06 January 2011

2011 Predictions/Hopes

Sew Mama Sew is having a giveaway in exchange for offering your predictions/hopes for the quilting world in 2011. So here goes!

Looking back on the sewing scene of 2010, what trends stand out in your mind?
The trends that stand out in my mind include any and all of the following:
  • hedgehogs/owls/gnomes/mushrooms/birds/cartoony characters
  • Oh, Frannson's New Wave pattern
  • bright colors that may or may not have been paired with a neutral solid
  • AccuQuilt Go! Cutters
  • hexagons
  • Mug Rugs
All right, seriously - what's up with Mug Rugs? How are they useful? In my limited experience, Mug Rugs are the iPad of quilts - they're too big to be a coaster, but too small to be a placemat. I have seen one actually useful-looking Mug Rug, and that was this one that was posted as a tutorial on Stash Manicure. It had a pocket for a spoon and a teabag. If you have ever made a Mug Rug, do you actually use it? Please, leave a comment and tell me how often you actually use it, because I am truly mystified by this obsession that has overtaken the quilting community.

What were some of your favorite things? (Trends, fabric collections, patterns, blogs? Whatever you really loved.)
Trends: I love that bright colors are 'in' right now. Too many people unfamiliar with quilting associate quilts with boring, old, dull colored blankets that are only useful to keep you warm at night. Ask my husband - he knows that I love bright colors (links are to two different gender-neutral bright baby quilts). I love seeing people making quilts that are bright, that take risks with colors, and that just beg you to wrap yourself up in them. That's my thing. 
Fabric Collections: I don't pay attention to fabric collections. Really. If I were to get, say, a fat quarter bundle of any one fabric collection, it would be immediately sorted by color into my stash. That being said, I LOVE the Connecting Threads Sampler packs. I got fat eighths of those a good while back and am finally using some of them up. I've used all of my browns, most of my oranges and other brights, and truly do love them. The colors are nice and saturated (like I love), the prints are small-scale enough (of the ones I have anyways) that they show through as a color, not a large-scale print, and they are just fun. I love getting little bits of a lot of fabrics.
Patterns: I can't say that I really like all that many patterns that were popular this year. I'm more of a design-it-myself person (see this post and this one) personally. Dresden plates, hexagons, and wonky blocks of every shape and size abounded. I do like the free-pieced words that sprang into popularity this year - quilts like Six by Nine, The Quick Brown Fox, and the three "Rules" quilts that Lynne of Patchery Menagerie made - the Rules for Juliethe Rules for Helen, and the Rules for Tonya. I like these quilts because they're not made like anyone else's. Everyone's free-pieced letter quilts are different, even if you try to make it the same as someone else's. I love originality in quilts, and these letters will always be original.
Blogs: I have expanded my blog reading by quite a bit this year. It includes everything from big name bloggers (Quilt DadJudy of Patchwork Times, and Handmade by Heidi) to people with only a few followers but whose work I adore (Ypsilanti DilettanteThe Quilt Engineer, and Swim Bike Quilt to name a few). I'm trying to keep my blog reading down to doable levels for my schedule. I don't have unlimited time, so I have unsubscribed from a few lately. 
What was your very favorite fabric collection or print? (If not listed above.)

The only fabric collections that I remember purchasing fabric from this year were Moda Marble Swirls (I bought the grass green colorway of it and use it all the time when I need greens because it's such a nice shade) and Pumpkins Gone umpkins Gone Wild by Sandy Gervais for Moda. I bought them for backings and got enough scraps from them that they have shown up in several quilts even recently - see my last three quilts. The Marble Swirls were in all three quilts and the Pumpkins Gone Wild was in both my Mom's and my Mother-in-law's quilts.
What was the best thing you made in 2010? (Be sure to share a photo!)

The best thing I made this year? That's a hard one, since I do love all of the baby quilts I made, but I think that my favorite was my Mom's quilt, seen here:

What is one of the best things you saw that was made by someone else?

My favorite quilt that I saw was The Quick Brown Fox by Lynne of Patchery Menagerie. Part of the reason I love it so much is because I have loved foxes since I was a toddler - my Mom read me a story about a baby bunny learning how to survive the big bad fox and I've loved foxes ever since. So seeing the fox on that quilt was an amazing thing for me to see. 
What do you think 2011 has in store? (Again, trends, fabric, patterns, etc.)

I don't really think that quilting trends are going to change that much this coming year. I'm not trying to be mean, but that's my opinion. The way I see it, online quilters today are divided into two groups with very little overlap: traditional quilters and contemporary quilters. That's not a bad thing, but very few traditional quilters would purposely make a wonky (or free-pieced) anything. And most contemporary quilters would never deign to make a purely traditional quilt. It's mostly a matter of personal taste. I see myself as one of the oddballs - I tend towards traditional quilting in my block choice but use non-traditional fabrics and settings. After all, my Mom's quilt featured a traditional quilt block (the Maple Leaf Block) in a non-typical setting - randomly placed in a bigger picture. If I was purely traditional the leaves would be sashed with cornerstones, there would be a border around the quilt, and I would have used much less bright colors. If I was purely contemporary, I probably would have free-pieced the leaves and not used 2.5" squares for the whole background - I would have used chunks of colored fabrics pieced together. Or at least pieces of the same fabric.

My hope for fabrics in 2011 is that the emphasis gets taken off of using a line of fabric, or off of who designed it. I couldn't care less if two fabrics are supposed to go together because someone else said so - do YOU think they go together? As ironic as this sounds, I think that quilts made with a single line of fabric can end up being really busy. That's partly because a lot of fabric lines end up being very large-scale print heavy and when you cut pieces out of those fabrics they look busy. I hope that people stop using single lines of fabric and stop buying a fabric because of who designed it as opposed to the merits of the fabric itself.

With patterns, I really HOPE that people try making their own designs. If I had my way in the quilting world, you would learn techniques but would not have any access to anyone else's designs. You might be able to get stitchery/embroidery patterns, but the most you'd be able to see on how to make a quilt is the picture of the finished product. Because figuring out how YOU want to do something is half the fun of designing and executing your own quilt. 
Anything you’re ready for the sewing world to get over?

I think I'm ready for the end of Mug Rugs (either that or I'm ready to understand them) and mini quilts. Both seem really pointless to me - what am I going to do with a quilt the size of a placemat? They're quite the obsession in the quilting world right now, but I don't get them. I understand mini quilts if you have a little girl with dolls to keep warm, but that's about it. Then again, I'm the type who doesn't want a quilt made by anyone else in my house, or a block made by someone else in my quilt. Quilting to me is like art, and I wouldn't have someone else paint part of my painting, or help me shade my drawing - I want to be able to say that the whole thing was my idea, my execution.

I'm also ready for the end of hedgehogs, gnomes, mushroom houses, etc. I have nothing against cute characters since quilts for children do kind of need a little bit of fun, but characters created to get adults going...well, I don't really get that.
What’s on your sewing agenda for 2011? What are you excited about? What would you like to learn more about?

My sewing agenda for 2011...that's a bit of a toughie. For one, I'm going to finish several of my WIPs during the year. I have a log cabin baby quilt that I'm working on (3/4 done with the hand-quilting) and a machine-quilted Quilts for Kids quilt to finish. I also have a big quilt for my bed, although at this point I'm starting to feel like it doesn't represent where I am with my quilting anymore. But I really hope I do end up finishing it...I'm also planning on starting work on my sister's quilt. It's a wholecloth quilt top (yay!) but has an allover underwater (dolphins, fish, corals) design on it that I'm going to be hand outlining in bright quilting thread. The top is 2 yards of fabric, so it isn't huge, but still...there are going to be some densely quilted areas on it. I have a friend who's pregnant with her 2nd little boy (the oldest one is only about 9 months old, and she's due in June) to make a top for before she moves in April. I'm vaguely considering about doing one Quilt Along (the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Quilt Along over at Civil War Quilts) but while I'll ooh and ahh over it, I doubt whether I'll actually do it. It might be fun to do in miniature or something, but that would require WAY more time than I actually have in my life. Oh well - such is life.

So there you have it, folks - Emma's take on both 2010 and 2011. I'm a little late, but that's how it goes. 


  1. Great post. In answer to your mug rug question - I have only made one and it sits on my computer desk. Both my husband and myself use it all of the time which is obvious when you see the coffee stains on it. I think they are a great way to protect the furniture and cuter than coasters.

  2. I guess I'm with you on the mug rugs. We have sandstone coasters and I could replace them with mug rugs, but I have so much more to make...


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