The design team of Adrienne Smitke, 28, and Cassie Barden, 32, was created through an office romance. True love was found in their shared passion for contemporary design and fabric.
Both worked–and Adrienne still works–for Martingale & Company, the home of one of the cornerstone publishers from our little corner of the quilt book world. Cassie, the former web manager at the Washington-based pub house, is also the author of The New Handmade: Simple Sewing for Contemporary Style. When she was asked (and it’s never a simple ask–it’s really more of a cajole, praise and whine when you’re approached to do a second book, and you’re always thrilled to even be asked!), Cassie knew that the work involved could render her otherwise useless for the months it would take to create a second book. In comes Adrienne, who is a graphic designer at Martingale, and who shared similar tastes and design sensibilities with her good bud, Cassie:
A: She made me shoulder half of the work.
C: Well, that was my thought. And it definitely had its advantages.
Before you knew it, they’d pooled their hefty stack of designs in the making and started culling through the herd of handmade:
C: We probably had two to three times as many projects as we needed.
A: So we had a brain storm session and started working through them. I felt really good with our final list because we started with such a big list.
And the book, Everyday Handmade: 22 Practical Projects for the Modern Sewist, is big, too. The projects include quilts, accessories and more than one dose of cute fun, so there’s plenty to keep us all busy for weeks.
We spoke to Adrienne and Cassie just yesterday. Cassie was working from home for the day. Adrienne had called in sick, and warned us strongly that with her loopy OTC drugged-self, she wasn’t responsible for what she shared, and that her apartment’s front door was covered with caution tape to prevent exposure. No worries, Adrienne. Looped, or not, speaking with you was pure pleasure!
How did you collaborate on this many projects?
A: We’d do sewing dates.
C: Yep. Bring your laptop and the beer or coffee.
A: And Cassie is really good about emailing pics back and forth.
What are your favorite projects from the book?
C: It’s really hard to choose, and I know it sounds hokie, but I love them all. One of my favorites from Adrienne is the Garden Party Selvage Wristlet. It looks so complicated but it’s so simple to put together. Another one is the Winter Forest Messenger Bag. I’m really proud of that one because it was hard to design. And it’s not super easy to put together. But the results are great!
A: I’m glad Cassie mentioned the Messenger Bag because it’s an awesome project. She made one for Market with laminates, which is great for where we live in the Seattle area. (Think waterproof, people.)
Adrienne said that they are really nice to each other; no fights or unresolved conflicts. Really, we were hoping for some pranks at least, but they sounded solid. Still, there might have been a small crack that started when we talked about what their next steps were to get the book selling.
A: We have a trunk show and shops can get in touch with me. Also, in the website you can contact Cassie. We have a Flickr group and we’d love to see what people make from our designs.
C: And after the holidays, we’re going to post some short technique videos and start a blog.
A: I can’t believe you just said that! It’s committing ourselves to it. (Insert nervous laugh)
C: Okay, so we’re planning on starting a blog after the holidays.
A: We have lots of things we want to do.
Guys, if this batch is as popular as we think it will be, we’ll definitely want to hear and see more from you both. So, we vote for the blog!
On Thursday and Tuesday, we’ll be doing some more fun things with our Everyday Handmade gals. They’ve given us an original project for our next Playdate and then we have a different kind of challenge to mess with for the next couple of weeks. And don’t worry. We know it’s the holiday season and time is short, so we promise our challenge’s results will make a simple and awesome present for the fave stitcher in your midst! Find Cassie and Adrienne at www.handmadeisawesome.com.