Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reflections + Predictions

Hey all! So how were your holidays? Did you eat too much and get the gifties you wanted? Were you driven crazy by your family or spend some time just relaxing? We celebrate Chrismukkah around here (that's both Hanukkah and Christmas for those of you not down with the lingo) and we had quite the time! I'll be back with some pictures of gifts both given and received very soon but for right now I wanted to share a little something else. Every year Sew, Mama, Sew asks bloggers and crafty peeps to share their sewing industry reflections on the past year and predictions for the upcoming year and I thought I'd take part! Oh, before beginning I'd also like to give a big shout-out to Melanie of A Sewing Journal who used my Countdown-to-Christmas Advent Calendar as one of her examples for "unexpected colour" in the article she wrote for SMS called Sewing Trends ~ Holiday Colour - thanks Melanie!

Looking back at the 2011 sewing scene, what trends stand out in your mind?
I've noticed, especially in the last few months, an eruption of more neutral coloured projects - think quilts in shades of white and creams or greys and cross stitch all done in one neutral colour (like blackwork). With many of these projects the fabrics aren't necessarily strictly neutral but can often be lightly washed shade of peony or lilac or mint. Solids have obviously been big this year and I think they'll be sticking around for awhile. I've also noticed a surge in complex paper pieced blocks - many of these seem to be inspired by Japanese quilting books and templates while still more are designed and drawn by the quilters themselves - amazing! The use of different basecloths for quilts - linen and voile for example - also seemed to be pretty popular.

What were some of your favorite things related to sewing this past year?
I loved seeing the start of something wonderful like Sewing Summit even if I couldn't actually attend myself. I did get to talk a little bit about it with Erin and Amy when I saw them at Quilt Market in Salt Lake City in the spring and I was so proud of them and happy for them that they started something so wonderful. Seeing all the blog posts and tweets and pictures afterwards made me extremely happy and grateful that our community was getting together and sharing with each other in a space that we could call our own. I'm not gonna lie, I was totally jealous afterwards that I couldn't afford to attend because I would have loved to have had the opportunity to hang out with all my sewing peeps, take the classes and workshops, and just be part of something that seemed so magical.

What did you make that you’re most proud of?
Well geez, that's a hard question! I've made a number of things this year that I really loved and that were hard to let go of - let's face it I rarely make things for myself - but I think that the thing I'm most proud of may not be the best technically, and it may not be the biggest thing I've made this year, but it was made to bring a little sunshine and hope to someones day - the Life Quilt. You can read a bit about the Life Quilt in this post. There actually is another huge quilt project, that I am keeping for myself, that I am hugely proud of but I haven't had the chance to blog about it yet so we'll discuss that in the new year!

What sewn projects have you seen this year that you absolutely love?
There have been so many! I am constantly inspired by the fabric selections and patterns people have chosen, and the risks they have taken! I am in love with this little piece of magic by doe-c-doe, Jeni's Sewing Circle pillow, Corey's Door block from the Ringo Pie Bee (amazing!), Quirky Granola Girl's Ski Sweater block, lizzie_broderie's Camelot Quilt, Nicole's Snow Owl pillow, good-ness's mini tribute to Japan, the Go Anywhere Bag pattern by Anna at Noodlehead, all of Angela's Swoon blocks (and her feet!), and so so so many more!

Do you have a favourite sewing book or pattern from the past year to recommend?
There are a few actually but one book that really stands out in my mind is Natural Patchwork by Suzuko Koseki; also Scandinavian Stitches by Kajsa Wikman which actually came out in late 2010 but was enjoyed very much this year! Pattern wise I enjoyed many that were featured in Fat Quarterly and most all of the xStitch patterns from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - such awesome, fun designs!

Are there any trends you’re over and done with?
Hmmmm, that's a hard one since I never want to "get a hate on" about anything that someone else loves, but I would say that I am kinda over the whole owl-on-everything phenomenon. I mean, really, I love owls and I use them sparingly in my own work (this kind of hearkens back to a Hemingway quote that Alex and I think is hilarious) but they do not need to be on everything. But as Amanda Carestio said in her post for SMS sometimes you think you're over something and then you see it done in a new and fun way and you're all like 'holy cow that is the most amazing thing I've seen in a long time', so you never know!

What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate?
I do love social media, but I must say that sometimes keeping up can be really overwhelming! I don't tweet, or pin, or roam around on Flickr as much as I used to - there is so much to see and talk about, but if I tried to keep up with it all I would never get any of my own creating done! I don't like the fact that some people have turned their entire use of social media into a vehicle for selling or for hating (um, really, that's not cool); I don't like that because of social media interactions some people feel left out or like they're not in the same league as other bloggers/designers/makers. I do however love the fact that I have met many of my life-long friends through social media - without social media there would be no Jennifer and Kaye inside of a shark cage at the Mall of America *wink*! Without social media there wouldn't be a Toronto Modern Quilt Guild and I wouldn't have the opportunity to meet so many awesome, creative people in real life.

Did you have a favourite fabric collection or print in 2011?
Oh, now that's another hard one! There have been some really fun collections this year but I didn't really buy very much. I absolutely adored Tula Pink's Prince Charming, Lotta Jansdotter's Echo, and Jenean Morrison's Silent Cinema (which is such a lovely, muted collection - I have a whole FQ bundle and am going to turn it into something really special I think).

What do you predict for 2012 in the sewing industry?
I predict that there will be more mixing of different types of crafty aspects together in the year to come - think patchwork and cross stitch together in one piece, hand quilting on solid decor items, and garments with special embroidered details. There has definitely been some of that this past year but I think we'll see even more of it as people attempt to make their work even more unique, interesting, and texture-rich. I also think that we'll see people stepping away from doing things for free - people will still offer free patterns and such on their own blogs and sites (and probably on the sites of friends) but I think we'll see a lot less of people doing free work for companies and publishers just to get exposure. Actually I think we've been seeing this already, and at least one publisher has already stepped up to the plate and admitted that it needs to change - which is really awesome! I also really hope that we'll see more opportunities for people in the sewing community to get together in person and really get to know each other.

Can you tell us what to expect from you in 2012? Any big projects or life-changing goals?
Well, I will be debuting my own line of PDF patterns in 2012 which is something that I've been working on for awhile now, but most of all I really just want to keep creating beautiful things! I don't know if any of my goals for this year are truly life-changing - I mainly try to take each project as it comes to me and work on it to the best of my ability without getting too far ahead of myself.

So what are your reflections and predictions? You can find the list of questions and a linky on the SMS blog - if you'd like leave me your thoughts in the comments or a list to your blog post if you link up, I'd really like to know what you guys are thinking! Are we on the same wave-length? Have you seen some things going on in the online community that I haven't?


  1. What a great post! There are so many great things going on now. I too am so over owls on everything. Don't get me wrong I love them too! But I haven't put them on anything in awhile.... Anway, I love your coffee cup/xstitch/patchwork mug rug. Soooo cute! And I too wish I had more time to keep up with everything. It's a little overwhelming... Twitter, Facebook, blogging, reading blogs, etsy, Pinterest, Flickr, omg! There is so much! Baby steps :)

  2. Loved reading your thoughts on the crafty scene of the past year and predictions for 2012. Thank you for mentioning my snow owl pillow. Had exactly the same'oh no not an owl again' thought when I started to make that pillow but my next thought was 'I don't care what other people think, I want to make an Owl pillow!' :)