April 24, 2015

Kudos to Uintah High School's Quilting Program!

Renee Steele is one of our favorite quilting teachers. She has taught Designer Sewing/Quilting at Uintah High School in Vernal, Utah, for the past 20 years. She shared photos of some of her students Pineapple quilts with us and we asked her to share her story with you. We know you'll agree that these are great quilts!
When I first started teaching at the high school, the Clothing Construction class enrollment was dwindling fast, so I went out on a limb and offered quilting. I as a teacher had much to learn. There are over 200 students, boys and girls, that participate and excel in the quilting class each year.

200 students per year x 20 years of teaching = 4000 potential quilters!

In the beginning the quilts students created were very simple; 10-inch blocks, enveloped, and tied. Today my students do very difficult piecing, appliqué, trapunto, and amazing machine quilting and binding.

We use only home sewing machines to do the quilting. This way every student can machine quilt every day instead of one student tying up the one quilting machine until their project is finished. My theory is teach them how to use a basic home machine that they can afford to purchase now and they can always upgrade if they desire to.

The love of quilting is “sewed, pieced and quilted” in the hearts, minds, creativity and abilities, whether students pursue quilting in the present or later in life. The love, skills and knowledge are there just waiting to burst with individual creativity!

I will always be grateful to Marti Michell for being so generous with me and my students. Through quilting, and the use of Marti’s tools and expertise, many teenagers have walked away with a sense of accomplishment, self worth, a new talent and ability to provide revenue for their families should there ever be a need.

Marti's templates, instructions, videos, and love of teaching/sharing, have made a tremendous impact on myself and my students throughout numerous projects they've completed over the years, and I appreciate all the hard work Marti’s team does to make the piecing process so easy and carefree.

Thanks, Renee, for the kind words about our work but you deserve all the credit, our part was easy! Your creativity and love of quilting is what fires up your teenage students, and we're grateful to you for "passing on the needle" to so many of them.