Thursday, June 14, 2012


My regular students, who know me well, know that I am very generous with my knowledge, my time, my talents and my tools. They know I put in a lot work when I get ready to teach a class for which there is no compensation. I don't get paid for the time I spend looking for or designing a suitable project or the gas I use to go shopping for supplies. I am not reimbursed for the supplies I need to purchase to make a sample. Yes, I usually get to keep the sample but since it needs to be kept looking like new I don't really get to use it. So it really bothers me when I get a complaint about someone having to purchase a pattern for a class.

This happened recently for a class I teach. These are new students to me so I guess it makes sense they might not understand that I am not trying to get them to spend as much money as possible but only trying to follow copyright laws. Usually, I use one of my own designs for this class and I give it to the students for free but since the summer session is 2 weeks shorter than the other sessions I had to find a simpler project to give them the best chance of finishing. The pattern in question retails for $9.95 and I give the students a 25% discount on it so they are paying less than $8 for the pattern. If I am teaching someone else's design it is illegal for me to teach a class without requiring each student to have their own copy of the pattern. I cannot photocopy it and hand it out and the students cannot share a copy or purchase one and make a copy of it themselves. To be perfectly blunt, that is STEALING, and if you do it, you are a THIEF.

Believe me, I understand wanting to get the most for your money but when the shop where you are taking a class is already letting you use one of their machines instead of making you bring you own or allowing you to use their tools and their classroom you are already on the plus side. There is no benefit to the shop to have additional wear and tear on their floor models, to have to replace needles that are broken due to the user not knowing how to use the machine properly or to have rotary cutter blades and mats wear out before they should.

The shop where I teach this class is not compensated for the use of their classroom either. The only thing they ever get out of it is an occasional machine sale or the wholesale price of a pattern or other supply. We are using their space that they pay for with their rent or mortgage payment that they could be using to teach their own class. We're also using their tools and their electricity.

Teachers that aren't nationally or internationally known aren't getting rich teaching. We do it because we love it. We love to share what we know and we love knowing that other people are enjoying learning a new skill and being successful in their creative endeavors because of our efforts.

I don't know if the right people will see this post but I hope that I have at least educated a few people out there who may be tempted to complain about having to pay for something they don't think they should. I would love to hear other peoples' thoughts on this subject, even opposing views.


  1. I think if it's stated up front that the cost of the class is $X plus the cost of the pattern, then no one should be able to complain -- especially if you are giving a discount on the pattern price! I've been in classes where the instructor requires you to purchase the BOOK that contains the pattern, which I think is a bit much.

  2. Anonymous10:12 AM

    Maybe you should be reimbursed for expenses and the quilt shop should be as well. If someone wants everything for nothing, it is because of immaturity and an entitlment attitude. I too, love to teach and offer the same things in the way of talent, skills and experience. Not everyone will do you right. And some people we just have to bless because they don't have anything. It is all a case by case matter for the most part. The serious/mature ones will be happy to give your efforts and expenses the monitary value it deserves. Good luck and God bless.