You can always spot a doer from afar. Katherine (Katie) Merisko is a doer, finding great joy and comfort in using her hands, whereby most of us might rest in a semi permanent state of procrastination when it comes to creative home solutions, Katie is churning out project after project and seems really rather quietly unstoppable. From restoring their 1950’s Widbey Island Cabin into a beautiful getaway spot available for rent, and transforming her home from regular shabby to bohemian chic, not to mention her macrame business she manages to maintain whilst mothering her two daughters and working as a speech language pathologist, what comes across is a love of making, using her hands, and endlessly finding ways to enhance both her craft and nurture creativity in her children.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
I grew up in a small beach community called Solana Beach, California and very much still identify myself as a girl from southern California. I now live in Seattle, Washington with my husband and two daughters. For work I am a speech language pathologist who works with the birth to three year old population. I am a person who always likes to create and solve problems. I love to work with my hands. I love to make something out of nothing and to make old new again. After my first daughter was born I started my Instagram account @sewmerisko to share my projects and started getting requests to create items for others which I continue to do today.
Why do you sew?
My mom taught me to sew at a young age. My older sister and I loved sewing from the moment we learned how to do it. We taught ourself how to make pillow cases, doll dresses and hair scrunchies. I love sewing because it is challenging but also calming. Once the machine and I get into a rhythm it’s magic.
What do you like to listen to when you’re working (and why)?
I listen to my playlist titled Chill Vibes that is a collection of songs by artists including Grace VanderWaal, Portugal, the man, Band of Horses, Florence + The Machine, Kid Kudi, Lord Huron and Local Native. This playlist sets the tone for my creative process.
As a child, what was your first encounter and memory of beauty?
The ocean has been an inspiration for beauty for me for as long as I can remember. As a child I loved spending long days at the beach and remember always being in awe of the beautiful sunsets. I continue to be drawn to the ocean and it’s beauty.
Where is home and how does it affect what you do?
I live in Seattle, WA but Solana Beach, CA still feels like my home. I think the laid back, beach and boho vibe are a part of styles I like to incorporate in my sewing projects and things I create.
Name a book that you’ve recently read which inspired you and why?
Our family has a small beach cabin on Whidbey Island. There is a place up the road from our cabin called The Greenbank Store. They have a shelf that you can borrow books and I borrowed the book The Light Between Oceans. At the time I had no idea what the book was about. I read it in two days and found so much peace and released so much pain that I had experienced with my own miscarriage. Stories about human struggle and resilience are so inspiring to me and this book found me at a time I really needed it.
What was the first thing you ever remember making on your own? Tell us about this memory.
My sister and I first made hair scrunchies. I remember feeling like the sewing machine was so powerful and a little intimidating. I loved the feeling of completing a project from start to finish all on my own.
Who are your muses and inspiration?
My girlfriends are incredibly inspirational to me and have been for over 15 years. I have had the same group of girlfriends since I was young. Whether they have a great sense of style, fearless entrepreneur spirits or an eye for design they all have really shaped who I am and who I have become over the past 15 years. I love connecting with other makers on Instagram and I definitely get inspired from ideas on Pinterest.
How do you balance motherhood and the importance of staying creative?
My creative projects are my self care. I make time to be able to do them and prioritize them in my life because I know that I can’t take care of others unless I am taking care of myself. I have also been easier on myself about finishing projects so that I don’t add pressure to the creative process.
Do you have a community of crafters/ makers around you or do you find you are on your own?
I love seeing what the makers on Instagram are creating and going to local craft fairs and markets with handmade goods. I enjoy hosting creative get togethers with my coworker and friends to create more of a community here in Seattle.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
You never know what people are going through and sometimes people with the biggest smiles are struggling the most, so be kind.
What does success mean to you?
I feel successful when my life is in balance. I find success with small achievements that help create balance in my life in my marriage, career, creative outlets and motherhood. I used to think success was achieved by material items, status and title but I have found that those are not the things that make me proud. Success to me is about making things with my hands, making memories that last, being a good role model for my girls and nurturing the positive relationships in my life.
What have you chosen to make out of FS linen and why?
I am making a baby romper with FS Bleached Mid Weight Signature Finish Linen. I have always loved making clothes for my daughters and love the look of linen! I am considering adding an element of macrame to the garment because I love combining textures in the things I create.