I dreamed I went to teacher heaven…

What a way to finish a strong teaching year, full of roller coaster rides and grand adventures.  I woke up Friday morning after two uneventful flights to Cleveland via Baltimore on Thursday.  This is what I saw…

At first, in spite of how gorgeous the snow was, I thought, crap, 20 students and they are all going to have problems getting to the workshop.  I was assured by my lovely confident hostess Nora, that snow would not deter this group, and this is Cleveland after all, this is nothing.

We headed off to the venue, through rural eastern Cleveland, arriving at a spacious ag museum building and I couldn’t believe I wasn’t dreaming.  I’ve never seen such a spacious workshop space.  Nora and her co coordinator Nancy had provided a complete spread for each day for both breakfast and lunch, so we could work uninterrupted.  Ok, they weren’t NY bagels, but any port in a storm… 🙂

The 20 participants were mostly from the Cleveland Western Reserve Guild, with a few coming in from neighboring parts of Ohio.  I have to say in all my years of teaching, besides the space and details the coordinators put together, I was most impressed that 19 of the 20 students were there, on time, set up, and properly fed and caffeinated waiting to go when the first lecture started.  The last participant was approximately three minutes late, I heard she came from four hours away.  Ask any teacher what drives them nuts the most, and that’s having to repeat the entire preliminary lecture to students who roll in an hour late.  “I’ll catch up” doesn’t quite work.  This group was on time every day, staying to the end, no excuses like, “I have to leave three hours early because I have a dinner party tonight”.  They were troupers, and they were excited, and they asked amazing questions, offered amazing hints and tips themselves, and helped each other when I couldn’t get around to everyone.

The space was remarkable.  There was an area for each participant to have their own full size table… (Nancy even arranged to have additional event lighting brought in)

There was a space for each participant to have a seat at a set of  lecture tables, set up in a V shape…

There was a comfortable podium for my projection equipment and for me to “perch” on…

And of course the dining area, with mums and table cloth and a daily spread of food from local eateries.

The class was my three day Garment Construction for Fiber Artists, we started the first morning fitting jacket muslins, I bring those, and then each participant traces their custom changes from my master patterns so they go home with a basic jacket they can work with.  (Yes, I know that is the ugliest fabric but making a muslin from a woven plaid really helps show what grainlines are doing)

Participants learn all sorts of pattern alterations, some had minimum or none, others had extensive, all learned a great deal and were pleased to learn about fitting their own bodies.

I spent the remainder of the workshop teaching specific techniques for great looking garments, a basic sewing review, followed by creative seam and edge finishes, and great ways to close a garment.  Participants got to try out all kinds of techniques, Hong Kong Seam Finishes, French Seams, Bias Tricot Seam Finishes, Bound Buttonholes, and more.  It was fun to see all the samples lining up on the tables.

I think my favorite part of a multi day class like this is individual consulting.  Participants can add their name to a list and as I have time, I sit with them and go over things they’ve brought, mostly, “I have this fabric I wove, felted, created, etc. and I don’t know what to do with it…”.  One of the students Lisa, brought in a ratty Kilim rug, faded and falling apart in places, with some really lovely perimeter areas that could easily be cut into a jacket. 🙂

There were a number of feltmakers in the class as well.  It is always fun to work with felted panels or yardage, felt has wonderful organic edges that allow very creative hems and edges.

What amazed me most about this group, is they kept at it, even after the workshop ended each evening.  Saturday night, almost the entire class headed out to dinner, and the party class resumed in the restaurant.  And after the workshop ended Sunday night, about half the class tagged along to a private opening of a local lace making establishment called “The Lacemaker” a long standing supplier of tools and supplies to the lacemakers and needleworkers of the world.  Tracy Jackson, the lovely proprietor, opened the store especially for us, I hope we made it worth her while.  Sadly Tracy is closing the shop in December, so lucky for us, there were hefty discounts all around.  I wasn’t in need of many tools or supplies in lacemaking, I certainly have enough, including a couple travel pillows, although hers were beautiful, but there are always a few things one can pick up in a place like that  and I did instant damage to my credit card… 🙂

And so it is with very fond memories and a very successful workshop behind me that I hugged Nora at the airport Monday and hopped a plane, two more uneventful flights, this time through Boston, where I finished one knitted sock and am almost through the ribbing on the second one.  I arrived home around dinner time, met by my son at curbside pick up, and off we went to dinner and a beer.  Life is good.

Other than the malfunctioning toilet that greeted me, which I quickly fixed, re entry seemed to be seamless, until I woke up Tuesday morning and found out my business credit card number was stolen.  I hate when that happens.  What a pain in the butt.  And they did damage.  It happened some time on Monday while I was traveling, maybe it was the sandwich I bought in the airport?  The Cleveland Post office? Dinner at Applebee’s?  Do we really know what they do with your credit card when they take it away?  Within minutes hundreds of fraudulent charges were applied to my card, mostly online gift cards, and the credit card company fraud alert computers realized something was amiss and shut down the card.  So my new one arrived today, and now I have to go back and contact everyone who automatically debits my card, charities like public radio, Doctor’s without Borders, etc.

But, for now, I’m home, safe, unpacked, and heading out to lunch with a bunch of girlfriends I haven’t seen in awhile,  and I don’t have to get on a plane again for business until the end of February. 🙂



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November 17, 2011 11:38 am

Glad you had a lovely workshop Daryl. But the credit card fraud, not so much. Sorry to hear that for both you and the credit card company who took the hit. We all suffer in the long run from thieves. Sounds like this is it for workshops for a while for you. Same here, until next year. I’m continuing to make Daryl jackets for me and my friends. A friend of mine gave me some Donnegal tweed fabric. I made myself a jacket and one for her. It doesn’t feel as nice as some other fabrics but it’s fun to… Read more »

jan gibson
jan gibson
November 17, 2011 11:45 am

Daryl, your class was amazing. It was mind blowing. Too fit so many different bodies all in one day was remarkable! I learned so much and I am determined to clean my studio so I can put all the ideas going around in my head to use. Thanks for sharing your talents.

Susan McKee-Nugent
Susan McKee-Nugent
November 17, 2011 12:11 pm

WOW, so exhilarating to just look at the space and hear what fun you and they had. You are all so lucky and glad you are safe, credit card notwithstanding!

Mary Ehrlich
Mary Ehrlich
November 17, 2011 12:41 pm

Happy Holidays Daryl. May the jolly bug bite you in the beer belly and give you the jollies for the rest of the year. See you in February.

November 17, 2011 1:54 pm

I second Jan’s comment! I’ve finished fulling the Harrisville 🙂 and have been building my jacket and it’s components in my head ever since the weekend! Thanks for your advice on my “off topic” questions about yardage, garment construction, and inspiration. It was a pleasure having you join our guild for the weekend. Thanks for your enthusiasm and down-to-earth practical good sense!

Elizbeth E
Elizbeth E
November 17, 2011 2:09 pm

AMAZING, to the space. And amazing YOU, TOO!

Debbie Swan
Debbie Swan
November 17, 2011 6:09 pm

You are an amazing person and I will not be afraid to cut my handwoven material. I learned alot and I do not sew but I might start, (maybe alittle)

November 19, 2011 8:55 am

Had the most wonderful time learning all those finishes that I have read about. I love to sew and this was like heaven for me to finally learn how to adjust my patterns. Yea, now no more loose boxy patterns for me. You are the most wonderful teacher and woman. Hope to take another class from you again.

November 20, 2011 10:11 pm

It was totally worth the roughly 10 year wait between first hearing about this class and actually getting to take it. Thanks so much for joining us!

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