Teach Me

Sunday Readings:
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”

Over and over again Apostles and Disciples say to Jesus, “teach me”.  Teach me to pray, what I can do to have eternal life, teach me to share the Gospel, teach me to be confident, teach me to be holy.  Teach me.  Teach me.  The Apostles and Disciples certainly set the example seeking to be taught.


The Apostles were with Jesus day in and day out, hearing him teach, listening, learning, and (are you ready for this?) going out and doing.  In order to be taught we have to be open, listen, take action, be willing to make mistakes.  Peter (my hero) certainly made mistakes, big mistakes, the foot in mouth kind of mistakes that none of us like to make because they’re embarrassing.
Generation after generation the process has continued, teaching, learning, growing, making mistakes, having successes.
Confession time here: I find it challenging to listen to the Homily at Mass a lot of the time.  It’s my own problem really.  If I don’t find the Celebrant engaging or I don’t particularly connect with him, my mind starts wandering to quilt designs and solving the problems in my world.  It’s not fair.  Tonight, though I heard something, not so much something new but a good reminder.
The Lord’s Prayer asks us, no, teaches us to be persistent.  Not solely in prayer and petition but and in life as well.  Being persistent is hard work.  It requires a lot from us.  Commitment, faith, patience, oh think Fruit of the Spirit!

CAM00022And here’s where we enter the world of quilting. I like to learn and I like to teach.  In the larger quilterly world learning and teaching go hand in hand.  Particularly in this world of social media: listservs, blogs, vlogs, facebook, twitter and instagram it’s not long before the teaching begins.  And in a way it’s a good thing, the enthusiasm is beautiful and fun to watch.  I like watching the quilts get pieced and quilted.  I watch the struggles with an unseen knowing nod – only because I’m not in their presence they can’t see me.  In a way that makes me sad however it gives me the opportunity to share and teach on my blog.  I do realize that blog readers don’t often go back through the archives.

rainy days and mondays 004

Persistence is the one thing I see quilters struggle with all the time.  There is a strong desire to learn and do well in quilt making: perfect quarter inch seams, perfect color choices, perfect hand quilting or perfect machine quilting.  This desire to do well is natural and to be encouraged!  It’s time to cultivate an attitude of persistence.  Write it out, stitch it out and place it in your sewing space.  Be Persistent!  Go after that perfect quarter inch, learn what tools are needed to achieve that.  For me it was two things: 1) the quarter inch foot for my machine and the good thread (either MasterPiece or Aurifil 50 wt.).  Why these things? Because the quarter inch foot gave me a better visual for feeding the pieces under the needle.  The thread because it’s finer than the generic stuff for fashion sewing.  When pressed it settles into the seam becoming part of the fabric rather than a bulky layer of stitching.  It took years of piecing and learning to figure this part out.  I had to look, listen, attend shows and all the other stuff that goes into quilt making.
It’s also helpful to understand your own learning style.  I learn best alone with some help meaning quilt shows, message boards, books (with good pics), yada, yada, yada.  Armed with an episode of Simply Quilts, Valori Wells book on paper piecing a NY Beauty and time I taught myself to paper piece. Knowing my personal learning style I know that I’m not a particularly good class taker because once I get the concept I want to, need to just get to work.  I do know there are more hints and tips the teacher needs to offer, I know this deeply because I always have more to offer my students.  There’s always something more, there has to be something more. This is where the learning never ends.  Persistence is key to improving skill and achieving your quilt making goals.
As a machine quilter who learned primarily on my own I know what being persistent does.  I know the frustration of not “getting it” right away.  Just like there’s no right way to pray or share faith I know there’s no right or wrong way to quilt.  Figure out what works for you and run with it.

Happy Quilting!


PS – the peacock pictured above is quilted by Rachael, a private student.  I left one of my samples with her with some instructions.  I received this photo a day or so after our class – she’s rather motivated to learn, loves to quilt and is interested in the process of learning as much as improving her skill.  I want to encourage you to be interested in the process, be persistent and grow!

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