Fun - Frustrating - definitely crazy!
It was a "retreat" 3 day weekend for quilters at the local quilt shop - Always Quilting. There were about 30 people. Each person had their own machine and stuff to work on. About 1/3 were there to do their own projects, just share the atmosphere. About 1/3 were there to do crazy patch projects - templated crazy patch without any embroidery. About 1/3 were there to do true crazy quilting or at least find out about it.
Several of the ladies had signed up for Sharon B's tour classes, but had yet to be informed that the tour was canceled. We did manage to meet the original goal for the class which was to ensure that they had 4-6 blocks built and a familiarity with some of the basic stitches. I'm not sure we managed to do more although I did talk lots about design and placement of stitches, motifs, bits and bobs, etc.
While the core of the 9 1/2 people in my "group" got "it" and even ran with it, 3 1/2 opted out after the first day to do their own thing, although they did attend the "talk" portions. Everyone in our group said they enjoyed it and learned lots, but I guess I am more used to more "heavy duty" workshops where you work hard and learn lots. This was a LOT more relaxed.
Things I would do differently:
•really work at building blocks with different methods - we talked different methods but did not push it.
•do most of the talking for the first hour in the am and then again after lunch - but once they settle down. We had alternated talking design and stitches - 6 talks on each through out the time - 30 min on average for each (the syllabus was 20 pages). However, the "audience" was not always attentive as they really wanted to get on with the sewing early on. In part this is the quilt background - give them a pattern and they do it. I'm not unhappy, just need to factor in the differences. Once they got their blocks built then they were happier about the talks - they realized their value.
•have a bigger white board for drawing - I only had a 2'x3'. They could see it but...
Things that worked really well:
•having a pile of fabrics and bits and bobs that they could buy in to for a set fee
•having preprinted templates - 3 for them to play with to start. After #3 they were ready to do one freehand.
•having the print picture on fabric bits for them - we did 4 pages with around 20 Victorian motifs/pictures.
•doing the stitch learning on aida cloth and having them each have a CQ Stitch Guide. I talked about the how of the stitch and made them use the guides. After all I won't be there with them when they are at home. There were a couple who wanted more hand holding, but this method worked mostly okay.
Food was good and there was plenty of lighter fare. Atmosphere was pretty fun, but there are things we could do to make it less "serious". I'm afraid some of my frustration was showing - trying to talk over the other 2 groups when they had not settled down yet (sigh!).
Next up, the shop wants to have a regular CQ meeting time/monthly. Perhaps with classes people can take quarterly. We shall see.
Need to take more SharonB classes to learn more!!! I was able to answer most of the questions and address the issues raised, but I am not fluent yet in CQ design.
Learned lots. Made a couple friends. People seemed to really appreciate the effort I made to convey information -- even a couple in the other groups.
Final score: 5 new cq people, 3 timidly trying, 1 1/2 will consider trying cq next year -- after the current rounds of projects is done. Plus a couple more who might be interested after listening in despite the chaos.
All in all a positive weekend.