Attending and participating in a quilt workshop, whether at home or abroad, entails more than simply breezing in late, handling your personal telephone calls, wasting time chatting, and then leaving early.  Here are some guidelines to help you decide whether you really want to join in, do the work and learn a lot:

  1. Only make a reservation for a quilt workshop if you are fully committed to it, and pay your registration fee immediately to show that commitment and help you keep it.  Being committed means that you can:
    • Work your schedule around the workshop hours.
    • Expect your husband and children to help out so that your time will be free.
    • Arrange adequate transport to make sure you arrive and leave on time.
    • Afford the cost of the workshop and the cost of the materials you will need for it.
    • Make sure your sewing machine will be clean, oiled and well-serviced, ready for hassle-free use before the workshop begins.
  2. Before the workshop dates arrive, acquire a list of the fabric and sewing supplies you will need.  Shop for those items you do not have, and shop early.  Others will be shopping for those special fabrics or tools at the last minute, and they may get left out; make sure you have your supplies well in hand.
  3. Seeing what the teacher’s supply list includes, plan to bring a little more than what she asks you to bring.  You never know; you might get creative and be glad you had a little more to work with than what the list required.
  4. Arrive up to 1/2 hour early.  You will need time to park, unload your vehicle, find the classroom and set up your sewing equipment before the class begins.  Your teacher will likely be there early, too, and available to answer any last minute questions you might have.  Having all your kit in order and set up before class will go a long way toward reducing your stress levels, and it will ensure that all of your class time is spent doing the quilting work.
  5. Make sure you can remain in the classroom until the stated finishing time.  Cagey teachers often fill that last half-hour with important information you will not want to miss!  If you leave early, you will be sorry!!
  6. Come with the correct attitude: a quilt workshop is a learning experience, not a situation in which someone else carries responsibility for helping you make a quilt masterpiece.  If, at the end of the class, you throw away the materials you have been working with, you still will not lose what you have learned in that day!
  7. Switch off your mobile phone.  At the very least, set it on vibrate and keep it in your pocket.  There is no excuse for thoughtless disturbance of the quilt workshop or your classmates or teacher.  If you must handle telephone calls, you can quietly and discreetly leave the room to return a call.  Mobile phone  etiquette is still in the formative stages but the governing principle is always the same: consider others first!!
  8. Idle chatter wastes your time and that of your classmates.  Keep extraneous discussions and the noise level to a minimum.  Everyone will appreciate your thoughtfulness as well as your dedication to your work.
  9. Carry a notebook, ask plenty of questions, and take notes about the answers.  Your mind will be bombarded with a great deal of information in a day-long workshop, most of which will fly straight out of it the minute you walk out the door.  Two or three weeks later, when you finally have time to return to your project, your notebook will be your principal reminder and guide.  Make simple sketches to illustrate the concepts if you can.  Treat your notes with respect.
  10. SAFETY FIRST!!  Specific risk hazards include power lines and extension cords snaking across the floor.  Tape them down with duct tape if at all possible.  Likewise, be alert to the position of the power cable for your sewing machine in relation to your rotary cutting equipment.  Cutting through a live wire could cause serious injury, not to mention damage to your machine.  Most important of all:  get into the habit of ALWAYS closing your rotary cutter before it leaves your hand.  An open cutter flying through the air is lethal!  If you cannot manage to close your cutter every time, buy one of the cutters that closes automatically.

Following these ten tips for quilt workshop etiquette will help everyone have a good, safe time and learn as much as possible during the few hours you will be with your teacher.

Teachers work hard to share their knowledge, skills and experience.  They will appreciate your courtesy and put more effort into their teaching if they know their hard work is appreciated.

Most important of all, you will receive the best value for money if you follow these guidelines.  You will help keep yourself and everyone else safe and unharmed.  You will be able to follow the teacher’s instructions as the day progresses, and you will have the best chance of recording information for later use.  You will not become a distraction or a nuisance to others; instead, you will help them achieve their goals of advancing their knowledge even as you gain information for your own use.

Be a thoughtful quilt workshop participant.  Everyone will benefit from your courtesy!

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