilt show will be at the Best Western Skagit Valley Convention Center, Mount Vernon, April 20-21. Adult admission is $7. It is free for ages 12 and under.