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Posts Tagged ‘The Professional Quilter’

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.


Is Your Data in the “Clouds?”

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

How do you back up your computer data? I’ve always used an external drive.  Luckily, the time I did have problems, the tech guys at my local Apple retailer were able to save my data. In the Winter issue of The Professional Quilter, tech columnist Gloria Hansen wrote about “cloud” backup services. Here’s an excerpt from that column.

In a 2008 column, “Preparing for the Hard Drive Crash,” I wrote how it’s not a question of if a hard drive will cash, but when. Hardware failure continues to be the number one reason that data is lost; human error comes next. Even having an external drive is no longer enough. We have all learned that the worst does happen – fire, flood, hurricane, burglary. In in that situation, your external backups may also be gone. Enter online backup.

The vast majority of today’s computer users use the Internet on a regular basis. Higher speed connections and the regularity of web use make online storage an excellent way to supplement your external backup, and in some cases replace it entirely. You may have heard “backing up to your cloud” or “accessing your cloud” or similar. This simply means putting information on a remote server via the Internet. Using online storage offers advantages. The facilities are secure, the data is encrypted and password protected, and many services continually monitor data to ensure that there is no corruption or loss. Many services are cross-platform, meaning you can transfer data from a Windows OS to another, such as a Mac OS. Some also offer mobile access such as apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

All online backup services generally work in the same way. You sign up for a service, pay for rental space on the company’s server, select a password,  download the needed software from the service, select what you want to back up, and run the program. After the initial upload, incremental backups of new and changed data are automatically done on a regular basis. This eliminates the fear that you forgot to backup.

Services to consider include Carbonite, SugarSync and Mozy. You might also consider a bootable external backup of your data using SuperDuper on a Mac or Acronis True Image Home on a PC.

While many people will be happy with only using an online backup service, keep in mind that it is possible that you will not have an Internet connection when you need your data. Another drawback is that most services only backup data, so be sure to have a backup of your operating system and program, including serial numbers.

Using an online backup service will give you some peace of mind. Keeping your data both in the clouds and on the ground in some kind of external drive will add another layer of security and convenience. Either way, if the worst happens, you’ll be ready and running.

Please share your experiences with cloud storage on our blog.

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.

Six Reason to Hire a Coach or Mentor

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Last week I signed up to work with a new mentor, Fabienne Frederickson, when I joined her Platinum Coaching Program. Fabienne is known as the “Client Attraction Mentor on Marketing & Mindset.”

I’m a big believer in seeking help from mentors for business and personal growth, and I can’t wait to see where I go in the next year. Here are five good reasons to work with a coach or mentor.

1. A coach helps you think and play bigger. Because a coach isn’t involved in the nitty-gritty aspects of your business, she doesn’t get bogged down in your day-to-day details. She can see the big – and bigger – picture. This is particularly enhanced with a mastermind group. I’ve been amazed at how large my coaches and mastermind partners want me to play. Yes, it can be scary, but once you start thinking big, it’s impossible to go back.

2. A coach can keep you accountable. Your coach can help you keep on track by having you report weekly on your accomplishments. She’s able to help you make a commitment and stick to it. One of my coaching clients remarked that she’s accomplished more in the first two weeks than she did in six months and attributes it to having to be accountable to me on a weekly basis.

3. A coach can be another source of creative ideas and feedback. During one of our monthly calls recently, someone asked for a suggestion about how to do a video of her machine quilting studio. It was easy for me to think about how to approach this, and she loved the idea I came up with. It’s always easier to look at someone else’s business, and a different perspective can make the difference.

4. A coach can help you create your vision and, more specifically, a road map to get there. We all have dreams. Accomplishing them is something else. A coach can help you get clear about what’s important to you and set a plan for achievement.

5. A coach can help you build on your strengths, learn how to attack obstacles, and look for opportunities to grow your business. Yes, we all have roadblocks to growth, business or personal. A coach can help you identify what is hindering your progress and help you focus your thinking process toward growth.

6. A coach is also your personal cheerleader, ready to encourage and motivate you toward your goals.

In the end what a coach does is challenge you to be your best. And, if you put your best self out there, you’ll grow, both personally and professionally, and you’ll help more people.

I love this quote from Marianne Williamson about playing big, letting our lights shine. Perhaps you can relate:

I love this quote from Marianne Williamson about playing big, letting our lights shine. Perhaps you can relate:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light,
not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about
shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant
to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

Please share your thoughts on our blog and if you are interested in exploring our coaching program, here’s a link.

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.

Want to Host Your Own Quilt or Art Seminar?

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Have you ever gone to a terrific seminar and left wondering if you could take that experience and improve on it, running your own seminar? That’s what happened to Alice Kolb and partner Barbara Quinby when they decided to join forces to host the annual Texas-style quilter’s seminar, now known as Quilting Adventures. The annual seminar started in the early 2000s when Barbara built on her experience from her business career to invite four to six national quilting teachers per week to a classy, yet casual resort to offer students a week of learning from one teacher, good food and lodging. Today the seminar receives rave reviews for its attention to detail and the enriching experiences of its participants. If you, too, think putting on a seminar can be rewarding, here are some tips from Alice’s article in the Winter issue of The Professional Quilter.

1. Analyze yourself. Critique your strengths and energy – both financially and physically – and check your enthusiasm record for a long-term project.

2. Determine your level of commitment. Do you want to own a seminar company, either by yourself or with a partner? It’s a job with responsibilities that last all year from hiring teachers to handling student queries.

3.  Put together a business plan. You need to determine how much time and money are needed to bring your seminar idea to fruition. You will need to make payments well before you ever bring in any funds and you need to be sure you can handle this financial responsibility. You also need to clearly identify the market you want to reach.

4. Research potential site locations. Do they match the style of your event? Will they meet the needs of potential students identified in the business plan? Can the faculty and students easily get to the locations?

5. Personalize your event. Consider the student you identified in your business plan and how you can make the event unique for them.

6. Consider how you will attract students. This could include advertising, personal trips to shops or shows for promotion, printed material and a website. Most important, determine how much time and money you can invest to do this.

To read the article in its entirety, you can join the International Association of Professional Quilters. This issue will be the first one that you receive as one of your member benefits.

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.

Are you looking for a new printer?

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

The Professional Quilter’s High Tech columnist Gloria Hansen is often asked for recommendations when someone’s printer dies. Questions range from what printer to buy to print on fabric sheets to how much to spend to whether or not third party inks are OK. For most people her recommendation is to purchase an inkjet printer. Here’s an excerpt from her recent article in The Professional Quilter:

Today’s inkjet printers are used for everything from everyday text to gallery quality photographs and artwork. Companies such as Hewlett Packard, Epson, Canon, Kodak and others have a variety of printer models available for you to select from. To narrow down your search, the three key questions to answer are how much money you want to spend, how wide you want to print and what type of ink you want to use.

The price of the printer will depend on the size it is capable of printing, the functions it has and the type of ink it uses. Important to know is that if a printer is using one type of ink set and another model from the same manufacturer is using the same ink set but is more expensive, the print should be identical. The difference in price is generally due to printer capabilities, such as the print speed and inclusion of other “multi-functions” (also called all-in-ones), like scanning or faxing, and wi-fi or bluetooth options, which give you the ability to print wirelessly. Some printers allow you to print on CDs or DVDs, include built-in media card readers and provide options for borderless printing. Thus, if your budget is limited, you can get the print quality you want by focusing on the ink set the printer uses rather than the extras it has. Be sure to check out the manufacturer’s website. Often you can find excellent prices on refurbished printers or models that are about to be discontinued. Other options are checking out Craig’s List and eBay for used models.

If you need a printer capable of printing a wider format, models range from 13 to 44 inches (some higher still); some can print at a length as long as your computer can handle by way of the operating system and memory. The wider the printer width, the more expensive the printer. Again, there are good deals to be found in the refurbished or used category. When buying a used wide-format printer, ask to see a printout of the “printer status and parts life.” Instructions for this can be found in the user’s manual. If your seller no longer has the manual, you can find one online. Then make your decision based on how used the printer is. The more worn down the parts, the more likely you’ll need to pay for replacement parts and the less you should pay for the printer.

Another important factor is the type of ink the printer is designed to use. There are two types of inkjet ink: dye-based and pigment-based. Some printers use a combination of both – generally a pigment black and color dye-based color. At one time, dye-based inks were preferred for printing photographs because of the broader range of colors available. This is no longer the case.

Understanding what you’re looking for by way of price, print size and ink will give you the information you need to narrow your search and find a printer that’s right for you.

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

Meet Longarm Quilter Barbara Dann

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

In the Winter 2011 issue of The Professional Quilter, Mindy Caspersen interviewed fellow longarm quilter Barbara Dann about her business. Barbara began her longarm business 10 years ago and specializes in hand-guided quilting. She also represents Alto QuiltCut2. Here’s an excerpt from the profile:

I know that you were working from home and then moved your business to a store. How long did you have your business at home?

My business was in my home for the first nine years, and I moved to a store downtown about a year and a half ago.

What prompted you to move to a storefront?

I wanted to get out of the house. I have teenage boys and wanted to use that space for a family room for them. I also wanted more separation of my business and personal life. It’s too easy to let the business take more of your time when you’re working from home. And I wanted a more professional business appearance. I felt that a store would give me more presence in the community and people would view me as more professional.

How has this changed your quilting business?

My attitude about work has changed. I’m more focused at the store than I was at home. My business has also grown because I get more walk-in clientele, and I do have more presence in the community as a business.

Has this affected your family life in a positive way?

Absolutely! My time at home is more focused on the family now, and I am not pulled away by the business. My boys are now learning to help out more at home and be more self-sufficient. They’re even learning to cook!

Has this affected your business hours? Do you find yourself working more or less?

My business hours are much more defined now. It feels like I work less hours but much more efficiently. I’m not also trying to squeeze in the laundry and household chores at the same time, so I’m much more focused when I’m at work.

Do your family, friends and customers treat you more like a business now that you’re in a store?

Yes, except my mother. She still likes to call during the day to chat! My customers do see me more as a professional now, and they treat me more like a professional now. When you’re working from home, your customers don’t always see a distinction between work hours and family time, but now they do. I used to get calls and drop-ins during the evenings and on weekends. That issue has completely resolved itself because I’m not in the store at those times, so my personal time is not disrupted.

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

Book Review: Quilting for Peace

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Quilting for Peace

By Katherine Bell
Abrams; $19.95

Like many people, Katherine Bell felt overwhelmed by the events of September 11. “Hope is the antidote to fear,î” she decided, and hope led her to write this helpful book, which will guide many quilters to take constructive action themselves. In 25 essays, Bell surveys various charitable groups, featuring everyday people who saw others in need and acted with positive (and sometimes very far-reaching) consequences. Each essay ends with a “How You Can Help” sidebar and tips for the reader.

The book’s fifteen projects tend to be quick and simple, to encourage quantity where quality is not a primary concern. Some of the featured organizations, with the assistance of small armies of volunteers, have donated more than 10,000 quilts. In addition to quilts or comforters, you’ll find directions for a ìgreenî shopping bag, baby items and an ingenious sleeping bag for the homeless. The author does encourage quality over quantity when making quilts for military personnel to honor their service.

For most quilters, this book will probably be most useful as a resource about charitable organizations, ranging from those who support the homeless to animal adoption groups. Some groups need donations of materials and supplies, others ask for finished items. You’ll also find information about starting your own charitable project.

Bell’s ultimate message is that, by donating quilts or other items, we send the recipient a message of love and respect. A donated quilt may have a profound effect on the mental and/or physical health of the recipient. It also helps the maker feel useful, whether her individual contribution is small or vast.

I strongly recommend this book for every quilt guild’s library:

Reviewed by Eileen Doughty,

Have You Considered Bartering?

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Bartering, the age-old method of “money” exchange, has seen somewhat of a resurgence in recent years, and financial writer David Nagle took a look at the topic in the current issue of The Professional Quilter. Here are some of the advantages and concerns about bartering expressed by the quilters and fiber artists that he interviewed for his article:

Advantages of bartering include:

  1. It can help quilters to exchange their business goods and services with less need for cash;
  2. It allows you to acquire items you need but might not otherwise be able to afford;
  3. It makes beneficial use of idle quiltwork inventory by getting it into an admirer’s hands;
  4. It may help to promote the advertising of your artwork and business;
  5. It may open new networking opportunities for you.

Expressed areas of concern when bartering include:

  1. You need to adhere to country, state and local tax rules;
  2. You need to make sure both parties understand the value of the products or services exchanged.

As David notes in his article, it’s important to adhere to tax requirements regardless of where you live. In the United States, most barters are taxable events, so be sure to review and comply with the IRS guidelines. If you live outside the United States, be sure to consult your tax accountant.

You can read more of David’s article as well as experiences of several quilters who have bartered in the Fall issue of The Professional Quilter.  This issue is available to members of the International Association of Professional Quilters.

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.

Meet Mary Kerr, Appraiser, Teacher, Author

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

The current issue of The Professional Quilter features a profile of IAPQ member Mary Kerr. Mary has fashioned a career in our industry from her love of vintage textiles. Here’s an excerpt of the article by Eileen Doughty.

Why do vintage textiles (textiles from a previous era) hold such a strong appeal to you?

I have always loved vintage fabrics – their stories, patterns, colors. What I enjoy most about using them is the challenge of working with the materials on hand – what can I create to honor this piece?

I grew up with quilts but did not start making them myself until 1986, when my daughter was born. I spent a lot of time with my grandmothers, asking questions and making every mistake in the book. In 1997, I started teaching; my first class was a pieced shirt!

You use the term “compilation quilt” to describe your work.

A “compilation quilt” is anything that has been created using fabrics, blocks or textiles from different time periods. I marry several eras of materials and love seeing the mix of styles and color that span several generations.

How did you grow your business?

My business focus evolved along with my family circumstances. I have been an active military wife and a stay-at-home mom. When my children were small, I taught classes locally and provided restoration and repair services. As my children grew up and needed less care (more worry, but less hand-holding), I expanded into the regional teaching and lecture market and studied to become a certified American Quilt Society appraiser. My serious traveling did not start until my husband was no longer on active duty (read: gone most of the time) and my children were leaving home.

Although I did not have a specific mentor, I did (and still do) surround myself with strong, active women. We can learn a tremendous amount from each other and find a constant source of support. Today, we call this networking.

How have you come to be seen as a professional in a field that the general public might view more as a hobby?

If I want to be viewed as a professional (in both the quilt and business world) then I have a responsibility to behave in a professional manner, approach my dealings as a professional and learn what is expected in order to be taken seriously in either world. I have found that people respond to me in the manner that I present myself. If I do not take myself seriously as a businesswoman, how can I expect the rest of the world to do so?

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.

Book Review: Rose of Sharon Block Book

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Rose of Sharon Block Book

The Rose of Sharon Block Book

Sharon Pederson
Martingale & Co.; $24.99

Since I wrote about charitable donations earlier, a review of this book seemed perfect. In the Spring of 2008, Sharon Pederson’s business partner, Elizabeth Phillips, suggested a number of ways that Sharon could promote her newest book, Machine Applique for the Terrified Quilter. Before Sharon knew what hit her, she had a bright orange template for her Rose of Sharon quilt that led to the block challenge. Along the way she and Elizabeth worked with Electric Quilt to make the block shapes available on its website, designed a die for the AccuQuilt machine, worked with Island Batik to provide fabric for the blocks and worked with Oklahoma Embroidery Supply and Design (OESD) to have the blocks digitized. The bonus was supporting a charity in the process, and they choose Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative. Sharon’s challenge drew 850-plus blocks which were narrowed down to 12. The final 12, plus a block from Sharon and Elizabeth, were made into a finished quilt. This book includes not only this quilt and its 13 blocks with instructions, it also showcases an additional 70 blocks. If you don’t want to make a large quilt, you can use any of the blocks to make the three-block wallhanging or pillow patterned in the book.

Here’s a link, if you’d like to add it to your library.

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