Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Teaching Free Motion Fillers

Front of sample
Each year the Clark County Quilters (CCQ) guild hosts a day called Saturday Workshops. Members volunteer their time to teach the classes. Some classes are all day (six hours); some are held in the morning and some are held in the afternoon (three hours). I offered to teach a free motion filler class. The workshop chair asked me to teach an afternoon or three hour class. Three years ago, I taught a full day class that was more of a design class. The front and back of the sample was the example I sent to the chair to promote the Free Motion Filler class.

This year six brave souls brought themselves and their machines to my free motion class. This was the sample that the workshop chair used to promote the class. I spent time selecting my samples, preparing my class handout and selecting a special gifts so each participant walked away with something to add to their tool box.

Back of sample
My class handout was 11 pages with an additional page as a class evaluation. I covered information like thread, needles, batting, quilting resources as well as the filler designs. Most of the information in the handout was what I have learned over the years; but, some information I researched through the Internet.

Google is a wonderful tool! The reason that I included the background information is that those choices can affect the stitch tension. If you don't understand the relationship, you will be frustrated!

My goal was to share information in-between practice sessions. I had planned to stitch all of the designs in front of the participants; but, I found that drawing the design and letting them try it on their own was more efficient and more effective for them.
Top Layer:
Practice sample, finished sample, sit upon
I also brought a few of my favorite threads and needles that we drew for during the class. I would do this drawing again, because it gave me the opportunity to talk about that particular product when it was drawn.

The mini breaks, gave their bodies a break too. The set up for quilting practice wasn't ergonomic so I didn't want people to feel pain and frustration. Instead, I wanted them to have fun and to understand that their motif quilting was just as personal as their own handwriting. My "leaf" shape would look a bit different from their "leaf" shape. If they liked what they were doing, they should keep doing it!
Lower Layer:
Threads, batting, marking tools, needles
 & more

My plan was to take lots of photos of the participants and to post their progress. I started teaching, the class started rolling and then it was over! These photos are what I took as I was unpacking! I'm posting about the class and my experience because I want to document it. It is the second time that I have taught a quilting class. It is the first time, that participants brought their machines. Unfortunately, one machine wouldn't stitch and it had just returned from its tune up. That participant drew the designs. I offered my machine for use; but, she wasn't comfortable to accept my offer.

Improving machine quilting takes time and practice. I hope that these participants will stick with the practice and that they too will enjoy the quilting process. The one constructive comment that I received was that the participant would have liked the three hour class more had she stitched more and I talked less about thread. All the participants commented that they liked the class format, that they had fun, that they plan to continue practicing and that my samples gave them inspiration. That feedback is a win in my book!
One sample of filler stitches

I was asked where I taught so that they could enroll in a class and they were surprised to learn that this was my second class! I figured I had done well enough as a newbie teacher! I have asked them to bring their practice sandwiches to the guild general meeting in a few weeks so other members can see what happened in the class. I also invited them to get together in about three months to check in and to share what they are stitching. I've had one response so far and it would be nice if we could form a group that met a few times a year as a way to keep inspired!

On an entirely different topic, it is the end of the month so I'm posting my teaching numbers:
20 in Basic Life Support CPR (50YTD); 6 in preschool swimming lessons; 6 in quilting class for a Toal of 32 people (104YTD)!


QuiltShopGal said...

Congratulations on teaching your 2nd class in FMQ. Sounds like a wonderful class. Just wish I could have attended.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on giving a super class. Your sample is wonderful! Did you sew it with a heavier type thread? I'd say your students were pretty lucky to go to your class.
kfstitcher Karen Fitzpatrick

Unknown said...

Looks like you did a wonderful job teaching this class!

Luann Fischer said...

As usual, an enjoyable post for all us that follow you. said...

Darlene, I wish you could have been there too! I might teach something like it another time! said...

Thanks, Karen. I used a 40wt polyester thread for most of the quilting. The blue swirls thread is a Floriani metallic. If I think I want the three to be more vibrant, I will stitch the motif an additional time or two. said...

Thanks, Nancy. People helped me when I was starting the free motion quilting, sharing my knowledge is one way to repay that earlier kindness. said...

Luann, thanks so much for your kind words!

Anonymous said...

Did anyone bring you an apple, teacher? - Gail G said...

No apples, Gail; but, I wasn't tarred and feathered either! Actually, I received nice comments and feedback so it was a little like receiving an apple!