Saturday, January 19, 2013
I have belonged to a yahoo group named Stitchmap since its inception a several of years ago. Since then I have taken and been a mentor of the Crazy Quilting, Color Theory, and Fabric Weaving classes. Yesterday I finished my 4th class - Redwork Embroidery. Now Stitchmap is a group that educates. If you sign up for a class and are selected to take it, there is a specific amount of time in which you are expected to finish the class. If you take a class, you don't get all the lessons up front, you get them one at a time, and if you finish a lesson satisfactorily, you are awarded the next lesson. You are not expected to figure it out by yourself, but are assigned a mentor who gives you tips, encourages you, and answers your questions. All this is done for free and through volunteers. Some classes are required as prerequisites to other classes. For example, you wouldn't expect to be able to take the class on crazy quilting if you knew nothing of color or embroidery, and even if you are the "cat's meow" in color or embroidery, you are expected to take the prerequisite to be on the same page as your apprentices.
Now I admit, opinionated as I am, that I have had my own questions about the policies of owner of Stitchmap and friend of mine, Shari J., over the years. One example is that at the beginning I wished she would give me all the lessons at once. She explained that I should work on one lesson at a time because she actually wants people to finish the class and accomplish the goal of Stitchmap -- to keep the needle arts alive. I still wanted all the lessons up front, but pressed on with a lesson at a time. I have taken other online classes. I am involved in no fewer than 3 online classes that I paid good money for ... and haven't yet finished! Yet, In just a short time I finished the Redwork class (results above). Why? - expectations and if I didn't finish I'd have to wait for the next Redwork class that might be a year down the road. I also would be ineligible to take the next new class offered until I finished the class. I am an absolute junkie on new techniques and learning about stitching so that wouldn't do. I am the kind of girl who likes to finish things and am pretty responsible as far as things go. However, even though I am sure I will finish my other online classes some day, it may be in a few years rather than in a few weeks. (-; I'm conceding that Shari J. just may have learned a few things about human nature in her lifetime. (-; It turns out that mentors can be for other things than just stitching.
Shari's other criteria for a class is that while you will learn the technique of the class; you will also finish a project. The projects of the Redwork class were several weights and a bag to keep them in. My granddaughters loved these little weights (and wanted them). I will let them use them when I am teaching them to sew clothes in the upcoming months. One of them aspires to design clothing and so the first step will be to teach her to sew clothing. The little one would not be left out! The weights will be used to hold down the patterns. I am also going to try using the weights with a needlepoint project I have started in Embroidery Guild. I so pleased to have these cute enviable little bags to play with. I also realized that some of the finishing I dread is not worth dreading. I couldn't believe how quickly I sewed up the drawstring bag, especially in comparison to the time I put into some of my stitching projects. The little spice bags were my idea of how to use some of the remaining embroideries. I will probably use those to hold buttons or charms for my project bags.
Lastly, I thought I knew a thing or two about embroidery since I have been crazy quilting for several years. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I learned and how I have "tightened up" the quality of my stitching.
I guess the moral of the story is -- never quit trying to learn new things and never discount what you could learn from someone else.