The Yukon Quest

I have a very close friend, Farrah, who is an elementary school teacher. She is originally from Northern BC and so she has introduced me to the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest, two amazing dog sled races that take place every year. She also uses these races in her classroom and draws on them for several subjects. Since we became friends about seven years ago, I have (of course) talked to her about quilting and between the two of us we came up with the idea of having her class make a quilt based on the Yukon Quest! My mom was pretty instrumental in this and for the first two years she went into Farrah’s class to teach the children how to do embroidery on quilt blocks. Each child gets a 12.5″ square of muslin and they draw a design related to the Yukon Quest with pencil and fabric paint and then add some embroidery stitches. This year since my mom had been down with a back problem for several months I volunteered to piece all their blocks together and finish the quilt for the class.

The kids in Farrah’s grade 4/5 class did a great job! There are all different levels of creativity. Some are clearly better at stitching then others but I think once it was put together they all looked great! This first picture shows my four favorite blocks. Two of them belong to the teacher assistants in her class. The one on the top right belongs to the son of a friend of mine and so obviously I have some partiality towards his! The one on the bottom left was a student who had awesome stitches, best in the class I think!

Here are close ups of all the other blocks that the class made. Once they were all pressed, squared-up, and quilted I think they all looked great! There may even be a few future quilters in the bunch! You may be wondering which square belongs to my friend Farrah. She does not sew. Period. I have attempted, on occasion, to convince her to try, but it is just not her thing at all! She is excellent at working knots out of embroidery floss but no stitching from her!

In order to make the quilt square I added a few pieces of husky fabric that we had. Then I finished it with a narrow orange border and top and bottom pieces of striped dog paw fabric to add a bit of length and tie it all together. The backing was also the same striped fabric. I think the colors all work great together. I did a large meandering stitch for the quilting using cream Aurfil thread. I think this thread is almost invisible and allowed for the all-over quilting without taking away from the embroidery.

At the end of the school year Farrah will have a draw to see which student gets to take home the quilt. All the students who would like the quilt enter their name and one is drawn out at random.

I love how this project introduces the students to such a wide variety of things. They get a taste of sewing and quilting as a form of art. They learn about the culture and geology of the North, dog sled races and the people involved. Farrah also ties in writing assignments with this topic and so it is something to which the kids get well exposed!

Here is the final product! Tomorrow is the last day of class and one lucky grade four or five student will be chosen to take this beauty home!


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