Sewing Industry Reflections and Predictions

At the end of the year, Sew Mama Sew hosts a survey/questionnaire in which they ask a selection of folks from the sewing/quilting world to answer the questions in posts on their blog.  The rest of us can voice our opinions as well and link up to their blog post..  I always find everyone's viewpoint extremely interesting, but I've never taken part myself.  Somehow I've never felt qualified, which is silly since there's no rules, and I won't be fined if my predictions never come true, or if my interpretation of current trends is way off!

So just for the fun of it, here's my answers.  I decided to do this on the fly, without overthinking it, so as to avoid spending excessive time obsessing over whether my answers are 'right' and make sense!  (BTW, I'm coming at this from a quilter's standpoint)

Here goes!!

Looking back at the 2011 sewing scene, what trends stand out in your mind?

*Grey as the neutral color!  I'll admit I'm not totally won over.  I still prefer whites and creams, over grey.  Unless it's a warm grey...
*Triangles!  In the form of flying geese, or chevron stripes and more.  And I'm embracing this one!
*Pencil sketchy grid prints!  (Like the Alexander Henry Heath in the above photo)  I'm happy with this trend too!
*Text fabrics!  and I'm all about that one too!

What were some of your favorite things related to sewing this past year?

How to sum this one up?  I feel like sewing in general has been a very positive piece of my life this past year.  It's one little part of my world that I can escape to and have happy stress free thoughts.

Blogging about my quilting has been so fun and I've had so many little boosts from people telling me they enjoy popping in here.  At a time in my life where I could be feeling just a bit stifled by my own four walls and mainly two and four year old conversation,  sewing and blogging about my sewing has made me all sorts of contented to be right where I am!

What did you make that you're most proud of?

My basket quilt is definitely my favorite thing I've made this year.  Although I can't technically say I'm proud of it, since I didn't master any new amazing skills to make it!  But I did enjoy every minute of making it, and it gets used every single day at our house, and that is just the best feeling!

What sewn projects have you seen this year that you absolutely love?

Ok,  I think this is the most fun question of the whole bunch, but rather hard to narrow down.  I could seriously mention hundreds of lovely things.  So here's a few...(hover over the words and you'll see the link to follow)

*I'm crazy about this interpretation of this Anthro quilt.
*More and more drawn to simple, old-fashioned patchwork, like this, and this, and this...oh, and this...
*Still love me some circles, and nine patches, and trip around the world,
* Dramatic, whimsical, unexpected, ok, ok, I'll stop now!  I'm just barely scratching the surface, but I must move on...

Do you have a favorite sewing book or pattern from the last year to recommend?

At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, I will say again that I think every quilter should own Liberated Quiltmaking ll by Gwen Marston.  No matter what style of quilting you prefer, you will find inspiration in this book!

Are there any trends you're over and done with?

Here's where politeness and honesty begin to war within me!!  I'll just stick with one for now, since it's only attacking the big fabric companies and I imagine they have pretty thick skin!

It seems that there are so many new fabrics coming out (which is awesome, btw), but it seems that they are leaping out of stores so quickly, or online shops are clearing them out to make room for new lines.  I like to take my time deciding which fabrics I love, and slowly filling my shelves with pieces that I reach for over and over again because I love them and they're versatile.

I don't like the pressured feeling that if I want some of this fabric I'd better buy it right now or I might never see it again.  I definitely appreciate the lines that have been around for awhile.  I don't think it makes me buy less, I actually think it makes me buy more.  Because I've grown to love certain prints, so I'll go back and restock if they're still available.

What are your thoughts about social media?  How is it going for you?  What do you love or hate?

It's pretty simple for me.  I don't do Facebook or Twitter.  At all.  They just don't even interest me.  Reading blogs and browsing Flickr and Pinterest interest me because of their visual appeal.  Of course, I love interacting with other quilters via blogs and Flickr, but I'm not attracted to any social media simply for the 'social' aspect.

Did you have a favorite fabric collection or print in 2011?

I rarely fall in love with a full collection, but Nicey Jane and Hope Valley are two enduring favorites for me.  (and they were both collections that stuck around for a long time, although they're slowly disappearing)
I've found both of these collections to work well in my home, and that's essential for loving your finished projects.

What do you predict for 2012 in the sewing industry?

Ha!  This is the question that initially scared me off.  I seriously haven't a clue!  But I'm sure it will be exciting!

Can you tell us what to expect from you in 2012?  Any big projects or life changing goals?

I hope to stick around and keep on making quilts!  My mind is overflowing with ideas and inspirations, so I'm hoping for time to bring a few of them to fruition.

I'd like to make a list of some quilts I'd like to tackle in 2012, but I think I'll make another post about that soon.  I need to go make supper now and get my head out of the clouds!

My life changing goals don't relate to sewing, so I'll spare you those today!  (actually I haven't sat down to think up my New Year's Resolutions yet)

P.S.  Go fill out these questions on your blog and link to the post on Sew Mama Sew (I've got the link at the top of the page)  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Fat Quarter Shop fabric bundle

I saw this fun contest over at QuokkaQuilts, and I couldn't resist.  (Click on the link to find out more!)  Just choose fifteen fabrics from the FatQuarterShop, make a mosaic with them, and you've got a chance to win the fabrics you've chosen!

I followed Maureen's instructions.  Just right click on the fabric image and choose to save your image to a folder on your computer.  I then used picnik to make a mosaic with my chosen images.

Now I'm in BIG trouble cause I want to go buy these all and make a quilt!  

All these fabrics can be found at the FatQuarterShop, which is a mega online quilt shop with a huge selection of yummy fabrics.

Yesterday, I was inspired by the late afternoon sun warming the quilts hanging over the railing. 

 I was thinking about the way I view my quilts, my overall process for making them. 

 How in my mind they are not a flat canvas, but a living, three dimensional object.  

How each part of the process of making is an integral part of the soul that is stitched into the quilt. 

Which is why for me, the final step in making a quilt is not the last stitch in the binding.  It is washing and drying it.  A symbol saying "you were made to be used.  and loved"  

So, I had lots of thoughts yesterday.  This morning my mind is full of the day's chores, so we'll save those thoughts for another day.  Because they're still there, just not on the surface at the moment!

And meanwhile I'll be thankful that I'm lucky enough to create art (and yes, I'm using that term loosely!) that can be thrown over a chair, reached for when snuggling,  pulled off the shelf for use as a table fort, and tucked around a little one as a snug good night.

Sewing Room Update

I'm currently in love with hand quilting.  Every top I finish, I want to hand quilt it.  But seriously, I just 
don't have that much sit down time!  

Working on a quick and fun boy quilt cause my shop is almost empty and the boy quilts always go
 first.  I guess masculine quilts are just a bit scarce!

Thanks for your responses on my Granny Square blocks!  You are all SO right that I need to learn
 to crochet, and I will!  It's definitely on my list.  Maybe in January...

Granny Squares Quilt Blocks

I've always loved those crocheted granny square throws, but I don't know how to crochet...  

I decided to use my 2.5"  squares to make a quilt inspired by this look.  I'm hoping that sashing them with a nice wide white strip will give them the look I'm going for.

Shabby Chic Quilt

A quilt I finished about a month ago and failed to mention here.  It's not very exciting, just a coin quilt in a large toddler size.

Fabrics are Delilah by Tanya Whelan, Kona Pale Mint for the background, and Ruby by Bonnie and Camille for the binding (another super binding fabric).

I tried something different and did minimal quilting on this one.  It's reall soft and definitely puffier than it's more densely quilted friends.  Hmmm...  for the right kind of quilt I think I like it!

Any Way You Slice It

Working on my own crazy version of Any Way You Slice It by Denyse Schmidt.  I'm not following the pattern in her book, since I can't stand using templates if it's not absolutely necessary.

Here's how I do it instead.  (and it's much faster!)  I'm trimming my finished blocks to 7", so I cut my blocks to 9".  Cut five - 9" blocks.  Stack them up and cut through all five layers.  Make your lines as straight or wonky as you want, just make sure you end up with five sections.  Now sew them together, switching them around so that one fabric is not in the same block twice.

The only down side to this method is that you will now have 5 blocks that have the same fabrics in them.  If you look closely you can see this, but once I have a whole quilt put together, I will be the only one to ever know that little secret!  It will look pretty random to the casual observer!