Now that Christmas is past, my mind is turning to the needlework year ahead. I tend to think in terms of what deadline is coming, what do I need to do next. Right now I am thinking in terms of pilot classes for my Seminar classes coming up.
If you aren't familiar with a pilot class, it is basically a "draft" class, rather like the first draft of a book or essay. The teacher writes instructions, then a group of stitchers (who usually get a break in the cost of the class in return for their input) take the class with the express purpose of helping the teacher fine tune the instructions and the timing of the class, and the use of whatever visual aids the teacher uses. It irons all -- well, most -- of the wrinkles out of the class so those who take the class at the official venue can have a smoother experience without all those little bumps caused by garbled words and mangled diagrams.
A pilot class for a 4-day class can sometimes be interesting to arrange. Except when they take vacation for the express purpose of going to a seminar, many people can't take four days off work to take a class. To get around this I break my 4-day pilots up into bits. I teach each day about 3 weeks apart. This way my stitchers don't have to take any days off work, and they have about 3 weeks to stitch all the things taught on that day and actually see if the instructions work.
A pilot class is not a way for a stitcher to save money on a class because the stitchers have committed to working for the teacher, to helping her with the practical part of creating a class. A pilot class is a way for stitchers to have a very important part in keeping this addiction of ours alive.