Thursday, December 8, 2011

Project Update: Colleen Parenteau - The Electric Blanket

Colleen and I have embarked on a great adventure in Grade 3 Science - The Electric Blanket. As two crafty women who perhaps wish we taught Home Ec. (OK...*I* wish I taught Home Ec.), it's always fun to bring a little "needle and thread" time to Shore kids. So, during their unit on Electricity, we are incorporating e-textiles to help students understand how a circuit physically works. E-textiles are a new way of combining traditional craft materials like fabric and yarn with modern materials such as conductive thread and Lilypad circuit boards. The end results are interactive objects that can react to their environment and various inputs.

Anyway...Colleen, with a little needle threading help from me, is having her third graders create a quilt that uses e-textile materials. The end result will be a map of Massachusetts where each child has designed a square with a picture of something relating to nature and/or renewable energy that might exist in that part of the state. Each child will figure out how to incorporate a small LED light into their design so his or her square lights up when you "flip the switch". They will use conductive thread and sewable electronics to make this happen. The kids have been really excited to dig into the fabric box and are looking forward to sew with conductive thread. 

UPDATE (2/1/12): The blanket is done. See the finished product and learn about our successes and "do differents."

See the photos below to view our progress so far.

The quilt top before being cut into squares.

Cutting the top.
Time to cut the squares.
Organizing the squares by class section. Very helpful!
Finding the perfect fabric.
Design consultation.
Hive of activity.

Some finished squares. No LED's yet.

Our sample with a lit LED.
Our visitor from Briarwood helps thread needles.
We've learned it really helps to have a bunch of
pre-threaded needles ready for the kids. 


  1. Hey ~ How's the quilt coming along? This looks like a great group project! I can't wait to see it displayed so we can see all the lights!

  2. Check out the Hallway outside Colleen's classroom. She finished the quilt top before the Open House and hung it up! It looks amazing. We are posting more pictures soon.