. I had moved into a new neighborhood and discovered that another young family was moving in just two houses down. The new neighbors consisted of mom, dad and two little girls, a precocious three year old and a six month old baby with huge brown eyes and deep dimples. Within the month, New Neighbors had invited us to their house for a new neighbor meet and greet. Our families began to mesh at that gathering. At one point in the evening, the little baby became tired and was done with the socializing. For some reason, this fussy little girl wanted me to hold her. Me, a virtual stranger in a room full of relatives. I rocked her and sang to her and took her up to her nursery once she had fallen asleep. After I placed her in her crib, I stood there a minute, gazing upon this sweet little girl. From that moment on, Kristin and I galvanized our Kindred Spirit tendencies. As she grew, we seemed to continue to have much in common: her love of my sons, her frustration with math, her enchantment with working on crafty projects, her quirkiness, her artful leanings- yep; kindred spirits......
So it is with Great Excitement that I help her celebrate the Birthing of Her First Book!!
Partial as I am, might I just say that it is a creative culmination of Kristin's foray into all things sewing, mending and designing. Kris has written a book that is a useful handbook of day to day living. A resource book to be placed next to your cook books, dictionary, thesaurus etc. A worthy tome written by a creative genius.
Recently, I had the opportunity to ask some questions of my old friend. Hope you enjoy the answers and the book......
mamas collection: Kristin, why don't you give my readers some personal background; family, schooling, good neighbors, crafting background etc..
Kristin: Jason and I live in Ames, Iowa on our own little homestead that we've dubbed the 'Little Woods Homestead". We have 2 cats, a dog, 6 chickens, and a ferret. I moved here after graduating from Northern Illinois University in 2008 with my BFA in Oil Painting and working in a great yarn shop called the Yarn Exchange. I had a pretty great neighborhood growing up, you see, we had these neighbors, the Cory's whose house I pretty much lived at. Haha. We had block parties and games of flash light tag. Loads of good times. Camp fires and sandboxes.
mc: What would you say is your favorite crafting?
kr: Does drawing count as a craft? hehe. After that, my next favorite thing is knitting. Love knitting!
mc: When did you first realize that crafting would become your life blood?
kr: About 2 years ago. I was honestly on the fence about continuing with Craft Leftovers and then, bam, I get contacted my a publisher about doing a craft book. How could I say no? It was like a sign from the universe. I love it and now I've fully embraced it!
mc: I read somewhere (!) that you had a Pink Panther stuffed animal as a child and that you crafted clothing and a home for it. So you always thought creatively?
kr: Sounds like you have an insider guide to my childhood! haha. Yeah, I sure did. I remember making him a little robe from some scraps of my grandma's flannel. And then the funniest thing was,I made him little boxers. They even had elastic. It always started with a story, and then I'd make something to tell that story. So like, there were these paper bears I made, and in my mind they should be garden shop owners. So I made them a little seed stand that had all these little seed packets made out paper. So that's still the way I operate. even when it's knitting a sweater, there's some kind of story in my mind behind it.
mc: You recently got married. How has being married improved your creative impulses:
kr: Jason and I have been together for so long now that it really hasn't changed much. There was the wedding and all the crafting that happened with that, but that's a whole different bag of craft from being married:)!
mc: You are raising chickens. As a wannabee chicken wrangler, what advice would you give me? What is the hardest part of this endeavor?
kr: Always make sure your chickens have water -hot or cold weather, they always need it. I'd say cleaning out the coop in the winter is the hardest part. It's cold. They hang out in there more. You get the idea. But really it's pretty easy. Not to toot the horn of my own publisher, but Storey Publishing storey.com, has a great book on raising chickens called " Storey's Guide to Chickens: and it answers every question you'd ever want to know about chickens and is actually a pretty fun read.
mc: When I see that you have designed a knitting/crochet pattern, my mind gets a little bit blown. Can you explain how in the world you do that??
mc: Finally, when all is said and done and you are my age, what do you hope people say about you?
kr: It's a strange thing to think about other people's perception of myself, let alone my future self. I guess I hope that people find me inspiring. That something I've done or said, how I live my life empowers and enriches others. Maybe I even challenge their status quo a bit. Make them think about why they do the things they do. I feel like my book, Craft Leftovers, craftleftovers.com, my non profit, Ames Collaborative Art, amescart.org, are all pieces of that future self.
kr: Okay, so seriously that question about creating a knitting pattern is not magic. Usually, I start with a story - maybe it's the story of a a little tiger cat that has a voice and an adventure, maybe it's my cat Molly who needs a sweater. And I see it in my head, that piece that represents that story for me. Then I draw it out, I usually write a lot about it too. It starts to take on more details - size, colors, shapes techniques used. And then I make it and I take super detailed notes as I make it. For garments there's more math up front. I really wish my high school teacher would have just said, 'Well, you'll use it for making art and writing patterns for garments and sewing" when we all asked that snarky question "what's geometry good for anyway?" And then I make all those notes into something other people can hopefully understand.
To wrap up this discussion, I thought my readers and Kristin's fans, might be interested in seeing our author in her younger days, shopping at our local variety store. This photo was taken by her mama, Kim Roach, good friend and neighbor extraordinaire. Our favorite variety store closed the week this pic was taken, and Neighbor Kim took our children shopping there for all their favorite crafting supplies before the doors were closed for good. I believe Kris was close to four years old. Note the dandy little purse she is carrying. My bet is that there is felt, feathers, art clay, candy and probably a little stuffed animal in her bulging shopping bag.....
Thank you, Kristin, for your amazing, useful book....
Blessing upon you as you pursue your craft.....
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