Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to get more out of your workshop experience.

For the most part my students are a joy to teach.  You always get a few people that are just having a bad week or tend to have a "can't do" attitude but for the most part the quilters that I see are excited about learning new techniques and skills.

I thought I'd share with you some tips for getting the most out of your workshops.

1.  Make sure you know exactly what the class is offering.  If you have any questions about the workshop, email the teacher and ask some questions.  A visit to the teacher's website is sometimes enough to clarify. Having a clear idea of what you want to get out of a workshop will increase your enjoyment of your time there.

2.  Bring everything indicated on the supply list.  If a specific ruler or notion is on the list, be sure to purchase it before the workshop if you don't already own it.  Teachers spend a great deal of time on the supply lists to make sure that you have everything you need.  Most teachers will indicate what you need to bring to class and what you need to finish the project.

3.  Make sure that your sewing machine and other equipment is in good working order before you bring it to the workshop.   Change the needle in your machine and wind a few bobbins before you pack up.  Double check that you have your foot control, bobbins and power cord.

4.  Always pack a basic workshop kit.  This includes pins, thread snips, stitch ripper, extra sewing machine needles (size 80/12 for piecing) and bobbins.  Be sure to label all equipment with your name.  Return address labels are good for this.  Always bring a power bar and/or extension cord to the workshop.  I highly recommend the wheel type extension cords that wind up and have 4 power outlets.  They cost around $30.00 but they are worth every penny.  You might want to pack a cushion to put on your chair for height and comfort.

Bayco Quad-Plug Extension Cord Reel 017398101653 SL-755

5.  Don't bring an iron unless you are sure that the electrical power supply can handle students bringing extra irons to class.  Usually the workshop organizers have irons for the class to use.  Nothing slows down a workshop faster than throwing a breaker.

6.  Recognize that a workshop room is never going to be as comfortable or convenient as your own sewing studio.  Go with the flow!  Try the method the teacher is using even if you usually do it another way.  Be patient with yourself.  Every new idea or technique will take time to master.

7.  Dress in layers.  Classroom temperatures vary depending on the location.

8.  Show up for the workshop about 20 minutes before starting time to allow time to set up your machine and materials.  Have a look at the samples in the room.

9.  When the teacher is speaking, pay attention.  Chatting with your friends while the teacher is speaking makes it difficult for others to hear and you will miss vital instructions.

10.  Turn your cell phone off.  If you must have it on because of an emergency situation, turn it to vibrate.  If you need to answer a call, leave the room first.

11.  If you need clarification on an instruction, ask the teacher.  Others in the workshop don't want to waste their valuable workshop time teaching you and chances are they've never done it before either.

12.  Recognize that the teacher must share her time equally with everyone in the workshop.  Try not to monopolize her time.

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