Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Rollie Pollies

I returned home from retreat last week in time to teach "Quilting With a Walking Foot" at the Lifelong Learning College on Friday, October 21. It was a great class, with six students spending 5.25 hours focused on quilting designs that can be accomplished with a walking foot. It was quite enjoyable teaching them, though this is the last time I'll teach that class at the College.

On November 11 I'll teach "Quilting with a Quilting Foot," another 5.25 hours of instruction, and that will be the very last time I teach at the College. But, I am making myself available to teach. I've paid for an ad here, on the Quilting Guild of The Villages website, and am happy to schedule classes with groups, chapters and guilds. Just ask.

While I most assuredly enjoy teaching and sharing more than 30 years of quilt making, experience, and I've learned how to be a good instructor, teaching at the college has not been without challenges: scheduling classes nine months in advance; not always getting the time slot or room that's needed for sewing; and... three difficult students whose complaints have stuck with me.

Those three made me come to deeply appreciate the many good students I've had in my classes!

Recently, Amy Johnson of Amy'sQuiltingAdventures wrote about the characteristics of a good student. I really appreciate her remarks. I wish my complaining/unhappy students had known these things! With Amy's permission, I'm sharing some of what she wrote:

Being a Good Student

Are you being a good student? I'm not talking about arriving on time (or early) with all your supplies and machine ready to go. That certainly helps though.

The things that a student needs to have a good learning experience is an open mind, a can-do attitude, right expectations, and determination to learn after the class is over.

1) Have a can-do attitude. I've met a number of students who are too afraid to mess up that they don't try something new. The fear of failure is the number one factor keeping many people from trying something new. I've also met students who put themselves down as they learn something new or make a mistake. "Everything is figure-out-able." That's a quote from a smart cookie in another field; Marie Forleo.

2) Have right expectations; allow yourself to be a beginner at something new. It's new, it's different, it can be hard. It can take time to build proficiency at a new skill. Free motion quilting is certainly an area where a beginner can struggle. Don't give up. Put in the practice. Draw and doodle. Expect to botch it up now and then.

3) Have the determination to keep learning after the class is over. Repeat some of the exercises, practice, check your notes to see if you missed something. If possible, you might want to contact the teacher if something doesn't make sense. 
(My italics.) This is especially true if the class got bogged down for a bit and then the teacher had to scramble to get through the rest of the class. Sometimes the very format of the class makes it hard to teach a particular segment of the skill.

Sometimes that determination may mean having another class on the topic. It might even be with a different teacher. People have different styles of learning and teachers have different styles of learning.
Now I'm happily settled back into my sewing room, and on Saturday enjoyed a beautiful day with the sewing room bay window open. The temp was perfect, the sky was cloudlessly blue, and the gentle breeze caused the Bismarck palm fronds to quietly clack. Glorious!

I sewed to completed two Rollie Pollie Organizers begun while on retreat. Thinking to make several of these as gifts, I discovered that a Rollie Pollie is pretty labor intensive. The pattern is marked "intermediate." I think it's time-consuming.

But gosh, the finish is sure nice! Here is each one, rolled up, ready for traveling, or whatever you want to organize. The exterior fabric I selected is home dec from JoAnn's (the pattern calls for an all over print) and the binding and handle are quilting cotton. Everything is fortified with Annie's Soft and Stable, and Pellon Shapeflex 101.

It's really quite genius how, when rolled-up, the interior pouches nest into one another and look like this on each end.

Opened, you can see how it works. Each pouch is attached to two strips of Velcro. By the way, I used the Fons and Porter glue stick to position the Velcro strips before sewing them. You can see that the blue glue still shows blue through the Velcro!

There's a D-ring at the top, so the organizer can be hung up while being used. Pouches can be removed and stuck back on as desired.

I'm glad I made these, but I'm not so sure about making more. For the effort, I'd do it only for a relative or really good friend! Linda


  1. In all my years of teaching I've had one group who made my weekend workshop a dreadful experience. They knew it all and weren't interested in my advice or instruction. I very nearly tossed it in and left the venue. It made me rethink why I'm doing what I'm doing.
    Anyway, I know how you feel and if I didn't need the income I probably wouldn't be teaching at all. I read Amy's post and totally agree. As you well know 95% of students are lovely! Rant over.

  2. Love Amy's comments especially the "keep an open mind". While I've never taught a class I have had classes I've taken ruined by the whiners. On a happier note I love the Rollie Pollies. They do look a bit time consuming even though they look like a great idea in the end.

  3. I cannot imagine how long one of those Roly Poly's take you!? (I've used the spelling we used when we were kids, only then it referred to a yummy winter dessert!) As far as students going to class go- why go in the first place if you are not prepared to be challenged?!

  4. This was an excellent post, and I'll share these student tips with some friends in our group. I'm teaching a small group of mostly older women (like myself) the very basics of quilt-making. One of my most enthusiastic students is profoundly math and reading challenged, and I'm struggling with finding a method of teaching some of the measuring and cutting basics that she can understand and hopefully retain. Are you aware of any resources that might help her? I would hate to see her joy and enthusiasm fade because of this handicap.

  5. So sorry to hear that you won't be teaching at the LLLC in the future. I have loved your classes but understand the "challenges" you face with some students. Your enthusiasm send positive attitude toward quilting has been greatly appreciated by this novice quilter!

  6. So sorry to hear that you won't be teaching at the LLLC in the future. I have loved your classes but understand the "challenges" you face with some students. Your enthusiasm send positive attitude toward quilting has been greatly appreciated by this novice quilter!


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