Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Instant Heirloom: Corinne of September House

I came across Corinne's work recently and she's really inspired to think more about embroidery, which I have occasionally tried over the past year. I'm thinking that with my next quilt, I'm going to try to incorporate some more intentional applique or embroidery. Her use of texture and shapes make her work feel incredibly tactile, even through photos. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to see a piece in person. Here's more from Corinne about her work:

Name: Corinne McHie
Online: SeptemberHouse.etsy.com Blog: soseptember.blogspot.com
Location: Omaha, Nebraska

Tell me a little bit about what you make.
I design and stitch embroidered pieces. I also design embroidery patterns.

How and when did you learn to embroider?
I was lucky enough to grow up with a crafty mother who would buy her daughters cross stitch kits, latch hook projects, embroidery floss for friendship bracelets (remember those?) – whatever interested us at the moment. The purchase of these items usually came with some instruction or at least encouragement from her. So, she not only taught me a lot of skills but also inspired me to go ahead and try new things creatively. One of the wonderful things about embroidery is that you can go to the library and check out an instructional book of stitches and get started. You don’t need to invest in any expensive equipment or have a spare room in your home to get going.

Would you call your process traditional or are you doing something innovative in terms of process?
Embroidery is such an old craft and I love being a part of something with a long history. It’s a great feeling to master those same stitches that were taught so long ago all over the world. I do tend to break a few "rules" here and there when I embroider. For example, I use embroidery hoops to frame up a final piece but I never ever use them when I embroider. It’s like any craft I suppose – you just have to do what works for you to get the result you desire.
I love how so many fiber artists are using modern themes and technology in their work and I would love to incorporate more of that into my designs. It’s a pretty exciting time in embroidery and I think we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg as far as innovative use of the medium goes.

Where do you do your work?
I work at home wherever I can find a spot. That is another great things about embroidery – it’s pretty portable. I am hoping to have a space of my own after some home renovation projects are complete and I am extremely excited about that.

Have you had any mentors along the way?
As far as embroidery goes I have a lot of family members that are extremely creative and I have grown up watching them. My mother sews and knits, my father loves woodworking, and my grandmother quilts and embroiders. When I started SeptemberHouse on Etsy I met some fabulous sellers and buyers along the way who have been kind enough to offer advice and encouragement. I can’t say enough about how much that has meant to me and I hope that one day I can return that favor to someone else just starting out there.

How long does a typical project make?
That’s hard to say, as I am pretty bad at keeping track of my time. I work on things here and there whenever I have a chance so I usually don’t know for sure in the end how long it took. I would estimate between 2 and 10 hours depending on the size and amount of detail in a peice.

Where do you find your inspiration?
A friend asked me recently if I see the world in embroidery stitches and sometimes I think I am starting to do just that. Sometimes natural objects have some element to them that is so similar to a particular embroidery stitch that I just have to try to recreate it. One day last Spring my son brought home a writing practice sheet from school and the paper it was on reminded me so much of this natural linen fabric I had. The next thing I knew I was stitching up a kindergarten-style alphabet and turning it into my next embroidered piece.

What are some of your current favorite products that you're selling?
Right now I would have to say the Christmas ornaments. When I opened SeptemberHouse the first items I made were Christmas ornaments so I have an affection for those. I’m most comfortable working on a small scale so those 3-inch hoops are just my size.

Is this your full-time work?
My full-time job is mothering right now but maybe one day.

What do you hope customers experience when they buy your work?
Hopefully the workmanship will show. I am extremely particular about my stitches and have been known to take stitches back out and move them just one tiny fiber over. So, I hope the care I put into it is reflected in the final product. Providing good customer service is something I strive for and, to be honest, is one of my favorite parts of selling on Etsy. I don’t just do it because it’s good for business – I truly enjoy that part of it. I hope customers feel like they are getting the kind of product and service they would never be able to get in a department store because, well, they are.

What's the best part of your day?
I’m an early bird and I typically make sure I have a 2-hour jump on everyone else in the house. I love that quiet time to work on projects or even just get a head start on the rest of the day.


  1. Oh, I just love this. Adding her to my Etsy favorites.