Begin with Joy

What is Your Style? (or Thank you, Kathy Kolbe)

– Posted in: Kolbe Index

I am now the proud owner of a long arm quilting machine. For you non-quilters, this is an automated quilting frame where the quilt top, the cotton batting (in between stuffing) and the quilt back are sewn together. In our grandmothers’ time, this would be stretched on a large wooden frame and several ladies would sit around the frame and painstakingly hand stitch all three layers together. These gatherings were called quilting bees.

So what about style? Well, the machine did not arrive to my house fully assembled. Rather, it arrived in 8 boxes. My husband and I had the task of assembling it.

These three photos show setting up the table base, adding the side pole supports and the completed frame with the mounted sewing machine with computer screen.

Looks simple? Not really. It involved a journey of learning to work together.

We are very different people when it comes to doing things. This used to be a source of frustration for both parties. Then we learned about the Kolbe Indexes.

Kathy Kolbe studied conative styles. Conative styles are how people approach learning and doing things. Husband Mike is primarily a Fact Finder. I am an uber Quick Start.

A Fact Finder will approach new things with study and research. A Quick Start will obtain just enough knowledge to begin, say “How hard can this be?” and jump right in.

A Fact Finder learns best by thorough study; a Quick Start learns best by doing.

Lack of awareness of different conative styles can lead to misunderstandings. For example, several decades ago our neighbors were treated to 8 hours of lively discussion as we attempted to install a storm door. I thought Mike was being an obstructionist because he was mentally considering each step after actually reading the instructions. Mike not so gently suggested that I was sloppy and careless as I wanted to just slap things together and see what worked.

Many years later we clicked on and each took an Assessment. We shared our results with each other and laughed at how spot on they were.

We learned that there is no best conative style. Each style has its advantages and strengths.

By recognizing the others’ innate approach to assembling this machine, we significantly reduced the amount of “lively discussion.” We understood and respected our different strengths. We successfully assembled a long arm quilting machine.

Now I am long arm quilting. These photos show how the 3 layers are loaded on the machine. Then the computer receives the design instructions, the GO button is pushed and the machine stitches that section, as programmed.

So, what is your conative style? Are you a:

  • Fact Finder?
  • Follow Thru?
  • Quick Start?
  • Implementor?
  • A combination of the above?

I encourage you to go to and discover your style. It really helped me. I believe it can help you.