Friday, May 26, 2017

Stitchography


This Friday, I am tickled to share my Stitchography interview with Heidi Boyd. She makes the most adorable stuffed fairies, unicorns, animals and so many other cute softies and she makes kits for us to make them too! And I think I want to live in her studio!

1. Please introduce yourself (actual and professional name) and describe your areas of expertise
Hi! I'm Heidi Boyd (doing business as Heidi Boyd LLC) and I'm passionate about creating. I manufacture all-inclusive stitching kits that are guaranteed to make you smile. I've authored fifteen craft books on topics ranging from jewelry making to sewing. I'm lucky to paint licensed designs for Red Rooster fabrics and OESD machine embroidery. 

2. What is your background and how did you arrive at your current job(s)
From day one I've loved art making, I grew up in a family where that was encouraged and every holiday was handmade. I was fortunate to pursue a fine art degree in painting and drawing. I began my professional career as an art director for New England lifestyle magazines (this predated desktop publishing). As a newlywed I moved to the Midwest where I began teaching art at the Des Moines Art Center. That's where I connected with Better Homes and Gardens and started contributing projects to their books and magazines. Freelancing for publications led to writing my own craft books. After fourteen titles, I launched my all-inclusive stitching kit business. Creating my own product lines opened the door to licensed fabric and machine embroidery opportunities.  

3. How many hours a week do you devote to your job?
I work more than forty hours a week on my creative business. It's probably best I don't keep track of the exact time. I enjoy the mix of jobs: drawing, sewing, writing, photography, ordering supplies, kit packing, shipping and social media posting. If I'm not in the mood for one thing, there's always another job to tackle. I take on thinking jobs early in the day. When I'm exhausted I sit and make needle packs for our kits with a movie on in the background. 

4. Where do you physically work? 
For years I worked on the dining room table which let me keep an eye on the kids, but it necessitated packing everything away before meals. Once our older boys left to college I reclaimed the space over the two car garage and transformed it into a functional studio where I pack kits.  I love the flexibility of working from home, I can leave for school events and pick ups and make up the time later. 

5. What do you sell and how do you sell it? (It can be a service)
I offer five all-inclusive stitching kit lines and a selection of PDF patterns. My goal is to make sophisticated design simple and approachable. My popular animal softie kits are the cornerstone of the business. Felt applique hoop kits make needle work quick and easy. My tea towel and transfer kits are the perfect introduction to traditional embroidery. Felt jewelry kits marry my love of jewelry making with lush felt beads and sparkling rhinestones. 
I began wholesaling my kits to quilt and fabric stores first, the web site and Etsy stores followed and are constantly growing. Last year I exhibited at the National Stationary Show and the business has grown into mainstream gift shops.  

6. What are you working on now?
I'm launching a new line of fairy kits that have been an absolute delight to work on. Magical fairies and unicorns come to life with Woolfelt and roving. The Fairies limbs are stuffed with chenille stems that make them pose-able. The dresses slide on and off, I already have ideas for felt boots and leaf dresses. I felt just like a kid playing in the woods photographing them. 

7. What do you do when you are not working?
Our two dogs demand to be walked in the woods at least once a day. I love to dance and make a point to get to Zumba a couple times a week. I always have a fiction book and knitting project close by. Most of all I love to hang out with my husband and daughter. We cook, walk the beach, enjoy movies and family game nights.

8. Perhaps an indelicate question, but people starting out want to know - what are your income sources?
My primary income source is kit sales. I do receive royalties from fabric, books and embroidery licensing contracts. I've always been grateful that my husband has had a traditional career which covers healthcare.  

9. If you could give one suggestion to someone starting out, what would it be?
Pursue what interests you, be open to new opportunities and give them a hundred percent. I'd also strongly advise choosing a life partner that will support your dreams. Not a day passes when I'm not grateful that I get to do what I love. I'll never stop actively learning and exploring new ideas that allow me to be creative. 

10. Where can people find you and/your products? (FB, blog, website, IG, Twitter, stores
http://www.heidiboyd.com @heidiboydcrafts on facebook, IG, Pinterest,twitter


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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It's Monday, Again

I wish I was posting this on Monday, but if you check your calendar, you know it's not!  I was in Atlanta for the biennial Pomegranate Convention.  I was busy and had trouble  getting a good Internet connection.  So you're thinking, they have a convention about pomegranates? " Does it include eating? Does it include drinking? Or is there hand creme?  If it does I want to go!"

It's about needlework!! The Pomegranate Guild of Jewish Needlework has a biennial convention.  This year it was in Atlanta. It's empowering and enlightening to be together with such talented Jewish women from all over the U.S. and Canada.   I was honored to be teaching 3 workshops.  

My first class was called "Curvalicious 2 Ways".  Using Curvalicious they had the option of making one of 2 tablerunners. 

We had a full class and were iron challenged.  If you have been in any of my Curvalicious workshops, you know that they are very ironing intensive and irons pull a lot of current. I've blown the circuit at many venues and now I can add Le Meridien to the list.  That conference room can handle an unlimited amount of laptops, projectors, coffee pots, etc, but only TWO irons!  Quilters are resourceful and we always persevere. We used the outlet in the hallway and  one of my students even went up to her room to iron.

I love it when a student follows her own voice.  Saraj, did her own thing.  She used some Jennifer Sampou fabric that isn't even available in quilt shops yet.  


The next class was a dupioni silk pomegranate applique block.

I provided a kit and was surprised that most of the women in my class were not quilters and had never done fusible applique!  This was a lot to teach in 3 hours, and I had no time to take any photos, but believe me when I say that they all surprised me and did a great job. 

My final class was my Mini Mosaic Quilts.  We had a really packed house full of women that were so happy to be there.  It is so rewarding to teach this.  whenever I teach this workshop, the participants have a choice of 5 patterns.
I was not surprised that most of them chose to do the pomegranate.  Usually I have a pretty even split.

 Everyone was having so much fun, that sometimes I had a hard time sharing my tips!
This group of ladies did not want to stop!  Look at the smiles on their faces.
Two of the women in the class did not sew and did not want to finish the mosaic as a mini quilt. They didn't even want  to finish the entire piece.   I was challenged to help them finish it in an alternate manner.  I have to say I stressed quite a bit because I did not want their piece to be ruined with our experimentation.  But voila! It worked.  Maybe we've come up with a new way to make suncathers.

I had a wonderful time in Atlanta.  I walked away with so many new friends.  Some of them were Internet friends and other were brand new.  For more info about the Pomegranate Guild and to find out if there is a chapter near you visit their website.  I'm looking forward to the 2019 Convention in Calgary.  

The Mini Mosaic kits will be available for sale soon in my Etsy shop.  Make sure you sign up for my newsletter HERE, to be notified.  There will also be an instructional video.  I can't wait to share!


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Friday, May 19, 2017

Stitchography

This week, I'd like to introduce you to Beth Helfter, a quilt designer, who travels the country to share her love of quilting and sense of humor.  Make sure you read the entire interview so you can learn about Beth's Teal Mini Swap that raises money and awareness about Ovarian cancer.


  1. 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.
  2.  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.
  3.  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.
  4. 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.
  5.  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.
  6. 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!
  7.  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.
  8. 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.
  9.  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.
  10.   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)
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:

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Monday, May 15, 2017

It's Monday, Again



Sometimes a girl just has to have fun.  On Friday I decided to take a break from prepping kits for my upcoming visit to The Pomegranate Guild Of Jewish Needlework's biennial convention in Atlanta and just play!  I bought some linen last time I visited NYC and bought some more at Byrne Sewing Connection when I taught there 2 weeks ago.

I had to search for my Print Gocco.  It has been many years since I had used it, but I had an  idea that I wanted to try.  It eventually turned up in the basement.  I heard it was a Japanese children's toy back in 2009.  It's an easy way to silkscreen, making the screen and printing all in one.  The problem is that the bulbs used to expose the screen and the  screens themselves are single use only. Although in limited supply, replacements can be bought, but they are pricey.  I had enough to make 2 screens and that's what I needed.

I searched for some copyright free designs and found what I was looking for.  I experimented a bit with the size, printing with my inkjet printer.

I prepared the screen.



and got ready to print.


It took a bit of experimentation, and then success.

After these dried, there was Step 2.

Here they are drying and here's a close up.

On Mother's Day, I always do some sewing for myself.  Sometimes it can last an entire day and other years it's just a couple of hours.  Since I'm leavng for Atlanta in less than a week,  I only had a couple of hours.  I had the perfect set up with my favorite companion, breakfast made by my hubby and a Netflix show on my iPad while sitting at my sewing machine.

 I did have fun turning my silk screened sewing machine into my zippered pouch.

I used the directions from The Sewing Chick.  She has great instructions 
for inserting the zipper that lays perfectly flat.  You can find her instructions HERE>
  Thank you Tessa Marie.

Speaking of dogs, I used my dog print on linen for the inside.

And to make the day even better I had a visit from my son who cooked me a wonderful meal and brought the perfect cake.

Hope you enjoyed Mother's Day whether you are a Mom or you celebrated
 a Mom you know or knew.  

Stop by on Friday for the next Stitchography interview.  Beth Helfter of Eva Paige DEsigns.I am learning so much about the different paths that we "creatives" take along with advice for people waning to earn some money doing what we love.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Stitchography Interview


Today, I'd like to welcome Patty Young.  Patty is amazingly multi talented and is certainly a great model for balancing being a self-employed artist and a Mom.

1.  Please introduce yourself and describe your areas of expertise.
Hello there!  My name is Patty Young.  I also go by Patty Prann Young in the publishing world.  I own MODKID, LLC which is a company that designs and sells high quality sewing patterns for girls, tweens and women's  clothing as well as accessories.  I am also a licensed fabric designer for Riley Blake Designs, and a published author with C&T Publishing.

2.  What is your background and how did you arrive at your current job(s)
I have a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in Photography with a minor in Graphic Design.  I worked as a designer-turned-Creative Director for a couple of marketing agencies for nearly 15 years, until one day I decided to quit my high stress job to raise my family and pursue my own creative endeavors.  Those creative endeavors led me to start drafting and sewing my own clothing for my little girls and a business was soon born.  I have been doing this now for 10 years and wouldn't change a thing!

3.  How many hours a week do you devote to your job?
I work while the kids are at school, so roughly 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and some days I will hop back on the computer after dinner time and work some more.  During high stress periods, like right before Quilt Market or when a fabric deadline is fast approaching, I will work nights, weekends and holidays.  So I'd say I work anywhere between 30 and 60 hours a wee, depending on what I have going on.

4.  Where do you physically work?
I have a full studio and office in our home's basement.

5.  What do you sell and how do you sell it?
I sell PDF and paper sewing patterns along with all of my books (I have 3 sewing boks and 2 coloring books) and a few miscellaneous products I've designed over the years, like jacquard ribbons and designer pins.  All sales are done on-line through my website www.modkidboutique.com or on Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/modkid.
6.  What are you working on now?
I just turned in artwork for my 22nd fabric collection (!!!) and I am currently working on 3 different sewing patterns.  One of them will be released next week on Etsy and the other 2 are exclusive designs for Riley Blake that will be featured in their new video series, Imagine With Riley Blake.  I am also preparing demos for Quilt Market.  There's never a dull moment around the studio!

7.  What do you do when you are not working?
I love to spend time with my husband, Jon, and  my 2 daughters, Sophie and Sydney.  Jon and I are ethnic food and craft beer aficionados, so often  times you'll find us reviewing the latest restaurant or beer find.  Both of my daughters are competitive dancers and are members of their school's Dance Teams, so from December to  March you will find me  attending dance competitions throughout the state of Illinois.

8.  Perhaps an indelicate question, but people starting out wan to know - what are your income sources?

Message 

Monday, May 8, 2017

It's Monday, Again

It was a busy week, between lecturing and teaching  a workshop at Byrne Sewing Connection in Doylestown and the Penn Oaks Quilt Show.  The people who work at Byrne's, including the owner,  Debbie Byrne and the customers, could not have been warmer and more eager to learn.  I presented my newest talk, Turning Travel Into Treasures.  Since most of my quilts are inspired by my travels, it's a talk rich in many styles of my quilts spanning many years.

I was so cauht up with setting up my talk and having a full workshop plus a couple that I didn't take any photos. I need to remind myself to TAKE SOME PHOTOS!!!! Since I didn't take any photos, I thought I would share some photos of the quilts that I shared and the inspiration.
Called Casa Talavera, this was inspired by multiple trips to Mexico and their beautiful ceramic tiles.

Called Concentricity -  was a result of a morning walk in St. Augustine, FL.  It was inspired by a detail in the sidewalk.  Lots of different fabrics were used including organza, silk and lame.

Filigree Fantasy was inspired by the wrought iron doors and balconies in Barcelona.  The center is a motif from the children's area at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. The applique is fused and stitched down by hand with hand dyed cotton floss.
 This is a quilt top that  I just can't decide how to quilt.  On a morning walk while visiting my brother in Phoenix, there were these huge cactus plants that had these huge red bulbous protrusions, that I guess are the flowers.  While most of the circles are cotton, some are velvet, some are wool and some  are silk.
Primmitive Seasons is a fictional depiction of a flowering weeping willow throughout the 4 seasons.  I loved doing all of the handstitching.  The circles in the 3 borders are wool pennies.
 Keyfetti Fish uses my mosaic technique and was created while spending a couple of months in Key West.
Beachalicious makes me think about childhood summers at the Long Island beaches.  It's one of my patterns using Curvalicious and can be purchased from my Etsy shop.

And I just have to share that I was thrilled that Funkytown won a 2nd place ribbon at the Penn Oaks Quilt Show.  I'm a new member and am so impressed how this small guild puts on this wonderful quilt show.
It's actually my newest pattern made with Curvalicious.  It;s also available in my Etsy shop.

Don't forget to come back on Friday for the latest Stitchography interview.  This Friday, Patty Young shares how she manages to run a business and be a Mom.  You'll like to read about her experience  as a fabric designer for Riley Blake Designs and her company MODKID - where she sells high quality sewing patterns for girls, tweens and women's clothing as well as accessories.


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Friday, May 5, 2017

Stitchography

Today is the launch of my blog series called Stitchography, that will post every Friday.  I thought it would be fun and informative to learn about how people entered the creative fabric business, their backgrounds and the different jobs that are availlable out theere, no matter how small or large.  It may be inspirational for some of you and interesting for others.

To kick off the series, I would like to introduce Blair Stocker:

  Please introduce yourself (actual and professional name) and describe your areas of expertise
I am Blair Stocker of Wise Craft Handmade (wisecrafthandmade.com). I am an avid upcycler and DIY'er, with a current focus on quilting as a tool for upcycling. My first book, Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects into Stuff You Love, covers many different ways of upcycling and decorating our home with meaningful handmade things. My newest book, Wise Craft Quilts: A Guide to Turning Beloved Fabrics into Meaningful Patchwork, focuses on quilt making with meaningful fabrics from our lives. These can be fabrics we've collected in our stash simply because we love them, or fabrics that have significance in our life's story, such as a wedding dress or childhood bedroom curtains. I am a firm believer that fabrics like these shouldn't be stored away in a drawer. Cutting into them and making them into a quilt that is used daily can provide so much satisfaction and joy in our lives. (More info on my books here)
   
 What is your background and how did you arrive at your current job(s) 
I studied Apparel Design and Merchandising in college, and straight out of college began working in my chosen field, Textiles and Design, for various clothing lines and fabric mills. I loved it! I literally played with pretty colors and fabrics all day long. I did that up until I had my daughter, who is now 18. Over the years of being at home with the kids, I discovered that I missed the creativity of my former profession, and began dabbling in all kinds of projects to decorate our home, both with the kids and on my own. I began recording all of these crafty projects on my blog, Wise Craft, back in 2005. I quickly discovered the power of an online community and loved it. Having a place to keep my creative projects and write about them helped me over the past several years become very focused and clear about the things I love to make most and what my own style is. I formed Wise Craft LLC in 2013 and made clear goals on what I wanted to do moving forward, creating a little business for myself.

How many hours a week do you devote to your job?
Because I am usually creating something every day, that is somehow related to my business, I'm tempted to say 7 days a week! But I think its accurate to say 5 days a week, about 6 hours a day. I try to remember that a reason I choose to work for myself is the flexibility. I have 2 teenagers at home and get to be in "mom mode" when I'm needed.

Where do you physically work?
I have a full studio and office in our basement. 
 What do you sell and how do you sell it? 
I sell my work on my own website, wisecrafthandmade.com, on Etsy- https://www.etsy.com/ shop/WiseCrafthandmade I also teach classes both in person and online for CreativeLive, and do commissions when there is time.

What are you working on now?
In addition to doing trunk shows, teaching, and lecturing for my newest book, which just came out in March, I am launching new classes this Fall on my site, which I'm really excited about! Its a large undertaking, and I'm working a lot of the content behind the scenes. I am also having fun doing #100daysofthreaddrawing to develop the whole free motion quilting side of what I do. Its been a really fun challenge, and I need to keep trying new things or else I get bored.
What do you do when you are not working?
I probably watch way more reality TV than I should, I also love just hanging out with my family. My daughter will go to college in the Fall so I'm following her around like a lost puppy.

 Perhaps an indelicate question, but people starting out want to know - what are your income sources?
My main income sources are my books and in person teaching and speaking. Printed quilt patterns are next in line, then online sales are last.

If you could give one suggestion to someone starting out, what would it be?
The hardest part for me was the time spent making free content, visual things for my site, etc. That is all important and the pay off comes much later. Some days (or weeks) I felt like all I was doing was making free stuff (sometimes still do!) but also realize that its all a part of being an online presence. We are constantly educating the consumer about our brand.

Where can people find you and/your products? (FB, blog, website, IG, Twitter, stores
Wise Craft Handmade- http:// wisecrafthandmade.com
Wise Craft Facebook page- https://www.facebook. com/blairwisecraft
Wise Craft Quilts Facebook Page (for fans of my newest book to meet and discuss projects)- https://www. facebook.com/groups/ 234669506942328/

Wise Craft Quilts is available March 2017! 
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