love My life in stitches
If you read my "About Me" page then you know a little bit about me and my artistic side already. What you don't know is that I bought my first sewing machine at the age of 24. We had only just moved to Aurora, Colorado when I found an ad in the newspaper that a local hotel was having a "Singer School Model Sale". I am not sure why I decided that I needed a sewing machine. Maybe it was because we had been living in an empty apartment for a few weeks and all of my art supplies and stash were in our "Slow Move" and would take months still to get here.
Inspired by all the awesome fabric stores in the United States I had decided I wanted to make quilts. Because that is the American thing to do when you move here right?! I think I paid $150 for my first machine, which was a LOT of money for us. I was so excited! I taught myself how to sew and to use the machine. From that day forward I was hooked! I started visiting little fabric stores on my lunch breaks and my collection of fabrics, that I don't really need but will use one day, started growing. I started making quilts as gifts for all my friends and family members. Back then I was making traditional quilts but quickly became bored with those. I discovered 'art quilts' one day and never looked back. Inspired by incredible magazines like 'Quilting Arts' I started making my own art quilts. All the while I am still collecting every kind of fabric or swatch of curtain I was drawn too. During these first few months I started venturing out on my own to discover Denver and somehow stumbled onto Broadway Boulevard, to be specific the area where all the second hand stores and antique markets are. WOW, talk about awesome! My art supply closet has now moved into its own room as I am finding vintage beads and buttons, vintage linens and handkerchiefs, old picture frames and everything in between! I had never worked with fabric before in my college days but now I was itching to bring all of these items together and make 'stuff'. Some of the first things I made, beside quilts, were Christmas stockings. I approached the stocking the same way as I did an art quilt, but then quickly take it another direction by personalizing it by adding everything that I thought would look good. I never really had a plan, all this happened intuitively. I had made two stockings, one for my husband and one for myself, when somehow people started noticing and are asking if I would make them one too. Winter socks by Karin Winter is now born! (You will see several detail pictures of my Wintersocks below!) I opened my own Etsy shop and I started selling my stockings. At this point my Singer has been my loyal sewing machine but I felt like I needed to kick it up a little bit. I went to a local sewing machine store, totally random find, and found the Pfaff Tipmatic 6122, made in Germany. Oh wow this machine sews fabric like butter spreads on an oven fresh roll, the sound of it is like a content cat purring in your lap: I need to have this machine! The cost of it was astronomical: $600. That might not sound like a lot now, but back then it might have well been $6000. I promptly become 'more American' and open my first store credit card and then diligently paid that card off in 6 months! It has been 15 years now and I still have my little Pfaff! I love my machine, best purchase ever! Although I have my eyes on newer machines like the Bernina Cotton & Steel 350 SE (Bernina if you are by chance reading my blog.....) my trusty old "Made in Germany Pfaff is sewing just fine!
A few years into making Wintersocks I somehow stumbled onto ATC's, Artist Trading Cards. MIndblown! ATC's are small cards four by 3 inches that artists like myself make their own by painting, writing, drawing or whatever it is that artists do on them! I see this as a great way to experiment with my fabrics and started making fabric ATC's. I join a web club and start trading my ATC's with other artists all over the world! This was such an exciting time. Not only was I collecting art of artists I looked up to and admired but I was also spending more time making my own art again. Something I had been missing since my College days. One day I decided I could make little fabric portraits of pets. They were trading like 'hot-cakes' when the magazine I had admired for years Quilting Arts came calling! They had seen my Fabric portrait ATC's and wanted to know if I could make bigger sized portraits for an upcoming magazine article! "Uhh, YES, I can make this!", I replied immediately, not knowing if I actually could. I spend a few weeks working on my 8 by 10 sized portraits and submitted them before my given deadline. Now I wait as I am wondering "Are my portraits good enough?" "Will they like my work, or is going to be sent back to me with kind regards?" After a few months of waiting; the suspense was killing me, my first check came in the mail accompanied by the August/September 2008 issue of Quilting Arts with my Little Blue Bird gracing its cover! What a humbling and incredible experience.
Since 2008 I have continued making my fabric portraits, I also continue to make Wintersocks as my family continues to grow. 'Old' Wintersocks are now being replaced by new Wintersocks; all of my kids have the option of asking me for a specifically themed Wintersock as they get older, because "Who wants to have a 'baby' Christmas stocking?" Just this last year I replaced my son's 'boring' penguin stocking with a panda and animal inspired stocking and my youngest son has requested a Wolf stocking. My daughter didn't have a stocking until she was 4 years old as I spent years making hers. Now when I see my first little stocking (literally and figuratively as my stocking are becoming larger every year) hanging next to my newer ones on the mantel each Christmas, I remind myself of how far I have grown as an artist and that I really need to make new ones for my husband and I. Over the years I have made fabric inspired gifts for many of my friends and family. I have made fabric journals, portraits, christmas tree skirts, pillows and random other items, I was also featured in more magazines as I continued writing articles. As my life became busier while taking care of my family I had less and less time to dedicate to my art. I have long since stopped making ATC's but my hands are itching again and as all my kids are now in school full time I am setting my trusty old Pfaff Tipmatic back up on my desk again. I am excited to start creating new art, I will have new pieces for sale in my Etsy shop (currently empty) and I am available to take on commissioned projects. Thank you to all my friends and family who have supported me over the years and to everyone who has purchased my art! I am very excited to create new pieces in the months and years to come!