Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Teaching

You might remember that a few weeks ago I asked for some advice about teaching a simple quilting class to some ladies at my church.  Teaching this class taught me something that I hadn't really realized and that I am now a little embarrassed to admit: I am very uncomfortable talking about quilting.

During the class I was embarrassed when people asked me questions about things that I have made and, since I am self taught, I was self conscious about things that I might be doing the "wrong" way. Most of the people in the class have much more traditional styles than I do and I was very nervous about giving them fabric advice.  Even choosing a pattern and writing out directions was terrifying.
st louis 16 patch quilt
I considered all of your comments when I was deciding which quilt pattern to make for the class and I am ashamed to say that I did not take your advice.  I decided that we should do a St. Louis 16 patch quilt with large-ish squares so I set out to make one.  It came together pretty quickly and I was feeling good about having it finished on Friday when I didn't need it until Sunday.
st louis 16 patch quilt
But I didn't love it.  And if I saw this sitting out as an example, I don't think I would sign up for this class.  So then I wised up and decided to take your advice.

The next day I (very quickly) put together this Disappearing 9 Patch quilt.  It was heavily inspired by this quilt which I saw on Pinterest.  I now see the knowledge behind why so many people suggested this pattern: it is quick, it teaches piecing and cutting skills, and you can use just or few fabrics or a whole bunch of different fabrics and it would still look fantastic.
denyse schmidt disappearing 9 patch
I ended up with 5 people in my class.  It was a small group, but I had my hands full.  Our class time was pretty short so most people just got a few blocks together and we will be getting together another day to try to finish things up.
denyse schmidt disappearing 9 patch
Overall the experience was very positive, even if it put me a lot little out of my comfort zone.  Apparently I have an issue to work through and I am hoping to find opportunities to quilt with others in the future. 

20 comments :

  1. Great job jumping out of your comfort zone! Not to mention, you did your second quilt in one day!?!

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  2. Well done Erica! I so relate to the pain that comes with stepping out side my comfort zone and exposing my vulnerability with groups of people. I do this in my work and some times I can feel so inept. It is worthwhile though. And I hope you also have a sense of this. I also hope you are getting a view of your awesome quilting skill and all that you have to offer others. You are a unique quilter who gets lots very very 'right' i.e. fantastic creative works. You give to others with every blog you share and you contribute to the learning of many! I simply want to thank you for your generous vulnerability. P.S. Both quilts are lovely!

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  3. WAY TO GO!!!! It takes guts to stand up in front of people and basically profess...I know something about this and you want to hear what I have to say. As a teacher it was much easier to impart information to the kiddos, but I taught my first quilting class last week to a room full of lovely, probably more experienced, quilters...and I was very nervous. Your quilts are lovely, but that 9-patch...so much more you. ;) And now that you have that first teaching experience under your belt...it will only get easier each time. Congratulations!

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  4. Bless your heart! (in the real way, not the sarcastic way). As someone who has done her fair share of teaching, I can really relate to the second guessing and fears you described. I glanced back through some recent posts, and it didn't take long to realize the fears were completely unfounded. Your quilts are beautiful, both in terms of style and craftsmanship. So I have no doubt that you have the knowledge it takes to teach someone else how to quilt. It's just the nerves of "putting yourself out there." It's like thinking you have your house in good order, and then someone stops by. All the sudden, you see 15 things that could be tidier or cleaner. I would say to adopt the attitude of you are the one to get these ladies started - you are not their only quilting resource. So try to relax and not put pressure on yourself to be perfect.

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  5. It's good you pushed through and went with your instincts about the second quilt. You will get more comfortable as you continue to share your knowledge with others.

    We quilters do not do all things alike.There is so much confusion as to what is the right way. There are many great reference books out there to read for assistance but many of us do what works best for us.

    Keep teaching and sharing your knowledge.

    tushay3(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  6. Love the pattern that you decided to teach. And I think the 16 patches are cute, too. You may not have liked it, but I'm sure there's a baby or toddler out there who will love it.

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  7. I have the Kansas City Star Quilts on my facebook feed and last week one of their bloggers wrote a blog on "the quilt police." The jist of it was that there are NO quilt police! Even on old quilts you will see that each quilter does things her own way. I think it's important and healthy for each of us to remember that. It's all too easy to get hung on the "right way". Your quilt is lovely and I am SURE you did a great job with your group.

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  8. I do love the disappearing 9 patch quilt. Its so charming. I'd love to make this one.

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  9. I learned to quilt from a similar class, and I've always been grateful that I had that opportunity. I haven't progressed very far from what I learned 30 years ago, mostly because of lack of projects, so you can practice your teaching skills on me anytime.

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  10. You are so brave to do this in the first place, and your quilt would DEFINITELY make me want to do the class. I'm so very impressed that you did this. I would have been terrified. I love that pattern! It's going in my "to-do" binder!

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  11. The 9-patch looks great; glad you took that route. I give you a lot of credit to teach this. I'm sure it's a lot of work to break something down in order to teach what seems easy to us.

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  12. I am an introvert and I used to teach a jewelry class once a month. Five in a class is plenty for those of us who aren't professional teachers. I, too, was self-taught so again, I feel your pain. But you, like me, probably over-thought everything and the class participants went home saying how smart you are and what a wonderful teacher.

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  13. I started my first foray into teaching just this week and I am with you sister - a tad nerve wracking! But it also feels good to get out into that uncomfortable area, have a good experience, know what you can do, and also what you WANT to do. My first class was great and I think I will stick with it for a bit. But If you or I decide that teaching is not our thing, that is ok. Its all part of the creative journey!

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  14. Congratulations on your first quilting class! I can certainly see why it would be a bit nerve racking and how self doubt can creep in. But you faced those fears and DID it! :-) If you feel in doubt ever again go and take a look at your tutorials. They are beautiful and you have many that you have generously shared! We are always too hard on ourselves. Your Disappearing 9 Patch quilt turned out very pretty. Love the cheerful fabrics you used.

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  15. I love that second quilt! Great choice...much more enticing than the 16 patch. It is scary to put yourself out there like that, but I'm sure the ladies in your class really enjoyed learning from you, nerves and all!

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  16. Good choice on the second quilt. I've been following your blog for awhile now and you definitely know what you are doing. I found you via that wonderful Constellation quilt you made last year and you can teach a class to me any time!!

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  17. I like yours more than the quilt that inspired you.

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  18. I feel your strain when teaching something new. I was a classroom teacher for 10 years but would hesitate to step in front of a group to teach sewing of any kind even though I have been sewing 30+ years. I find new techniques and methods weekly that I am sure even a rookie has read. Congratulations on jumping in there....either quilt would have been a beautiful project.

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  19. Hey, I'm a teacher and I still find talking to a group of adults intimidating. The difference is the adults are actually listening, want to learn and will ask questions! We all do things the most comfortable way for us which is a good angle to come from when teaching sewing. Being self taught allows a lot more freedom to do this, rather than feeling like we should be strictly following sewing "rules".

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  20. so the 16 patch was cute but i definitely "love" the disappearing 9 and would totally have signed up for that class!

    and i've had the same exact feelings when asked to teach photography lessons for homemaking and enrichment meetings. =) ugh! but i don't believe in strictly just one "right" ways to quilt or photograph. if it works, it works and your quilts definitely work!

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