Monday, June 13, 2016

Kathy Awender

Today we interview Kathy Awender. Kathy will be teaching at the SAGA National Convention in Hampton Virginia. Registration has opened but you can still sign up for classes! Visit for more information on the hotel, classes and more!

Who taught you needlework skills and when did you first start learning?
My mother, aunt & grandmother all taught me different things. My mother always sewed for all 5 of her daughters, and I was very excited when she finally taught me how to use the sewing machine just before seventh grade. That is when I started making my own clothes. My grandmother taught me to embroider and an aunt taught me to knit and crochet.

What is your favourite form of embroidery?
I don’t have a single consistent favorite. I just enjoy stitching, and being able to do a variety of different things with needle and thread means my favorite technique keeps changing.

Kathy teaching at SAGA 2014 Convention, Orlando, Florida
When do you find time to embroider/sew?
I make the time to do all of the creative things that I love. If I didn’t I would be a very unhappy person. I do a lot of handwork at night while listening to the TV, and when I have a day to myself with no interruptions (which is very rare!) I try to take full advantage and use it for stitching. I am also very lucky to have a great group of sewing friends who get together regularly for “sew days”.

What inspires your designs?
So many things! I have been inspired by advertisements, color combinations, and of course by fabric that begs to made into something special. I also have collections of antique magazines, patterns, clothing, hankies and other textiles and I often look to them for inspiration.

Do you attend classes and workshops as well as teach at them? 
I do. I love teaching, but being a student is fun and relaxing. There is so much to learn, and I am lucky to belong to two SAGA chapters that regularly invite teachers to share their expertise.
Garden Fresh- class available in Hampton
On average, how long would you say it takes for you to complete a piece, from design concept to end?
Some things I can finish fairly quickly - a small embroidery piece may just take a few days - but some of the larger projects that I design can take years from the first idea to the finished project. I may have the partial idea floating around for a while before I do anything with it, and then I have to make some decisions before I can start (colors, stitches, etc.). And there are usually adjustments to make when something doesn’t work out as I imagined.

Do you belong to a sewing guild of any kind?
I am a member of two SAGA chapters (Pacific Waves and Sandcastle), and also two quilt guilds.

Do you smock?
I do – I started when my youngest daughter was 2 years old, and have not been too far away from smocking since that time. (she is now 33!)

Where is your favourite place to stitch?
My comfy sofa in front of the TV.

Are you married? Children? Pets?
I have been married for almost 44 years, and am blessed with three children and six grandchildren who all live close enough that I can see them often.
Kathy with a student, SAGA 2014 Convention, Orlando, Florida
What is your most favourite sewing tool?
I love my Dovo embroidery scissors. And for other reasons, after all these years of sewing the most important tools are my magnifying glasses and bright lighting.

What sewing tool do you carry everywhere and why?
I always try to keep a measuring tape in with me. It has come in handy so many times for so many reasons.

What other hobbies/interests do you have?
I enjoy hiking and traveling and I love to read. I can let a good book get in the way of just about anything else I should be doing.
Dimity Dreams- a class available in Hampton
How often do you travel to teach?
Usually just a few times a year.

Have you a favourite location where you most enjoy teaching?
The best place to teach is anywhere there is good lighting and enough space. As far as location, every time I travel to teach I get to visit someplace new and meet new people, and it becomes my new favorite place.

Where can we get to see your projects (magazines, stores etc.)?
Nothing current, but in the past I have had designs published in Sew Beautiful and Fancywork magazines and in the books Ann’s Glory Box and Silk Ribbon Treasures.

What do you do with your completed projects-frame and keep, give away, etc.?
Most of what I have stitched in the last several years has been for class models, which I need to keep, or for my grandchildren.

Do you have a favourite colour(s) that you tend to use more than others?
Not one favorite, but I do tend to work in pastels more than anything. I’m trying to branch out to brighter colors, especially in my quilting.
Kathy helping a student, SAGA 2014 Convention, Orlando, Florida
Have you had another type of career other than in the sewing area?

How do you see the future of your sewing career?
I hope to continue designing and teaching for as long as I am able.

What do you do to recharge your creative spark?
Two things. The first is a leisurely shopping trip (mostly window shopping), especially some place I haven’t been before with unique shops to browse. And I don’t do it very often, but taking a real vacation is always a good refresher for me.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Of course I am most proud of all three of my wonderful children. I am also very fortunate to be invited to teach at various SAGA and other stitching events.

What is the biggest enemy to your creativity?
Time. There are so many things I want to stitch, and I keep adding to the list, but I never seem to have enough time to catch up!

Lullaby Pillowcase -a class for 2016 in Hampton

1 comment:

  1. As a former member of both of Kathy's SAGA chapters, I can attest that she is an excellent teacher with lovely designs. I moved to Colorado, and I do miss my SAGA chapters!