Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sewing Reflections

 Sew, Mama, Sew! is inviting bloggers to post about trends of this past year, and trends to come. I knew that prominent bloggers were featured at the SMS blog with their opinions, but then I read over at Blue Elephant Stitches that any ole person could join in. And I was very thoughtful when I got done reading her post.

So here I am, with my thoughts. As a new, fairly young quilter. **ETA: I wrote my answers out on Thursday evening after I had read only the post at Blue Elephant Stitches. I'm glad I didn't read any others until after, so that my views were uninfluenced by reading the opinions of others. That being said, I found Bad Skirt Amy's post very insightful and thought-provoking.

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

I've only been reading sewing/quilting blogs for 8 months or so, and only regularly quilting for about 6. So bear that in mind.
  • People started loving gray. Especially charcoal. Which I like as well, in some situations. 
  • There also seems to have been an outright statement over the fact that modern quilting could be anything, and I think that probably influenced what was made this year. 
  • Straight-line quilting
  • So many people seem to have been inspired to start paper piecing
What were some of your favorite things related to sewing this past year?

  • I loved that despite the fact that I'm new at this, I stepped way outside my comfort zone and got a booth at a local craft festival. And I did ok. 
  • I like that I've accepted that this is a hobby and a craft that I enjoy, and it doesn't matter that I'm much younger than the average quilter, and that nobody that I know my age sews, much less quilts. I've always been a very creative person, and used to draw and paint a lot, but that didn't provide me with a constant-enough outlet.
What did you make that you're most proud of?

I'm most proud of my 2 swap items, as they were my own ideas, and challenged my skills substantially. And then my SuperSwoon Tree Pants, because it was also an idea that I hadn't seen anywhere else, and I loved how it turned out. And so did everyone at the craft festival [it was purchased within 15 minutes, and then it was requested for the rest of the day].
What sewn projects have you seen this year that you absolutely love?

Oh gosh. This could take a while. I've noticed that I love a lot more finished products than I'd imagine if I were to just look at the fabric. There are so many fabrics that I'm not drawn to in the slightest, and then I see them in something and I love the end result. In that way, many of the pieces that I love and am inspired by are things that I would never feel compelled to make myself.

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

I don't own a sewing book. I've got a few magazines, but I've never used a pattern [when I made the SuperSwoon it was 4 ft square, so I made up my own measurements]. I like to look for inspirations, but I think the thought of a pattern makes me feel boxed in. I would like to get a quilting book that isn't so much the basics, but more of like a tips and techniques guide. Haven't found exactly what I'm looking for yet!

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

I have to admit that I'm sort of over the hype and the politics of both the sewing/quilting world and the online sewing/quilting world. It's so weird to me that people can be so caught up in all this. I guess maybe I haven't connected enough with any sort of fabric collection to ever feel the need to hoard it, or not cut into it, or rush to the store to buy 7 yards of it so I can have it for every project ever. Yes, I've loved some fabric lines. But I also realize that I'm going to love more in the future. I've also realized that I don't like many of the fabrics that may be "popular" and long-awaited, and that people can be snobby about the fact that some people aren't "appreciating" it. And that's silly. I'm sure painters don't scoff when their peers use a different brand of paint, and I feel like it should be the same way around here. I feel similarly about the hype surrounding what some people endorse, simply because they're well-known. I understand that it's a business for some, and whatnot, and I guess I can't fully understand it because it's just fun for me, but sometimes there's so much competition between one person or another...

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

I'm 22, so I'm as active on the social media front as you'd probably imagine. Although I don't have a Twitter, because I don't quite get it. But I love my Google Reader, and I enjoy my Facebook as it lets  me keep in touch with people from the various places I've lived.
In the sewing world, I think it can be good and bad. Yes, social media does connect us to one another, but I think it also plays into the hype that I mentioned above. It's all about your mindset and what you plan to get out of it.

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

Hm, I'm going to break this into 2 parts.
  • Fabric collections that I've loved when they've come out, just from looking at them: Sandi Henderson's Secret Garden, Joel Dewberry's Heirloom, and Sweetwater Countdown to Christmas
  • Fabrics that I've loved because I actually reach for them the most in projects: Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow Herringbone in all the blues and greens and Silent Cinema Front Row in any color
What do you predict for 2012 in the sewing industry?

  • I predict a shift in the feel of fabrics. I don't know any technical way to put that? There's been so many silky fabrics lately. Art Gallery, Flurry, and Sandi Henderson's Secret Garden collection comes immediately to mind. They all feel so good that when you pick up a Kona solid, for instance, it just feels rougher. With the increase in fabric prices, I feel like people are going to be demanding more. I know that Michael Miller is releasing their line of solids, Cotton Couture, and I know that it has the same feel as Secret Garden, and I think folks are definitely going to appreciate that. 

  • I also think paper piecing is going to be even bigger. As quilters become more comfortable with the concept, more complex patterns are going to come onto the scene. Before when you could paper piece for additional precision, I think it's going to be a paper piece or bust type situation. I guess I should try paper piecing, huh?
Can you tell us what to expect from you in 2012?  Any big projects or life changing goals?

This upcoming year should be interesting. I just graduated with a master's degree, and am looking for a job. I've been a full-time student with no job for the past year, allowing me plenty of time to sew. It will be interesting to see if my sewing falls off when I am employed. I don't have kids or anything, so my evenings/weekends would still be open, and my boyfriend is still in school, so I don't anticipate any reductions, but you never know. My big quilting goal for 2012 is to make a king-size quilt for my bed. We bought a new mattress in the summer, and have just been using all the queen-sized stuff as we pay the mattress and frame off. But we've also been trying to have a nicer home as we move out of the college phase and into the real-life phase, and a nice quilt for the bed would be the last step in the bedroom!

Thanks for reading, feel free to go to Sew, Mama, Sew! to link up your answers! I love reading them all :)

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