Rosa's World

Saturday, May 3, 2008

DJ - Teaching "Dear Jane"

Hi There!

I recently asked a question, on the Dear Jane forum, with respect to teaching or starting up a group of Janiacs. Here are some of the wonderful replies and/or suggestions that I've received from some Janiacs. And, as I had received several personal emails, requesting that I share this info, I thought I'd post their answers, here.

NOTE: if you don't want your reply posted here, please send me an email and I'll gladly take it off.

Being the organizer/facilitator is a much more fun job than taking on teaching the whole quilt, in my humble opinion. For that, you would eventually need to teach almost every technique known to quilters. And for all the prep and time, you should be paid to teach. And even at that, good teachers give more than they receive--so they should at least be paid something! But as the organizer/facilitator/hostess, your time would be more your own. The group may start out as a social support group--which our Rosa would thrive in, no doubt!! Then gradually group members ask other group members to share how they accomplished certain techniques. Also, the most important part of the dj journey, in my humble experience, is consistent with the way Brenda set up the book and software--with enough info to make the quilt yourself but not problem solving every detail for you. Each quilter learns problem solving and decision making by doing.
First of all, I think you will do a fabulous job because your personality will shine through. When I started teaching DJ, I told the class there are many ways of doing each block, but I would be teaching a particular technique that day. If they knew another technique, great, but we would all work on this technique today. If they did not like the technique, at least they could say they had learned it. To this day no one likes to hear the words Back Basting! They absolutely hated it, but now they know how to do it. My first class was the simple Uncle Homer and we did it by machine piecing, except for one lady who wants the entire quilt made by hand. You need to allow a little leeway sometimes. In the beginning, I made up what I call "story boards" for each technique. I glued each step to a three-sided cardboard Science Project display board, which I bought at Michael's. I also printed the written instructions, so they would have a copy for their notebook. If I still have these on the computer, I will send them to you. Out by the side/or below each step I had a fabric block to show the step. These story boards came in very handy for those who missed a class and needed to review the technique. A visual is always good. We would try to do two blocks each session, but rarely finished both and sometimes not even one, depending on how hard or how many pieces to be cut. YOU might actually like to start with one of the easier (dreaded word) paper-piecing blocks :'( As the months moved along and their confidence was building, I let the class choose the blocks they would like to do. Of course, at your first meeting you will want to talk about the book and CD. Please, please stress the importance of safety with their rotary cutters, and ask everyone to label ALL of their tool s. The mailing labels we receive constantly can be trimmed so small. I even put my last name from a label on the shank of my quilting feet.
For one of the classes I wanted a handout from the book. I don't remember which block or why, but called Brenda and asked permission, which of course she graciously granted. "Permission" is the key word. You cannot use any printed works without "permission".
I never thought you had to have permission to "teach" a class at a guild or any other kind of quilting group. As long as everyone buys the books and you are not copying the patterns out of your book to give them everything should be fine. I am "teaching" 2 of my friends how to do DJ and we all have our own books and make our own patterns. I put "teaching" in quotes because I am not so much teaching as showing -- I am not a teacher and I'm not good with words explaination and always learn by watching. I always tell them this is how I do it but you do it the easiest way for you :)
They each need their own book and/or CD. Use Brenda's lessons from the CD, they each teach a concept that will help with all the blocks.
I read your query regarding teaching/hosting a DJ group through your guild and I wanted to share my experience with you.
  • First, CONGRATULATIONS! The fact that your guild has recognized your skill, talent and worthiness to host/teach such an event is wonderful. Many teachers (me included) are often humbled by the fact that people are even the least bit interested in the kinds of things we do. To have anyone express their interest in being lead by us is another feather in our cap, which can be uncomfortable at times.
  • I have been teaching - or rather leading a group of enthusiastic quilters on their journey - for about 15 years now. I love it. Certainly not the celebrity or the you-must-know-best attitude of some students, but rather the joy I receive when I experience the enthusiasm and success of students, who rarely think they can do it! Beginners are my all time favourite, even tho these newbies can take a bit more patience and work. The satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment they feel is certainly transmitted to me. I get my "juice" from this.
  • I have been lucky enough to host 3 separate DJ groups over the past few years. The first two groups started in 2003 and finished about 2 years later, generating 12 (YES, 12!) Goddesses! Some of these Janiacs were brand new to quilting while others were seasoned veterans. The commrardarie and friendship of these women (and one man!) is what quilting is all about. Motivation and a little "lesson" is all anyone really needs to get started on their own DJ journey.
  • I would be happy to share my "course notes" with you if you think it might be helpful. I did seek (and received) Brenda's permission to teach/host these groups and of course, she was thrilled to be spreading the DJ mania further. Each participant will obviously need their own book or DJ CD, as well as 1 BOLT of background fabric (~10-13m). I am able to organize special ordering of this much fabric through Earthly Goods (the quilt store I teach/work at), and I would suggest you might want to research available and suitable background fabrics which can be ordered.
  • Use the Dear Jane website for additional resources - and of course this "List". There is a huge network of excellent resources available to you.
You don't need permission from anyone. You just can't run off patterns from the book. However, you know all that.
In the past Brenda has given the group an autographed book for the library or as a door prize for the group. It is best to email Brenda directly.

And here's another one, received today - 4 May 2008:

Whenever we have used a pattern from a published person for our raffle quilt we have obtained permission. We have never been refused and usually received a very nice reply saying how thrilled they are that we want to use their pattern. One year a picture of the finished quilt was requested and sent.
If the students buy the book it would be like you and I sitting in your kitchen or sewing room putting the blocks together talking while we did it. Where you run into copyright problems is if you were to take your book or software and copy the pattern for students.
From Brenda M. Papadakis:
No one needs my permission to teach Dear Jane. One of my mantra's is "Each one, Teach one." That is how Jane keeps going... 
The only requirement for classes is that each student have a Dear Jane book
or DJ software. Hope you find time to stitch today!!



Once again, thanks everyone for the lovely suggestions and the votes of confidence!


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