Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Interview with Jamie from Suenosdejmi

Here's the next amazing fiber artist in my regular feature. She is another one of my fellow Etsy Off the Wall Ladies so you never know what you'll hear from her next.

Meet Jamie of SuenosdeJmi

Where are you from and where are you now?

I'm actually from where I am now, small town east Tennessee. I was born in the same city I'm living in now, but I grew up about 2 hours north of here near the VA border.

How did you get started working with yarn?

There's always been someone in my life who works with yarn. My mom and my paternal grandmother both crocheted when I was little, so I've known how to crochet for as long as I can remember. I crocheted randomly through my childhood and teenage years, and then picked it back up again about 4 years ago. I was in college at the time, and two of my weekly classes were at night, so I started making scarves in class. And before I knew it I was knee deep in yarn and scarves, and I found my way onto Etsy from there.

What inspires you? What inspires your work?

I'm inspired and uplifted by a lot of things. Sunsets, a gorgeous cloud-filled sky, wind, rain,, poetry, those life insurance commercials where there's a chain of people helping each other. When it comes to crafting, color inspires me more than anything. I love to get the brightest colors I can find, and then mix them together to see what happens. I really enjoy mixing colors that others wouldn't mix, and it's rare that I'm displeased with the results. I often find myself trying to capture color patterns I see in other places, like a fall centerpiece or a colorful set of summer plates.

What pieces in your shop are you most proud of and why?

Lately I'm really proud of my knitting. I only learned in August after several unsuccessful attempts over the last few years, and I've had a blast exploring this new craft. I recently used colorwork to put text in a pair of gloves, which was really neat! I only have a few knitted items right now, but there are several more coming.

What handmade items do you admire or want to try making?

I really lust over yarn that's handspun or handdyed. Spining is still quite a scary concept to me, but I have plans to experiment with my first overdyes in the next few weeks. Those yarns will find their way to my shop as something soft and rainbow colored, and I'm really excited about that. Eventually, I would like to have a small line of handdyed yarns for sale, but I'll have to get tired of keeping it all first, and that might take a while!

I also really admire people who are skilled seamstresses, because I'm definitely not one, and I love some of the gorgeous sewn things I find on Etsy!

Rainbow Wool Fingerless Gloves

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Here's the next amazing fiber artist in my regular feature. She is one of my fellow Etsy Off the Wall Ladies so you never know what she'll come up with next.

Meet Gini from happyKATT

Chicago Triangle scarf/neck warmer

Where are you from and where are you now?

I'm originally from Iowa and I still have a good deal of family there but my immediate family moved right after I was born. I still like to say I'm from Iowa though. Somehow it seems more interesting than saying I'm from here. "Here" happens to be the great city of Chicago, where I have been for the last 20 years, right down the street from Wrigley field, which is both good and bad!

How did you get started working with fiber/yarn/fabric?

Well, I started knitting when I was five. I always say my mom taught me to knit to get me out of her hair! She denies it. I've been knitting off and on ever since but it wasn't until about ten years ago when I walked into a local yarn shop that I became addicted. Until then, believe it or not, I didn't know really nice yarn shops existed. I had never worked with alpaca, silk, mohair or anything other than cotton or wool/acrylic blends. Once I discovered really lovely yarns I just could never get enough.

As for fabric, that was a totally different story. My mom and my sister were both amazing seamstresses but I never had the patience for it. I didn't understand the whole concept of sizing patterns to make them fit but, when I started knitting cardigans like a mad woman, I began to get really frustrated that I couldn't find the right clothes to go with them so I started looking at patterns and eventually became a much better seamstress. It wasn't until I read an article on Amy Butler, in a knitting magazine, that I really fell in love with the fabrics. Now it's almost always about the fabric for me-the color, the drape, the sheen.

What inspires you? What inspires your work?

Inspiration is a difficult thing to define but I think I'm always inspired by color. Color brings so much life to a person's face. I can honestly say there isn't a color I don't like. I don't like solid black but I'm not sure that counts as a color.Style wise I'm inspired by old vintage things. I love anything old! (Yes, Grandpa, that includes you!) I love the swingy, feminine styles of bygone years and I think we're missing that in our society sometimes. You know, now it seems like women's wear is either completely functional or completely sexy and that leaves a huge void. I think there's something really awesome, sweet and even subtly sexy about the idea that my grandmother did the laundry and grocery shopping in a dress!

What pieces in your shop are you most proud of and why?

As corny as it sounds I'm actually really proud of everything in my shop! I'm a Virgo which means two things 1) I'm highly self critical and 2) I'm a perfectionist about my work. The sewn items are probably my favorites right now, just because it's been a bigger challenge for me. I like a challenge (that Virgo thing again) and I like being able to expand my range of creativity. It took me twenty years to learn to crochet and finally one day I just sat down with a book and said "I will learn this, I cannot be beaten by crochet!" That's how it was with sewing too. I just couldn't stand not being able to do it right.

What handmade items do you admire or want to try making?

I really admire jewelry-all sorts of jewelry. I don't understand the process there and I find it fascinating that people can pick out tiny little beads and bobs and vintage bits and mix it all together and come up with something really beautiful and unique. I love that-but, no, I don't think I would want to try it myself, I'm obsessed enough as it is and there isn't room in my house for one more stash!

retro early 60's full skirt-blue stained glass print

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February OWLS team Challenge Vote

So this is my official get out the vote blog post. The Etsy OWLS team is having a February Challenge with the theme Love Gone Wrong. Why? Because we're Off the Wall Ladies!

Seven members of the team have posted items in our shops with the monthly theme. Our team blog has photos and links to each entry along with a poll to vote for your favorite.

So for goodness' sake do your civic duty and go over there and vote today!

Hint, be sure to read the item descriptions over on Etsy, I think my description is the bomb.