Road to California offers a variety of in-person classes. There are half-day classes, full day classes, and two-day classes all taught by experts in the quilting field. Have you taken a class at Road before? Many newbies to Road are curious about what to expect when attending a quilt class and want their questions answered before they register. Last year, Road’s Social Media Consultant, Caryn Payzant, a novice quilter, signed up for her first ever Road quilting class so she could learn firsthand what it’s like to take a quilting class at Road. “I had no idea what I was getting in to and figured other quilters have the same apprehensions. Taking a class helped me to better understand the process while I was in the class and for future classes I might take.” Here are some tips and insights that Caryn offers from her experience:
- So Many Classes—How do I pick? Just like any other learning experience, you want to choose a quilt class either based on what you want to learn or what you want to improve on. Also, the day and time you are available helps narrow down your choices. While you might also want to choose based on a particular teacher, don’t worry if you haven’t heard of them before because all of Road’s teachers are experienced in their area of expertise. In other words, you can’t go wrong with whatever teacher is facilitating the class.
For me, day and time was most important. My social media work for Road begins on Wednesday, so I knew whatever class I chose, it had to be on either Monday or Tuesday. Also, being a new quilter, I knew I needed a class geared towards beginners. Kate Flynn Nichols’s 54-40 or Fly quilt class met all my requirements.
- Bring All Supplies To Class. Once you have registered, the instructor will send you a detailed supply list of what you need to bring to class. Some items are obvious (thread, rotary cutter, pins, etc.) Even if some of the items seem mundane, still bring them so you won’t be caught off guard. Be sure to find out if a fabric kit is included with the class and what pre-work needs to be done so you don’t waste precious class time. Also, if sewing machines are provided. My class had a precut kit which really made starting out the design easier. Also, Bernina sewing machines were available to use and test out.
- What do you want to achieve during your class? The teacher will tell you up front what to expect to learn during your time together. Kate has been a quilter since she was 8 years old. Precision is her passion so her techniques were geared toward having this particular class quilt last many years through good construction, theme management, and design. As an added benefit, Kate said she was going to share her special technique on spinning inner sections so that points are flat and sharp. I had no idea what that meant but I knew it would be valuable.
- Listen Carefully, Take Notes, and Ask Questions. The teachers have a process they have developed in teaching their quilt class. It makes total sense to them. They will always demonstrate first what they expect you to complete. Watch their demonstration and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Take notes on your pattern so that you will have reminders when you are on your own. I had a lot of questions on technique and Kate was very patient with even my simplest questions. I knew I could trust her to help me.
- Make Friends And Draw On Their Experience. Even though my class was geared to beginning/intermediate quilters, there were students at all levels with all kinds of quilting experience. It was invaluable to me to watch how they were working on the same project and hear their take on the instructions.
Cindy was from Escondido, California. She has been quilting since 1989 and has been attending Road since the beginning. She takes 5-6 classes every year!!! She signed up for 54-40 of Fly so she could just sit and sew on a calm day. She always looks for new tips when she takes a class. Kate’s piecing tip for using leaders and tails when chain sewing was valuable to Cindy.Canadian Lynne has been quilting for 24 years. 2018 was her first time at Road. She signed up for 3 classes. As a “traditional” quilter, she liked learning the precision techniques and trying out the Bernina sewing machines. A quilter for over 30 years, Marilyn has been attending Road for 28 years. She took this class because it was offered on Tuesday and because she likes Kate. She thought the kit was fun .
- Don’t Expect Perfection. I was reminded by several students that classes are meant to practice new skills and that practice does not mean immediate perfection.
- Don’t Expect To Finish. I thought everyone finishes their projects during classes. Not so. Because everyone is at different levels, they are also at different speeds as far as working on the project goes. I barely finished (of which I was relieved) but several of my classmates inherited a new UFO!! And that’s OK.
Taking a quilt class at Road to California is a great way to expand your quilting skills, meet new people, and get to know an expert quilter up close and personal. What quilt class(es) are you going to take at Road 2022?