Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Margot Apple's The Name Quilt
More to add about the Margot Apple visit at the Eric Carle Museum on Saturday. Margot read her most recent book The Name Quilt by Phyllis Root which is a lovely story about a grandmother and her granddaughter Sadie’s summer vacation on a farm. The grandmother has a quilt which is made of scraps of fabric from various handmade clothing from family members. Each square is embroidered wth a family member’s name. Grandma and Sadie spend a lot of time talking about different humorous family lore all brought on by this wonderful textile. The quilt blows away in a storm and Sadie is devastated. They make a new quilt together.
I love the message in this book. I also saw such a nice connection with what I do - sewing and stitching embroidered names on things. The book has a 1930's feel to the clothing and the fabrics. Maybe I'm just living in days gone by - loving all these old-fashioned activities. It's nice to see publishers still bringing out books like these that show children the value of handmade things. It's not the type of book that will get on the NYT Children's Best Seller list unfortunately.
I first found out about The Name Quilt when Margot came to Julia's classroom and did a special program. The visit was funded by the local library and cultural council. I went to listen because I knew Margot and Julia was dying for me to come. Julia's teacher was doing a quilt unit for the month of February and I was very impressed with the things she was bringing home - how she was tying in math and English with quilts.
After Margot read The Name Quilt, the kids each made their own quilt square out of construction paper. I stayed and helped Julia and generally watched the dynamics of the classroom. Almost all the boys made Jolly Rogers. I didn't know what a Jolly Roger was - it's a skull and crossbones. Evidently I've been hiding under my own little rock. The girls made ballerinas and hearts. The kids had to make the paper quilt square for someone they loved and then they presented the idea to the class. Here's the heart square Julia made for me. They taped their own squares to the wall and made a paper quilt. The local paper sent a photographer and they got a half page the next day! It's a nice activity if you are home schooling or a librarian looking for a story-hour idea.
Thanks to Margot Apple for passing on the quilting and stitching tradition to children.