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Advice for teaching my 1st beginner quilting class

Advice for teaching my 1st beginner quilting class

Old 06-02-2011, 06:49 AM
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Hi everybody,

To spread my own love of quilting, I have offered to teach a very beginner quilting class next weekend at a Treadle On gathering in Blue Ball, PA (treadle & people-powered sewing machine fanatics). I've never taught a class, but really wanted to give everyone the opportunity to learn. I know there are several experienced teachers out there, and wondered if you'd be willing to offer any good suggestions. I have cleared it with the pattern owner, and will be teaching a simple braided table topper that takes 3 fat quarters. I will only have about 2 hours or-so, so I want to give them the best bang for the buck! Actually, it's a free class, so any bang would be good, I guess - tee hee.

Thanks SEW much!
Trina in WINDY PA :)
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Old 06-02-2011, 06:55 AM
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I should mention there are only 5 or 6 people signed up for the class, and I've re-written the instructions taking step-by-step photos as I put it together to make it easier to follow. I also have a fellow quilter friend who offered to help, too.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:23 AM
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I'm not a teacher by any means but I think you should stress to them that it is important for them to NOT stress if their items are not perfect. We seem to be our own worst critics. I always look at my imperfections as "originals".

Kudos to you for offering to teach this class, and for free. What a Blessing you are to the ones that will be taking your class. God Bless you! Sandy
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:58 AM
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i just had a cousin visit who teaches a beginner quilting class, and she told me she was going to have them turn the mat over and cut without the lines. to get used to using the ruler as a marker rather than the mat. (i do use my matt all the time) but we had a good 'evil' laught over this.
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:17 AM
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do a little (practice class) with your Helper-friend and maybe another person to play (student) for you- and make sure said friend is on the same page as you for your project---
one time i was asked to teach a technique at our little sewing group- a friend offered to help out---
i started the class with an intoduction to the block and a description of the process and we gathered supplies---
within 1/2 an hour everyone was so upset and frustrated...i was showing a (beginner technique) she was running around behind me trying to get people to try something different...one of those situations where once we learn how to do something then we learn some (short cuts)
no one managed to make their block that evening- and many were (irritated to say the least) half of them arranged with me to come to my house the next day and learn to do it...it was a terrible mess- and i refused to even consider doing another with the group (while the helper was present) luckily she is a seasonal resident and we can accomplish things when she is elsewhere...:(
and it's not that what she was doing was wrong- it was just assuming you already knew the basics of the block- and i was teaching ... the basics...she was way beyond them...caused alot of wasted fabric and hard feelings...
so my advice--
get together with helper and come up with a plan together...
good luck
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:22 AM
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Watch kayewood.tv.com and see how she does her instruction. She is really good, and she has alot of stuff done before her tutorials. Step by step instructions on how to do all kinds of patterns

Hope this helps and good luck

Quilting Mad in Mansfield Ohio
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:53 AM
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I've been teaching some classes for LQS in our Az. winter months..I have only taught 1 beginner class..I stress ..accurate cutting(learn ruler,not mat) what 1/4 seam versus 1/4 scant means and why..I do believe if you can sew..you can make a quilt top..pressing and it's importance..reading through the instructions 1st and jotting down..in your own words..so you understand it..and the difference between finished and unfinished size(seam allowances) On a funny note..when I advertised my class..I just said beginner classes..I meant beginner QUILTING class..lol..so when I got 2 ladies who had never sewed and brought their brand new machine with them it was a shock..I helped them through the basics and they stuck it out..but I told them what classes they really needed!!
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:07 AM
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Simplicity, simplicty is KEY! When I took my first beginners class, I had no idea how to even thread my machine... that's how much of a beginner I was. I took 2 beginners classes, one right after another, but at different quilt shops. The first class focused on a simple rail fence pattern that made a small lap quilt, the other did 12 different block patterns to create a lap quilt. I learned soooo much more in the class doing the simple pattern so kudos to you for following the same route. I was hooked after that class, got a bit discouraged in the second class and never finished that quilt, but knew it was because it was too overwhelming.

I was taught to use the backside of the mat... still do 5 years later!
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Old 06-02-2011, 03:13 PM
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good for u to help others...you will receive more joy.... :thumbup: :lol:
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Old 06-02-2011, 04:51 PM
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Thanks for all the advice!! My 'goal' for this class is to make it fun. I think my thing that I will stress is learning how to do an accurate 1/4" seam. I like Eleanor Burn's method of teaching it (sewing strips together & measuring). I'll be bringing magnets to attach to their machine (all vintage ones are iron), so once they're set up they just need to keep their fabric against it. HOPEFULLY most people will actually know how to use their machine (never thought of that!) since it IS a sewing machine conference. They will have the rest of the weekend to work on their project, and I'll be around to help them if they need it. The pattern is really simple (all squares and rectangles) and it LOOKS complicated but it isn't. My 10-year-old is even taking the class on her old hand crank. It's always a very laid-back atmosphere every year, so maybe we'll sew and eat and talk and sew and eat... I'd really hate to scare anyone away from learning to quilt. My motto will be "No worries!" OR "Sew what???".

Thanks again,
Trina :)
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