A Philadelphian’s Guide to Learning … Anything

A class for every skill

In a Month or So 

Spool co-owner Laura Singewald swears the fabrics you work with in this modern-day quilting bee of a class are so “colorful and fun, they really do the work for you.” Though if you don’t already know how to sew a straight line, you’ll have to practice a little before you set to work on your lap quilt.
THE TIME: The piecing­-to-binding five-week course meets Tuesdays from 6 to 8 p.m.
THE TAB: $175, including materials.

Ice-skate (somewhat) gracefully
You won’t believe skating director Amber Hartman of the Flyers Skate Zone when she tells you that adults pick up ice-skating faster than kids. But after just six classes, you’ll skate forward and backward and be able to stop without crashing into the guardrail.
THE TIME: A 30-minute lesson followed by a 30-minute instructor-guided free skate every Friday night for six weeks.
THE TAB: $120 for the six-week session.

I jab and cross—bad left and a strong right—straight into the training mitts worn by Phil Lopez, an instructor at Nak Muay Gym, the second-floor Mixed Martial Arts training center in King of Prussia where everyone from complete amateurs (like me) to professional MMA fighters (like Tim Carpenter, Sam Oropeza and Aaron Meisner) comes to work out. Read the rest of Jason Sheehan’s essay on taking boxing lessons here.

Be funny
Take the stand-up course at the Philadelphia Comedy Academy, and you’ll get: ideas about funny­ stuff, joke delivery tips, mic technique, even (dare to dream) info on how to get an agent and break into NYC clubs. At the very least, you’ll end up with a great party trick: the five-minute stand-up routine.
THE TIME: Three Sunday classes, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
THE TAB: Tuition is $400.

Swim without drowning
Holly Waters (yeah, she knows—hah!) at Sweat Fitness teaches adult one-on-one lessons, so you get individual attention and the chance to learn the breaststroke at your own pace—minus the indignity of an audience.
THE TIME: Expect to take at least six half-hour lessons before you tackle the deep end solo. (If technique’s your bag, plan eight months to get all the strokes down.)
THE TAB: A package of six lessons is $275. Invest in some good goggles, too.

Fix bikes
The Adult Bike Repair classes offered by West Philly-based nonprofit Neighborhood Bike Works make you look like a badass: You’ll be able to fix your own flat, diagnose and repair misbehaving parts, overhaul bearings, and tinker in all sorts of productive ways.
THE TIME: One two-and-a-half-hour class a week for a month.
THE TAB: $80, and you don’t even need your own tools (or bike, though you’re welcome to bring one).

Have more time to spare? See what you can learn to do in a few months.