Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I Love My Readers

Oh dear Readers, how do I love thee?

I love you LOTS, let me tell you! You never let me down. I wanted your answers and you were wonderful enough to take the time to share them. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've got a lot to say about them and it may be a bit disjointed, so bear with me.

I think the best answer is to set up a page on this blog and devote it to things like "Straight of the grain - why you need to pay attention," "Oh those damned seams in the back!" "Positive and Negative" "What the selvage is (and isn't) good for." Then I can simply refer readers of the tutorials to those pages, which frees me from having to repeat myself.

My niece, who, one-handed, learned to make free pieced letters faster than anybody I've ever met.

I don't like the idea of classifying my tutorials as "Beginner," or "Intermediate" or anything. I feel that if students think something is "too hard" they'll shy away from doing it. So I don't like to prejudice them. When anything you want to do or learn becomes important enough, you'll find a way to do it, come hell or high water. I WANT my students to take giant leaps into the unknown, and that takes a certain amount of courage, or just a lot of faith.

Seriously, it's not rocket science. It's not brain surgery. It's taking two pieces of fabric, slapping them together and then sewing a straight line to join them. This is not life threatening stuff. So you might waste twenty bucks of fabric. Big whoop. What is that, fancy coffee for a week?  You should go read this post, titled "If He Can Do It..."

You all know I believe in what I call "Quilting Without a Net." I would love to get rid of patterns and templates and anything paper pieced. I love to see students take risks, because I've seen how when they take them wonderful things happen. If you've been in my class you've heard me say, "Look, I'm pretty sure you all got yourselves dressed this morning without any help. You can make successful color choices on your own."

Anybody who's ever been in one of my classes knows I'm a "take-no-prisoners" kind of teacher. I will pester and cajole a student any way I can to get them to let loose and put those "little gray cells" to work. And I don't molly-coddle my students either. In my class, you WORK.

I often ask, at the beginning of a class, "Do you want me to prevent you from making a mistake, or do you want me to let you fail and learn on your own?" They always ask me to prevent them, and they claim it's due to the time restraint of a six hour class. They all know if they screw up on their own they will DEFINITELY learn that lesson, but hey, nobody wants to fail, at least in public!

The back of Snow Day, once I finally figured out how to press those seams.
 I didn't say so on the blog, but the slab triangles I made in the first two Scrap Slab Triangle quilts (Fruit Loops & Treasure Trove) had way too many pieces in them and pressing the rows of blocks was a royal pain in the butt, and frustrated the heck out of me. Treasure Trove was particularly painful, with those points matching. Even Snow Day gave me trouble, until I figured out I should press the seams between the blocks open, and we all know how much I like THAT. (Answer = Not.)

Some part of me thinks anybody who wants painstakingly detailed instructions just wants a crutch. My eyes just cross and glaze over, but then, I've read a LOT of badly written instructions.

OH! And whoever said to one commenter, "Are you a slow learner?," deserves to be shot, in my book. What a thoughtless thing to say to a student. Everybody learns differently and it's a [good] teacher's job to be able to explain it so every student can understand, even if the teacher has to explain the same thing twenty different ways. It's the TEACHER'S job to teach, dammit.

I've read that if a middle-aged woman had to learn to walk she'd never do it, that the fear is too paralyzing, and I think that sounds about right. What the hell is it that happens to us as we get older? Fear of failure? I see it all the time. Over-thinking? Damn, I see that all the time too. Sew the seam already! The faster you make your first ten thousand mistakes the faster you learn your first ten thousand things.

And ask any damn question you want, no matter what the price, no matter how silly or fearful you feel about it. When you ask questions, I learn something. I'll learn it, then I'll share it.

Ladies, and Gentlemen, Put that pattern down. Toss out that kit. Get rid of all those foundation papers. I'm here to tell you that you can make spectacular quilts, and I'm here to show you how.

Have I told you all lately how much I love you?


Dorothy Finley said...

And have we all told you how much we love you ????
"Just sew the damn seam" Love you

Pat said...

Dorothy stole my line ... have we told you how much we love you? Love your blog, love your quilts, love Millie, but most of all, I love your attitude. :-)

NeverBored said...

Ditto, we love you! Love the way you teach us; Love the way you encourage us; Love your straight forward friend-to-friend language pushing us past our self set boundaries.

Just Ducky said...

Love ya back.

LynneP said...

Great post! Thanks!

Quiltdivajulie said...

Hugs from afar !!!

libris said...

I'm new to your blog and am equally informed and entertained by it.
I think your idea of having a link to a page or glossary of definitions is effective and efficient. Too much extraneous info in a tutorial can be numbing - at least to me.
I'm also with you on not labeling your tutorial as suitable for 'beginner, intermediate or advanced' quilters. I've only been piecing quilts for two years but if I really want to make something, I'll suffer through the learning curve to get there and feel great about the outcome.
PS- today I finished my 49th (Lynne Tyler) bird... you know where I'm headed. Thank you for a fun filled and colorful process.

Sharon said...

Amen! And I love you (and your blog) too!

Unknown said...

...and your readers love you. That's why we read! (lynnstck[at]yahoo.om)

ckrut said...

Love this! Just saying.

Tammy Hutchinson said...

"This is not life threatening stuff. So you might waste twenty bucks of fabric." I love this! One of my friends calls me a fearless quilter, and I reply that when I was teaching young children I felt I had to get it right-no mistakes because the stakes were high, and they were other people's children. But fabric? Pff! No big deal if I make a mistake or choose the wrong approach. I can start over with another piece of fabric just this easy. SNAP!