Recently a good friend of mine and I offered to teach a beginners quilting class at the church we go to. We both love to made quilts and wanted to share our skills. We send around a sign up sheet and were surprised to find that we had 14 people interested. In my mind, I expected about half of those who signed up to attend the first class. But to my surprise, most of them showed up.
At the first class I did an overview of the course and I told them of some of the things they could expect to learn. We talked about some of the supplies they would need and we talked about choosing fabric for their projects. Then Stephanie and I did a show and tell of some of the quilts we have made. We also included some of the quilts that the ladies who took the class the last time I offered it had done. As we showed the quilts we told them the stories of why we made the quilt and some of the things we learned doing the project. It was so neat to see the excitement in their eyes. I could tell that they really wanted to learn. We planned to meet once a month for six months and at the end of the classes the students would have a small project completed. As I was talking with the ladies it was neat to hear of some of the reasons each wanted to learn. One lady mentioned that she was struggling with a smoking addiction and she really wanted to stop. She thought that she might be able to quit by having something to keep her hands busy. Another wanted to make a quilt for her daughter. Another just thought it would be a good skill to have. Another felt that she needed to get out of her comfort zone and learn something she new nothing about. One lady remembered a quilt that was made for her by a family member out of clothing her family wore. Since she made a lot of clothing for her children, she wanted to make a quilt with memories like the one she had been given.
We just had our second class. To my surprise all the students were there. A couple of ladies even brought friends and another her mother. Our small classroom was full to bursting. At this class we talked of quilting terms and they learned how to find the 1/4" on their sewing machine. They learned about using a rotary cutter and about strip piecing. And we had a lesson on pressing. The time just flew by. It was really nice to see some friendships starting. I loved how when one student grasped a concept, they helped another who struggled.
When one of the ladies announced that she didn't have a sewing machine but really wanted to learn to quilt. One of the visitors said that she liked to hand piece and she would be please to show her how to do it. The visitor had come for moral support. But, she had brought a hand piecing project to work on. She showed her project and many were truly amazed that she had done it all my hand. So this evening, when others were wizzing away on their sewing machine, these two ladies sat peacefully in the corner piecing by hand.
I've spoken to several of the students since that second class. The lady who didn't have a sewing machine came to see me. She found an old sewing machine. Her friend's husband fixed it up and her friend was going to show her how to use it. Others were meeting sometime in the month to work on their homework. And several others just told me of their excitement starting this journey into quilting.
I am hopeful that these ladies will not only learn a new skill but will make some lasting friendships.