Introduction: 10x10 Conversion Quilt Making
This lesson combinesculturally relevant mathand African American quilt making. The term “culturally relevant” refers to instruction that includes modification of curricula, culture identity development, and social justice learning and action. The reason for this approach is to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to relate course content to their cultural contexts. For example, traditional African textiles use bright colors, asymmetry, and large shapes such asGhanaian KenteorKuba clothfrom West/Central Africa. You will find these designs in traditional African American quilts such as the ones created byquilters in Gee's Bend, Alabama.
For this lesson, students can use this type of quilt making to learn how to recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities. They can transfer their designs to wearable things which make reference to traditional African cultures where art is meant to functional, not encased behind glass or hung on walls (but you can do this, too). So for this lesson the finished quilt will be part of a canvas tote bag that can be used to carry or store things.
Worksheet (attached PDF)
Markers or colored pencils
Assorted fabric (i.e., scraps)
Canvas bags (or old clothing from home)
Fusing mat (optional)
Step 1: Color a 10x10 Grid
Students will make what is sometimes referred to as a "conversion quilt," meaning it must follow certain mathematics parameters such as 1/5 blue, 0.32 green, 21% purple, 3/25 red, and the rest yellow.
First, students need to color in a 10x10 grid (see attached worksheet) based on the parameters provided. Each student's design should be unique.
Then, students need to convert and list each color as a decimal, fraction and percent. This math work should be reviewed before making the quilt.
Next, draw the 10x10 grid on a canvas tote bag or use a different natural fabric/material (i.e. 100% cotton).
Step 2: Cut Out Fabric Blocks
Students can use their finished/reviewed worksheets as a guide for cutting out blocks of fabric. They will need to use a ruler to measure/draw each shape on the fabric.
Each student should choose up to 5 colors (or patterns) of fabric.
Step 3: Assemble the Fabric Blocks
Before adding fusing material, students should piece together their quilt using the fabric cut outs, esp. to make sure everything fits. This step will give them a better idea of what the final quilt will look like and they can make adjustments or changes, if necessary.
Step 4: Draw 10x10 Grid on Fusing Material
Fusing is an adhesive material with a variety of functions that you can use as an alternative to sewing. Fusing is activated by the heat from an iron or heat press. For this step, students need to draw the 10x10 grid on fusing sheets (tape 2 or more sheets together if needed).
As an intermediate step, students can mark their blocks on the fusing sheet/grid using Xs. Make sure to use thematte sideof the fusing sheet (the shiny side is the adhesive).
Step 5: Iron Fabric Blocks to Fusing Material
This step requires the use of an iron on medium to medium-high heat. You may want to test it out first on throw-away fabric/fusing material. Here's a tutorial on how to do this:
The goal is to match up the blocks (fabric/fusing), then iron the shiny side of the fusing to the back of each fabric block.
A helpful tip: Use the tip of the iron to tack the fusing to each fabric block to keep them together and in place.
Step 6: Remove Paper Backing and Adhere to Base
After all of the fusing and fabric blocks are ironed/adhered, remove the paper backing from the fusing/fabric. It may be easier to do this when the blocks are still warm, so you can re-heat them for this step.
Next, add each block to the final base and iron for 12-15 seconds. Again, you may want to test this step out on throw-away or scrap materials.
In the example (photo), a small section of blocks were ironed onto a base (canvas bag) at the same time to make the process go faster.
Step 7: Finish the Quilt
Once all of the sections/blocks have been adhered to the base material the project is complete. Students may want to add text or drawings in the space around the quilt but this is optional.