Today we have another contributing designer interview from Fa la la la Felt: 45 Handmade Holiday Decorations. Cathy from The Daily Pincushion has a series of projects in the book, including the Paisley Power Stocking which we’ll share as an exclusive download… Next!
Sew,Mama,Sew!: What project(s) do you have in the book?
Cathy: First I’d like to thank Amanda for finding me on Etsy. The book is so wonderful. I’m so proud to be part of it! Some of my projects included in the book are Felt Flora Ornaments, the Beaded Tassel Drops, Merry Little Ornaments, Mini Stockings, Stitched Gift Tags, The Paisley Stocking and the Jester Stocking.
SMS: What do you like about working with felt? Do you work with felt a lot?
Cathy: I started working with felt (as an adult) again as a therapeutic thing. I was a chef for 25 years. It’s a hot stressful job and to relax after a long week I would sew doll clothes out of felt. The warm dry feel in my ragged over-washed hands was soothing and the little felt projects were contained to a portable sewing basket I could take anywhere. So when I retired and found Etsy, I took my love of small felt projects and turned it into a business. I still gather my projects together in my design studio and take them to a comfy spot to sew. (Right now I am just hooked on Stephen Fry’s” Kingdom” on Hulu.com)
My favorite things about felt are the huge variety of color, the texture and versatility. You can fluff it, iron it, shrink it to make it thicker and it can be faded or over dyed, textured with a press and so much more. There is eco felt you can wash, felt made from 100% Merino wool and my favorite – wool blend felt. I like the blend because it is both soft and strong. I love carrying it in my shop and it’s such a great product that people love. All that said – I’m kind of a purist. I love my bright colors and clean cuts. It’s a clear background for the thread. The thread is the Jazz riff that livens up everything. It makes two colors sing well together and other colors to harmonize. So between the various stitches and thread colors and felt colors my little pincushion sing a happy song.
Cathy’s Paisley Stocking project.
SMS: Do you have a favorite, go-to holiday decoration?
Cathy: I don’t think I will ever get used to Christmas in Florida after growing up in the northeast but we try. My all time favorite is Evergreen garland. We use it indoors across all the drapery rods and around the front door. We string them with lights and weave in some berry vines and the house just glows and the evergreen scent fills the house with Christmas.
SMS: Do you have a favorite family holiday tradition?
Cathy: Starting right after Halloween and going through New Years is the busiest time for The Daily Pincushion, so putting up the garland is the best way for us to have everything about Christmas and not miss the tree. Another tradition we don’t skip are the stockings. Over the years we have all made or found wonderful personal Christmas stockings. They bring back warm family memories and help us create new ones. My Mom and I share a love of cooking, so every year I make or buy a special handmade stocking and fill it with lots of Italian specialty items from the Gourmet food shops. We always have something to talk about when she uses something in a new way or remembers something from her own childhood.
SMS: How about a must-do holiday project or gift that you return to, year after year?
Cathy: We as a family always crafted. I remember Angels made from Ivory Liquid bottles, styrofoam balls, pipe cleaners and glitter. My all time favorite was the salt dough that you baked. We must have made hundreds of Christmas ornaments out of that stuff. I loved painting them too. I would get quite carried away with detail. I treasure those times. I learned so much about my own abilities that I think it really helped me later in choosing a career and I learned to keep crafting in my life as a balance as well.
The future holds some interesting things for The Daily Pincushion. We will have our website open soon- thedailypincushion.com and we will be at “Rock the Stitch” in Delray Florida in October. At The Daily Pincushion on Etsy we will have some more kits and new pillow designs in time for Christmas.