If you're in the market for a project bag--for knitting, crochet, or other crafts, I hope you'll check out Karin Adamczyk's work. She's a skilled seamstress--and phenomenal French to English translator!--and I have had so much fun getting to know her via this interview process (read the full interview below) and a Zoom session. Karin is the creative mind behind SDIVADesigns. Her project bags are thoughtfully designed and I absolutely love her choices of fabric--some whimsical, some classic. I've included some photos of her finished project bags and her sewing process. If you'd like to pick up one of her bags for yourself or someone else, you can find them in the Flock Farm Yarn Shop. Just follow the link. Enjoy!
Interview with Karin
KTS: How did you get interested in sewing and what led you to make project bags?
Karin: My mom gave sewing and knitting classes at a community centre in Montreal before I started school, and I went with her because we had no family in Canada and she didn’t have a babysitter. My parents immigrated to Canada from Germany when I was three. I learned along with everyone else and that’s why I say I have been knitting and sewing pretty much all my life. I dropped both for years because they aren’t things you can do when you have little ones around, but I picked up knitting again about two years ago when one of my friends started working in a LYS. Through that, we formed our own knitting group and we have become very close friends, seeing each other at least once a week most of the time.
One of my friends teaches at Espace Tricot in Montreal, another dyes yarn and another works in a fabric store. We are all involved in more than just knitting. I wanted to sew more again too, and project bags were just a natural development. The idea to make them came to me before the pandemic and I had planned to make a bunch for the Montreal version of Knit City at which one member of our group would have been a vendor. We were all looking forward to it so much, but then it was cancelled.
It took quite a while longer to finalize what style of bags I wanted to make taking input from my friends. Three of my friends gave me fabric after I offered to make them test bags, but it took over a year for me to deliver. I ended up making project bags for all of my knitting group friends saying they would be my guinea pigs and would have to test out the bags. They were very happy to comply! The pandemic hit so we could no longer get together. We did the Zoom thing for a while, which was OK, but that got depressing. In the meantime, my grandson was born so I was busy being a very happy first-time grandma. I still love spending a lot of time with him. That will never change.
KTS: Your project bags are amazingly functional! How did you decide on the design and features to include?
Karin: Being a knitter, I know that we want to have our patterns with us, notions, extra needles, enough room for lots of yarn and the project, a handle to grab the bag and a drawstring closure so the yarn doesn’t get snagged. Since we knit together often, we like to have our bags on a table in front of us and we like to fold down the top so it’s more like a bucket bag. The design of the sweater bag is the result of input from my friends and my own ideas. The sock sack is actually a commercial pattern I purchased, but I made it a bit larger, made the inner zippered divider taller and wider so I could fit my red Chiagoo set in there as well as DPNs and other notions, and I changed the construction because the original was not a finish I liked. I also added the solid colour on the bottom at top for a bit more interest.
KTS: I know you've recently retired from you "day job"--would you care to say a bit more about your career and background?
Karin: I am a freelance translator working from French into English. I am retired, but will still accept a contract here and there if it’s interesting and I have the time. Earlier in my career, I worked as a sales consultant in a few technical fields like industrial cabling where my duties were to determine the correct products for large projects like an aluminum smelter in Bécancour, Québec and the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. I worked through specifications with engineers from Lavalin, Bechtel and other large consulting firms. I learned on the job and am self-taught in most of what I do. My chosen areas of expertise for translation are technical fields, particularly computers. I need to be able to understand what I’m writing about so I can understand what someone is saying in French when they don’t express it very well, which is what I find to be quite common.
KTS: Who inspires you as a maker? Do you have favorite designers, artists, or other craftspeople?
Karin: For one, you. You truly do inspire me. I would not attempt many of the things you do, but you do give me the courage to see things differently and try more. One of the designers I really like is Andrea Mowry because she explains things very well and she always seems patient. I feel that I would like to learn from her if I were a beginner and I like her patterns. I often watch her videos for techniques. She is very easy to follow. There are so many others. Everyone has something amazing to offer and I am constantly starting new projects and even new crafts. There just isn’t enough time to do everything.
KTS: What are your plans for 2022 and/or the future? Anything new on the horizon?
Karin: I have already started on something new-to-me and that’s quilting. I have two specific projects I have started. One is a big secret because it’s a Christmas present for someone very sweet. All I have done so far is to decide on the fabrics and design, but it will be fun. The other is a long-term project which is similar to something one of my friends is making--English Paper Piecing. I will start with something small for my first project, but who knows. I often get carried away!
Also, my sister will be visiting from South Dakota with her daughter-in-law this summer and she will be bringing her e-spinner so I can try it. I think I would really like spinning and this will give me a chance to try it out. Uh-oh! This empty nest is already not empty at all!
KTS: Where can yarn-lovers find you online?
Karin: Instagram @sdivadesigns
My store is at https://sdivadesigns.myshopify.com/
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org