- Please introduce yourself (actual and professional name) and describe your areas of expertise Beth Helfter, EvaPaige Quilt Designs. Inspired Designed, Relaxed Attitude is my claim to fame! I design mod-itional (not really modern, not really traditional) quilt patterns for the industry that emphasize color and eye catching designs tending toward the scrappy and often with a touch of whimsy. I try to keep too many matching points to a minimum in my designs, as I believe you should do a lot more quilting with your sewing machine than with your seam ripper, and to that end most of my designs are pretty forgiving; even if you were SUPPOSED to match that point, there’s a lot going on that will deflect and no one will notice. I was a member of the 2014 Quiltmaker magazine “Scrap Squad,” which was an amazing opportunity that really helped me focus on scrap quilting and has led to my most popular lecture, “Give it a Scrap Slap.” I also have had designs in multiple magazines; though not my main thing, I do try to submit designs to them at least yearly to keep my name out there.
- What is your background and how did you arrive at your current job(s ) I received a BA in English from the University of New Hampshire in 1992, right at the height of an economic downturn. Miraculously I did get a job, any job, and flew as a flight attendant with American Airlines for nine years, until 9/11/01. I started quilting at the same time I started flying, and often was the one sitting in the back row after our service was done, doing some buttonhole applique or stitching on a binding. In 2005, with two year old twin girls, I decided to start designing patterns of my own. Little did I know that my BA English would actually end up being used as I write patterns, and my experiences with the general public would prepare me for teaching and lecturing all over the country.
- How many hours a week do you devote to your job? I use all the hours my three daughters are in school and then some, working 9-3 each day and usually answering email or sewing a little in the evenings as well. I do try to keep my weekends work free, unless I’m traveling and teaching, because my girls will only be home so long, and my husband likes to see me now and then too.
- Where do you physically work? When I’m home, either sitting at my laptop in my office or in my finished basement studio, depending on the projects at hand. When I’m on the road, I am wherever the guild or group tells me to be! I’ve seen a lot of church halls and library community rooms in my day, but now and then I get a funky place to teach or lecture like the town electric company, the firehall, or at Great Wolf Lodge. The most unique place I ever taught, hands down, was in the lab of a nursing school, complete with six dummies in beds off to the side of the class. It was hilarious.
- What do you sell and how do you sell it? (It can be a service) Like a lot of people in the gig economy, my overarching product is my expertise and creativity that I love sharing with others. I offer four different lectures and multiple workshops based on my original patterns for guilds, shops, or really any group that will hire me! All of my currently in print patterns are available on my website (evapaigequilts.com) along with some notions and other items that I haven’t designed, but have fallen in love with because they make my quilting life that much easier. I keep my lectures light, humorous, and informative and my workshops full of tips and tricks to make my patterns sing, but stuff that you can use with other projects too.
- What are you working on now? I’m currently in the middle of a packed schedule of 15 events in 10 weeks, so sewing has sadly gone by the wayside a bit. However on my design wall I’m working up a scrappy design to submit to a magazine and off to the side there is a fun new mini quilt pattern in the works. I’ve also started the behind the scenes organization of this year’s “Teal Mini Swap”, which will begin in July. This is a swap I started seven years ago, to raise funds and awareness for Ovarian Cancer and to provide the quilt community with a way to come together to fight this women-only disease while creating something beautiful for a swap partner. I’m actually going to be filming a segment of Sewing With Nancy about it next month which is enormous!
- What do you do when you are not working? When I’m not working I am carpooling, reading, riding my bike, hiking, traveling, hanging out with my daughters (14, 14, and 10) and husband, and trying to deal with being the only tosser in a family of savers. It’s a losing battle. I need a month with none of them home and I might get ahead.
- Perhaps an indelicate question, but people starting out want to know - what are your income sources? Events (lectures and workshops), retail sales of patterns, then online sales.
- If you could give one suggestion to someone starting out, what would it be? Know your worth. Don’t give away too much for free just to get your name out there. You can’t pay the bills with exposure.
- Where can people find you and/your products? (FB, blog, website, IG, Twitter, stores Website: www.evapaigequilts.com
Blog – www.evapaigequiltdesigns.blogspot.com (though I don’t blog nearly like I used to or as often as I should)
Facebook – www.facebook.com/EvaPaigeQuiltDesigns
Teal Mini Swap – https://www.facebook.com/groups/twoforteal2014/
Instagram - @evapaigequilts
One more thing – I LOVE naming patterns. I pride myself in my ability to come up with names that make sense for the pattern, but aren’t boring, predictable, or apt to be confused with other patterns. Some of my favorite names are “Suite Life,” “A Snowball’s Chance,” “Vinnie Loves Maude,” and “Kickin" Stash.” *************************************************************************************************Make sure you don't miss any of these Stitchography interviews. I hope you are finding them interesting and motivating. Follow me on: