This past weekend I was in Swan River, MB at Fabriculous teaching two longarm quilting classes. This was the first time I have taught a group of ladies on the longarm so limited the class size to 4 students per class so I was able to give them individual attention. This worked out great as the shop has two longarm machines. I set it up so that 2 students shared one machine so when one was on the machine the other one was busy drawing designs on Plexiglas sheets to build up muscle memory. I had drawn out about 20 different design for them to trace so they had a feel for what they were going to try on the longarm.
One thing that surprised me about teaching a group is that even thought I was teaching the same class both days the experience with each class was so different. The first group was extremely focused on their tasks as they all had goals they wanted to reach with their longarm skills. They all had a quilt they wanted to be able to longarm so once they tried all the beginner designs I was able to help them focus more on the designs they had stronger aptitude for.
The second group was just as eager to learn but it had a more laid back feel. There was more discussion, more time drawing and they enjoyed watching what the others were quilting. I learnt a lot from those two classes from a teachers perspective as I think it is important to be very flexible with what your goals are for the class. The students needs are what dictate the direction the class takes.
I had both groups work on solid fabric for most of the day but towards the end of the class I loaded a real quilt on one of the machines. They each had a turn using a straight ruler to try Stitch in the Ditch and then I asked them to each fill one white chevron row with the design they felt most confident in. By switching from a practice piece of fabric to a real quilt I wanted to show them they are ready to move to the front of the machine and that they didn't have to wait until their stitches were perfect to start custom quilting there quilts. You need to just go for it as you learn so much with each quilt, no point in waiting!
It gave me great joy to watch my students develop their skills throughout the day and see their confidence build. My confidence as a teach also improved as well because of all the nice comments after the class was done.
Thank you to Wendy and George for inviting me to your shop to teach and for welcoming me into your home for the weekend.