Friday, May 29, 2009

Interview with Kathy of Designs by Lisa

Name: Designs by Lisa
Yrs in business: 10

How did you get started & who taught you how to stitch:
In 1985 while my husband and I were stationed in Chicago IL (Navy), my friend Jennifer introduced me to cross stitch so that I would have something to do during the evenings while my husband was at night school. After purchasing a simple pattern and working on it for awhile, I knew I was hooked! I couldn’t put it down, and I haven’t gone without something to stitch since that point on.

Fast forward to 1993, we were now living back in our home state of UT. Wanting to stay home with our two young sons, I found a job stitching models for a company by the name of Vanessa-Ann. I thought I was in heaven. I was actually getting paid to stitch. And stitch I did for them, for 4 ½ years.

Then one day as I sat stitching someone else’s design, I sat there thinking to myself, and then, talking to myself, saying “I think I could do this”…Design that is. And while I never did answer myself (thankfully), I was committed to giving it a try. I had done design work for Vanessa-Ann with silk ribbon embroidery, and always found that enjoyable. The joy of seeing my published work was such a thrill. So, when I started designing cross stitch, there was no turning back. First, I started submitting my designs to county fairs, then state fairs, and then after a couple of years, and several ribbons under my belt, I had a design come back with a note from one of the judges, telling me I really needed to consider marketing them. That one validating remark and winning a patriotic design contest for the magazine “For the Love of Cross Stitch”, gave me the confidence to begin the business.

Where do you find your inspiration?
Living in UT, it’s hard not to be inspired. We live at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, and the great outdoors surround us in every direction. As evident in my designs, I get a lot of influence by the trees, mountains, and critters. Nature is indeed a wonderful playground for inspiration. And of course, life in general sparks all kinds of ideas. My husband, two boys, the dog, family, and friends are always giving me an idea for something, and most of the time they are unaware that they have. Several of my designs represent a time, or event, that has occurred in my life that I chose to depict with needle and thread. What is truly remarkable is when one of those designs touches someone else enough to contact me to tell me about their thoughts, and how it relates to their own life. This is truly the best part of what I do. When I can make someone happy, it’s all worthwhile.

What was your profession prior to becoming a designer?
I was a model stitcher, and a stay at home mom.

How did you come up with your company name?
Contrary to popular belief I did not come up with my name just to confuse everyone. My real name is Lisa Kathleen. I have gone by “Kathy” my entire life…except for those first few days of life. See, my dad was not at home for my birth. My mother had named me, and called me Lisa for several days until my dad came home. Dad wasn’t fond of “Lisa”, so they ended up using Kathy. For my mother…I decided to use the name she had truly wanted me to be called for my business name.

How does your website connect you with stitchers?
My website is a must! It’s very important, I think, to provide stitchers a place where they can contact me directly, get particular details of a design they may be interested in, or to find a shop where they can purchase my designs. It’s also the place where they can check in to see what’s new. I love to hear from stitchers regarding anything about my designs, whether it’s to show me something they’ve stitched, or to point out that I should have put this info, or that info on a chart. Sometimes it takes a second or third look to find an error.

What would stitchers be interested in learning about you?
Hmmm, I’m not sure about this one. I’ve been married for 25 years and have two sons 24 & 22. I also love to paint, tile, and do home renovations. I love to walk into something that needs to be remodeled. Possibly, this type of thing is my second favorite thing to do after cross stitch. As in designing, visualizing what something will look like after you’re done is so much fun. As a matter of fact, my husband and I just finished and moved into a condo that we remodeled. We moved from a very large house that we also remodeled. And here’s a great tip..If you ever want to get rid of a lot of furniture…just move to a place half the size of what you’re in now! Needless to say, our boys ended up furnishing their own house with what we had to get rid of. Oh, and I’m short.

Can you give our members a sneak peek at designs you have coming down the line?
The only sneak peek I have available at the moment is my new design featuring “Mombo”. For those who are not familiar with Mombo, he’s a loveable moose and has his own series. This new title is called “Moose be Independence Day”, and can be seen here on the LTS site under new needlework designs. Or he can be found by going to my website. Right now he’s featured on my newsletter: Anyone can sign up for my newsletter, just email me directly and request that you be added. Only when I have something new does the newsletter go out.

You can also see the rest of the Mombo series on my website.

Favorites of this designer:

What is your favorite design spot?
My office. It sits upstairs with a sliding glass door, so I can look out, see the trees and hear the birds.

What is your favorite thread color?
I tend to gravitate towards neutral nature colors….browns, golds, greens. They’re calming to me.
Favorite count fabric?
28, then 32

Linen or Aida?

Favorite gadget?
I’m an equal opportunity gadget giver. Whatever gadget gets the job done when needed is my favorite at the time.

Favorite organizer?
My floss rings.

Favorite method of stitching?
Stab and poke

What is your #1 MUST HAVE?
That would have to be my stitching bag. Granted, there is always a ton of stuff in it, but as long as I have IT- I’m good to go.

What is your favorite design and why?
Tough question. It’s hard to choose just one. I do think though, that my favorite would have to be “Life’s good, Live the journey”. That one hangs where I see it every day, and it’s like a gentle reminder to not to just “endure” life, but to really “LIVE” it.

Who are your favorite designers and why?
Again, tough question. Of all my years cross stitching before I started designing, I stitched everything under the sun that appealed to me. And believe me, that varied from year to year. My favorite designer was whoever’s design I was working on at the time. But a designer that I really admire today is Cheryl Granda from Glendon Place. I just like her style, and love her WOW (words of wisdom) series. She seems to have an inner peace that comes through her designs. And although, I have never met her, nor stitched one of her designs, I think she brings a great talent to the industry. I think if we were given the chance to stitch everything we wanted to stitch, we would have to live forever!
Anything Extra?
I would like to say thank you to all the shops and stitchers who support me. Please don’t hesitate to contact me regarding anything.

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