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Road Trip!

February 15, 2011

"There appear to be some advantages to being a wife, after all."  "Second Sight" by Amanda Quick ♦♦♦♦◊

Late last summer I ran across an advertisement for a mystery class with a well-known Art quilter (yes, capital "A"). I dug around and found that this artist did some stuff that was right up my alley artistically - massive threadwork, rich colors. While her subject matter wasn't what I would have chosen I could really get into the technique and end result.

So I sent an email with a link to the mystery class info to Bosslady with a one liner: "Road trip?"

She said yes! Then another friend of ours who is a new quilter but 'into' artsy fartsy quilts signed on. At almost the last minute yet another friend joined us. We were set for an amazing weekend at the coast! Two whole days of sewing - the class was scheduled for 10-5 on BOTH Saturday and Sunday! Woot!

When the time finally came to hit the road, we set off with high spirits and the back of the vehicle loaded with fabrics, tools, sewing machines (and a few clothes).

The afternoon & evening before the class found us stopping at a quilt shop or two along the way, having lunch (and sharing the various swear words we knew in sign language... but that's another story), and grocery shopping for necessities like coffee, chips, cheese and wine. We met up at an amazing condo/timeshare provided by one of the friends, unpacked, freshened up, had some wine, went to dinner and then came back to more wine and a truly staggering (no pun intended) amount of laughter and fun.

Everyone had had a long day and they went to bed surprisingly early. I took advantage of the quiet for a little time to myself. (That's a sock-to-be on the needles)

ClassroomWe missed the exit to get to the venue for the class, so we were about 3 minutes late for the official starting time of 10 a.m. We were concerned that we'd miss the introductions.

But when we arrived the rest of the group were cutting, pressing, sewing... and generally WAY ahead of just a 3 minute delay. Apparently the instructor arrived between 8:30 and 9:00 and there were so many people already there that she decided to go ahead and start the class.

As you can probably guess, I was not amused. We began to catch up by asking our neighbors what/where/how... and it was a neat project... but we did not get a class. Certainly not a class that we each paid a considerable amount of money to attend.

MoonBosslady catching up, sewing her moon onto the background.

The poor thing was all the way across the room from the rest of us (of course there weren't enough tables next to each other for us all to sit together). She spent most of the time at a chair across the table from me since 80% or more of the technique was cutting, pressing and starching. In fact, after she and I had sewn the moon onto the background we didn't use our machines for the rest of the weekend on this project.

That's not unusual for me. I've already realized that I'm a slooooowww quilter/sewist. What does surprise me is that I continue to lug my machine to classes and set it up as though I'll actually get to use it!

MoeMoe, as usual, was hearing a different beat than most of the rest of the room. Her colors were so different and stunning that the other students kept coming over and taking photos of her progress.

I think that's probably the best thing that can happen to a new quilter/artist - that other, more seasoned quilters openly admire and compliment their work!

My colors, while not exactly typical, were much more mundane. Except the planets, of course. Even though it looked like a moon in the sample, there was no indication of which universe the heavenly bodies were found in*.

Considering our only information for the mystery was to bring "water fabrics", I think we all did quite well with our motley assortment of fat quarters and scraps. Apparently all or most of the other attendees were not strangers to this artist, so they knew to bring batiks, ombres or graduated-color fabrics. It would have been helpful to have that little bit of extra information in the supply list ("Bring at least 10 water fabrics. Batiks or graduated fabrics will work well").

On Saturday evening, we all stayed in, eating chips and cheeses (and a veggie plate, too), drinking wine and working on our projects. There was a lot of cutting and pressing and starching to be done.

We listened to 80's music on the radio, sang along and danced a little while we were working on our projects. We had great conversations (sometimes spurred by memories brought back by a song we were hearing). We laughed a lot. We bonded our butts off. This was truly my very first "girls weekend" with women who were my contemporaries. Now I get it.

The next day we arrived when we damn well pleased (though it was close to 10) and got to work on our projects. Again, every one else had arrived considerably earlier.

There was one dicey moment when the instructor came over to me on Sunday after lunch and mentioned that she didn't have me marked off as having received a pattern (an extra $16 that wasn't included in the original fee, by the way). I told her that I didn't really need one, since my neighbors had already finished using theirs by the time I arrived on Saturday. She said, "Oh, no, let me get that for you." And "Can I get that $16 from you now?" Because I was nominally representing the quilt shop I kept my mouth shut, teeth gritted and handed over the $$. (Bosslady was right there, she is fully aware of what I could have said and very thankful that I didn't.)

Then at about 3:15 the instructor announced that everyone should get their projects pinned up on the wall so we could get pictures and start packing up to go.

Remember the part way at the top that said the class was two whole days, 10-5 ???

No, I'm not going to give the name of the instructor nor the name of the quilt shop that was hosting the class. I expect that our little group was the only one that was less than thrilled with the class :snort: portion of the weekend, because we seemed to be the only ones who weren't "regulars". I also expect that the hosting shop will not be sending out evaluation forms.

But I am taking it a bit personally. It was expensive (class + supplies + travel + accommodations totalled almost $400 each). It was unpaid time off work (for me).
And it was my idea.

Even though I had no control over the quality (or lack thereof) of the "class", I still feel in some way responsible for it not meeting my expectations and letting my friends down.

One sad thing is that I really would have been interested in taking a threadwork class from this artist. But you know, there are other fiber artists out there whose style of teaching may better be suited to my learning style. (How's that for putting a positive spin on it?)

Oh, and even though it was presented as a mystery, I will be posting a picture of my project when it gets finished. If keeping it a secret was part of the "class" instruction, well, we didn't get that information, now, did we?

* Yes, I did it again. Ended a sentence with a preposition. Though I know that it's okay to do that now I still feel vaguely apologetic when I do so. Uh, sorry.


permalink 9 Comments:
At 2/15/2011 4:05 PM, Blogger quilton Babbled Back:  

Oh, my fiber, the teacher from hell. She may have been very very good, but you wait to begin a class at the time the class was scheduled to begin. You and I both know that. If you don't intend to finish at 5:00 p.m. then don't advertise that's when it will end. I have no idea who this teacher was, but I'm glad I wasn't there. I don't tend to keep my mouth shut when I'm not happy

At 2/16/2011 4:17 AM, Blogger Gene Black Babbled Back:  

Yeah, well I would have told who the teacher is so others could avoid this problem. And I would have told her in no uncertain terms that I was NOT paying $16 for a pattern I didn't need since she started the class early. And I might have even asked for a refund.

At 2/17/2011 4:52 AM, Blogger Crispy Babbled Back:  

WOW, no matter if I was representing my place of business or not, I would have "politely" mentioned how sad I was to have missed an hour of the class and since "she" started the class without waiting for all the students to show up, borrowing the pattern was the only option you had and that I would be happy to purchase the pattern if I ever decide to make the project again :0).

Some teachers are a bit too full of themselves IMHO.


At 2/17/2011 5:22 AM, Blogger June Babbled Back:  

I am so sorry that you had to pay such a high amount of money and then didn't enjoy the class. I think it took a lot of nerve to come back and ask for more money at the end of the class for the pattern, too. I gave up taking classes a long time ago. I'd rather learn from a book!

At 2/17/2011 3:50 PM, Blogger Carrie P. Babbled Back:  

Yeah, that is one expensive class with all the other stuff included not to get what you paid for. I have had that with some people that come from out of town to teach workshops. Some are very disappointing.

At 2/20/2011 9:14 AM, Blogger Julianne Babbled Back:  

Wow that is how I feel when I go to a class- I want to learn not teach. I have come to way to many that you have to help each other or you don't get answers. at my last class we had 22 woman and one cutting area that two people could use at a time. I was glad that me and my friend had come early and cut out our stuff at open sew. it made for a class that I could focus on construction. I don'e mind paying but I don't feel that I should be given a pattern and left on my own.

hope your next class is more fun

At 2/22/2011 11:19 AM, Blogger Teena in Toronto Babbled Back:  

I'm taking a Crochet 101 course ... it makes me cranky. Ha!

Happy blogoversary :)

At 2/23/2011 3:20 AM, Blogger Little Creatable Babbled Back:  

I can't believe that and you having paid all that money to go :snort: to them. I do however, feel sorry that the people there obviously don't know what they are missing out on. Sad.

Oh well just be thankful you don't have to go back there!

At 2/28/2011 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous Babbled Back:  

Well, having read this horror story brings to mind some incidences that I suffered through. With that said, I have learned to let the 'host' of the class know when I am not happy about a teacher and the reasons why. I would not have been coerced into paying for a pattern that you obviously did not need, nor want. I would have told the teacher (title used loosely) that I was not in need of a pattern unless she was offering it free of charge. Lesson learned...not all teachers are good ones and to do more research on the teacher prior to taking the class. Like you said, most ladies there had obviously taken classes from her before and 'knew' what was needed for the class.
All in all....you still had a good time with your girlfriends. That alone was worth the weekend trip!

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