During the last Austin Area Quilt Guild show last year, I spent most of my time (and money) visiting the vendor booths in search of my usual vintage fabric, quilt tops, and blocks. I did find a respectable amount to bring home with me, but I was able to keep my shopping frenzy to a controlled minimum.
I also happened to have one of my daughters with me, the youngest, then at age 8. She isn’t as interested in quilting or sewing as I was at her age, but she does dabble, and I don’t push her into that direction at all, lest I lose her quilting curiosity completely. She may not get the quilt bug at all, and that is fine. She may pick it up later in life, when she is grown and has a family of her own. I won’t bank on it. I will love to see whatever she decides to do with her free time. Right now, her interest lies in destroying a ‘Wreck This Journal’ book. I couldn’t be happier.
Anyway, while we were wandering the booths, we came to one vender called Afternoon Quilts, who had all of these beautiful little quilt kits. Most of them were small or lap size, all were simple, quick designs, and they were all-inclusive. The binding, the minkee backing, the batting, the carefully labeled pieces for the top (front of the quilt), and excellent easy-to-read instructions were all there in each kit. My daughter was begging to have one, and so, we snagged the one named ‘After the Rainbow’ after much deliberation and one eeny-meeny-miny-moe tie-breaker. It was pleasant to work with Katie and Debbie, the owners of Afternoon Quilts, as their customer service was outstanding. The part that really made me want to throw my credit card down, was the special attention that they gave to my daughter. They kept eye contact and conversation with her at all times, as she was the true customer. It was a refreshing change in a place were children are not understood to be the possible next generation of quilters. I am telling you, this event might have hooked her into the world of fabric hoarding and ripping seams for the next 80 years (or so).
She came home that day all excited to make that quilt; however, I am ashamed to admit that I promised her we would get to right after (insert whatever interruptions normally happen here). Okay, my bad. I realize and own this mistake. It’s all on me. This kit came to surface again last month when I was cleaning and purging my sewing room, so I immediately set it at the top of the ‘MUST DO!!!’ list, and we got to work.
I set her up on her brother’s Brother, and she went to town sewing these blocks together into rows, then I helped her get the rows together into a top. This was truly the perfect pattern for kids to be introduced to quilting. There is zero cutting to do (other than trimming to prepare for the binding step, and that step you can use scissors for.) It went together so fast. With kids, they want instant gratification on a project or they get bored, so this is very important to keep them motivated to keep with it.
The only notes that I would add to anyone interested in one of these kits is that the minkee/fluffy backing is not beginner quilter friendly. I had no problem machine quilting with it on my domestic machine, but I have a dual feed presser foot, which helps prevent shifting during quilting. Otherwise, I would recommended either asking if they have a cotton backing option, or you could spray baste between the backing and the batting layers before quilting. We used plenty of safety pins, which worked just fine for the simple straight line quilting that we chose.
Another thing that could be done to make this quilt kit easy for a beginner, is to omit the binding completely. Before quilting, sandwich the three layers envelope style (batting, Backing-face up, then top-face down) sew around the perimeter leaving an opening to turn it inside out. stitch the opening closed afterward. Sew around the perimeter again to encase the outer seam, then quilt or tie the center area as desired.
Hilariously, I decided to sew the binding to the front of the quilt by machine and hand stitch down to the back (my typical method), which is all well and good unless you have this fluffy backing. I knew better, I really did. I knew that I should have machine sewn the binding to the back, then hand stitch to the front, but you know how I love a good laugh. Other than that single trip-up, this was actually a fun experience. She got a new favorite lap quilt, I got a UFO out of my sewing room, and we both finished it together without any tears. 5 out of 5
stars full bobbins.
DISCLOSURE: This is an honest customer review. I do not have a bias, nor have I financially benefited from this company by making this review. At the time of this writing, Afternoon Quilts is unaware of my writings, which are my opinions alone. Thank you in advance for any feedback from my post, as I always value your kind words.
Have a happy sewing weekend, Y’all.