At some point in my quilting journey I knew that teaching was a next step. How did I know? Well, another quilter asked me one day, “Teri, when are you going to start teaching?” Well, I guess . . soon. It took me a bit, but I figured out that I wanted to teach machine quilting. (Shocking I know!)
What was the prep work for this? It started with the quilt I made for my bed. A Double Irish Chain in Amish (sort of) colors. What you can’t see in this photo is the machine quilting around the last 10 to 12 inches of blocks and border. This quilt took a really long time, at some point I got fatigued, saying, “I’m done! with! this! thing!” and took it to the sewing machine and just finished. I bring it when I teach locally to show what happens when there problems with tension and speed. It’s a great teaching tool. I love this quilt. I see so much in this quilt that allows me to help new quilters on their journey into quilting.
Next up, come up with a concept.
What style of machine quilting will I teach? What information is so key to what I do as a quilter that my fellow lovers of quilting will appreciate?
What order will the day progress?
How do I develop hand outs? What will my handouts look like? How many pages?
Do I use books and/or other tools that are out there.
What do I do that is different, different enough to invite quilters in to take said class.
What do I want to see at the end of the class?
What do I want my students to leave with?
Side note: at the end of every class I think about what happened, including what can I improve, was there a disconnect between me & my students? Was there anything I could do to change that disconnect?
The first class, “Beginner Free Motion Machine Quilting” was born. It’s changed a bit over the years. I teach technique, knowing and trusting that you, as my student, will have the tools at the end of class to grow, to expand your machine quilting motif knowledge. It is, by far, my favorite class to teach. I may not remember every student, but you have made a lasting impression on me. From you I’ve learned most importantly to be encouraging, particularly when things are going haywire in class. And they do go all haywire in class. That’s the place for everything to happen.
Partly, what I need you to see is the problem solving process. When I’m in a classroom that provides machines (I am so grateful to the companies that do this!) I have the availability of a machine expert. I don’t always call on them, because sometimes it’s not the machine. I want you to see what I do to problem solve when this stuff happens to me at home. And it does happen to me at home.
I also want to stop short, the negative thought process going through our heads as we learn. Oh.My.Goodness. This hurts my heart so much. I speak ill of my self, to myself. NOT COOL. If I can help stop that, all the better. We all know where the mistakes are. We so desire to be “perfect” that we miss out on the journey, we miss out on our growth. We miss out on the moments when we can take a risk. The classroom is the time to do that! Take a risk.
Our sewing rooms are the place to do that! Take a risk.
I take a risk every time I get up in front of a guild to speak or a group of students to teach. That’s my choice. I do it because this is a risk worth taking. Investing 6 in-person hours with you is the highlight of my time with you. Whispering in your ear that you can do this. Looking directly into your eyes and getting you to refocus on the learning part of it is so amazing. I see something change. I see a shift not only in your quilting, but in you. I notice.
My prep work continues with a lot of practice, and experimenting. Dreaming. Taking Pictures. Drawing. Doodling. Trying new threads. Trying new batting. Trying new fabric!
This is where the new class ideas come from, some are still in development. At the moment they are on hold until I get this book finished! This too is a journey, one I’m thrilled to be taking.
I’m off to do some prep work (magazine meeting) but I’ll be back. There’s more to this prep work post!