Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Review

The above mosaic represents some of my favorite projects from this past year.  They include (in no particular order): winning a major contest, completing my oldest UFO, making a quilt without a pattern, using some of my most favorite fabrics, being published twice in Quilty, working with Ann Kelle, selling my first commissioned quilt, participating in charitable sewing, making an item of clothing for my daughter, and participating in online activities/linkups and QAL's.

I finished 23 quilts this year and did a whole lot of other types of sewing, including overcoming my fear of zippers, I rekindled my love for cross-stitch, and I finished almost all of my UFO's.

To review this past year, I thought it would be fun to answer most of the Sew Mama Sew Reflections and Projections Series Questions:

  • Looking back on 2013, what trends stand out?

Quilters have been using background fabrics besides the "safe" choices like white, snow, and grey. Examples include BadSkirt's ABC quilt, and Stitched in Color's Red Stars quilt.  Fabric companies are churning out basics in a major way with multiple hues of Pearl Bracelets, Allison Glass' Sunprint lines, Art Gallery Square Elements, and the most recent Free Spirit True Colors collections.

Informal QAL's were all the rage in 2013 - from the X Plus, Scrappy Trip, Missouri 16-Patch, and Marcelle Medallion- everyone was sewing along together without fixed schedules or prize incentives.  The hunt for out of print fabrics seems to have died down, perhaps people are more content with the constant and diverse offerings that wasn't as omnipresent 5 years ago? 

  • Was there a personal or an industry high point?
My personal high points: my daughter loves, and is clearly attached to her quilted blanket.  Now if only I hadn't used so much white!  It gets dirty fast.  It's been nice to have ended my term in BMQG leadership and participate as a regular member.  Finally, I am loving my new sewing machine- I am using a lot of the "fancy" features my old machined didn't have and it's sewing like a dream.  

  • What did you make that you’re most proud of?
I am pretty proud of the Harry Potter quilt I made for my sister.  I found a tasteful way to use a panel with materials I had on hand.  The thrifted star blocks were perfect for this project.  Good or bad, it's helped my justification for hanging onto things because you just never know when such random things will be useful.  It's definitely not the most challenging or "beautiful" thing I made this year, but I am happy with the way I used a very challenging fabric (the panel).  

  • Whose work inspired or awed you?
Jolene at Blue Elephant Stitches makes my jaw hit the floor every time she posts. Two of my favorites from this year are here and here.  I also cannot stop thinking about the creation of my real life friend, Natalie, who just won the modern category for the Double Wedding Ring Challenge.  

  • What was your favorite fabric collection or print?
I thought I was over Lizzy House fabrics after making the rainbow quilt with her fabrics, but Constellations won me over once I saw its saturated, deep and dark colors that are so different from the average floral fare we are inundated with.  That being said, I still love a good floral and have to give a shout-out to Joel Dewberry's Bungalow collection.  I don't have any of it myself, but Rashida Coleman Hale's Koi collection is gorgeous and unique too.

Joel Dewberry Bungalow
Here's a picture of some of my favorite individual prints released this year:

Roses in Graphite from Birds of a Feather, Strawberry in Green from Briar Rose, Flight in Black from Waterfront Park, Go Go London in Lustrous from Carnaby Street.

  • Do you have a book, pattern or class from the past year to recommend?
SO many good books came out this year and I love looking through them.  Here's a picture of my favorites:

Hand Quilted with Love by Sarah Fielke, Making Quilts with Kathy Doughty, and Liberty Love by Alexia Abegg.
  • What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate?
I am sad that so many bloggers are using instagram more than blogging.  I can't say a whole lot about instagram because I am not a user but I know I prefer the narrative that is included in blog posts.  I know I need to give instagram a try, perhaps I will sign up in 2014.  I guess I am hesitant to add another time-eating aspect to my personal computer time.

I am continuing to enjoy using flickr and blogs - despite their decline in popularity.  I have tried to get more involved in link-ups, QAL's, and be better about responding to comments on my own blog.  

  • Who do you think will be a rising star of 2014?
Lu Summers.  Her book is gaining lots of excitement and I am hoping for an awesome new Moda release in 2014.
Mary Fons.  Okay she is already very prominent in the quilting industry but Quilty is coming into it's sophomore year and will continue to grow readership.  She totally rocked it with her talk at QuiltCon (easily the best lecture I listened to from the Craftsy offerings).  And she has a book coming out in June- cannot. wait.
  • Can you tell us anything about what to expect from you in 2014? Any projects or life-changing goals you can share?
would like to challenge myself to make a quilt that is complicated and contains at least one element that I have not done extensively, e.g. curves, applique, paper piecing.  I also would like to make 1-2 quilts out of my Ugandan fabric stash, make a quilt completely out of my scraps, and make a quilt with my own pattern idea.  I finally need to make a Halloween quilt - hopefully in time for the fall.

Like a lot of people, I want to whittle away at my stash and stop falling for fabric sales and focus on what I already have.  Our family's move across country and subsequent budget crunch may be the kick in the butt that I need.

  • Is there anything else about the sewing industry or community that you’d like to talk about?
I would love to see more quilting books be released that cater to those who are beyond beginning.  I love all the new books being churned out by the industry but sometimes they fall a bit flat when so many of them have pages upon pages explaining the basics of supplies, binding, and fabric.  It is especially underwhelming when these books are filled with yet another pattern for an e-reader, a sleep mask, or the dreaded accessory no one would ever wear.  I love books that focus on quilts, bags, and pillows- those are a bit more versatile and useful.

I would also like to see better blues and purples released by the fabric industry.  I am so done with aqua and would love to see more saturated colors.  I am also tired of pastels, although I guess "low volume" isn't going away anytime soon.  

Thanks for reading!  If you decide to answer the Reflections and Predictions questions, please let me know- I would love to read your thoughts.


Sarah @ said...

Great post! I'm a relatively new follower so it was a great way to get to know you. I loved hearing your analysis of the industry and I agree with many of your comments - especially the desire for "beyond beginner" patterns. Probably explains our mutual love for Sarah Fielke!

Cambridge Modern Quilt Guild said...

For us novices it's really fun to read your take on trends/fabrics/instagram, etc. That's a pretty impressive 2013!

Anne said...

I really enjoyed reading your in-depth post on the trends. I am also sad about the move to instagram and away from flickr. I liked that flickr had central areas I could go to find things with their discussion groups. I miss that with instagram (even though it has tagging, there's still no discussion area.)

One of the reasons I'm most excited about Pantone choosing a purple for the color of the year is that I think it means we'll start seeing more purple offerings show up in fabrics. :)

Kris said...

I am so glad to hear you say Instagram is not in your world (yet) I love the blog posts and getting to know someone from reading them. I am sure if I was on Instagram I would like that instant gratification but I think it is missing what the blog world has. I hope blogging continues and I look forward to reading more from you.

Barb and Sharon said...

I also wish to work through my stash. I have found fabrics I no longer like so I need to make quilts to give to people who do love them.

Rachel at Stitched in Color said...

Great post! I love to see the year and our quilting world through other eyes. Totally agree with you about hoping people don't use IG so much that they forget about blogging.

Natalie said...

I love reading about your take on the trends in the sewing world-- it is so interesting to see where things are going! And I'm so honored to have been mentioned as an inspiration-- I feel the same way every time I see one of your quilts! In fact, I've noticed that lately I want all of my quilts to be larger... I think you're rubbing off on me :)