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Are trade shows worth your time?

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

 

Quilt Market, the quilting and soft crafts industry trade show, starts in a few weeks. I’ve been going since 2004. I’ve gone as a vendor, a member of the press, and an educator. Today when I’m not teaching, I spend my time walking the floor, networking, and making connections.

I have always been a fan of trade shows, partly because I love all the tchotchkes. I have buttons, coffee cups, pens and even a couple of stuffed animals from the trade shows I have visited. I have developed quite the reputation among my family and friends for enjoying trade shows.

If you are on the fence about going to Quilt Market or any trade show, here are some reasons why you should make the time.

Read more…

Meet Pamela Allen, 2012 Quilt Teacher of the Year

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
What standards of workmanship do you require of your students? What do you do if they don’t attain them?

This makes me smile, as I may be somewhat of an aberration when it comes to traditional workmanship as defined by the standards of a quilt show judge. The focus of my teaching is always the making of art that just happens to be stitched fabric. I believe that any construction method and any technique is appropriate so long as the piece has structural integrity. I help students to find a resourceful and personal way to solve technical problems and often demonstrate techniques and share helpful hints that may be useful to realize their idea.

How do you encourage creativity in your students?

I’m a believer in lots of discussion and lots of visual stimulation. When I set up the classroom, I try to make it look like a working studio with lots of artwork on the walls and, when possible, a U-shaped plan for the tables so students can see one another. I also like to have a common pool of fabrics, donated by the class and me, to encourage each artist to try materials they may not normally choose. My instructions to students are more about attitude than technique in that there are no patterns, very few rules and only general parameters for each exercise. I talk about the idea that a new work is like a stream of consciousness, where what has gone before will dictate what comes next, and I support any number of solutions to a given problem. Thus the student isn’t pursuing a narrow avenue towards a fixed goal, but rather an expanding highway with many exits and entrances. This allows the student to choose her own subject matter and personal content and encourages a meaningful attachment to the work. As a work progresses, I ask for the work to be put up on the wall, and the student and I have a brainstorming session about problems or where to go next. Other students benefit from this as well because they may be having the same issues and can learn by sharing.

How do you encourage students’ further growth in quilting, beyond the formal class?

Building confidence is an important element for further growth.  This is why, throughout the class, I try to focus on the students’ strengths and encourage them to build upon those. Often all it takes is to overcome a self-conscious reticence, and the artist can make the leap into the unknown with wonderful results. I encourage the students to conduct their designing by asking, “What if I do …?” With a growing confidence, the artist can answer by actually trying a solution without fear. Another reassuring phrase I repeat is, “What’s the worst that can happen?” I try to share my own experience of revising less than perfect work or cutting and reassembling it into a new idea. I suppose it is related to my idea of being flexible about the direction a work may take. Humor is a big part of this process as well, and there is often much giggling and hilarity when the solution turns out to be a very funky potholder!

Why do you teach?

I confess I really enjoy teaching! I like meeting new people and going to new places. I love it when I can see a student take some risks, try something new, and then have a eureka moment as the reward! I enjoy hearing from former students that they have been juried into some national show or won a prize at their local guild show. Some have sent me photos of the class quilt that they have gone on to finish, and I can “read” the pleasure they have taken in it. It is not a one-way street either. I have learned things from my students as well. I was not the greatest sewer in the world at first, and it was a student who sat me down and showed me that making bindings wasn’t that hard after all!

You can read more about Pamela in the Spring issue of The Professional Quilter, the journal of the International Association of Professional Quilters. The journal is available to members, and you can join here.

Please share your thoughts below.

Teaching Through Your Website

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Earlier this year in The Professional QuilterGloria Hansen focused on how you can teach online without dealing with the technical aspects of creating a website, marketing to get the word out about your class nor collecting class fees. It works for the person who wants to show up at the virtual classroom, teach, get paid and then move on. For those who want to teach but also run the complete show, another option is to teach through your own website. Here’s an excerpt from her article listing some teachers who take this approach:

Popular mixed media artist/author Judy Coates-Perez (www.judycoatesperez.com) teaches color theory on a password-protected website that she created. “I prefer having control over how the class is presented and taught without having to format things to someone else’s technology/website,” she says. “I can also control class sizes and when I want to teach them.” Judy’s website is clean and easy-to-navigate with links to each specific lesson. Each lesson includes instructions, color photos and links to further information on the topic. Judy also set up a private Yahoo group for students to post pictures and discuss their work.

Canadian teacher and quilt artist Pamela Allen (http://pamed.homestead.com/home.html) rose to the challenge of online teaching in part because of a change in border regulations that negatively impacts on her ability to teach in the United States. To continue offering her classes to all interested students, she developed five online classes. She offers her students downloadable lessons, “mini-lectures” on the principles of art and art history, and “one-on-one personal critiques.”  “I can teach my class how I want it, and I can immediately troubleshoot any problems,” she says.

Artist/author Sue Bleiweiss has been using the online world for years to share her vast knowledge and offer classes, such as for journal making. Her latest three-week class, Watercolor Exploration for the Fiber Artist, came about after hitting on a process that allowed her to work through ideas for creating new fiber artworks. “My goal is to make it as personal an experience as I can for my students, which is why I make it a point to be online constantly throughout the class checking my email so that no student has to wait too long for an answer to a question or feedback on a photo that they’ve posted,” she says.

Mixed media artist/author Alisa Burke (www.alisaburke.com/onlineworkshops.html) began offering online classes about three years ago. To make the experience more personal, Alisa includes video instruction. “Much of the class content is photos and video that I film in my studio of me working and demonstrating techniques,” she says. “I film and edit everything myself (camera on a tripod). I use iMovie and Final Cut Pro to edit my videos and then upload them to Vimeo (a video service), password protecting them, and then embedding each into a private  blog.”

Artist/author Carla Sonheim (http://carlasonheim.wordpress.com) has a series of online classes with all of the right ingredients. Her popular The Art of Silliness class features one downloadable “activity sheet” per day for thirty days. Her goal is getting her students to “play” for ten minutes a day with pen and paper. Carla offers a dedicated blog and a Flickr site for her students to share, and to keep things fun she offers prizes. She also considers the comments and feedback extremely important to the overall success of the class, and she blocks out an hour per day for the month the class is in session to be available to her students.

Artist/author Diana Trout (http://dianatrout.typepad.com/blog/) teaches an online class called Inner Circle Journal with lessons and videos. “Since the format of online classes is so different from an in-person class, I will be offering different subjects that will allow students to go into more depth than in-studio or retreat classes would,” she says. “There is more time for thinking, playing and allowing time for paint and glue to dry. These are huge benefits! Also, the blog is interactive so that students can post their artwork and get feedback and questions answered.”

Each class is unique to the instructor. While these teachers have successful online classes, others do not. I’ve spoken with several students who were unhappy with the experience. Just as your reputation as a teacher spreads when teaching in-person classes, so does it spread when teaching online classes.

When contemplating whether teaching through your own website is right for you, Sue stresses that you do your homework. Whether you are comfortable with creating the class yourself or if you only want to focus on teaching and leave the technical work of the site to someone else, online teaching can offer the opportunity to reach a broader range of students while earning additional income. Before you have students start their homework, however, be sure to first do your own.

Please share your experiences with online classes, either as the teacher or the student, below.

If you would like to read more of Gloria’s article on teaching online, it’s included in the Fall 2011 issue of The Professional Quilter and available to IAPQ members. The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership here.

Pricing Questions You Need to Answer

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

In the Fall issue of The Professional Quilter, Mindy Wylie took a look at the pricing decisions new longarm quilters need to make when starting their businesses. They are also the questions experienced longarmers need to readdress from time to time. If you aren’t a longarmer, these are the same questions you should consider for commission work. And, if you have work completed by someone else, you would want to know the questions to ask. Here’s an excerpt from the issue.

How are you going to price your work? You have three ways to price your work: by the size of the quilt, by the amount of time it takes to quilt it, by the number of bobbins used.

Do you charge differently based on different patterns and techniques? Yes! Take this opportunity to explain the differences to your customer. It is common to have a few different pricing categories, such as edge-to-edge, semi-custom, custom and heirloom. You need to explain what each category is, how each category differs from the others based on time required and skill needed.

Do you give an estimate? Yes. The estimate I give is very accurate, but occasionally something comes up to change it. You’ll need to immediately notify the customer and discuss this with her.

Are there any additional fees? Most longarm quilters have an additional fee for thread used on the quilt. You may also choose to sell batting to your customers. Some longarm quilters add an additional fee for turning the quilt, squaring the backing, piecing backings, repairing seams on the quilt top, pressing the quilt or the backing (or both) and trimming the quilt after the quilting is done. Some of us even offer additional services such as binding or labels.

Once you’ve evaluated the answers to those questions, you can use them to set a pricing schedule and create an order or take-in form.

If you would like to read more of Mindy’s article on pricing your longarm work, it’s included in the Fall 2011 issue of The Professional Quilter and available to IAPQ members. The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership here.

Please post your thoughts on this article below.

Meet Teacher, Designer, Author Margaret Miller

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

The Fall issue of The Professional Quilter includes a profile on teacher, designer and author Margaret Miller by Eileen Doughty. The photo on the cover that you see to the right is of Margaret’s quilt “Passion Flower.” Here’s an excerpt from the article:

How would you characterize your designs?

The more you look at my designs, the more you see. Variegated and gradated fabrics add depth; stripes create new areas not bounded by individual blocks. I have always striven to camouflage where blocks adjoin each other and where they adjoin the border. This is done by looking for motifs that naturally extend out of one block into another and letting color accentuate that effect. It bothers me when people say that my quilts are “complicated” when actually they are all based on such simple ideas.

I am known for my use of color – lots of it! I try to use at least three color families in every quilt and go all the way up in the lights and all the way down in the darks.

What is your teaching philosophy?

In all of my workshops, students are encouraged to reach for the unexpected and to make their own design and color choices. I tell the students to have patience with themselves – the first time they try something new in quilting, it often feels awkward or confusing. At the beginning of every workshop, I announce, “This is not a race and not a competition.” It is immensely gratifying to see a student grow in confidence in her quiltmaking skills or make a breakthrough in understanding color.

What are you working on now?

I’m most excited about the next design direction I’m pursuing – combining Easy Pieces and AnglePlay™ into what I’m calling Fusion Quilts. I’ve begun doing five-day retreats at The Quilt Gallery in Kalispell, Mont., for this technique, and the students are producing refreshing results!

Also, I am focusing on training others to teach my revolutionary piecing technique with long triangles (right triangles formed by cutting a rectangle in half diagonally). This long triangle is going to be the next classic shape in pieced quilts, I believe, after the square and the half-square triangle. Four-day-long Teacher Trainings will cover how to work and design with the long triangle. Information on teaching updates, reunions of teachers, new patterns and new workshops will follow. These trainings will help both experienced and aspiring teachers to hone their skills and develop new workshops around the AnglePlay™ templates. They will also develop a network of teachers all around the country.

The heavy question: What would you like your legacy to the quilt world to be?

Actually, that’s easy! I want to be known as the teacher that (1) enabled people to reach for the unexpected in their quilts, (2) enabled quiltmakers of all skill levels to painlessly include more colors and a complete range of values in their quilts, using a simple block and (3) made the use of the long triangle accessible by way of the AnglePlay™ templates. I hope I will leave a design legacy of many new blocks and quilts that feature that long triangle shape, which introduces the possibility of undulating lines and circular and spiral shapes in pieced quilts – for people who want a refreshing new look to the pieced quilts they love to make.

Please share your thoughts below on the blog.

If you would like to read more of Eileen’s article on Margaret Miller, it’s included in the Fall 2011 issue of The Professional Quilter and available to IAPQ members. The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership here.

Quilt Market Impressions

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

As always, Quilt Market is inspiring. Fabric companies have new lines to show, pattern designers have their latest releases, and new products are introduced to the quilt industry. Here’s some of what I saw.

1. Rapid Fire Lemoyne Star. Following up on her success with the Rapid Fire Hunter’s Star, Deb Tucker has introduced a ruler for this block.

2. Big Beautiful Bugs! Andover Fabrics introduced this latest line from Lonni Rossi that features moths dragonflies and bumblebees, bugs with wings. The bugs, all drawn with dots, are available in 3 colorways: spa colors; red, gold and black; and green and brown.

3. Shabby Chic Hits Quilt Industry. Rachel Ashwell of Shabby Chic fame has released a line of cotton quilt fabrics. The 46-SKU line is her first for quilt shops and will be followed by a home dec line. Rachel told me that she was humbled by the tradition of community of quilters.

4. Quilt Designed Hot/Cold Bags. Kona Bay Fabrics introduced a line of hot/cold  bags in 11 designs. Available in two series, the Great Northwest and Elegant Beauty, the bags retail for $8. These would be perfect for shop hops that want to include a meal.

5. Bag, bags, more bags. We continue to see lots of bag patterns. Sometimes I wonder why, and then I remember a bag always fits! I also saw lots of patterns for aprons and little girls’ clothes.

6. Water-soluble, iron-on, pre-printed guides for crazy quilt stitches. These came in kits with wool pieces, threads and the guides. I saw people on the plane using the product and the results were lovely. They were from Sew Cherished.

7. Lots of bright, clear colors. I really like the clean look of today’s fabrics,  and I found lots to like in many booths. I particularly liked the display in Michael  Miller’s booth with the story boards of the colors that went with the new lines.

8. On the gift side, I liked the lotion bar from LaviShea. The bars melt with your  body heat and absorb quickly and completely without leaving a greasy residue, perfect for quilters and fabric.

 

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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

Please do! Just be sure to include the blurb below.

Morna McEver Golletz is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Professional Quilters, an association to help quilters, fiber artists and other creative arts entrepreneurs build business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at http://www.professionalquilter.com.

Meet Lyric Kinard, Teacher of the Year

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Each year the International Association of Professional Quilters selects a Quilt Teacher of the Year. Our 25th Teacher of the Year is Lyric Kinard, from Cary, N.C.,  who specializes in surface design and the basic elements of art and design. Here is some insight into Lyric’s teaching philosophy.

 

What standards of workmanship do you require of your students? What do you do if they don’t attain them?

The only “standard of workmanship” that I ask of students is that they try the technique, give it a fair shot. If it doesn’t live up to some impossible standard in their head after one try, they may then say, “I’m still learning this,” “I need more practice” or “I might just have learned that this isn’t the technique for me.” The only thing I don’t allow is the “I can’t” mentality. Beginners often compare themselves to those who have already put in many hours learning and mastering a technique then feel discouraged by their outcome.

 

How do you encourage creativity in your students?

I never tell students what they should do when creating a work of art. I ask question after question after question until they find the answers for themselves. Helping students to gain confidence in their own creative choices is one of my greatest goals.

 

How do you encourage students’ further growth in quilting, beyond the formal class?

Everything I teach is geared towards giving the students the tools they need to grow and develop their own creative abilities. Sometimes the techniques are simply tools to help them achieve the vision in their minds. Sometimes it is opening and freeing their minds and hearts so that they are able to give themselves permission to experiment without fear of failure. I teach that failure is simply a learning process and often a necessary step on the road to great and creative works.

 

What do you feel is your greatest contribution to the field of quilting?

I’ve recently authored the book Art + Quilt: design principles and creativity exercises. In it I express my firm belief that art can be learned and that creativity is present in every person. It takes time and effort, but it can be done. If I am able to help quilters to reject the inner critic that keeps them from experimenting and moving forward, if I can help them embrace and encourage their inner artists, that is all I can hope to accomplish, and it will be enough.

You can read more about Lyric in the Spring issue of The Professional Quilter, the journal of the International Association of Professional Quilters. The journal is available to members, and you can join here.

Please share your comments here.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business.  Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

 

The Road to Authenticity is Through Awareness

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

by Sheri McConnell
Excerpted from Smart Women Know Their Why

Authenticity or the state of being real not only feels good, is easy to manage (let’s face it, you don’t have to remember who you were pretending to be!) and more importantly, it leads to new levels of awareness and growth. When you are willing to just be yourself in your relationships (business and otherwise) everyone wins because the energy vibration is much higher. When we give into the expectations of others, we begin to die. So authenticity is really about being faithful to the internal rather than external.

So many of my customers and yours really want to do business with people they like, they know, and most importantly trust. Being authentic is peaceful and profitable. Follow the four part path below to become more aware and practice authenticity:

One-Decide
Before anything and before everything comes decision. Let the universe know you are ready to be real and to grow. Trust me, you will be heard.

Two-Focus on the “Why”
After decision, remember to stop and take time for the most important question of all. Why? See chapter two for help during your journey along this part of the path.

Three-Commit and Recommit
Did I mention that you would have to decide over and over again and well, you never get to stop asking “why?” Not if you want to grow.

Four-Let the Universe Flow Through You
Ahhh. The entire reason you are taking your journey is because of this part of the path. Bliss and joy are your rewards. This part of the path is what makes being an entrepreneur somewhat of a manic experience because the highs can be addictive and all consuming. When the universe flows through you, time literally disappears and you forget about all the other parts of the path.

To learn more about Sheri McConnell and her new book, visit Smart Women Know Their Why.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

What I Learned at Quilt Market

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Quilt Market, the quilt industry’s premier trade show, took place in Minneapolis May 21-23. Minneapolis always seems to welcome us with warm weather and this year was no exception. Thursday, I think the temperature was in the low 80s. Here, in no particular order, are some of the things I discovered at Quilt Market:

1. Quilters Newsletter and Quilts Inc. presented the latest results of the Quilting in America™ 2010 survey. This is the sixth in a series of studies done since 1994 with the intent of measuring the amount of time and money quilters spend on their hobby in addition to profiling the key segments of the market. Some findings: Estimated dollar value of the quilting industry is $3.58 billion. Total quilters in the U.S. now exceeds 21 million. In 2010 dedicated quilters spent a total of nearly $2.5 billion. The dedicated quilter has $8,542 in quilting tools and supplies and owns on average $3,677 worth of fabric. Watch for more details on the survey findings in the Summer issue of The Professional Quilter.

2. Demos are becoming more popular and with good reason. Demos sell. If you don’t demo, here’s an idea I saw in the Thangles booth – use a digital frame to play a video. While the sound was low, you could watch what was happening. It’s another way to engage your booth visitor. MB Hayes with Thangles credits Fabric Café with the idea.

3. Do you want to keep your rotary blade sharp? Try The Cutting Edge ruler system from Sullivans and Pat Sloan. The ruler features full see-through, non-skid frosting and a unique red grid system that highlights the 1/2 inch marking. What is most unique about the ruler is it has an inlaid diamond powder edge that continually sharpens the blade that runs against its edge.

4. Ruffles, ruffles and more ruffles. Michael Miller Fabrics introduced white, raw-edge ruffles, cut on the bias at 3 inches. To showcase the idea, they had a tuffet made from ruffles. And, once I saw the ruffles here, I was seeing them lots of places, particularly on patterns.

5. Clover introduced a new wrap ‘n fuse piping. All you do is cut your fabric, wrap it around the piping, press to fuse and when cool, you have instant piping. It comes as small as 3/16 inches. Clover also introduced a line of eco-friendly bamboo handled notions.

6. Lots of wonderful fabrics: Rue Saint Germaine, Robyn Pandolph’s new line from RJR; an organic cotton line from Kauffman; Ricky Tims’ new Oodles of Doodles line from Red Rooster; Timeless Treasures‘ Tonga Treats, 2.5 inch strips and 10 inch squares from its Tonga Batiks line;  a color wheel line from Avyln; wonderful new pieces from Kona Bay, Moda, Benartex; Clothworks, Northcott, and others. We are so lucky to have this much quality fabric to use.

7. Kaufmann has released an ipod app that’s a quilting calculator.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

IAPQ Member Bonus Call

Monday, May 17th, 2010

JJ VirginJoin us on Thursday, May 27 at 3 pm Eastern for a IAPQ member bonus call when Morna McEver Golletz interviews JJ Virgin, celebrity nutritionist and wellness expert. JJ will speak on Five Simple Steps to Lose Fat and Build Profits.

JJ’s simple steps have helped thousands of people improve their lives and businesses as they gain more clarity, reclaim energy and lose fat at the same time. And the way you look and feel definitely affects your business’ bottom line. I’ve used her programs with success and found particularly that I was able to enjoy and sustain a great energy level during Quilt Market and Quilt Festival last fall.

A self-described science geek, JJ holds a PhD in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health, a degree in Exercise Science from UCLA and graduate coursework in 6 different graduate and doctoral programs including Biomechanics from California State University Northridge, Sports Medicine from University of Miami, doctoral level courses in Exercise Physiology, Nutrition and Aging from USC, and Nutrition studies from University of Bridgeport. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Nutrition and Metabolic Medicine from the University of South Florida Medical School. To learn more about JJ and her programs, click here.

This bonus call is available to IAPQ members only. It will not be available as a download.

This is just one of the benefits that IAPQ members receive. Visit your member page for call-in details.

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