Friday, July 21, 2017

Stitchography with Cheryl Sleboda

This week my guest is Cheryl Sleboda.  Don't you love that t-shirt.  She is the designer of the sewing skull and she sells those t-shirts and other items with that imprint.  You cam find them on her website HERE.
 1.  Please introduce yourself (actual and professional name) and describe your areas of expertise
I'm Cheryl Sleboda aka Muppin of  I'm a quilt and textile artist from Plainfield IL who is now a full time quilt teacher/ artist/ cosplay maker.  I also teach artist business courses and do business consulting, and just started a new cosplay business in addition to my quilting business.   I have a line of products from sewing skull shirts and merchandise to light up "eTextile" kits to tools for teaching heirloom sewing techniques. 

 2.  What is your background and how did you arrive at your current job(s)
I spent the last 20 years as an executive at a comic book distribution company, but my love of quilting soon started a side business.  I was constantly asked to teach my techniques on lighting up quilts or doing fabric manipulation.  I used every vacation day I had to travel for quilting, and now the side business is my main job!   I love to teach and I have even started teaching cartooning for quilters to show you that anyone can draw and turn those drawings into a quilt.

 3.  How many hours a week do you devote to your job?
I put in anywhere from 60-80 hours a week. 

 4.  Where do you physically work?
I work out of my home studios and office.  I have both a sewing studio where I sew and a video studio where I shoot my YouTube videos.  

 5.  What do you sell and how do you sell it? (It can be a service)
My products are mostly sold when I'm teaching in person or at my website.  I do my consultation work over the phone or Skype, and I am about to launch some online courses, which is exciting. 

 6.  What are you working on now?
I'm in the middle of doing a big cosplay costume project, an art quilt, and writing a book and an online course at the same time! 

 7.  What do you do when you are not working?
I love comic books, and I read them voraciously.  I also love hand stitching and TV, so it's like a two-for-one. I also read a lot of business books...for fun. 

8.  Perhaps an indelicate question, but people starting out want to know - what are your income sources?
This is different for everyone, but for me, my income is mostly related to in person teaching.  The sales, kit fees, and other marketing I'm able to do in person far outweigh strictly online sales.  I do a blog post every year breaking down my revenue streams. You can find that here:  It's a lot of spinning plates to have so many, but its important not to have all your eggs in one basket. 

 9. If you could give one suggestion to someone starting out, what would it be?
I say this in my most popular lecture... Do a lot of work.  I don't mean work 60-80 hours.  I mean put in the time for making lots of quilts or whatever it is you do.  Perfect your techniques.  If I didn't do that, I would not be in a position to be able to pull from all of that expertise. 

 10.  Where can people find you and/your products? (FB, blog, website, IG, Twitter, stores
You can find my main quilting page at, and my new cosplay business at  I'm on FB at, on Instagram as @muppindotcom, and twitter as @muppin.  

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Give Thanks

I just finished unpacking my car after teaching at MAQ and
prepping my classes to teach at Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA that start on Thursday.  I even get to stay at the Hershey Lodge overnight.  I hear they leave a piece of chocolate on your pillow! I have 2 requests for speaking engagements in my inbox.  One to visit Indiana and the other is a quilt guild in Virginia.

Who would think at 62 that this would be my best, most wonderful year ever, as a quilter.  I owe it all to everyone who reads my blog, subscriibes to my newsletter, follows me on IG and FB, comes to my classes, books me to come to theieer guild, hires me to teach and buys my quilty stuff.  You have given me this life.  Don't get me wrong, I've worked really hard to get here. but I love and appreciate every single minute.  THANK YOU!

I started riding my bicycle again, so I brought it with me to Emmitsburg, MD.  My morning ride was just beautiful and such a great way to  start the day. I saw lllamas and horses, ponies and an amazing sunrise.

Whenever I got a little nervous about getting lost, I would look up to find the "Golden Mary" on the Mt St Mary's University campus.

A cafeteria full of quilters with lots of friendly faces:

I taught 3 classes at MAQ - Fishalicious, Choose To Fuse and Mini Mosaic Quilts and had a great group of students.  Here are a bunch of the photos that I remembered to take.

Since I'm not a gadget person, I always enjoy seeing the latest gadgets that my students bring.  This was an 18mm rotary cutter that slipped over the finger.  It cut like a charm.  We all started searching for it on our phones without any luck.  So it's either super new or has been discontinued.  Have you seen it? 
Here's an undersea backgound using fish fabric.  Fun!

" Choose To Fuse" is a fusible machine applique class featuring 7 different ways to applique using fusible web, including a fusible binding and a Snippet style nest.

And on Sunday, was my Mini Mosaic class.  I am continually amazed at how much people LOVE this class.  We're all crazy using tweezers to place 3/8" squares of fabric, and loving it.  Three of my students actually finished the mosaic in class!

If you would like to received my newsletter with lots of fun quilty stuff that also shares my upcoming teaching venues, CLICK HERE.
If you'd like to purchase a Mini Mosiac Quilt Kit,

Friday, July 14, 2017

Stitchograohy With Joyce Hughes

Today, I am resuming the Stitchography interviews with Joyce Hughes.  Joyce is a very talented machine stitcher who has single handedly elevated printed panels to quilt art.

1 .1.  Please introduce yourself (actual and professional name) and describe your areas of expertise      Hello, I am Joyce Hughes. My business name is Joyce Hughes Originals. When I first started to quilt, I would experiment and play with different colors and types of threads. Then adding new and different techniques to a quilt, which lead into what I do now-Thread Paint!!! I believe I love threads more that fabrics. I current am traveling to teach and give lectures on my technique of “Dimensional Thread Painting”.

2  2.  What is your background and how did you arrive at your current job(s) 
         My background and education was in Oncology Nursing. I was hurt at work, causing me to leave that profession. I came upon quilting as an accident. I never had a desire to quilt, but a friend had a great idea to make Tee-Shirt quilts. That was my first taste in quilt making. I quickly moved on to create my own Art quilts. Which I enjoyed and just wanted to create more pieces. As I was playing and designing new quilts, I was asked to teach my technique of thread painting techniques at my local quilt shop. One store has now leaded into teaching around the county.
3 3.  How many hours a week do you devote to your job?    
           I devote at least 40-50 hrs. a week on quilting. When I add the time of sewing, designing, social media, class proposals, answering emails and traveling … I am well over 50 hours!
   4.  Where do you physically work?    
  I physically work from home. My “Studio” is a spare bedroom that is now full of threads, fabrics and machines.
   5.  What do you sell and how do you sell it? 
What I sell- Is my services of teaching and lecturing. I am teaching at quilt stores, demonstrating at quilt shows, lectures and workshops for Quilt Guilds, and an Ambassador for Mettler Threads. I also work closely with Northcott Fabrics and Brother Sewing Machines doing Dimensional Thread Painting on Panels.
   6.  What are you working on now?    
I    I am currently working on writing a Book, “Creating Art with Panels” and planning classes to teach on a Cruise in April, 2018! I am always working on potential class projects and samples for Quilt Market.
7  7.  What do you do when you are not working?     When I am not working, I love to work in my garden. I can relax and my mind goes in every direction. Many quilting ideas come to me while weeding the garden. My other favorite activity is taking walks and visiting parks with my husband, John and dog, Ellie.

     8.  Perhaps an indelicate question, but people starting out want to know - what are your income sources?     My income sources come from teaching and giving lectures.
9  9. If you could give one suggestion to someone starting out, what would it be?    
          My one suggestion is: Get plenty of rest!!! At times, it can be very tiring and draining on your creative energy. Always thinking of something new and different can be tiring, but very rewarding when everything comes together.
     10.  Where can people find you and/your products? (FB, blog, website, IG, Twitter, store     You can find me on Facebook, JoyceHughesOriginals; Instagram, joyhughes1; and my website,

Friday, June 30, 2017

Beach Therapy

Who doesn't love the sound of the waves crashing at the beach, or the smell of the salt air, or wiggling your toes in the wet sand?  This is what inspired my June quilt.  As an Island Batik Ambassador, we are given an assignment each month to complete with fabric that they sent me back in January.  This month the theme is Curvalicious! 

How perfect for me and my Curvalicious template!  

I have created lots of different Curvalicious items, so I thought it would be fun to create a different quilt for this monthly challenge. I had a stack of Island Batik fabrics that just arrived in quilt shops.  They had lots of fun designs.

 There was a wide variety of fabrics and  I pinned a few of them to my design wall and let it marinate for a few days.  With the 4th of July coming up some of the fabrics made me think of the beach, so I pulled out the lighter fabrics that reminded me of sand. 

I thought this would be a good opportunity to share a tutorial to create another variation on a Curvalicious quilt.  Usually the quilts are vertically oriented, but what  would it look like if the strips were placed horizontally? The concept behind a Curvalicious quilt is a pieced background with fusible appliques placed over the background.  The first step is to piece together 5- 1/2" strips.  I used 8  cream colored fabrics to make strips.

The next step is to cut 4" strips, the same length and iron paper backed fusible web to the wrong side.  I used pale blues.  

Remove the paper, fold it in half with the fusible side out.  

Place one edge of the Curvalicious  template on the fold and cut out the Curvalicious applique using a 28mm rotary cutter, The result is fusible curvy strips - one less than the number of pieced strips.

Start at the center and place on the of the applique strip over the center seam.  Press.

Stitch the strips down as they are fused with a machine blanket stitch.

This Superior Fantastico  thread was also given to me with the fabric.  It's a shiny polyester and I do love shiny.  It really stitches beautifully and I will definitely add it to my thread acquisition list.

Proceed to add the rest of the fusible strips, working out from the center, using Curvalicious for placement. Press.

Keep going until all of the seams are covered  with the fusible strips.

For the top and bottom borders, I used the font AR Christy, font size 500, to create fusible letters and stitched them down with the same blanket stitch that I used above with a blue/green Fantastico thread.

Then add the word borders to the top and bottom and quilt!
Wouldn't this look great in a beach house?

I grew up on Long Island and we called the ocean/sane the beach.  I live in the Philadelphia area and it's called the shore. I'm curious, what is it called where you live?

If  you are interested in seeing lots of other quilts that you can make with Cirvalicious, check out its website:
You can buy Curvalicious from my Etsy shop.  Click HERE.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Stitchography with Leni Weiner

One of the advantages of being the Program Chair of a quilt guild is that you get to spend time with some wonderful quilters.  Leni Weiner was one of the speakers that I invited to visit my guild, Calico Cutters in West Chester, PA.  Leni is a very talented quilt artist and our members really enjoyed her lecture and workshop, and I am thrilled to be able to call her my friend.
1. Please introduce yourself (actual and professional name) and describe your areas of expertise

My name is Leni Levenson Wiener and I live just outside NYC.  I consider myself a fabric collage artist (although many call what I do “art quilter”) focusing on the depiction of the universality of human body language.  I work from photos I take of strangers out in the world without their knowledge, capturing people at their most honest and unconscious selves. 

My work all begins with a photo which I manipulate on the computer to make a full sized working pattern; using only commercial printed cotton fabric, all my work is executed in raw edge machine applique.  One of the things I most enjoy is finding an unexpected print that gives the illusion of the texture I want to convey and layering lots of patterns so the photo is elevated, not just translated.

2.  What is your background and how did you arrive at your current job(s)

I started out with a BA in Art History and Archaeology (and was lucky enough to spend a season in the field at an archaeological dig) and an MA from Florence, Italy in Museology and Restoration/Conservation, but unfortunately, never found the museum job I so badly wanted.  I ended up in the retail business, first as a buyer and then a product development manager for a major retail chain.  When my boys were small and I wanted to be a stay at home mom, I began working as a free lance photographer, which is where my artwork from photography took root.  When they were teenagers I took a job teaching quilting at a local quilt shop and from that my current “career” got started.

I don’t consider what I do now a job.  I make artwork, have written four books, I teach and give talks and coach emerging artists.  But it is all what I do because I want to do it, and because I love it—and it doesn’t occupy every single day. 

As a happy consequence of everything else, I also represent BERNINA as one of their professional Ambassadors, doing presentations at BERNINA dealers and contributing articles for their “we all sew” blog.  I have also been honored to be on The Quilt Show and Quilting Arts TV and just last year released an online class with iquilt.

3.  How many hours a week do you devote to your job?

It varies.  There are times I am really involved with a piece and can’t wait to get back to work on it, so I tend to work every day for several hours at a time.  Otherwise, I spend my time writing or on other sewing projects like traditional quilts, garments, home dec and that sort of thing--just for a change of pace and to clear my head.

4.  Where do you physically work?

When my older son graduated from college he moved directly into an apartment and started his first job and I took over his bedroom as my studio.  It isn’t a huge space, but I painted the walls a color I love, put in lots of work tables and made it my own.  It has great light during the day and the best part is, it is my private sanctuary where I can leave works in progress and nothing is disturbed.

5.  What do you sell and how do you sell it? (It can be a service)

Although I do occasionally sell my work, the subject matter of my work does not make it appealing to galleries.  Having come to that conclusion some years ago, I don’t make sales a primary focus of what I do.   From my website I do sell books, a gray scale value card designed to make the technique I teach easier, a pattern service and the art voice coaching.

6.  What are you working on now? 

Right now I am working on some pieces for an art group I belong to—every month we make a piece for one of the other members of the group so by the end of the year we all have ten wonderful small artworks we have traded.  Once that is done, I am excited to get to work on a new series I am formulating and tentatively calling “conversations” which focuses on people interacting with others.

7.  What do you do when you are not working?

My second love is writing, so I often contribute articles to quilting magazines and blogs.  In addition, I spend a lot of time looking at art and thinking about art and since I am still fascinated by archaeology, reading as much as I can about new discoveries.  And here is something out of left field, about two years ago my husband and I discovered ballroom dance, and we are really enjoying learning and dancing together!

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

I will be honest, I could not live on what I make doing what I do.  I like to say that I literally have a very supportive husband.  My income comes primarily from book and online class royalties and teaching/speaking fees, supplemented by website sales of the few products and services I offer.  I am not interested in being on the road all the time, so I accept that my income is limited by the fact that I only really travel to teach every year for a short time in the spring and again in the fall.

9. If you could give one suggestion to someone starting out, what would it be?

I have several suggestions:

Take what you do seriously.  When you move from hobbyist to professional artist, you will need to spend time building a reputation and developing a voice that is unique and recognizable.  Once you have developed a “brand”, everything you do must support and advance it. 

Find a dedicated space in which to work.  It doesn’t need to be large or fancy, but it does need to be a place that you can work without distraction and that doesn’t require you pack it all up at the end of a work session.

You can only do so much; decide what you want so you figure out how to get there.  Set a long term goal and annual goals that help you stay on track.  Every year, reevaluate what you have learned and whether you need to shift your focus to get to the final goal line. 

Finally, and most importantly, be realistic.  If you need to support yourself on your earnings that means teaching often, developing products or selling at art shows and/or craft fairs.  Don’t expect to be an overnight success, it takes time and effort to develop a name which then opens up other opportunities.  There are easier ways to earn money, do this because you love it and NEED to do it—pure and simple.

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

You can find me at my website:, on FB at , and my online class is

If you don't want to miss any of these interviews:

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Monday, June 19, 2017

It's Monday, Again

The Mini Mosaic Quilt kits are now available in my Etsy shop. I apologize if you receive my monthly email newsletter and this is not cutting edge news to you.  Since I'm not sure how much crossover there is between my blog readers and newsletter subscribers, I thought it was worth a repeat.  I want everyone to know about this fun new technique.
I spent the winter in Key West developing  and designing the patterns and directions for a dozen designs that include the lighthouse above, a bicycle, tiny town and more.  I've been selling them at quilt shows and quilt guilds that I visit.  They have been so popular and hard to keep in stock, that I finally have enough to put them in my Etsy shop.  

The most popular one has been the giraffe.  
It was created well before April was a social media darling. I think giraffes have always been popular.

And how about Bailey?

I filmed a video that I posted on Youtube to give an overview of the technique. In the video you can also see the cutting guide that I designed to cut fabric into the small pieces that I use.
Click on the arrow to watch it.

Currently there are 12 different kits with many more on the drawing board. I'll be sharing the newet one in July.  Here's a hint: Meow.  If you'd like to find out as soon as new ones become available, sign up to receive my newsletter HERE, or "Favorite" my Etsy shop.

And if you have a request or an idea for a new pattern, please leave your suggestion in the comment section.  Maybe, I'll choose yours!

I also think there are a couple openings in my class at Quilt Odyssey in Hershey
 on  Saturday, July 22nd.

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