Saturday, April 4, 2015

Kathy Dykstra Tells All!

Today Kathy Dykstra tells us about herself. Kathy will be one of the teachers at the SAGA Chicago Retreat in July. Have you signed up to attend? Visit for more details of the retreat and everything SAGA!

Kathy with fellow teacher Phyllis Brown.
Who taught you needlework skills and when did you first start learning?
When I was about 6 years old, my grandmother taught me to cross stitch on gingham.  My first project was a pink gingham tablecloth.  However, my formal introduction to sewing was at the age of 12 when my mother (a non-seamstress) enrolled me in a 4-H sewing class.  I had an excellent teacher and really took off with sewing after that.

What is your favourite form of embroidery?  
I would have to say smocking - it’s my first love.  Of course, the embroidery embellishments that go with smocking have to be included as a favorite.  :)

When do you find time to embroider/sew?

Whenever I can!  I like to carve out some time each day if possible - even if it is only a short bit of time.

What inspires your designs?  
Just about everything!  Fabrics, nature, vintage clothing and vintage patterns are a wonderful source of inspiration as is Pinterest (so addictive!)
Do you attend classes and workshops as well as teach at them?
Yes!  I enjoy being around others that have a love of sewing, smocking and embroidery.

On average, how long would you say it takes for you to complete a piece, from design concept to end?  

That’s impossible to say as it really depends on the complexity of the design and how much time I have available.  Some projects are begun, set aside as I ponder the challenges, then picked up later and finished.

Do you belong to a sewing guild of any kind?  
I belong to our local SAGA chapter and no other sewing guilds.

Do you smock?

Where is your favourite place to stitch?  

It’s a toss-up between my comfortable glider/rocker in the living room in front of the bay window and the glider/rocker on our 4 season porch.  Both have wonderful lighting and are lovely places to enjoy stitching.
Are you married? Children? Pets?
I have been married for nearly 38 years to my very supportive husband.  We have 4 children - 3 married, and 4 grandchildren.  No pets.
What is your most favourite sewing tool?
 I have lots of favorites and doubt I could narrow it down to one.  LOL!  My prettiest set is a set of three Dovo scissors in a leather pouch that my husband gave me.

What sewing tool do you carry everywhere and why?  
I carry a tape measure in my purse - never know when you will need to measure something.

What other hobbies/interests do you have?
Reading, baking, charity sewing, walking and I’m active in church.

How often do you travel to teach?

As often as I’m asked.  Probably 3 - 5 times a year right now.
Have you a favourite location where you most enjoy teaching?  Any place that asks me to teach is a favorite.  I love sharing my love of sewing, smocking, heirloom and such and love to be with others that have a passion for learning.  I think that sewing women are some of the warmest and most giving people that I’ve met.

Where can we get to see your projects (magazines, stores etc.)?
I have several projects in past AS&E and SB magazines.
What do you do with your completed projects-frame and keep, give away, etc.?  
My projects are primarily children’s clothing.  I have a few closets full of them and give them to the grandchildren as they grow into them.  I make garments for charity regularly and turn them in monthly.

Do you have a favourite colour(s) that you tend to use more than others?  

Definitely blue - any shade of it.

One of Kathy's classes you can take in Chicago.
Of course it is a shade of blue!

Have you had another type of career other than in the sewing area?  
Full time mom, and that was enough for me.  

How do you see the future of your sewing career?
I hope to continue designing patterns and smocking designs as well as teach.

What do you do to recharge your creative spark?  
Sometimes you just need to take a break.  Then I usually peruse my collection of vintage patterns and pictures and that will most often get the creative juices flowing again.

What technique still can’t you get the hang of…….. ?  
I never feel as if my embroidery skills are up to snuff and continue to try and improve them.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?  
I have been so blessed to have had many designs published as well as to be able to teach at different venues.  Those have exceeded any expectations that I ever had.

What is the biggest enemy to your creativity?

Spending time with kids/grandkids does limit my time to be creative and get more projects finished, but I wouldn’t ever call that an enemy as I consider them to be my biggest blessing and the reason that I started this whole smocking/heirloom sewing adventure in the first place.  :)

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