Archive | September 2017

My Gold Foot!

20170910_221848This past weekend, I had the honor of attending Teacher Certification training by Leonie and Bill West of Westalee Designs. We all met in Eugene, OR; the home of Sew Steady.

I started my education by touring the manufacturing process of Sew Steady Extension Tables and Cabinet inserts. Tables are cut to order and then hand finished, one at a time. The time from order to shipping can take up to 3 weeks, but it is usually less. I loved looking at all those new shiny tables awaiting to be boxed.

Next up was the laser cutting of the quilting templates. This amazes me. First there is the computer design file which is magically sent to the laser cutter. Eventually a huge sheet of acrylic becomes a handful of templates. The process is not as quick as I thought even though they manage to get as many templates in one file as possible. Think cutting cookies. Acrylic cannot be rolled up like dough, but I am happy to report that the left overs are recycled. Manufacturing runs 24/7. Even though there are computerized cutters involved, it is still a labor-intensive product. I honestly think the price could be more; especially considering the cost of acrylic.

Meeting the staff was a high-light as I talk to these folks on the phone regularly. I love connecting faces to voices. Then of course, there was shopping. It was too tempting seeing all those shelves of ready to go template sets, so yes, I came home with a few……or more.

Now it was time for class. Leonie and Bill spent 2 days going through basics to advanced uses for templates and showed us prototypes of soon to be new template sets. We shared our own work, talked about up-coming education for consumers, and brain-stormed for the future. My head kept spinning with the possibilities; both with the product and classes I can offer. Leonie has what I call the perfect mind for designing. She can see a simple shape and imagine endless possibilities. She marries this with the math we learned in Geometry (ok, that may be over simplified) and a template is born. Then she takes it further to see what other designs can be made. It is genius. The possibilities are truly endless. The Whoa! Wait! What? moments kept coming. I am inspired and yet humbled as there were only 5 of us invited.

The Wests are truly lovely people with a heart of gold. There a few new tools being released and they took the time to make some with our names engraved on them. That small gesture means sew much to me.

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Mine, all mine.

Every course requires graduation ceremonies and ours was nothing short of special. My expectation was a paper certificate with my name in a curly font. And then the unexpected happened as I was the first called to the podium. Inside a small cloth bag was a Full-Size Gold Ruler Foot and a Mini 12” Arc Template hanging on a chain. It is the official sign of being an Accredited Teacher.

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My new necklace!

I am now one of 10 in the world that have been accredited by the Wests. With honor comes responsibility and one I will not take lightly. I will continue my online classes; adding new sessions as quickly as I can and look for opportunities to teach in shops around the country. If you want to see my necklace up close and personal, please feel free to contact me.

~Pam

 

 

 

 

Why I Love to Teach/Learn

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Photo Credit: Cel Lisboa

 

School is back in session; seems like a perfect time to share my love of education.

I have always loved the process of learning and I am fortunate to be able to teach. For over a year now, I have been hosting the Quilt as You Go Sampler Quilt designed by Leonie West of Westalee Designs. In this course, students learn Ruler Work on their domestic sewing machines by using 7 different templates. Currently, I am conducting the course on-line.  Leonie’s husband, Bill, filmed while she quilted every block. In these videos, she guides the students with her extensive knowledge of the products she invented. The two of them are an amazing team. The brilliance behind their collections of quilting ruler templates is beyond compare. They are so perfectly engineered and paired with their true 1/2″ ruler foot, a quilter will never lack for inspiration.

Why do I teach online? Ruler Work requires a flat surface and many quilters have their machines in a cabinet.  The bigger machines that so many of us love, are too cumbersome to transport. Then there are those who either don’t live close to a local quilt shop or lack the means to get to one. I provide a place for them to go.

When I first started teaching online, I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to connect with my students. There was also the challenge of not being able to “see” when they are heading down the path of bad habits. Monthly live sessions in my virtual classroom, email, digital photography, and social media have all played a role in giving my students the level of education they not only need, but deserve. A little Sassy-ness sprinkled here and there by us all adds to the atmosphere.

We are all busy learning. My students anxiously try their new skills and challenge me with questions. I’m exploring ways to improve their experience and experimenting with both stand-alone software and online options for my business. Each new platform requires education. Linking files, adding photos, entering data, oops moving data. Then my obsession with perfectionism kicks in, or I discover a better way to accomplish a task and I start over. The exhilaration of this new knowledge mixed with accomplishment keeps me going. There isn’t much time at the end of the day for me to spend in my studio. Moving forward, I will have to find more ways to fit that in.

This mixture of my passion for ruler work, teaching, and technology has taken me on a journey that is filled with excitement at every turn. I receive comments almost daily that confirm I am headed in the right direction.  I am hopeful for what the future holds and the never-ending batch of new students the World Wide Web steers in my direction.

 

~Pam

Learn more about my online class  OR  or contact me

*to learn more about Westalee Design, check out the following:

Westalee Design Website             Westalee Design on You Tube

*Sew Steady is the Distributor and Manufacturer for Westalee Design in the US.