Diary of a Traveling Quilt Teacher

teri • February 12, 2015 • 6 Comments

GenQ associate editor Teri Lucas recently spent five days teaching at Road to California. Here we get a sneak peek into her trip diary,  and the mindset of a Traveling Quilt Teacher (TQT).

Three weeks before the show

Dear Diary:
I spent the day tweaking and printing handouts for my students, all 130 of them. Note to self: Take extra copies, just in case. Gotta finish up the kits too. The quilters are going to want to have something to stitch on. Hmm, decisions, decisions…can I get them done ahead of time to ship or should I bring them with me? If I decide to bring the kits with me, do I have enough room in my luggage? Thinking! Thinking! Yeah, probably. Breathing a deep sigh of relief. January in California. Woot! Woot!

Two weeks before the show


Road to Yellow California winner Shirley Gisi

Dear Diary:
Whew! I made it. All of my handouts, some kits, thread and needles have been sent off. Need to write myself a note that I included the Go Mini or Go Home sample in one of the boxes. I’ll need that for my class on Thursday. Reminder to email Jake about getting issues sent to the Road offices so each of my students get a copy of Gen Q. Oh, and start that list of clothes to bring. (Editor’s Note: That never happened!) Working on getting the kits finished, but that’s going to have to wait. Sister is moving in soon and the furniture needs to be rearranged. Quilting stuff will have to take a break.


Travel Day 1

Dear Diary:
Here I am at the airport and finally have a moment to catch up with myself. I cannot quite believe everything got done. We got my sister’s space all set up (just in time, I might add). My kits are finished, clothes washed, teeth brushed. Brush, did I pack my brush? Doesn’t matter now! I’m at the airport after a very panicked morning trying to find my driver’s license. While I ‘m getting ready for my husband to take me to the airport, I get a few things together: boarding pass (do I ever love my smart phone!) and driver’s license, so when I arrive I can check my luggage at the door. But the license is not where it’s supposed to be. Okay, I look in the other pockets of the purse. Nope, not there. Feel the panic start rising and dump the contents of said purse on the  dining room table and start searching frantically. The husband is there and starts asking the usual questions. “Uh, darlin’, not a good idea.” says I. “Go back to what you’re doing please.” He gives me that look, you know the one. By now I’m freaking out internally. Like where the h*ll is it? Finally grab my passport for ID at least I know where that is. (Yes, yes, I know I should not end a sentence this way, however I’m freaking out!!!)
At the airport I calm down, I have valid ID and move easily through security. Despite the ID panic, I’m really excited. My classes are full and I love teaching. I can’t wait to see my classroom! Chatting earlier with Carol from Mel’s Sewing out in Cali, it sounds like I might have a mixed classroom of 5 Series and 7 Series machines. Super-fun!

Later that day
Michael from the Road to California team must think I’m a total goof ball. I got so excited when I walked into my classroom and beheld this:

my classroom

I went over and hugged one of the machines. I’ll see tomorrow what we have for feet. I can hardly wait to meet the educator in the classroom. I’m not sure if it’ll be Carol, the gal from the store I’ve had contact with, or someone else. The classroom monitor/educators are my best friends allowing me to teach and while they take care of the machines. Of course I do what I can, I know these machines and can problem-solve. Some of the machine stuff falls to me as I’m helping my students learn how to change tension, control their speed and stitch length.
I spend a little bit of time making sure I have all of my hand-outs and getting my supplies sorted out. Another Note to Self: When teaching before the vendors arrive, make sure that you’ve shipped an appropriate amount of thread ahead. More magazines are arriving tonight by special carrier whom I get to hug, in person!


Teaching Day 1


Amazing Aztec-nicolor Dream Quilt, the Amazing 8 Best Group Quilt

Dear Diary:
Total goofball moment: I had breakfast with Gina Perkes! Squeeeeeeeeee! Seriously! Gina Perkes. We were joined by a few other teachers before we all headed over to our classrooms. Gina Perkes. I tried so hard to act really cool. Didn’t happen I’m afraid.
We had an hour for lunch today because the vendors aren’t open yet. Getting to the classroom around 7 a.m, I thought I’d have a bit more time to get set up before the students showed up. They’re just as excited/nervous as I am to be here and started wandering in. Carol arrived a little bit after me (NTS: She drinks lattes) and we got the classroom ready in no time. All of the needles were changed and we talked about when we’d use the stitch regulators – shortly after lunch. Gotta run.

Day 8745

I am T-I-D Tired. (obscure song reference). Bang. Head. Here. Tough day. First I get a text from my husband: watch the weather. A major, shut-down-the-northeast snow storm is coming through. Great. Next, I had a really tough class. Bleep. Rrrg. This happens every once in a while. I know I’m not the right teacher for everyone, I get that. But bleep. Tonight I will need to sit around with friends and discuss this day over beverages that befit the pages of GenQ and are intended for adults. I’m grateful that there are more experienced teachers that will offer advice and encouragement after a tough class and yes, we commiserate too.

Teaching Day 4
The last few days  have been really great! Getting to meet Keith and his family yesterday was a highlight. Keith and I have competed together and until the other night, never met. All I can say is this added to the beauty of the trip in a way that is difficult to describe. And I’m not even going to try.
In other news, that Nor’Easter is going to mess with travel. Bleep. The email came through that my flight on Monday was cancelled. I’m cleaning up my classroom, making sure I have everything and get a text from Debby Brown, another Road teacher who lives near me. She got home just ahead of the first flakes, and she’s telling me to get on the phone with the airline like NOW. I’m glad I did! It took a bit of work, but I got a flight out on Tuesday.
But wait, there’s more. Let the travel fun and games begin! On the advice of a dear friend, I manage to get re-booked on an earlier flight on Monday out of another airport. Arrangements are made for transportation at 2 the next morning. I still need to pack. (One thing to note is that I do not know this part of the world very well. I head out to the bar to spend a few quiet and rather fascinating moments with Karla Overland of Cherrywood  before finishing the packing. so cal journeyIn the midst of all this craziness Jake texts me and says if I need anything, including a place to stay just let her know.

Travel home day 1
The crack-of-dawn shuttle arrives, we get loaded up and head to the airport. The drive from Ontario to John Wayne airport is over an hour. I get to the airport just after three. The doors to the airport open, but there is NO ONE THERE! Bear in mind I am tired from 5 days of teaching full classes and now a serious lack of sleep. I watch with interest the airport open up, other travelers first, then TSA agents and other employees. The airline opens, I get in line and check my luggage, head through security. One of the TSA agents mentions that several airports on the east coast have closed already. I begin to get that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. So far not LaGuardia. I get to my gate and the text from my sister alerts me to my flight being cancelled. I slowly pick up my stuff and head over to the kiosk to talk with the gate agent. We re-book for Wednesday. I figure if today’s flight is cancelled, Tuesday isn’t going to happen. It’s 6:30 am. I text Jake and she very kindly makes arrangements to get me to her house. I am tired and stressed to the point of tears and so very grateful that Jake is coherent enough to make this arrangement. The walk to the shuttle area is very long with two heavy suitcases and a backpack that weighs almost as much as one of the suitcases.

I spend the next almost-two hours in a taxi listening to the driver say, “oh my g-d! oh my g-d!” and “is this the highway we’re supposed to be on?” and “is this the right house?” and finally, “Call your friend and tell her to come out.” Uh, Jake is at work and I don’t have her husband’s phone number and I’m exhausted and my phone is dying and the battery on my laptop, is not going to last much longer. Did I mention I’ve had very little sleep in the last 24 hours?

Travel Day 10

Dear Diary,
Jake’s guest bed saved the day…well, a few days. And the snow eventually quit so I could get back home. In addition to digging out from the snow, I’m digging out my desk. I’ll speak to you again in two weeks after I catch up on some other writing…the Gen Q blog needs some attention, the book needs some attention, my blog needs some attention and my husband needs attention. Any bets on where my attention goes first?

Til the next teaching gig!


Share This Post
Categories Uncategorized


  • quiltzyx/sue • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #1

    Might have been easier to have your husband & sister move out here to SoCal! Congrats on surviving!!

  • Christa • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #2

    Thanks for sharing about your trip! This was fun to read!

  • quiltingholliday • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #3

    I did so enjoy reading about your adventure of traveling to CA to teach at Rd and then trying to return home in timely manner. I am amazed that you “survived” all the obstacles! I do hope that you will consider another trip to CA someday soon!!

  • Heather • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #4

    What a great read! I’m just about to embark on my first TQT gig. Excited and nervous. Good to know that bad days will happen, and you just go through it. Appreciate all you tips!

  • Judy cunningham • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #5

    I took your free motion class at Road and want to tell you that you are terrific! Loved your sense of humor. I also went to QuiltCon last week in Austin. That was an amazing show! Keep doing what you do and maybe I will see you in Pasadena in 2016.

    • teri • 5 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Hi Judy!
      Thank you very much for stopping by to tell me. You’ve totally made my day.
      Happy Quilting!

Leave a Reply