Tag Archives: quilting

Unstructured Time

I was just thinking about getting ready to head to the after school program when I got a text indicating they were going to have to cancel. I was a little disappointed as I had pulled together some digital cameras and was hoping to work on some digital storytelling using Scratch as the production tool…get the girls interested in programming by building on their interest in digital media. I had spent an hour or so today creating two ideas for using digital photos in Scratch:

Farming Friends:

Farm Slide Show:

So, I kept working on them a bit, adding code to make sure they reset themselves when the green flag was pressed. I figured the girls could remix my work, thus learning both about the Scratch community and getting to see some code they can work with.

I finished tinkering and realized I had unstructured time. The last time it happened, I had to listen to a Coursera lecture. Today, I really could take a break from responsibilities. What to do? The dogs benefited as they got an extra walk before their supper. And my kitchen floor got a much needed cleaning.

But I was also able to escape upstairs to my makeshift sewing room where I’ve been working on my first quilting project. I had bought a kit for a small wall hanging several years ago and decided this would be the year I finished it, intending to give it to my mother for a Christmas gift. I had cut squares and done some sewing over the weekend but today’s job was to start creating the whole piece. I pretty quickly discovered just how badly I had done with the initial cutting. Some squares were more like rectangles, points didn’t match and after sewing two rows together, I found that one of the blocks was positioned incorrectly, a mistake that pretty much doomed the project. I could have taken it all apart but that wasn’t going to solve the poor cutting. I used a rotary cutter but just wasn’t as careful as I should have been. I’ll finish it as it is good enough for me but I’m going to try another one to give as a gift. This time, I’ll be better focused on the cutting, first taking some time to read tips from experienced quilters who are willing to share their secrets online.

A well-made quilt has a clean, neat look that results from clean, neat cutting. I knew that and yet it took failure to bring the lesson home. It’s tempting to give it up and go back to crocheting, a craft I do well, but I’m determined to master this new craft. Thank goodness I’m not being judged on my first effort.

Lots of lessons for educators here…first, the unstructured time and the chance to choose my activity, and then the chance to fail. We don’t allow much of this in schools since we are so focused on measurable results.