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


  1. A great feature of one of my favorite people.

  2. Excellent! I'm pretty impressed by jewelry too, I never can get it to come out right when I try it. Yet I still buy beads....