Did You Hear Me?

 

 

What is a business without good communication? There is none.  How vital is communication with our customers?  It’s pretty darn vital.  I know that when I was quilting for customers,  I composed an intake sheet that allowed me to notate information regarding each client and specifics on what they wanted on their quilt.  Why was this so important?  Well, hello I am no super hero when it comes to retaining every single word my customer shared with during consultation.  I could review my notes and realized “I completely forget she had mentioned this, or requested that”.  We all have good intentions of listening closely to the wants and needs of our customers but can we rely on mentally keeping every detail tucked away in our heads…not this girl.

 I rely on contacting with people via email, rather than connecting with them by phone.  This is not something I am proud of, it is definitely an area I am trying to improve upon.  As I picked up the phone recently I became extremely aware of how significant that voice to voice connection is to both the customer and myself.  Those receiving my call were pleasantly surprised I had reached out to them.  And when I am the one answering the call my clients cannot believe it’s actually “me” fielding calls and not an employee.  Yep folks believe it or not it’s just little old me in my studio now that my red-headed assistant got a new job.  Yeah and boo all at the same time…

Bottom line–hearing someones voice, the tone in which they are speaking and having the capability to exchange words “VERBALLY” is huge!

Having an online business does allow me to work with customer but in a different way.  Now, I utilize my blog , and newsletter to reach out to peers, and those in quilting community. Since I’m always striving to improve I’m also working on implementing more tutorials!

Speaking of tutorials thank you so much for all the kind words about my Baptist Fan tutorial.  It really makes my job rewarding when I hear how much viewers appreciate and benefit from my videos.  If there is something in particular you would like to see demonstrated let me know!

Has anyone struggled with finding a balance in communicating with customers? If you have found a balance what’s your secret? And don’t say you remember EVERYTHING!

 

Fear of Free Motion

Do You Fear Free Motion?

There are many quilters out there that feel more comfortable working from the back of their longarm machine.  Just thinking about moving around to the front of the machine brings a cold sweat to their forehead.  I realize that you may think using a pantograph or pattern makes life less stressful.  But what if I told you that isn’t necessarily the case? I am here to encourage a few of you out there to give “Free Motion” a whirl. And here’s why:

Pencil, Paper, I Can’t Draw!  Are you sure about that?  Purchasing a sketch book where you can doodle until your heart’s content is a wonderful tool for discovering the creativity in yourself .  Laugh at yourself if need be, (a glass of wine doesn’t hurt either) because initially it will feel quite awkward and you may feel a bit childish.  Relax, don’t overthink what your clever mind wants to transfer onto paper.

Rid yourself of those artistic inhibitions and let your self go!  Doodle for a while, try different designs, and see where your pencil takes you.  The beautiful thing about owning a sketch book is you will be able to visually see your progress.  And yes, there will be progress!  You needn’t be a Picasso, just be open minded.  Bottom line..if you can draw it you can quilt it! You might just witnessing yourself setting aside a pantograph for one of your designs!  A one of a kind, yes indeed!

Lacking the “Artist” in You, “I’m not creative.”  “There is no way I can fabricate a design on my own.”  “Producing a design for an ENTIRE quilt, are you CRAZY?”  These are all mental statements that have been sabotaging any notion of trying Free Motion.  ALL quilters are creative, in their own way, and with their own style.  We are so hard on ourselves and we feel the need to measure up to what “Quinn the Queen Quilter” has designed.  Insecurity is our biggest creative buster.  Allowing self-doubt only inhibits your growth, and that’s just not acceptable!

  

She said it, get out there and set the artists in you free!  How do you know you aren’t creative if you haven’t dabbled in a Free Motion?  Moreover, experts say you need to try something more than once to truly know if you like it or not (I keep telling my red-headed assistant she needs to give Hot Yoga another shot…yeah not happening).

There is Less Room for Error.  Really?  Mentally you convince yourself of that statement.  However, that isn’t always the case.  Regardless of whether you are in the front or the back of your machine, mistakes happen.  Like it or not, you will screw up in whichever position you choose to quilt.

Errors are frustrating.  We immediately know that we are going to be spending unwanted time on corrections, and that does not make any quilter smile. Working from the back of a machine with a pantograph or pattern doesn’t exonerate anyone from yielding ERRORS.  Yes, there will be moments when spacing will be off or uneven.  Mistakes happen.  Mistakes improve our quilting and provide the quilter with insight on what to do and what not to do in the future.  Get over the mistake issue!

Be Brave and Get in the Front Seat of Your Longarm.  Simply take it nice and slow.  Allow yourself short little periods at the front of your machine.  Easing into Free Motion removes that reckless “what am I doing?” feeling and eventually has you sitting nice and comfortable in the driver’s seat.  Before you know it, you’ll be wanting a pair of sunglasses as you feel like you’re cruising along some smooth fabric on a nice summer day.

Who Knows?  You may even be pleasantly surprised with what transpires the go around.  Heck you may even look at your first attempt at Free Motion and think, “Huh, not bad, not bad at all”.    Heaven forbid you’re a natural at free motion!  Even if you gaze over your material and cringe, keep in mind we all initially cringed at one time or another (I still cringe).  Coming to the front of the machine brings a whole new meaning to quilting with a longarm.   No one says you have to completely abandon the back of the machine, but please don’t neglect the front of the machine.  Fear of Free Motion is only allowing one side of the magic that lies in your longarm to appear.  Utilize the entire machine and step into the Free Motion arena.  I guarantee you will say, “Why did I fear Free Motion?”

Do you have a fear of giving Free Motion a try? If so what keeps you from the front of your machine?

Oh Far I’ve Come

 

It feels like just yesterday I planted the tiny seedling to begin my quilting journey.  It is truly surreal to think how far this quilter has come over the past 13 years.  So let’s take a little peek at my first design and catch a glimpse of the “then and now”.

Playing Hookie

Easy peasy piecing on this project.  As I examine the piecing on this quilt it looks so basic compared to that of what I construct on some of my current designs.  My fabric choice was much different back then, obviously much more “earthy” than what I find myself gravitating towards when purchasing material today.

             

Red Velvet

My colors are a little brighter, and I began stepping out of my “structured box” a tad.  Obviously the color choice has lightened up a bit too.  I was  gradually beginning to embrace what I “liked” to do when it came to creating a design.  It’s so hard to let go of the “conservative” and safe way of crafting.

Hula Hibiscus

I’d say that this really shows how I’ve “matured” as a designer.  I’ve definitely stepped into my own quilting arenas I  embraced my individual style. The piecing has become more intricate, and the fabric selection incorporates brighter material.  I am dumbfounded at how much I have transitioned over the years into the quilter I am today.  Never in a million, bizallion, years would I have thought I’d be proud of my work and love my personal style.  That is not to say that I am all grown up.   

Quilting life lesson 450 million:  Growth will be a forever process for me, and I am more than okay with that idea.  I cannot fathom to see where my growth will take me another 10 years from now!

How have you grown since the first steps of your quilting journey? How as your quilting changed?

Quilting into 2017

The ball in Times Square counted down into the New Year, the radio stations revealed the top songs of 2016, and all the fashion magazines are now covered with the newest styles for 2017.  So 2016 is part of my past and 2017 is now here and ready me for me to tackle.  Which brings me to contemplating my goals for the next 12 months.unknown-8

ENJOY and RISK

They may be two short words but behind those letters are huge meanings and an abundance of possibilities.  The doors that will have the capability of opening, should I decide to turn the knob, is limitless.

ENJOY

Such a simple word; yet so often put aside throughout the course of my day.  Finding “enjoyment” in my day is significant.  Although I love quilting and all that my business encompasses, stress often swoops in and flies off with my positive energy.  This is just unacceptable!  So goal #1 is to be more mindful of the ENJOYMENT surrounding me.  Whether it is the sound of my machine, a comment I have received, the many orders I have that need to be filled, homework with my youngest son, enjoyment can be found in abundance each day.

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RISK

This word has me running scared!images-7

What if I’m unsuccessful?  What if I make the wrong decision?  What if, what if, what if?  Isn’t that the theme of life? And isn’t that what keeps many of us from growing in the business world and in our personal lives? Well, speaking for myself it most certainly does.  The unknown is quite frightening; and holds me back.  My reluctance in taking RISKS is keeping me from reaching and touching the stars.  If I keep worrying about the “what ifs”, there will never be any reaching, never mind, touching the stars.  This quilter wants to touch the stars and then head for the moon!  So RISKS will be taken in the future.  Whatever the outcome may be, I will learn and grow for each one.  Moreover, I will ENJOY the fact that I actually worked on goal #2 for 2017 and took some RISKS!

Do you have any goals for 2017? Whether it is related to quilting or not, I’d love to hear from you. We gain inspiration from one another, so your comment might just be the motivation someone else needs, SO PLEASE share!