Learn New Things

One lasting effect of the pandemic has been the shift to online instruction in the quilting and sewing realm. In-person classes are still offered here locally, but have you noticed that the bigger names in the industry seem to be focusing on online content and less on face-to-face classes? I joined my quilt guild in June. We’ve had 3 nationally known teachers present classes since then. Only one was in-person. The others were via Zoom. Fortunately, 2023 offerings include Christa Watson and Anna Maria Horner doing LIVE classes. Hopefully, I’ll get a seat in at least one class!

Search for your favorite designer or sewing instructor. Do they have any in-person appearances scheduled for 2023? I checked the schedule of a local pattern designer who teaches regionally (and was even a featured instructor on one of those quilting cruises pre-COVID). Most of her listed events are via Zoom. The only in-person events are two lectures at local guilds and an all-day workshop. Sadly, I think the era readily accessible in-person classes by well-known instructors may be behind us. I think our options going forward will be strictly online or you will need to travel where the instructor is willing to teach an in-person class. Paducah or Houston maybe?

Online instruction is certainly more convenient and cost effective. Some of it is quite good. I was able to attend a lecture given by a UK designer from my very own sewing space. In late January, I’ll be taking a live class via Zoom with instructors located in France (Christmas present from hubby). Without Zoom, I wouldn’t be able to do this.

And then there’s social media – specifically Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Got a new machine and you’re a total newbie? Think in-person instruction first, then online. If purchased from a dealer, reach out to the dealer for your introductory machine class. Bought online or second-hand? Ask a sewing friend for help. Then, visit the manufacturer’s social media channels or website for instructional videos. Join a machine model specific group on Facebook for even more guidance.

Want to learn new sewing and quilting techniques? Chat with your favorite designer? YouTube and/or Facebook Live should be your first stop.

Not sure where to start? Give one of these YouTube channels a view:

A Quilting Life (Sherri McConnell)
Bee in My Bonnet (Lori Holt)
Fat Quarter Shop (Kimberly Jolly)
Quilter Pat Sloan
Missouri Star Quilt Company (Jenny Doan)
Shabby Fabrics
Just Get It Done Quilts

Fat Quarter Shop and Pat Sloan have very active channels, FB pages and websites. Fat Quarter Shop does a number of live stream events and brings in designers/reps from various companies to showcase products. One of my favorite Sew Days was when the library let watch the FQS live-stream with Kimberly Jolly on the big screen while we stitched.

One of the best ways I’ve found to learn new things is to stitch with a group of folks – sew with friends, a bee group, Sip & Sew, stitch n bitch – whatever you want to call it. Here, you’ll be able to get one-on-one or small group instruction right at the point of need – the absolute best time to learn something new.

Happy stitching and learning new things in 2023!