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Q&A with Katie Betty of Crafty Crafter

Meet Katie Betty from Crafty Crafter...

When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start?

This is going to sound like a cliche, but I've genuinely been crafting for as long as I can remember. I loved doing art in primary school, learning about new things, different artists, and using new and old materials. I think my first big crafting memory is begging my mum to buy me some clay! I had to give her a full brief on what I wanted to make with it each time I wanted to use it before I was allowed to cut into it, clearly it cost quite a bit but my mum soon saw it was worth every penny. I have a really good memory of doing Cross Stitch that my Grandma has bought me with her one afternoon when I was about 8 or 9. It felt great!  I could see the image appearing before my eyes. Lots of little bits coming together to make something amazing. Admittedly my Grandma's cross stitch was a stunningly intricate landscape and mine was Tigger but I was proud of it nonetheless! I always admired my Grandma's needle work so I felt I was being accepted into the fold when she taught me. In terms of sewing, that was from the age of about 5. My mum taught me to sew on our manual Singer machine. so I was told off a bit for sewing with only one hand when I got to secondary school! As much as I loved sewing I dropped it at school as soon as I could. It was too structured and boring! I took Food Technology instead (Home Economics) as I could be more creative. 

What is your favourite craft?

Omph! What a question. I think it would have to be Jewellery Making. I really like taking random objects and making them into wearable things! Like taking images from magazines and setting them into cameos. I do love my Comic Book Bottle Cap necklace! Second to that would be sewing. It's quick enough for me to stay interested. I really do love crocheting but it takes so long to actually look like what you're making! Though it is very therapeutic.

What was your first sewing project?

With exception to the slipper I made in year 5 (it was so good it went in the display cabinet in the school reception, o yea!) my first proper project would be converting my black flared jeans into skinny jeans. I was big into the rock scene as a teenager, and you weren't anyone if you didn't have a pair of black skinnies! Couldn't afford to buy any so I took a pair of flared jeans, turned them inside out and used my little sister as a tailors dummy. I wore them to death and they lasted me aaaaaaaaages. 

What do you love most about sewing?

Taking something ordinary and making it mine! I have an eclectic taste in almost everything in my life and that certainly extends to my wardrobe. My home growing up was very much a make-do-and-mend household. We didn't throw something away just because it got a hole in it! So my sewing career, if you will, really started there and then evolved into customising my clothing. All band shirts when I was younger were cut for males, so I'd take them in, stuff like that. Now, as a trainee sewist, not only do I enjoy making something truly my own from beginning to end, I really enjoy learning how my clothing is put together. Growing up in a town founded on the cotton industry it's in my blood and I truly have a feeling of closeness with people of the past by learning this most basic, almost forgotten, yet fantastically essential skill.

What made you decide to start blog about your sewing and crafting?

I'm quite open with the fact I have stress, anxiety depression and crafting really helped me through a particularly difficult time. I only ventured out of the house to go to work, I couldn't leave the house to do my hobbies, so I really indulged in my crafting because I could have things delivered to my door and I didn't need to leave the house. I was supporting my partner and I on a part-time wage at that time so I had to be crafty with my crafting (now you can see where my blogger name comes from :D). Then I started work at Minerva and Vicki and I shared an office. We spoke about this a lot, and how I managed to sustain my hobby through this time and my little tricks, and she invited me to be part of the Blogger Network as she thought it was a very interesting aspect on crafting. Unlike the other members of the network I had only just started my own blog so I thought I'd give it a shot! Sharing hints and tips about crafting and learning new skills on a budget. Every body loved it! I didn't think anyone would really bother about things I had to say, but the support I've had is fantastic. I still think I talk nonsense but people seem to read either way!

How are you liking being part of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network?

It's alright, I guess......oh who am I kidding I LOVE it! The highlight of my time as a blogger to date is most defiantly the big meet up in June 2014. I was scheduled to be working in the office that day, so when Vicki and Phil asked me to lend a hand in store on the day I was over the moon! My job was to document the day as the photographer, so I got to see all the workshops, chat with customers and visitors, learn new things, listen to all the talks and I got to meet a lot of bloggers from the rest of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network. It was simply amazing, it was like meeting my heroes and I was not disappointed! What was really fun, was giving the other bloggers a sneak peek in our warehouse. Their faces lit up like kids at Christmas! They had never seen anything like it. It really enforced in me something I'd always sort of knew. That at Minerva, as a blogger and member of staff, I am part of something unique and truly great!

What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?

Super Glue, Seam Ripper, Pliers! 

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?

I'm really enjoying working with Taffeta at the moment! It's really crisp and gives fantastic structure. The way it looks gives a really great finish, but without the slip and slide of some sheer or slinky fabrics that you generally tend to go towards for something special.

What are your favourite yarns to knit and crochet with any why?

Bamboo Cotton! All the way. It's so smooth and lovely. How it feels on the ball is great, and made up the texture is brilliant. You can see it's composition of each stitch clearly and has a slight sheen sometimes that just emits a subtle glow. Lovely. 

What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start sewing and crafting?

Customers. I'm in a very privileged position with my job in that I get to talk to crafters all day, everyday, so I get a great insight into how people are using the products I see everyday. Disney's Frozen gave us a great look into how people worked and improvised with what was on offer. It also gives us opportunity as crafters to use our talents to answer queries and solve problems. My personal favourite was a customer who was making a replica Batman costume! We discussed in great detail exactly which Batman he was working on, the best fabric for this (our faux leather was bob on), and how best to cut the panels to make the most of the fabric. He sent us images of the finished product and it was great and definitely inspiring. 

Are there any other crafts that you enjoy doing other than Sewing?

Jewellery Making is most definitely my 'other' craft. It's taken a side-line as I'm learning dressmaking and enhancing my sewing skills, but I'm constantly thinking "oo, that would look great on a necklace!" 

Are there any other crafts you would love to learn?

I would love to delve into wire work within jewellery making. I have a gorgeous ring that my colleague in the office made and I love that such beauty can be made from such hardy things as pliers and wire! 

As you have inspired many others in the past to start sewing and crafting through your blog and Social Networking sites, what would you say to other potential sewers who may want to give it a try?

As one of my favourite comedians would say, "Gan for it, Pet!". I would recommend it highly. Even if all you learn is to do a running stitch or sew on a button (which is harder than people say, I tell you!), it's well worth it. It's a useful skill in general, but it really boosts your self esteem being able to do these kind of things! It may be considered "old fashioned", but it's a true skill. I personally don't think it's old fashioned, but if you're still unsure, I'm a thoroughly modern person but sometimes you just have to kick it old school! Also, in the event of a zombie apocalypse you're going to be worth your weight in gold if you can make and fix clothing. It's not old fashioned, it's a post apocalyptic life skill!

Could you sum yourself up as a crafter in 3 words?

A Bit Odd!

If you had to pick an crafting item/tool to describe your style of crafting, what would you pick?

A kilo bag of scrap fabric! We had this chat in the office one time, and the laughter that arose when I said this was hilarious! Everyone agreed whole heatedly and I'll always wear my scrap fabric heart on my sleeve ;)

Here are just some of Katie Betty's makes and see all her posts from the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network;

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