Friday, January 10, 2014

Tips for a Successful Quilting Class Experience

Dear Friends,
Lynn here from In Between Stitches staff, with a post containing a few hints and tips to make the most out of your quilting class.  Quilting and sewing instructors put a lot of thought and preparation into a quilting class so you can get the most out of the class, and have an enjoyable experience.  We want you all to succeed and have fun while learning. You can help us by looking through the following check list.

1.  Come Prepared - Arrive early so you can be all set up in your space and ready to learn when the class begins.  Be prepared for a room that is too hot or too cold.  Bring water, snacks or a lunch.  If you need an extra cushion for back support, bring it with you.

2.  Your sewing machine - Make sure your sewing machine is in good working condition.  Did you bring your cords, and foot pedal? Does your machine stitch an exact 1/4" seam?

3.  Know what you've signed up for - Decide well ahead of time if the class is appropriate for your skill level.  Contact the instructor if you have any questions. 

4.  Pay attention to the supply list - Many classes require special rulers or tools for a specific reason.  If you have a different brand or size, contact the instructor and ask if what you have will work before spending extra money on something you don't need.

5.  Bring a cell phone or IPad  - I have found cell phones to be very useful in my classes for picture taking ONLY.  Snap a picture of your blocks or techniques so you can remember your layouts and block placement.  I've had some students take videos while I'm demonstrating a certain technique.  Always ask first.  If you need to make a call, please step out of the room.

6.  Try to do what the instructor is demonstrating - You may know a different way to achieve the same end product but try a new way.  You may surprise yourself and learn a new technique.

7.  Good fabric vs. practice fabric - That is up to you.  If you are taking a technique class, you may want to bring practice fabric.  If you've seen a sample of the quilt, and feel confident in your color selection then go for it!  Use the good stuff.  Or what about using Christmas fabric?  You can always plan ahead and make a few Christmas blocks.  Whatever you use, make sure it is 100% cotton and not cheap fabric that you put aside in the giveaway pile in 1984!

8.  Don't compare yourself to others -  Everyone works at a different pace and you didn't sign up for a foot race.  You signed up for the class for a combination of reasons, and working at a frantic pace is not one of them.  Learn from others.  You may see a color combination that you never thought of before.

9.  Be prepared to make mistakes - You have to be patient and give yourself permission to make mistakes.  Some of those mistakes may end up being your most creative block!  You may do your best sewing at home in your own surroundings.  Come to learn with an open mind, and take that new knowledge home with you.  During class, let the instructor know if you are having problems and need a bit of extra help.

10. Make new friends - Bring a paper and pencil and exchange emails with your classmates.  Plan another sewing time together to share your classroom experience.

11.  Give the instructor feedback - As a quilting instructor, I like to receive feedback on what works and what needs some refinement. Make sure you have a way to contact the instructor if you have questions after the class. 

12.  Have fun - I love to hear my students laugh during my classes.  You are more relaxed when you laugh and more apt to learn. 

So there you have it.  My top 12 list on words of wisdom for quilting classes.  See you in class!

In Stitches,

Lynn, and the In Between Stitches Crew 


Connie said...

Great list . . . I am a new-bee quilter, so there may be some classes in my future. This list will be a great reference . . . You'll have more fun if you are prepared and know what to expect.
Your newest follower and blogging sister, Connie

Nancie Anne Quilts said...

Very good tips Lynn! Laughter? I think I can do that...;-}

Lesley said...

Love the cell phone idea for the pics...It always helps me to see a setting, and nine times out of ten, I change it!

Paula B. said...

No truer words !!!

Candace said...

I think every shop should have something like this, Lynn! I would still be teaching if there were wonderful guidelines to follow like this!