Sunday, November 23, 2008

If I Teach It, Will They Come?

When I started this blog just a few months short of two years ago, I explained that I named it Kim's Big Quilting Adventure because if I was going to have any adventures, it was likely to be of the quilting kind, since that's my passion. Well, I'm about to embark on a new chapter of this quilting adventure: Teaching.

About 10 or so years ago, I took a few college classes and the only one I really struggled with was public speaking. Truth to tell, I ended up dropping that class. You see, when I have to speak in public, I get so nervous I don't remember to breathe. And breathing's one of those things that one should do on a fairly regular basis.

So, I'm hoping I'm going to be able to teach AND breathe--multi-tasking. And I'm hoping that just in case it doesn't work out that way, I'll have at least one student in my first class or two who knows CPR. Just in case.

A few weeks ago, I showed Lindy, the owner of Bearpaws and Hollyhocks, the Hey Ghoul Friend quilt, and she asked if I'd like to teach it. Who? Me?! Well, I thought about it a little bit and decided yeah, I could do that. So today I hauled a few of my quilts down to BP&HH and met with Lindy to talk about this new path I've decided to take. So here's what I'll be doing.

The Hey Ghoul Friend quilt will be a 7-month BOM project, and I'll be teaching it in the evening on the third Tuesday of the month from January through July.

Before that, though, the first class I'll teach will be a 4-hour class on a weekend day in the first part of January. I know that once the holidays are safely over, I'm always anxious start a new, fun project, and I'm hoping others will feel the same. This was a quilt I designed using charm packs and some yardage for the background, sashing, and borders. We're calling it "All You Need is Love."

Then, on another weekend day in early March, I'll teach this quilt I named "Spring."

After that--well, we'll have to see if I'm still alive and breathing. And, of course, whether I've had anyone interested in taking my classes! Eventually, I'd like to market my quilt patterns like Marcie and Penni do, so maybe teaching my quilts will be a nice way to start getting them seen and building a customer base.

And speaking of teaching--or at least helping other quilters--I had a comment from Carol who had pieced a "Kwik Crazy Quilt" and wasn't happy with the quilting. Carol's comment came through "no reply," so I can't email her back, but if she'd like to send me a photo of her quilt, I'll post it and ask all of you for advice. Carol, if you go to my profile (click into it from the "About Me" in the right sidebar) and then click on "Email," you can email it directly to me.

One more thought about this teaching thing: If you live anywhere near Sacramento--or if you don't but have built up a nice cache of frequent flyer miles and feel like visiting Sacramento--please consider signing up for one of my classes at Bearpaws & Hollyhocks. Especially if you're trained in CPR!


Chris in Sacramento said...

Teaching is a great idea for you. You won't have any problem speaking to group about quilting because it is your passion. It won't be like speaking to just a group of people. You'll be speaking to quilters about quilting, and you know us quilters are a friendly nice group of people. I don't know CPR, but I'll be signing up for at least one of your classes at Bear Paws.

Gran said...

Congratulations! You are very creative and anyone who takes a class from you will be well taught.
You go girl!!!!!

Lorraine said... go girl!.....and if I was any closer than Aus I would be there at your classes with bells on! You will be a natural if your lessons on the blog are anything to go by!

Suzan said...

I used to be terrified of public speaking. I can certainly talk anyone's ear off but talking in a group or to a group made me turn bright red, send my blood pressure through the roof and actually made me sick to my stomach. I took a course and survived but I still would panic if I had to speak in front of a large group. One day I decided to approach it from a different angle. I speak to one person at a time. I speak a sentence looking from one to two people, then I go on with the next sentence talking to another group of two or three. Suddenly, I am speaking to the entire group with my eyes going around the room. Everytime I do it now, I have more confidence. Also, since you will be speaking to mostly the same people each week, you will develop a relationship and that makes it much easier. You can do it!!

Sheila in Ohio said...

I had a good chuckle here... mainly because I resemble this post (without the teaching). After dropping out of my first speech class because I just couldn't get past it, I finally took an online class! Who woulda thunk... a speech class online? The final grade was based on a videotape each of us made in our homes or in front of the teacher.

I do love Suzan's idea (above).

Good luck with this, Kim! You'll be great.

Caryn said...

You will be a great teacher! Your tutorials on your blog are wonderfully written so writing patterns will come naturally I'm sure. And speaking to a small group about quilting will be fine! I wish I was closer or had some frequent flyer miles!

Teresa said...

You are going to make a great teacher. I think you'll find that teaching fellow quilters who also become instant friends, is much different that public speaking. Its so much fun and with your sense of humor and expertise in quilt design and construction - you will be the best!

mamaspark said...

So in addition to teaching at the store you should allow us to join in from online. We could buy the pattern and play along at home. Maybe you could video it and stream or pod cast it? Just a thought. Congratulations, I think you'll make an excellent teacher!

kathi said...

I so wish I would have gone ahead with my intentions to post prior to this one. Procrastinating took priority, though. My co-worker and I email back and forth about you all the time. We don't have a clue how you get everything done that you do. I just wanted to ask you to slow down so I could catch up. Following blogs began only about two months ago, but you have worn me out. I seem to have the same tastes you do, and I want to be just like you when I count the quilts in my stash. I have so very far to go. And now, you show two more new ones to me--All you need is love and the spring quilt, too. My hats off to you! I admire you and your work tremendously. Any store that is fortunate enough to get you to teach will be the major benefactor. How lucky they are. Your skills will foreshadow any doubts you may have. I forsee a waiting list already. Good luck!

Pat said...

You'll be fine as long as you keep in mind a lot of quilters go to class because it's fun and/or they want to be inspired! Many of the quilters there could probably make the quilt on their own if they wanted to. You may only have a few that actually NEED instruction.

I can't tell you how many classes I've taken because I know the teacher is going to make it FUN or interesting. More often than not, I take a class for a quilt I like just to get out and be with other quilters.

There were a couple of ladies in this year's Thimbleberries club that didn't like the patterns or the fabrics but went anyway. They chose it because it was a "series" of classes and they knew they'd get together with the same group each time. Quilting can be such a solo activity!

The most successful teachers in my neck of the woods are the ones that manage to get people engaged and having fun with EACH OTHER. Their classes always fill up quickly! It's the nature of the beast. JMHO.

I've always found it much easier to speak to a group as opposed to articulating my thoughts on paper!!!! Funny how a lot of people prefer one over the other, but rarely both...

MichelleB said...

How exciting! Congratulations, Kim! I'm sure that it will be fun and you'll do a great job. BTW, I really like Pat's advice.

Julie said...

Wow, how exciting for you. I don't take classes to learn anything (although I always do!) but just because classes are just so much fun. And a class from you would be super fun. Unfortunately, Sacto is just a bit too far away. But if you do an online class I'd be first in line to sign up.

MARCIE said...

Kim, you are a natural. Just be careful your wit doesn't get too deep for your class, if you know what i mean. I am shocked you haven't done this before. Your quilts are so original and clever.

inese said...

I think you would be a wonderful teacher. If I lived nearby I would sign up in a heartbeat. I like Mamasparks idea of letting us play along on-line. You are inspiring and your quilts are always wonderful.

Penni said...

Public Speaking is easy. Just envision yourself naked... or is it ask the whole class to envision you naked... NO that's not right either. Oh well. The point is you are a beautiful, intelligent and talented woman with a fantastic sense of humor and everyone will love you the minute you begin speaking just like we all love you on your BLOG. Be yourself. And if you're lucky all your students will be equally lovely and capable. I can't wait to see some of your patterns come out. I know they will be great. I am writing two BOM's now for an East Coast shop. Good Luck and send an email if you need anything.

Amanda said...

You know I love Mama Sparks suggestion! See? I told you you could start a group online!!!

You will be a great teacher. I have taught craft classes since 1989 and quilting classes since 1998. I have a degree in Elementary Education, so I took ideas from that experience and put it towards quilting classes. I teach everyone with a story board, showing step by step, plus I have written instructions. The reason I teach like I would a kindergarten child is because everyone has different levels of quilting. I don't assume they all know what I'm talking about. The ones that have been quiling for years can move ahead, but the ones that have just started can come to my story board and physically see what they are to do in each step as I walk them through it.

Having a story board is a lot of work, but everyone loves it. I always have a lot of people in my classes, and they complete their quilts (not that day, but eventually).

Good luck to you. You know I would sign up for a class if I could!


Anonymous said...

Cong. to you. I have a friend who sells her patterns there. Donna Yackey. Who is a great designer & teacher.
good luck.
I go to the country loft at least once a week sometimes 3 times. We all enjoy reading your blog & people call into the loft all over the USA, telling them they see it on your blog.
Kim Naylor

quiltmom said...

Once you get started, you will wonder why you didn't try it before- you love quilting and you do an excellent job of the tutorials.
Think about it as a new adventure - good teaching is about listening to what your audience needs and being prepared and organized. Look for the teachable moments and remember to laugh.
You will do a great job of it.
I look forward to hearing about your new adventures.

PunkiePie said...

You can do it! But I TOTALLY understand the whole public speaking thing... that's why I don't do it. I think you'll do great. I do love, love, LOVE your "All You Need is Love" quilt. That is awesome! I think a blog tutorial is in order with that one! (hint! hint!)

Jen :)

Candace said...

Congratulations, Kim! I think your passion for your quilting will far outweigh your speaking jitters! When you teach something you love, how can you be nervous? Way to go, gal! If I lived in CA, I would sign up in a hearbeat! Cheers!

Yvonne said...

Oh yes, they will come! I would come if I was closer. :) I think it's a wonderful idea and I'm sure you and your class will have a fun filled time!

Imelda Arellano said...

I was sad to hear that you are going to take a year off from Thimbleberries Club. I was even hoping to myself that you found a group to meet up and sew with once a month so I could meet up with you guys. I am very happy to tell you that I am going to follow you to BP&HH. Oh, and don't worry, I know CPR! (my license is expired... but I figure it's still the same basic idea. I can draw your blood for the paramedics and have it ready for them when they arrive though... the phlebotomy license is still current!) See you there!
Imelda from Thimbleberries Club

Kim said...

I sure wish I lived in Sacramento. I would love to take a class from you. I read your blog virtually every day and am so inspired by your quilts. You have great ideas and fun color choices. Your projects are full of variety. I wish you the best and look forward to hearing more about the classes on your blog in the coming months.

Sinta said...

I'm happy to hear that you will be teaching at Bearpaws & Hollyhocks. You will be great. Quilting is your passion and quilters are wonderful people. Not much can go wrong with those dynamics. If you share like you do on your blog... you will have people signing up for all of your classes. I teach at a couple of quilt shops. It's just FUN to share that with people.

Shasta said...

Congratulations on your teaching assignment! You certainly have a plateful now. I think you are a wonderful teacher -having made your Happy Jacks quilt.
I too get nervous with public speaking - but I have no problems telling people what I know. So if you just think of it as showing people how to make a quilt, I don't think you'll have any trouble at all.

Julia from Jo's Little Women said...


How exciting for you and you turned me down to talk to my guild. That invite is always open after you find out that you can speak and breathe at the same time.
Because you are fabulous.

Love your January quilt and you know I love Lindy's shop.