Milly – Part 3

In Part 2, Milly came onto the scene, meeting the children and Gloria.  She accepted the “challenge” – as she called it – of quilting a mural which would become a Peace Quilt.  Gloria started the ball rolling with her own blankie, actually her personal Peace Quilt.

Part 3

As I collected photos for this story, look what I found in my archives:
the original sketch!

When the sketch was finished and children had decided that the quilt would be ‘just so’, they spent time coloring their design.  This solidified their images of Peace and reinforced how they wanted the quilt to look.  It was coming to life.

Milly came to school every week with fabrics.  They were gorgeous!  I asked her if she had purchased them at JoAnne Fabrics.  Her silence was deafening.  I compare this faux pas to asking a lady wearing an original Oscar de la Renta if she got her dress at K-Mart.  Milly was kind, she understood.  Each visit we spread out the sketch on a big table.  Children came to find a favorite part of the sketch and pick what they felt was the perfect fabric for that part.

Lizzie was especially interested in the horse and wanted blue fabric.  I smiled a big smile. Here’s why:

This was Lizzie’s second year in my classroom.  Children often spend two years with me as it is a full day, multiage class.  Lizzie rides horses on her farm.  She adores horses.  More importantly, the year before when we prepared for our annual Art Show, Lizzie was struck with the painting Large Blue Horses by Franz Marc.  She worked at her masterpiece over and over- five times to be exact.  By the time she finished the paint was so thick and heavy I was worried it would fall off the wall at the art show.

Can you now imagine the thrill that Lizzie felt when she picked out ‘just the right blue’ fabric?  I did!  And, I told Milly about the art piece while we watched Lizzie.  Each child had a similar story, or a reason.  Milly was the provider of the feast, and children came to the table to find their favorite foods.  It was that simple.  Milly ‘got it’.

As the quilt progressed each week, Gloria would pop in and check things out.

When Milly finished the quilt she asked me about the writing and lettering, how I wanted to say PEACE.  I hadn’t thought about that, I was so consumed with each part of the quilt.  Milly was way ahead of me, she was looking at the forest while I had been looking at the trees.  I said, “Milly, you decide.”  And she did:

She arrived at my house, held up the finished front of the quilt… and I burst into tears.  I never cry, but my tears came out like a flood when I saw this magnificent work of art.  Did you know that Milly only sews by hand?  She never uses a sewing machine.  That means when she began to quilt this fabric, she did so stitch by stitch.  Many weeks went by as she came to school and let the children watch her sew.  They were mesmerized.  It seemed as though watching each stitch connect their special ideas made the quilt all the more important.

Our next step while Milly quilted was to make a book, a Peace Poetry book.  We took all of the children’s ideas and put them into a rhyme:

A dog and a cat
A heart on a tree
Autumn leaves falling into the sea.
Stars and a rainbow
Triangles of white
Chicks and flowers, peeping and bright
Puppies and kittens
A cow and a moon
A big bright star, a truck that goes vroom
A horse and duckies
A heart that is red
The color of yellow, peaceful thoughts in my head.

When the quilt was finished there was a big ‘todo’ in town.  The newspaper came to do an interview and get photos.  The library wanted to hang the quilt for a while.  This was big!


Does the quilt look familiar to you?  I hope so – it is my blog photo!

When the dust settled I told ‘the world’ of this remarkable quilt, including sending an email to the National Liberty Museum.  I thought they might enjoy knowing all that had transpired since we recreated their Peace Portal.  Their reply was not at all what I expected, and completely changed the course of events.  Frankly, it was a shock.  Just when I thought this was finished, that our quilting adventure was at an end, I was so wrong.  Little did I know what was about to happen was the beginning.  Stay tuned for Part 4.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in art, Diversity, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Gloria, Imagination, Inspiration, Peace, quilting, Teaching young children, The Arts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Milly – Part 3

  1. Wow! They are really interested and highly concentrated. 😉 A really great idea, and a memory forever. In elementary school we only knitted and crocheted. But don’t ask me what.Lol Have a nice Wednesday, Jennie! xx Michael

  2. Pingback: Milly – Part 3 Posted on by Jennie – DEEZ – News about Art, Books & more

  3. Carla says:

    That is absolutely gorgeous. I can’t believe Milly sewed every stitch by hand, amazing. I can’t wait to hear what happens next. 💖😀

    • Jennie says:

      Yes, all by hand! I was as surprised as you. Watching her sew was fascinating for the children. It gets even better! Thank you for staying tuned, Carla.

  4. This post is just what I needed to start my day. There is Hope inherent in that Peace quilt.

  5. quiall says:

    You are an incredible tease! I can’t wait for part four. I have loved it so far and I know I won’t be disappointed.

  6. beetleypete says:

    Lovely memories of Milly, and the excitement of the children too.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  7. The quilt is gorgeous! I’m on tenterhooks for part 4 Jennie!

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Kim. Part 4 Saturday. Apologies I am sooo behind on blog reading. Grandies are here for 12 days. I will catch up soon. 💕

  8. Even Gloria is getting right into it. 😊

  9. barbtaub says:

    One of my favourite stories ever!

  10. srbottch says:

    Sometimes, when you ‘sow’ seeds, you never know what you might get. In this case, you’re still reaping far beyond what you expected, and it’s all good.

  11. Dan Antion says:

    This is a beautiful and amazing story!

  12. It’s an incredibly heartwarming story, Jennie! The quilt is beautiful.

  13. Ritu says:

    This just gets better and better!

  14. Don Ostertag says:

    Oh gosh! So wonderful.

  15. A terrific story, Jennie. Thanks for the retelling.

  16. Beautiful, Jennie! 💞

  17. petespringerauthor says:

    What a big heart Millie has! Someday some of your students may do something similar and won’t that be the icing on the cake. It’s no wonder you were moved to tears by her act of graciousness.

    • Jennie says:

      She truly had the biggest heart. Thank goodness she touched so many lives. Yes, if my students did something similar it would be incredible.

  18. CarolCooks2 says:

    This story has everything which is good in the beautiful 🙂 x

  19. It really is a remarkable quilt, Jennie. So much talent and love went into making it.

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