Friday, August 11, 2017

Stitchography with Sue O'Very

Today my Stitchography guest is Sue O'Very. Her specialty is machine embroidery, but  we're all multi-taskers. You must watch her notion review YouTube videos.  They are so informative and so well done.  

1.  Please introduce yourself (actual and professional name) and describe your areas of expertise
Legal name, Susan Jane O'Very (pronounced, OH Very) like Oh Very Good ;)

Business name (and what all my friends call me)
Sue O'Very of Sue O'Very Designs

My specialty is machine embroidery, specifically projects created entirely inside the hoop of the embroidery machine called, In the Hoop projects or ITH.

 2.  What is your background and how did you arrive at your current job(s)
I began my career as a costume designer at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fl. I have worked as a fashion designer for VF Imagewear where I worked on ladies Harley Davidson, as a designer for a leather manufacturer and worked with brands such as Verizon, Tumi, Nautica and Apple. After my daughter was born I left my corporate life to be a stay at home mom. Two months into my new life, the company my husband worked years for went out of business over night. With no warning, I called upon all my old sewing industry friends and asked if anyone needed teachers. Within a week I had a years worth of teaching jobs and events planned. Thus began our business in 2010. At the time we called it, Sealed With A Stitch.

3.  How many hours a week do you devote to your job?
In the beginning, probably 60-120. Now I am really structured and try to keep my time working in front of my computer to a 6 hour a day maximum. Not to say when there are deadlines or new events to prepare for the hours are not longer. It is my first priority to be a mom and keep a flexible enough schedule to help at my daughters school and be apart of my local community as much as possible. That is not to say my mind only works 6-8 hours a day. Many times I will be restless and I look at the clock while laying in bed and hop up to see if an idea will work. Then I am in my sewing studio at 2am. The most important thing to remember is for me it's not work, it's fun and just happens to be a way I can support my family.

 4.  Where do you physically work?
I have always worked from home. What I do keeps me in front of the camera, computer or sewing machine. There is no need for me to rent a space outside of the home. 

5.  What do you sell and how do you sell it? (It can be a service)
I sell sewing patterns and machine embroidery designs. They are sold digitally via my website, and physical copies are sold directly to shop owners and distributors.  

 6.  What are you working on now?
Fun question! I am preparing for Fall Quilt Market, the largest showcase of new ideas in our industry. I have several new projects, patterns and events I am planning for 2018, so my brain is full and my checklist is long. 

The other thing I am enjoying working on is my YouTube Channel, Every Wednesday I show off a new Sewing Notion; how it works, where to use it, who invented it, etc. It's so much fun so please subscribe to the channel. I always create 1-2 new sewing or machine embroidery projects each month too.
•Heidi's Mom •Pattern Designer •Illustrator •Blogger •Sewer & Crafter •Craftsy Instructor •Movie maker
7.  What do you do when you are not working?
Play with my daughter, take day trips with my husband and daughter, we like to try new restaurants, watch movies, go to the beach and pool, do theme parks. By myself when I am not working I like to draw, paint, read and actually sew for myself and family.

 8.  Perhaps an indelicate question, but people starting out want to know - what are your income sources?
As an entrepreneur there will never be ONE way to get paid or by ONE person. That is the beauty of being your own boss. For me it is my website, distributors, shops who buy directly and other online embroidery malls.
9. If you could give one suggestion to someone starting out, what would it be?
Don't wait to be 100% ready to get out there. Start today! If I could give two suggestions it would be name your business after yourself. Honestly I wanted to be clever and name my business something cutie, but that corners you in down the road. What if you want to do more than one thing in your life. That is exactly why I changed my brand from Sealed With A Stitch to Sue O'Very Designs. Now I can do more under the same business name. 

 10.  Where can people find you and/your products? (FB, blog, website, IG, Twitter, stores

Now that my business is my name, finding me is easy. I am Sue O'Very Designs everywhere. Because of that darn apostrophe in my last name we remove it for web stuff. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and everywhere I am @SueOVeryDesigns  

If machine embroidery is something you enjoy, check out my Craftsy class too! It's called, In the Hoop Gifts.

Craftsy Class 50%: 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

How To Draft A Mariner's Compass Block

I drew this without a compass or a protractor!

I needed a Mariner's Compass style block and I did not want to use/copy an existing block. I didn't want to mess around with geometry and calculate angles and I math. I did it with circle templates and a straight edge, aka ruler. Warning: there are lots of diagrams with lots of steps. 

  Since I am a circle template collector, I started with my set of circle rings.  
(The brown rings are brown because they have a paper backing that I have not removed yet.)
Each ring has 8 marks at N, S, E and W and then in between.  (I don't know how else to describe them.)  I used those marks for drafting.

Starting with the 6" ring, paper and pencil, draw both the inner and outer ring, placing marks where the marks are located on the template.

Draw a line from the mark at the N position to 
Draw a line to include one of the marks, the center and the mark across the circle.  
Do this 4 times.  Number the locations where the line meets the inner circle.

 Draw a line to connect 1 and 4 staying within the inner circle.
Draw a line to connect 2 and 5
Draw a line to connect 3 and 6
Draw a line to connect 4 and 7
Draw a line to connect 5 and 8
Draw a line to connect 6 and 1
Draw a line to connect 7 and 2
Draw a line to connect 8 and 3

Resulting in the first round of points.
Mark the location where the center line of each star point meets the intersection of the star point before and after it. Then label the valley of each star as a through h.)

Now to make the second round of points using the outer circle,

draw a line from the point on the outer circle to the mark to the right and to the left to form the star.
Repeat that 8 times to form the larger star points.
 Erase the pencil marks in the outer star and the lines located in the center.
Using the 3" ring, line it up to connect the marks where the outer stars meet.
To create the center, draw many square in a square rings.  Start by connecting every other mark on the circle to create the first box.  Repeat starting with the next mark and connecting every other.
Continue as many times as desired using the locations where the lines cross.

Draw a 7" square around the medallion

Add another square 1/4" outside the first square.

To create the corner motifs, use the 3" ring template aligning the lines on the template with the inner square.

Draw an inner arc and
extend the line from the short points into the corner.  

Measure 1/2" out from the corner on the inner square and draw a line from the edge to the center of the arc.

Repeat this for all 4 corners.

Trace over each line with a pen or fine tip permanent marker.

This design measures 7 1/2".

How will you use yours?  Stay tuned to see how I will use mine.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Stitchography with Christa Watson

This week my Stitchogrphy interview is with Christa Watson.  Christa is a powerhouse machine quilter and wants us all to "not be afraid" and empowers us with her books and classes.

 Please introduce yourself (actual and professional name) and describe your areas of expertise
Hi! I'm Christa Watson of Christa Quilts and I've been quilting for over 20 years but some days I feel like I'm just getting started, LOL!! My area of expertise is teaching others to successfully machine quilt on their regular home sewing machine, using both walking foot and free-motion techniques. I've written 2 books on the subject so far and my third book, "Piece and Quilt with Precuts" comes out in August - I can't wait!

What is your background and how did you arrive at your current job(s)
I've always loved being creative and wanted to be an artist and a performer when I was little but I couldn't draw or sing. It's taken me a long time to realize that I could be a "performing artist" by creating textile art and teaching my skills to others. I've been teaching quilting workshops locally since the late 90's while raising a family, but it wasn't until the last 4 years that I took my show on the road by writing books and teaching nationally.

 How many hours a week do you devote to your job?
Do I have to give an honest answer?? Let's just say it's a lot. When I'm awake I'm quilting. Or thinking about quilts. Or planning new quilts, or talking about quilts. I quilt for my work AND my hobby so it consumes most of my daily life.
Where do you physically work?
 I work from home in a large open loft upstairs. My husband also works with me but in a different room. He does the boring stuff (back end computer stuff, accounting, etc.) and I get to do the "fun stuff" - designing, teaching, sewing and writing.
What do you sell and how do you sell it? (It can be a service)
We have two main focuses of our business. My husband Jason runs where we sell fabric precuts and my thread collections with Aurifil. I do all the designer stuff: writing books and patterns, and traveling around the country teaching workshops at quilt shows, guilds, and shops. I self-publish my patterns and sell them wholesale to shops and distributors. My books are published with Martingale/That Patchwork Place. I also have a couple of brand new Craftsy classes and it's been fun to explore teaching online to reach a wider audience.
My books are published with Martingale/That Patchwork Place. I also have a couple of brand new Craftsy classes and it's been fun to explore teaching online to reach a wider audience.

What are you working on now
My latest big project is my first fabric line with Benartex. It's called "Modern Marks" and while I can't share too much yet, it will be in stores this November. I'm currently in the process of making a whole bunch of samples to show off the fabric at quilt market this fall.

 What do you do when you are not working? 
 Um... quilting??? I actually do have a couple of other hobbies. I love playing board games and doing outdoor things with my family. It's really too bad I don't do much hand piecing because that would really come in handy while going on road trips, camping etc, LOL!!

Perhaps an indelicate question, but people starting out want to know - what are your income sources?
Our income comes from our precut store sales, book and product royalties, online class commissions, pattern sales, and teaching. To make a full time living in this industry, you have to wear a lot of hats!!

If you could give one suggestion to someone starting out, what would it be?
Don't expect to become an overnight success. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Keep in mind that most people in the quilting and sewing industry aren't making a full-time living, so it can sometimes skew one's perspective on who's actually financially successful.

Where can people find you and/your products?
 You can find me here:
Pattern store:
Instagram @christaquilts
Facebook: Quilt with Christa
Precut store:

Subscribe to my blog so yu don't miss any Stitchography interviews or my regular blog posts.  Coming up is how to draft a Mariner's Compass type block and the importance of llamas!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Quilt Full Of Kisses

July is baby month for us Island Batik Ambassadors. Somehow I procrastinate and end up finishing the challenge towards the end of the month.  I have good intentions  as soon as I finish the last month's challenge.  But again, I am teetering against the deadline.  This month I am 3 days early!  I'm hoping next month I'll be more punctual.

I chose to use a layer cake that has 10" squares from the Sweet Nectar line.

 The colors were bright and cheery, just right for a modern baby quilt. 

 I paired them with the lightest Island Batik background fabric that I could find, cut into 10" squares.

From the Island Batik layer cake fabrics, I cut 2 Curvalicious strips, backed with fusible web.

  I played with the layout a bit and I think I came up with ideas for future quilts.

But the quilt I had in mind from the beginning was Curvalicious Kisses.  What a great baby quilt it makes.  It's so sweet and filled with kisses!

After stitching down the fusible strips with a polyester variegated thread called Fantastico, I sewed together the 9 blocks

and added my favorite border using Curvalicious.  Here's a link to a video that shows how to do this.

I still need to quilt this quilt.  I have a longarm that has been sitting in my living room for almost 1 year.  I've quilted 2 quilts when it first arrived and since then, it has become  the most expensive horizontal storage shelf I have ever had!  I finally have a few unscheduled weeks and my plan is to clean it off, refresh my memory and quilt this baby quilt and a few more.

My new box filled with Island Batik fabrics arrived today.  I view it as my reward for finishing my July assignment.  I'm going to shoot a short video when I open it and share all the goodies.  I'll share it on FB, IG and my August newsletter.  

Think about it.  What would you do if you received a box filled with free fabric???

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Sweetest Place On Earth

Hershey, PA is named The Sweetest Place On Earth and oh boy, is it ever.  Milton Hershey founded the Hershey Chocolate Company and a town sprouted up around it.  Herhsey chocolate has certainly become an American staple and thanks to its success Milton Hershey became a great philanthropist.  Hershey and his wife couldn't have children so they used their financial success to open the Hershey Industrial School for lower income children  and then founded the Hershey Foundation that also supports  the Hershey Museum and Hershey Gardens, the Hershey Theatre and the Hershey Community Archives.

I was contacted in February and invited to teach at Quilt Odyssey.  Over the course of 18 years, it has become a summertime mecca for quilters with an amazing quilt exhibition, vendor mall, and classes by nationally known teachers.  Although I would only have 2 1/2 days at home after MAQ, it was an opportunity I couldn't turn down.  The entire show takes place at The Hershey Lodge.  Upon check-in they give you a Hershey Bar!

There is the Hershey imprint everywhere.  My room was in the 5th Avenue wing.  I passed through the York Peppermint Patty rooms to get there.  And what was on the wallpaper in the bathroom?
I had my own classroom, since I was teaching 3 classes over the course of 3 days.  AND in each classroom there was a basket of - drumroll please:

Hershey Miniatures! for the class to share.  It was refilled EVERY day.  To be honest, I had to move it.  They initially had it located on my table in front of the room and it was just too easy to grab one every time I walked by.

They have a variety of chocolate delicacies in all of the restaurants.  I heard the chocolate martinis were yummy delicious.  One day, for an afternoon snack, I had an iced chocolate bar latte.  I'm glad it was my last day, because I could have had one of those daily.  I'm glad that it was a hike between my hotel room and my classroom.

I had 3 great classes with creative and enthusiastic students.
Day #1 was Sewing with Silk and it's all about how to quilt with dupioni silk.  These were my samples.  Each student had a colorway choice and received a kit with the silk, stabilizer and instructions.  They were then allowed to swap colors with my box full of fat quarters.
Here's a student sample.  (BTW, I had 2 extra kits and they are now in my etsy shop.)

Day #2 was my Folding Fiber Book class.  At the beginning of the class, I shared my samples and then each student shared the story that they wanted as the topic of their book.  I was blown away by their stories.  They each worked on their pages.

Day #3 was a full class for my Mini Mosaic Quilts.  This was the calm before the excitement.

The students were given 6 different patterns and I always take a poll to see the most popular and the ones that are not so popular.  The Flowers and Tiny Town were the winners.  The Pear was the loser.
If you're interested in checking out the patterns, you can visit my etsy shop by clicking HERE>

Here are some of the works in progress:

I was going to leave right after class on Saturday, but my students convinced me that I had to stay for the Saturday night Show & Tell.
Mimi Dietrich and Norma Campbell were the very funny MCs.  The evening started with the teachers parading into the full ballroom throwing fat quarters into the crowd. After thank yous to the staff and the head honcho, aka Missy Molino,  students shared their projects in various states of finish.

If you haven't been, put it on your "must see" list for next summer.  I hope I am invited back and then maybe I'll see you there!