I never thought I would end up being a teacher. I went to school to be a Chemist and spent a bunch of years in a lab, making things. I always loved to make things, whether in a lab or out of clay or out of fabric. I never thought I would end up sharing what I had learned with others.
In 1999 I started teaching in a lovely quilt shop, called The Country Quilt Shop, in Pennsylvania. My first class was Landscape 101 using patterns I had designed. I learned so much about teaching in those first few years. Teaching a hands on class like quilting, there is a balance when demonstrating one step at a time. Do you wait for everyone to finish a certain step or teach at the pace of the faster student? Do you teach with a single voice or learn to teach using various voices because students learn in different ways? These are issues I didn't have a clue about until I stood in front of a classroom. Sometimes I think I should give back the fees to all my initial students! I learned so much from them about teaching and about quilting.
If you asked my students now, I think they would say I am a pretty good teacher.
I got my education on my feet.
Sometimes, as a designer, I get lost in the trees. Students help you to see the forest as well.
I was teaching my basic Sewing with Silk workshop. I designed the class to create a wall hanging with a choice of 3 different colorways. I had also used 3 different settings - all half square triangles.
So why was I surprised when a class full of creative women, decided to use their own arrangements and shapes for their HSTs? There were square table toppers and elongated table runners as well as my original wall hanging.
So during my stay in Key West, only working with silk, I took their lead and made a new layout using a bunch of HSTs that I had put aside. I loved how it turned out. Instead of binding, I used a facing to finish it. You can find my favorite method, by Jeri Riggs, HERE.