Monday, October 27, 2014

How To Take A Successful Class

We offer classes every week at Bright Hopes Quilting and hope our customers think the selection and teachers give them a variety of choices each month, from beginners to rather advanced techniques. There is something there for everyone and we love seeing the finished product, however long it takes. With quilt-making, there is no time constraint imposed. We think of it as a long-distant stroll as opposed to a sprint to the finish line.

So, okay, you have the list of classes and are fairly new to quilting. A natural question that comes to mind is "What can I expect from this class?" 

Our goal for each student is get them familiar enough for the pattern and how to construct the various elements so that when she goes back home with her supplies and blocks, she is prepared to continue until the quilt top is complete. We offer plenty of classes that can be 'done-in-a-day' and even some that require a 2-day attendance. Some of our classes, however, are made up of multiple blocks and lots of them so there is no way you can expect to drive home with a finished product.

When we map out a class, we take into account the complexity of the pattern as well as the skill-set of the student and try to allot enough time to get the student ready to leave the shop armed with knowledge and experience to comfortably continue at home, knowing that if they run into trouble we are more than happy to help at a time when there is no class going on or during our Friday Sit & Sew morning.

That being said, it is most helpful for both the teacher and the other attendees for you to have purchased all the supplies you need for the class and the pattern ahead of time so YOU can come ready to learn. If a student arrives to class with an assortment of fabrics but needs more to make the pattern, that means she is not ready to begin on time! If the first time you lay eyes on the actual pattern is five minutes after you walk in with your machine, you will not be prepared for class.

Bring every tool listed in the supply list. If you don't have that specific tool, but a close proximate, bring that and ask if it will work. Chances are, it will. If it can't, you can buy the tool or work around the problem. But, if you leave your tools at home, you will have an awfully hard time sewing!

Speaking of which, if you DO need to buy thread, tools or  an additional piece of fabric for a particular class, please get here when the doors open and shop. We usually begin classes at 10:00 (unless the schedule says 9:30), for this very reason!  We understand that there comes a time when you do need just this one or other thing for the class and you realize the night before you don't have it. However, that doesn't mean you have time to shop for all the fabric as well! It take time to choose fabric and we want you to really like the selection, not just settle because of time-restraints.

Get to class early enough to be set up and ready to go BEFORE the class begins. It takes 5 minutes to haul your stuff in, pick a spot and unload.


If you arrive as class is beginning, it is very distracting for the the teacher and other classmates.

Always, if humanly possible, buy your pattern so you can read through it the night before class. You will have a better idea of what you are going to learn if you know what is ahead. You don't have to understand it, even though, you probably will.

"Why should I take a class if I already read the pattern? I thought you were going to TEACH ME?" 

Good question! 1. Every class we teach has had a sample made so the teacher is familiar with construction and aware of issues or complications and knows short-cuts or better construction methods. With reading comprehension, anyone can take a pattern and work their way through it but why not take advantage of someone else's 'learning curve"?  2. What better way to meet new people and form friendships than doing something with others?  

And just like when we were in school, our teachers would say (repeatedly) "Read the chapter the night before!"  and we would wonder why. Well, the teacher, if she/he was a good one, would have much more to teach than just the words out of that book. The same is true in crafting classes. There is much more to learn in each class than just that pattern in front of us.

Deus ex machina........ 

We at the shop have A working knowledge of sewing machines, true, but there are some very specialized machines out there, expensive and delicate, so it is always best if the student is completely familiar with that machine before they take a class with it in order for the class itself to run smoothly. It's always a good idea to bring your manual, just in case.  Know how to adjust for a quarter inch seam allowance or have a quarter-inch foot.  Most, MOST, of our classes require a 1/4" seam.   And fresh needles and filled bobbins. If you know what thread you are going to use, take a few minutes the night before and fill your bobbins, ladies! It takes time out of the precious hours to sit there and spin that bobbin!

Stay together, now.  "If I understand what I am doing, why can't I just continue on ahead of the teacher?" We understand it can be frustrating waiting for others to finish a step while we are sitting there, cooling our heels. But resist, if you can, moving on ahead of the teacher without letting her know. It happens often that a student moves a head of the pack and then make a mistake which now takes the teacher time to instruct  to undo and now, look who's wasting the time of the class. If you think you are ready to move on, ask the teacher. Chances are good that you can move on but at least give the teacher a head's up! 

Ask questions! If something doesn't seem right, or doesn't seem to make sense, speak up! Keep in mind, you might not be the only one who doesn't understand but the only who says something! 

Bring appropriate snacks and drink. If you need a mid morning break, do not be afraid to speak up. Low blood-sugar is not your friend. 

We hope you had eaten a good breakfast and have plenty of energy when the class begins. Also, if the class is more than 3 hours long, bring a lunch. If you have to leave and pick something up, do your very best to be back within 30 minutes.

Lastly, shopping.
Who doesn't like to take a moment and look around a shop to see new things. There is usually time left over at the end of the day for shopping. But if your schedule does not allow for this and you really need to grab a few things before you head out the door, let us know and we can have a 'held receipt' on the register for you so as you start packing up, we can check you out quickly. 

So to recap:

1. Have the pattern and supplies before the class.
2. BE ON TIME and READY.  If you need to grab something extra, get there early.
3. READ the pattern and familiarize yourself with the contents.
4. Have a working sewing machine you know and bring the manual, just in case!
5. Pre-wind your bobbins, ladies! (you too, guys!)
6. Stay with the class as it moves through the lesson.
7. Ask questions! 
8. Bring snacks and drinks or a lunch as well. Stay energized all the way through.
9. Let us be your personal shopper and have your check-out waiting at the register if you have to dash out.

We want everyone to have an enjoyable day sewing and learning. Our time is limited and precious so let's make the very most of what we have!

Schedule of Classes Nov - Dec. 2014

Okay, Linda Kay just finished our new Newsletter/Schedule of classes... 
here it is, hot off the presses!

 As before, we are using two formats; PDF for those on standard computers and screenshots for you on iPads or iPhones.....

We have some great new classes being offered for the first time as well as some old favorites in case you missed it before. Please come in to sign up and get the class supply list. Some classes require patterns and prep-work before class so it's always a good idea to be familiar with what you can expect during the class in order to get the most out of your hours here.

Remember, Bright Hopes Quilting has the incredible $60.00 Class Coupon which happens to be the Best Deal In Town. For $60.00 flat you can take as many classes as you wish in a continual 6 month period. You can't beat this!

The ONLY THING we ask of you is for you to notify us in a timely fashion if you are unable to attend any class for any reason so someone on the waiting list can take your reserved seat.  What do we mean by 'Timely Fashion"?  Please don't call us the morning of the class and say you have a flat a tire or are not feeling well.  If there is a chance you can't make it, let us know at least by the afternoon before so we can call another customer. We don't run this like the airlines and overbook. It's only fair to let someone use their coupon if you can't make a class.