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THIS I LEARNED: part #1, 2020

I've been thinking a lot lately about how our lives have changed in the past 12 months. For many of us, we've been stuck at home or severely limited in our out of home activities. For some of us (hubby in healthcare), our lives haven't changed too much. We've been able to work (essential services) and shop (hubby has done all our grocery shopping) and spend limited time with family (child care).

My income is based on teaching quilting classes, quilting customer quilts and having people in my home studio to rent my longarm machines and quilt their own quilts.

All of my in-person teaching opportunities have dried up. I have been getting quilts to quilt but I've closed the rental studio for the time being.

These changes had me in a bit of a funk earlier this year wondering what my future would look like. Then I realized that last year wasn't really that bad and this realization gave me hope for the future.

In January, I headed down to Salt Lake City for Handi Quilter Educator Training. We had a blast learning about new products, sharing teaching tips and generally spending time with each other. This is a fantastic group of people from Canada and the US. The home team in SLC are amazing and can't do enough for us. They treat us like gold when we are there and we are always so spoiled!

In February, I travelled to Raleigh NC for Instructor Certification with Deb Tucker's Studio 180 Design! Again, a great week of meeting new people, learning about these amazing tools and how to share my new found knowledge with other quilters.

March....well, we all know what happened in March! The world came to a stand still! But we have survived and learned how to live our lives just a bit differently. I started hanging quilts in my front yard as a mini-quilt show which my neighbours seemed to enjoy!

As the shut down continued, I started watching some on-line videos.

  • I learned how to make a variety of face masks and made some choices about which work best for me and my family.

  • I learned some new free hand quilting designs

  • I learned from fellow quilting educators about specific techniques and processes

  • I learned some new to me knitting techniques for socks. I knit socks in my down time. They are small, quick to knit up and don't take a lot of brain power from me.

  • I also learned how to knit double mitts for extra warmth.

Then, I started registering for on-line classes. Most were pre-recorded and I could watch them at my leisure as many times as I wanted to.

  • I learned a few new techniques for dyeing fabrics

  • I watched and learned how to set up on-line classes, what works and what doesn't (in my opinion)

  • I learned how to create my own on-line class. I did it to with the Stars and Swirls Quilt Along!

  • I learned how to use Zoom both as a participant and as a host

In addition to formal learning

  • I learned how to film myself and not be super self conscious

  • I learned how to edit my videos and present them in zoom classes

  • I learned how to post some of these videos on to YouTube

When I look back on this whole pile of learning, I realize that 2020 wasn't such a bad year.

  • Yea, we missed our December sun vacation.

  • Yea, Christmas was really quiet for the 2 of us.

  • Yea, I haven't seen my parents in over a year (they are in Winnipeg and thankfully neither of their housing situations have had a single case of Covid!).

  • Yea, our lives have become for the most part, just the 2 of us.....

BUT.....I realize the opportunities that we have before us are amazing and hopeful!

I have learned how to teach via Zoom. It's not the same as in person, but I'm still able to share my love of quilting with my students. I have had opportunity to teach in the US! Zoom classes offered by a US store brings in students from all over the States. It's been a blast to learn more North American geography than ever before.

The point of this post is that I'm going to spend 2021 focusing on what I'm gaining rather than what I'm losing.

  • I have way more opportunities to teach quilting via Zoom through Canada and the US. (my most recent class had me in Calgary, the majority of students in the Edmonton area and one in Ottawa!)

  • I'm getting more and more teaching opportunities, because stores are able to offer classes at a less expensive rate because there are no travel costs for the instructor.

  • I have a bit more time to play with my own quilting because I don't have travel days to teaching events and I don't have renters in the studio.

This is the start of a year long series of blog posts about LEARNING. They will be titled THIS I LEARNED and I'll share some of what I've learned about quilting, crafting and life in general. I would love to hear what you have been learning this year.


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