Jessie asked if she could interview me for her first of a weekly series over at Feeling Stitchy. I was so excited and promptly said yes! I’ve always admired Jessie’s work and figured if she was doing the interviewing then no one would ever get to hear her story. So I took the opportunity to interview her today to learn what makes her tick!
Tell me about yourself, and where you live.
I’m a stay at home mama to Jack, age 5, and Olivia, 7 (and wife to another “Jack”). We live in the suburbs of Chicago with our two fluffy white dogs, Gracie and Lola
What’s one thing we probably don’t know about you?
I’ve always wanted to be in the FBI. Really.
When and how did you first start stitching?
I remember stitching when I was a little girl, like eight or nine years old. I would come home from school and sew or knit.
My interest in embroidery resurfaced when I was pregnant with my daughter. My husband worked extremely long hours, and I was home alone a lot. Stitching was a very satisfying (and super cheap!) hobby.
Do you do other crafty things as well?
I do all sorts of random crafty stuff; My basement looks like an art supply warehouse exploded in it. Right now, though, I’m really into sewing, working on graphic design projects, and photography.
It takes so much time to complete an embroidery project. How much time do you usually spend on a project, and where do you find the time?
I spend hours on each embroidery project, but if I’m really feeling the love for it, I’ll have it finished in a day or so. I bring my embroidery bag with me everywhere, and steal a few minutes here and there – while I’m waiting in the car to pick up my kids from school, while they’re at their sporting events, whatever… I especially like to bring my embroidery with me when I travel (but if you do that, remember to bring a very small, rounded tip scissors or they’ll take it away from you at security!)
Stitching is very creative, yet also very detail oriented and precise. Does it reflect your personality?
Absolutely. I’m a tightly strung individual.
Do you ever rip out stitches to re-do them in a different color or type of stitch?
All the time. If one thread color is bothering me, I really can’t move on without fixing it. I have drawers full of abandoned projects around the house.
Which stitch do you use most often?
I think I use a backstitch most often, but I really like the look of a nice outline stitch. French Knots give me endless amounts of trouble.
Where do you find the patterns you use?
From the Hoop Love Flickr pool, and from my collection of vintage embroidery transfers. There are also a couple of re-issued (new but vintage looking) Aunt Martha patterns that I really like.
Do you have an all-time favorite pattern you’ve used again and again?
Yes, there’s a sweet deer that I’ve used a bunch of times. It’s one of those Aunt Martha’s that I just mentioned. It’s from #3738 – Baby Animals.
What kinds of things do you like to embroider on?
I really like to work on flannel for baby blankies. It’s really smooth and easy to stitch on, and doesn’t require any kind of stabilizing.
Do you ever make anything for yourself?
No. But I wish I did!
Where do you find inspiration?
Flea markets, vintage children’s books, wallpaper samples, and Flickr!
Are there any websites or blogs you visit regularly for creative inspiration?
There are so, so many blogs I visit regularly. There’s a lengthy list of them on the sidebar of my blog.
Do you sell the items you make? And if so, do you have any tips for people who want to start selling their work, either online or at craft shows?
I do sell some of the items I make. I have a shop on Etsy, and have sold at craft fairs as well. The stuff I make fits in better at the Renegade-type craft fairs. I wouldn’t do well at a local craft fair next to someone selling clothing for those outdoor patio geese (Is that just a Chicago thing, or do you know what I’m talking about?)
Etsy is a very user friendly venue for starting out online. Until you have a really solid customer base, I don’t see a point in selling from a private website, because there are already so many people ready to shop for handmade goods on Etsy.
It’s almost impossible to pay yourself for the amount of time you’ll put into making and selling handmade goods. I do it because I love it, but I probably won’t be taking over as the breadwinner in our family anytime soon.
If you could listen to anything while you worked on a project, what would it be?
This American Life on Chicago Public Radio.
Grab your ipod and hit “shuffle” – what song comes up first (no cheating – no editing!)? Okay, do it again – what song? Alright, once more:
1. Vegas, Sara Bareilles
2. Bright Smile, Josh Ritter
3. If This City Never Sleeps, Rosie Thomas
Can you show me a few projects and tell me about them?
I’m really into nature themes right now, hence all of the birds, and the deer, and the mushrooms….
Where can we find more of you ?
Well, I’m guest blogging over at Feeling Stitchy every Thursday, and of course, you can always find me on my own blog at www.sweetjessie.com , and my etsy shop.
Also, a few of my projects in the upcoming book Sweet Booties! Which will be published by Lark Books in January, 2009.
Thank you so much, Heather!!!
Thank you Jessie- it was a treat to get to know you better! Now you’ll have to photograph the lawn ornament clothing, I’ve never seen it but I’m stifling a giggle at the thought!