Thursday, April 4, 2013

album quilts, kinder style

Inspiration strikes at the strangest and most inconvenient times. Like 7:30 PM, in the middle of a chorus concert.

"... I could could do thus and such with my 1st graders---" And focus on what you're supposed to be doing.  Mind the iPod and the microphone, and all will be well. [The concert was great. The kids did a fabulous job, I was so proud of them.]

The summer dreamers made batik style glue resist tee shirts with white glue and tempera mixed with heat-set fabric medium on white 50/50 cotton/poly tee shirts. We had fabulous success letting the glue dry overnight, then having the kids paint on top of the dried glue, then tossing two classes worth of tee shirts [ 25 or so size child small to large] into a dryer on high heat for 70 minutes for the heat set, then washing on a regular wash cycle with detergent to get the glue out and drying again.

I don't want my current kids to do a glue resist project. We discovered in doing the glue resist that at 7, many of them had difficulty with the concept that they had already put down a design with the white glue, and they needed to just put paint down, or work with the design they had, not paint yet another, different picture. Maybe if we had added food coloring to the glue or something, I don't know, but it would have had to wash out to work on a white tee shirt.

What inspired me to tackle a quilt with my current students was this kindergarten teacher's kinder quilt project. A quilt for every year she's been teaching, or almost every year. I was going to have my students make a paper quilt, for a bulletin board, and then I found this website, and the wheels started turning. When I was born, my mother and aunts orchestrated a quilt for my paternal grandmother with squares done with drawings by each of the grand kids in crayon. Except I didn't draw mine, my mother did [it bears a striking resemblance to my teddy bear...]. Plain old wax crayons. We have plenty of those laying around.

The kinder quilts are done with markers. Magic markers. Kinder quilt doesn't say anything about the types of markers they used, they just took pictures. My thought was to leave this project, when completed, with Miss Honey [who I guess should get to pick out the fabric that goes with it...], but what happens if it needs to be washed, heaven help us all? I thought immediately of the heat set medium, except that I didn't want to break out tempra paints, because it's a tie-in to a social studies lesson on the past, and what makes our history, and we're talking about the memories [history] of 1st grade. and painting could go south fast, no to mention clean up. Draw a picture. On fabric. Easy peasy lemon squeasy. I figured the magic marker might be the way to go, since it might pull the fabric less when the kids were drawing as opposed to crayons, but came back to the wash problem. And the heat-set medium, which can't be added to a marker like it can to tempera paint. I'm not buying a set of heat set markers - they're almost as much for one as a box of 8 washables - also, I have 24 kids. Not realistic. And we're doing it all together.

So, necessity being the mother of invention: can you spray [with a spray bottle] a fabric square with undiluted heat set medium, let it dry a bit so the marker won't totally bleed, draw on it with marker, let dry, iron it for the prescribed amount of time, wash it according to bottle instructions, and have it come out looking fit and fabulous...? why am I sitting up past my bedtime chewing on my fingers for this?! probably because I'm bone tired and have my doubts about it working and really want it to work.

 The results are in:

Yes. Yes you can. Can I get 24 kids to do it. That remains to be seen. 

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