Measuring Magic


The measure of a woman...

The measure of a woman...

There was a discussion on the accuracy of rulers vs. mats on a yahoo teachers group today that prompted me to post the following:

It is a given that all of the beginner students will love the IDEA of quilting. As beginners they will be discovering WHAT it is they love (or don’t love) about quilting. Does that sound too fundamental? I do not mean for it to. But it took me a long time to assert my love for this hobby/creative outlet. I kept trying to meet the expectations of a class, pattern or quilting group because I wanted to:

– stroke the fabrics
– play with color & pattern
– use the sewing machine
– create something!

I craved these things… but found that the cost of “membership” in the quilting world was making my brain want to pop! Just as we all have different personality types, we possess varying degrees of intelligences (talents or even  polarizing attractions). There is controversy in the validity and scope of this list, by as a starting point look at these (from Dr. H. Gardner) by type & how you might learn:

– Verbal/Linguistic (words)
– Logical/ Mathemetical (Numbers & reasoning- the “Accuracy” engineering trait resides here)
– Spatial (Pictures- Typically artists are thought of as strongest here)
– Kinesthetic (Phicaly challenges, movement)
– Musical (Music/ aural)
– Interpersonal (social situations & experiences)
– Intrapersonal (self analysis & reflection)
– Naturalistic (out in the natural world)

I think that it is worth looking at where you personally “fit” in the spectrum of these as a teacher and also be mindful of where students fit.

The beginner quilting class in most cases is designed to educate.  This is typically done within the model of traditional education that focuses on logical & verbal skills (not to mention “shopping” skills!). This contrasts strongly with the curious beginner who may be coming from a more spatial style. Beginners need to hear that they are welcome and invited to discover their own talents and learning style.

Accuracy is indeed a necessary skill that needs to be mastered for many techniques, but for some students, this focus will make them think that there is no place for them in the quilting classroom…  during all of it… you might find a student off in a corner, scared and deflated because it all might not make ANY sense to her.


I just had to add that to the discussion, because the quilting “industry” can be soooo obsessed with measurement. But there are very many other reasons why people want to quilt and how quilting can “happen”. Magic is not measured.


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