snapdragon studios top 10 with…kay whitt

we’ve asked some of our favorite designers and bloggers the same 10 questions….5 relating to business and 5 of a more personal nature (wink, wink, nod, nod).  we’ll be sharing their responses each week, so be sure to check back on fridays to catch them all.

first up is kay whitt of serendipity studio.  I first met kay at quilt market in 2009 and fell in love with several of her patterns which I promptly carried home.  this year, Elizabeth and I had the opportunity to visit with kay at spring quilt market.  she was warm and supportive…..and wearing a willow tunic that had us both drooling

Willow Embroidered 1Adjusted Blog


What has been your greatest professional challenge and how has it affected you and your business?

My greatest professional challenge was learning the computer software that I use for drafting my clothing patterns. It was a BIG learning curve and I am proud that I stuck with it. I don’t think you can ever say that you have mastered anything, as I always feel I am learning something every time I sit down with a new sketch and work on translating it into actual pattern pieces. This process is the most challenging and fulfilling of anything that I do for my business, and I love that I still get a rush when a design comes together the way I envisioned it originally.

Who or what has been your greatest inspiration? And your biggest distraction?

My greatest inspirations are all the wonderful fabric designers in our industry. Their work drives the design side of my work. A gorgeous piece of fabric can send my brain into creative overdrive on all the possibilities of what it can become! I do love that part of the work.

I would have to say that my biggest distraction can be getting bogged down in details and trying to do too many things at once. This is where I have to stop down and make a list, then prioritize it to keep myself from feeling overwhelmed.

What has been the most surprising outcome of your creative journey?

The most surprising outcome has been all of the wonderful opportunities that have come my way just by doing what I love. I never dreamed I would get to write books about sewing or be on television with Nancy Zieman and Ellen at Sew it All! If someone had told me years ago when I started the business, I wouldn’t have believed them.

Is there one project that will always hold a place in your heart? Why?

I think the one project that will always hold a special place in my heart is the Kendra Skirt. it was the very first design that I published from my clothing design software. It represents a kind of triumph for learning how to use the software and making it a reality in my work. It has done so much to change the landscape of what I do. I look back at that skirt (which I designed in 2005), and think about how far I have come with the ability to use the software to draft anything I can dream up!

What’s next? Where do you hope to be in 5 years? 10 years?

I am thinking through the ideas for book #4!! Hopefully, I will have something to show for that to my publisher before too long. I hope to still be designing 5-10 years from now. Who knows what the future holds? I always try to keep an open mind and let the opportunities present themselves. It keeps the work exciting!

Tara Birds Blog

On the personal side:

 What’s your favorite way to spend a day off? Any guilty indulgences?

I love to spend a day off doing whatever hits me. That may mean that I get outside and work in the garden (we grow seasonal vegetables and flowers), or it may mean that I get out my crochet and knitting needles and work on a project that isn’t remotely related to my work. I love keeping my hands busy! I also love hand embroidery and counted cross stitch on linen. It is fun to follow someone else’s instructions for a change. I guess my guilty indulgence would be to sit around on the couch on a lazy day and eat junk food and watch a sappy movie. I love old movies…Audrey Hepburn is one of my favorites!

Where would you travel if you had no restrictions on time and money?

I would love to go to Europe and tour many of the countries there, such as Italy, the south of France, Germany, and Switzerland. I love great food and wine (thus the reasoning for Italy and France), as well as beauty in nature. I would love to visit Germany and Switzerland as this is where my dad’s family originated. It would be great to visit those places and make a further connection with my family roots.

How to you balance work/home/family/everyday life? How does your family deal with all the demands on your time?

I am good at balancing life and work most of the time! I work when I need to and find that staying organized is key. I like to get work related issues taken care of during the day so I can relax in the evenings and have some down time. I am lucky to have a very supportive husband who helps me with the technical side of the business (accounting and website work), so that is a tremendous help to my workload!

What’s a typical “day in the life” for you? Are you a morning person or a night owl, all work before play?

I turn on the computer first thing and take care of any questions and orders that have come in from the evening before. I then turn my attention to the work of the day, which can be anything from organizing inventory to creating and working through new designs. It really depends on the time of year and if I am gearing up for market with a new collection or just taking care of day to day demands of running a business. I prefer to get my work done before play so I can really enjoy it! I tend not to be a night owl….this girl needs her sleep to be the most productive!

What’s your favorite rant? What’s your soapbox?

I would say that my biggest rant is about management of time. I hear people say time and time again that they would sew or participate in other hobbies if they “had time”. My philosophy is that you make time for the things you really WANT to do, and I believe it. If it is important to you and makes you feel fulfilled, then you’ll carve out time to do something, even if it means you only spend 10-15 minutes a day on that one thing.


And for a little Extra Credit!!

What is your most hated chore, and how do you handle accomplishing it?

I despise laundry! I will let it pile up until I can’t stand it any longer and then do a marathon of loads, fold it immediately, and get that stuff put away!

TP….roll over the top or from the bottom?

From the top, of course! I am not an animal! LOL!

Jade Applique Blog

kay, we LOVED your answer to that last question!!  thanks for playing along.

be sure to visit kay’s blog for lots more beautiful pics of her designs.

kim and elizabeth


2 thoughts on “snapdragon studios top 10 with…kay whitt

  1. I was wondering if you ever do sew along’s with any of your patterns. I have cut out and am going to make the Summer Jazz dress and wondered if you would consider doing a sew along on it and also The Market Day Tunic. I just thought it might make the sewing up of it easier.

    • We’ve talked about doing a sew along and weren’t sure if there would be interest or not, so I’m glad you asked! We’ve got a lot going on the blog in September, but maybe we’ll aim for an SJ sew along to coincide with the release of the long sleeve pattern? I know I’ll be making one for winter with the sleeve, so it wouldn’t be hard to do a sew along. We’ll keep you posted! -E

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