It is a mark of Kate Henderson's skills that I wasn't surprised to read that she made her first quilt at age sixteen. Or that by the same age she was making and selling her beautiful softie toys to shops. As modest as she is talented, Kate's mastery of several different crafts has long been a source of wonder to me as I struggle along just adequately with a few!
She not only designs and makes quilts and softies, she also sews lots of other things including clothes and bags. She dyes, spins, knits and sells her own wool and is also a keen cook and gardener.
Kate's work has featured in books and magazines including the Softies series from Penguin, and she has two successful shops on Etsy (both wickedly named for her three beautiful girls!).
As well, Kate is another mother of twins which in my eyes makes all those accomplishments even more impressive (I'm a bit biased). When we first met over the interwebs we exchanged the knowing look of those who have been blessed with more than one baby at once and bonded immediately. In fact she credits the craft for keeping her sane in those early years. I'm sure I'm not the only one who can relate to that :-)
Kate lives in Bridgetown, Western Australia, she's our first W.A. Show & Teller, and the first for 2011, so please make her very welcome.
Bridgetown in Western Australia
1. Can you give us a short description of your blog/style/work
I mainly sew, but I also dye wool, knit and spin.
2. Why blog? How did you start?
I discovered blogs after my twins were born in 2005. I hardly left the house for the first 6 months of their lives and finding the craft community online really did save my sanity. I started my blog at the end of 2005 thinking it was a great way for family to see what I was up to and pictures of the girls.
I have never been good at keeping journals or diaries, but I like to keep track of what I have done and blogging is a great way to do it.
3. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?My Grandmother was a wonderful sewer and when we visited she used to give us all her scraps, her scissors and needles and thread and we used to make dolls clothes. Then when I was 12 someone showed me how to make elastic top shorts on an old sewing machine my Mum had (but never used - sewing is not her thing). I worked out how to read sewing patterns and pretty soon I was making a lot of my own clothes. I started making toys when I was about 16 and sold them in a shop in Perth. I think I made my first quilt the same year, it was a log cabin. I remember tracing shapes and cutting it out with scissors. I was so relieved later on to discover rotary cutters and mats.
4. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?I am really lucky, we moved house a year ago and we bought one with enough room so I can have my own room. I am not the cleanest and tidiest person when I sew so it is wonderful to be able to shut the door on all the mess. It also means I can sew at night or early in the morning and not disturb anyone.
5. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
I picked 'never enough hours' when I started my blog as there never seemed to be enough time for anything when the twins were babies. When I started to sell things I chose Two Little Banshees as that is what we always referred to the girls as when they were little. I chose One Fat Slug for my yarn dyeing business as that is my youngest daughter's nickname as she really did grow fast as a baby - like a little slug.
6. Favourite media to work in?
I'll try anything. I haven't crocheted for years, but I feel the need to make a blanket and I need to get the gocco out again.
8. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
I'd love to be amazingly organised and have a place for everything, but it is never going to happen. When I am making toys or quilts I need to tip lots of fabrics on the floor and then pick out the ones I need.
9. Favourite handmade, handcrafted item you own not made by you.
Some beautiful doilies crocheted by my great grandmother.
10. Favourite food/recipe?
This week - plums straight off our tree.
11. Favourite colour?Red
12. Star sign?Gemini
13. Favourite place, landscape (not necessarily Australian)?
I taught for 5 years in remote parts of WA. I love the desert and love the colours and the landforms. I spent a week in a beach shack in Jamaica once and often dream about escaping there again.
14. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
Gosh I think I am the last person you should ask, it can kind of be a disaster around here at times. I do have a really supportive husband and without him I wouldn't get anything done.
15. Favourite artists, artisans, crafters?Too many to name, there are so many amazing people who have inspired me.
16. Your favourite thing you've made/written/done.
Probably whatever I did last. I love it more when my girls love what I have made, when they want to drag a toy everywhere they go or wear something I have made them.
17. What do you like to do besides creating?
Hang out with the girls while we read, cook and garden.