1. Who taught you needlework skills and when did you first start learning?
My mother and grandmother are responsible for my ever growing habit. Both women are/were very accomplished seamstresses and their joy for needlework was lovingly shared with me when I was a very small girl. Both women nurtured my inquisitiveness until I was able to venture into projects on my own.
As early as 10 years old I remember sitting at my mom’s sewing machine and constructing my very first garment – an A-line skirt. I fondly remember playing with needle and thread long before that!
2. What is your favourite form of embroidery?
That is hard to say..... I guess my first love is drawn thread work but whitework and Madeira embroidery follow close behind. I think the symmetry and tailored look to drawn thread work is what really draws me in.
3. When do you find time to embroider/sew?
I usually work on my projects in the evenings (sometimes late into the night) and on weekends. I do have another job so daytime is off limits!
4. What inspires your designs?
I look for inspiration from everywhere! You never know what may spark an idea.
5. Do you attend classes and workshops as well as teach at them?
I do attend as many workshops as I can manage. I must confess, there are a lot of unfinished projects stashed away in my workroom!
6. On average, how long would you say it takes for you to complete a piece, from design concept to end?
If I am working on a small piece, it takes me only a few days to a week to complete it. If I am working on a fairly complex project, it normally takes 6 weeks to 3 months from start to finish. The design phase seems to come fairly easy to me (except when I am on a deadline). I enjoy seeing my ideas come to fruition. I am still amazed that I can get ideas out of my head and onto the fabric – and the majority of the time, it looks exactly as I envisioned!
7. Do you belong to a sewing guild of any kind?
I belong to 3 SAGA chapters (the Dogwood Chapter in Charlotte, NC; the Pine Needlers in Davidson, NC; and the Palmetto Pleaters in Greenville, SC) along with my local EGA. I have been traveling so much I have not been able to attend many monthly meetings.
8. Do you smock?
I do smock but not as often as I did when my girls were young.
9. Where is your favourite place to stitch?
I like to stitch in my favorite chair in my family room. I have good light and a comfortable place to lay out all my necessities. Stitching in the family room helps me feel like I am part of the family instead of hiding in my workroom where you will find me the rest of my free time. It also dictates that I pick up after myself at the end of each day!
10. Are you married? Children? Pets?
Yes, I have been married to my wonderful and supportive husband Doug for 37 years. (We were just babies when we got married). I can’t believe he still puts up with me!
We have 2 daughters – Erin and Kimberly.
We are the proud owners (pyrants) of 2 Great Pyrenees puppies – Zoey and Remington (Remy is a very recent addition); and we are owned by our faithful and very loving orange tabby Manx cat Evinrude.
11. What is your most favourite sewing tool?
My Dovo curved blade scissors!
12. What sewing tool do you carry everywhere and why?
My 6” C-Thru gridded ruler or my Dovo curved blade scissors can always be found next to my sewing chair or in my tool bag. Both items are extremely helpful when working with embroidery. Other than my reading glasses, if you can find me, you can find my ruler and Dovos close at hand!
13. What other hobbies/interests do you have?
I like to read, walk and spend time with my friends.
14. How often do you travel to teach?
In the recent past I have traveled every other month for teaching.
15. Have you a favourite location where you most enjoy teaching?
I enjoy anywhere I am invited!
16. Where can we get to see your projects (magazines, stores etc.)?
You can see some of my projects at SAGA functions or I keep pictures of all my current projects on my website: www.heirloombeginnings.com.
17. What do you do with your completed projects-frame and keep, give away, etc.?
I used to give a lot of my things away. I no longer do that. My children do not have any of my handiwork – they are the main reason I started sewing and smocking in the first place. I now “sew for SAGA” (create classes I hope all of you find interesting), and make items I hope my girls can someday use for their own families. I do display many of my items in my workroom for my own enjoyment.
18. Do you have a favourite colour(s) that you tend to use more than others?
I tend to use pastels more than any other color scheme. I like to work with small child or baby items – that is where the “pastel influence” comes from. I feel at some time or another everyone will need a baby gift! Students may not want to sink a lot of money into a project just to master some new stitch or technique. “Wee” sized items don’t use a large amount of materials so I can keep the cost of my kits more attractive. Pastels never go out of style!
19. Have you had another type of career other than in the sewing area?
I have a landscape design and computer science background. I worked in both fields for several years.
I worked as a landscape designer immediately following my college days. After moving further North (from Florida), I decided landscaping in the winter time was not a lot of fun! I returned to school and decided numbers and problem solving was more my kind of thing. Computer programming fit that desire. I worked in that field for several years before the constant urge to embroider and create things with my sewing machine monopolized my time.
20. How do you see the future of your sewing career?
I would like to teach for a few more years than spend the remainder of my time possibly writing books or creating online classes. Hopefully in the future I will be stitching for grandchildren.
21. What do you do to recharge your creative spark?
When I feel a need to recharge, I gather together my “stitching” friends or another embroidery teacher and share an afternoon of friendship and creativity. I find great pleasure in their company; that allows us to sneak in a few stitches on some long neglected projects!
22. What technique still can’t you get the hang of........ ?
23. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am most of proud of having the privilege to share my knowledge and love of needlework with others. Hopefully my students will learn something they can carry on to future projects. Often times I learn many valuable things from my students!
24. What is the biggest enemy to your creativity?
My biggest enemy to my creativity is time! There is never enough of it! I would love to find the time to do more experimentation, stitch more projects and refine new skills.