I love teaching quilting. I mean, I really, really love it! I just wrapped up a couple of modern quilting classes last week at Quiltique and I am feeling such a sense of satisfaction that teaching is a regular part of my life once again.
I first began teaching quilting about 17 years ago when my oldest was just 7 months old! My mom, whom I taught to quilt, had walked into a local shop at the time (which is now out of business) and the owner asked her if she had any suggestions for quilting teachers. Mom recommended me and the rest as they say is history.
The fact that I could get paid for sharing something that I would gladly do for free was just icing on the cake! I developed a series of beginner’s basics classes and outlined methods for teaching how to make an entire quilt from start to finish. As the local shop was beginning to go out of business, I moved my teaching to a nearby Joann’s where I quickly developed a loyal following.
I would get a new set of students each summer and most of them would take classes from me all year long until I cycled through my entire curriculum. It was such fun to see them not only grow as quilters, but to watch as they developed friendships with other students in the class. They were with me through the births of my last 2 children and we would joke about how I liked to sew barefoot (and pregnant).
My daughter’s baby quilt, made by former students in 2003. She still uses it!
I had just started my online fabric shop in 2003 right before I had my daughter (who is now nearly 11) and I knew then that I would have to take a break from regular weekly teaching. On the last night of class, my students surprised with an impromptu baby shower complete with a quilt for my daughter. I was so touched it made me cry. No one had ever made me a quilt before!
Over the last 11 years I’ve kept up my teaching skills by sharing with friends, developing tutorials online, and offering occasional classes through my guild and at retreats. However, I’ve missed the interaction that regularly scheduled classes affords. Now that I’m back, it feels like old times!
A highlight of my most recent class is that one of my original students (whom I hadn’t seen in about 14 years) came to join us. When she heard I was teaching again, she quickly signed up for my Modern Logs class. Just for fun, she brought in her first quilt that I had taught her to make all those years ago. And guess what – it was a log cabin.
Although my methods have changed over the years along with my style, what hasn’t changed is the sense of satisfaction I get from interacting with my students. Seeing the smiles on their faces, and feeling their pride with a job well done is just priceless.
I don’t plan to take a break from teaching anytime soon. In fact, I’m expanding my reach and have already started booking traveling gigs for next year. It’s just too much fun to pass up! (And for those of you that are interested, I do sell my Modern Logs pattern here.)
Barb is excited to baste and quilt her version of Modern Logs.