Monday, July 13, 2015

Workshop quilt -- by the teacher

When you teach a workshop you may have some free time, especially if you're spending several days with your students.  Sometimes you have a project of your own that you'd like to work on -- for instance, last fall when I taught at the Crow Barn I had to sew sleeves on the quilt that needed to be dropped off for Quilt National at the end of the week.  That was mindless enough that I could be attentive to what was going on in the room and yet not hover too much.

When I taught in Germany earlier this year I had no such chores to do, and after the first day people were settling in to sew without needing a lot of help.  So I had a brainstorm: I asked each student to give me some of her leftovers, and I started sewing them together into a little quilt.  Since we were studying fine line piecing, I used that technique too.

It was fun making the quilt, but not only did it keep me occupied, I think it was a good exercise for the students.  I had my pieces up on the design wall, just as they had theirs, and everybody could see how I decide what to sew to what, and how to resolve a bunch of modules into a finished layout.

They could also see me at work, notice how I deal with the details of cutting, piecing and pressing these tiny bits of fabric, and how I use my tools (tweezers, seam rippers) to make the process easier.  That's probably more instructive than simply walking around and suggesting to students how they should proceed; it's easier to watch somebody else do it first.

But the best part is that I have a souvenir of a great workshop.  I can look at it and recognize Hildegard's red and blue, Mieke's dark green and cerise, Monika's orange.  It brings back very good memories!


  1. I can see my pieces! My dark blue with orange is finished! I'll send you a photo!!

  2. Thanks for sharing Kathy... first rule of an excellent class experience is the Instructor who is specifically focused on sharing what they do in the process of creating great work. Yours is an example that that gave your students the gift of our knowledge, techniques, assembly process and your commitment to TEACH! Thanks for this.

  3. This piece is SO MOTIVATIONAL! Thanks for posting.

  4. I learn best by watching the teacher demonstrate.
    The little hand movements, how the fabric is held, pinned, pressed all things we take for granted. Visual learning is how generations passed on knowledge.

  5. What a terrific piece. You are so right about students benefiting from watching you at work.