“Katie has a reputation of being an adventurer and an inspiring entrepreneur.”
We asked Katie to answer a few questions to learn a bit more about her, such as how she came to be such a great instructor and what her future plans are in the sewing industry.
Where were you born?
I was born in Hibbing, Minnesota and grew up in my formative years in Palisade, Minnesota. I now reside near Missoula, Montana.
How did you grow up (i.e. in a city, on a farm, raised by wolves, etc.)?
We lived 18 miles from town and we lived on a sawmill. Most of the country where I grew up was wooded with a few dairy farms here and there, but growing up on a sawmill taught me hard work at a young age. Growing up in the country and the outdoors helped me learn to appreciate the land and develop a sense of self-sufficiency, being so far from everything.
When did you first know you wanted to be an artist/designer?
Becoming an artist/designer found me…but I learned to love the passion that comes with it very quickly. Being able to find new and easy ways of doing things to get the most professional result was what I was known for. I was known as the girl who could take something complicated and present it in a way that everyone can understand and remember.
How did you get started in the sewing/textile Industry?
I started hand embroidery with my grandmother’s tutelage when I was 9 years old. I learned to love color and creating perfect stitches. When I was 12, I was introduced to sewing on a sewing machine. Mom came home with a new machine from the local county fair and I was immediately drawn to all the dials, buttons, and sounds. My Mom wasn’t a sewer, so I latched on to the home-ec teacher for direction…that’s all it took…I was hooked! I was sewing my own clothes through Junior and Senior High school. Before you knew it, I was taking every possible sewing class, reading every book, and eventually teaching from my own “school of hard knocks” and experimentation! I NEVER dreamed I could make something without a pattern, I felt so dependent on them…and now I LOVE designing them for others…
Do you have any professional training or are you self-taught?
I went to DeVry Institute in Phoenix, Arizona when I was 25 years old and received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Information Systems. I was the “old” person in class at that time. School went year-round, so I was able to get my 4 year degree in 2 ½ years. Upon graduating, I had my sights set on being an entrepreneur and started my computer consulting and education firm shortly after. I was reunited with my sewing passion at that time. The first home embroidery machines just came out, along with Windows 3.0 (DOS was the running operating system at the time). I was drawn to digitizing software and the rest is history…I was using my computer degree to help others use their embroidery machines! So, I guess I am more self-taught in the sewing world…
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the creativity of others. I also love sharing knowledge in the sewing industry and did so by co-authoring a book, “Pillow Talk”, several years ago, and by teaching nationally with the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo. I am also an international online educator at Martha Pullen’s educational website as well as a designer for some of their licensing projects. I love digitizing my own designs to coincide with my patterns and love teaching the “new” student how to embroider with success.
We know sewing and textile art aren’t your only hobby. What other things do you like to do to express yourself creatively?
I’m so fortunate to be able to enjoy my passion for sewing as my career at this time. Besides sewing, I love the outdoors and enjoy hunting and fishing. I’m inspired by the colors of nature! I have my private pilot’s license and that surely gives me another perspective of the world. I also love learning and take as many classes on any topic I can to keep my brain active! LOL…as if sewing isn’t enough! I set out to learn at LEAST one new thing each day. In my “spare” time, I enjoy servicing machines as it helps me understand the mechanics of each machine better and allows me to problem solve sewing issues on each brand of machine. There isn’t a machine out there that doesn’t like Sulky products, which in turn takes their project to the next level. In my down time, I enjoy crocheting and cooking (trying anyway)!
How do you come up with your designs and collections?
My designs and collections find me…unless I’m looking for something specific, I’m usually inspired by something I see or if there is a need for a particular project. I get lots of requests for project designs as well. Since I love to educate, my pattern designs focus on techniques, but you get the benefit of a great project once the design is completed! It’s a win-win and you learn something as well! For example, my “Pack it in Series” of classes include a duffle, toolbox, and organizing portfolios. This series of patterns takes you from beginning machine quilting, embroidery, adding hardware, and shows you how to set your machine correctly for a professional project when finished. It focuses on techniques and fine-tuned engineering construction, but you have a nice set of luggage to take to a retreat when you have finished…and you learn skills to take to your next sewing project!
What is your mission statement?
I don’t know that I have a mission statement per say, but I do believe in the golden rule and I do believe the best way to learn something yourself is to teach it! Sharing knowledge, tips, and tricks is my passion. If I am known for a statement, it is that through education, I can take you from home-made to pro-made.
What is your vision for the future?
I hope to continue to do what I love, as this course in life loves me. I would love to write another book, continue online education, and expand my ways of reaching new students – young and old. It’s important to pass sewing skills on to future generations.
What’s your next big project?
My next big project is under wraps…but I know I have lots more patterns to design so stay tuned! You are always welcome to visit my website and drop me a line or see the newest patterns available!
What is your favorite Sulky product? Why?
I have to say, there isn’t a day when I’m in my sewing studio that I don’t use one or more Sulky products to take my project “from home-made to pro-made”. It’s hard to pick one product as I do use them all. As you can see from the project photos, I have a diverse interest and I like using products in ways others may not use them to get the results I want. I love embroidering with Tear Easy Stabilizer. It’s my “go to” stabilizer for machine quilting, channel quilting, and embroidering designs on t-shirts, as well. The “Core Embroidery Skills” classes show you how to create pucker-free embroidery stitch outs!
I love digitizing my own cross stitch designs and Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread gives me such great color matching, as you can see from the “Latte” design below.
I also use Sulky Invisible Thread for the beading by machine that you see. Each bead is sewn on individually using Tear Easy, and stitched in place with Sulky Invisible Thread. I use the invisible thread in the top and bobbin whenever it is used.
For free-standing lace, Fabri-Solvy Stabilizer is my choice for perfect stitch formation and stabilizer removal. The flowered apron uses perfectly matched Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread to coordinate with the fabric colors. I wanted to have the flowers embroidered on the bodice fabric so I digitized the fabric and ta-da! – a custom embroidery to coordinate with the fabric!
I absolutely love Sulky KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive as well. It has just enough hold power to get my projects started and never gums up my needles…it becomes my third hand. Sulky Blendables Cotton Threads add a beautiful layer of movement on the channel quilted purse and top stitching on other projects. When I design my own paper-piecing projects, I like to print the pattern on Paper Solvy sheets. They perforate easily and wash away when my project is done. I encourage you to try my patterns or take a class from me in the future. You will see how I use Sulky products to take my projects “from home-made to pro-made”, and I will be more than happy to show you how to do the same with your projects! I look forward to seeing you soon!