Staff Spotlight: Kay Hersh

Today’s Staff Spotlight focuses on our beloved Kay Hersh. Kay has become an indispensable member of the Thimbles family, but she wasn’t always part of our staff. We first knew her as a Thimbles customer! Most notably, before she moved to our area, she would assert that one day she would come back to Lockport and work at Thimbles. You should always take Kay at her word, because she did just that! And now we can’t imagine life without her.

Kay is our resident serger expert. Last month when we celebrated National Serger Month with a post all about simple projects you can complete on a serger machine, Kay stepped up and designed a class for students to make aprons on sergers. She’s quick on her feet, always knows all the quilting trends (she attends Quilt Market with the Travel Guide), and has happily succumbed to O.Q.D. (Obsessive Quilting Disorder). 

Kay Hersh in serger apron

We love Kay, and it’s hard to imagine what we’d do without her. We hope you all have a Kay in your lives, but if you don’t, you can always come find her at Thimbles!

What was your first experience with hand crafting?

I’ve been crafting since I was very little. My sister and I hand crafted all kinds of things with the help of our mother. We made papier mache, we painted, we drew. Crafting by hand has always been a passion and a wonderful outlet for my creative impulses.

When did you learn how to sew?

I don’t remember exactly when I learned how to sew, but my mother was always a great sewist! I remember watching her sew on a sewing machine and knowing I wanted to do what she was doing—but I never had free reign of her machine when I was really little.

Who taught you how to sew?

My mother taught me the basics, but I learned most of my skills by just trying things out and practicing. 

What machine do you work on at home?

I work on a Babylock Destiny, Bernina 480, Babylock Evolution for serging, and Babylock Euphoria for cover stitching.

What is the one tool you can’t live without?

Tools are one thing—you can work around not having certain tools—but the one thing I couldn’t live without is my work friends. They inspire me! I feel pushed in new and exciting directions every day I come to work. Without them, I couldn’t grow as a sewist.

What’s your specialty at Thimbles? The one thing everyone turns to you for?

Folks mostly turn to me with serger questions. I love working with my serger and am always exploring how I can use it to make new things. And clothes—I make a lot of garments, so people usually turn to me for garment and fit questions. Making clothes and working on a serger go hand in hand, so it makes sense. 

Why do you love working on a serger?

I love working with my serger and cover stitch machine because it makes garments look professional. Seams are neat, tidy, and strong when you serge. Sergers are great for knits as well as woven materials. When you serge a knit, it keeps the stretch. Sergers are just so versatile! Many people are afraid of their sergers, but you just have to experiment and practice. There is a bit of a learning curve, but in the end it makes sewing so fun and easy. 

What do you do in your free time?

Well DUH, I sew! But I also really enjoy swimming, walking my pups, and working in the garden.

My hubby Neil and I have been married for 35 years. He is my best friend and soulmate. We have three children—two girls and one boy. And two lovely grandsons, with one on the way. My life is full in so many ways!

What is your favorite thing you’ve ever made?

Usually, it’s the thing I’m currently working on. I find that I’m most passionate about the project that’s on my machine at the moment—you have to fall in love with what you’re making if you hope to finish it, right? I love the Aria Buttondown Shirt pattern from Love Notions. I liked it so much the first time around that I just finished another one with short sleeves (both below). I know I’m going to get a lot of wear out of both tops!

What is the best sewing or quilting advice you’ve been given?

Don’t sweat your mistakes! I learned how to sew by doing, and mistakes were inherent in that process. Every mistake I have made taught me a valuable lesson I could apply to my next project, and that’s experience and knowledge you can’t put a price on. And most of all, have fun!

Thank you, Kay, for indulging us and providing some insight into your process. To see more of Kay’s latest projects, you can follow her on Instagram at @mama_hersh. If there’s anything you’d love to learn how to craft on a serger, or a garment you’ve been dying to make, let us know so we can strategize some fun classes with Kay!


Like this post? Pin it!