Our Sewing Industry Reflections and Predictions series continues today with Amanda Jennings, the fabulous Ms. McPorkChop from hey porkchop!, and the designer and co-owner of The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.   Amanda has been a true inspiration with her quilting, stitching and blogging. You might have seen her gorgeous, hand-quilted and hand-pieced hexagon bag on Pinterest or a perfectly-fussy cut and pieced mini-quilt on Flickr. Her designs are awesome, and we love just about everything she makes. She inspires others to stitch all the time; Amanda hosts the popular Farmer’s Wife Quilt-a-long with Angela from Fussy Cutcheck out the photo pool with almost 1000 members!


Enjoy each interview in our series, reflecting on 2011 and looking ahead to 2012. We’ve shared Amanda Carestio’s interview and we have more in store next week!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Looking back at the 2011 sewing scene, what trends stand out in your mind?
Amanda: Trends that stand out to me are sewing with lots of solids, folks stepping outside their comfort zones and trying more complex piecing, lots of interest in sampler quilts (Farmer’s Wife! Yay!) and a major resurgence of handwork such as embroidery/cross stitch/hand-quilting.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What were some of your favorite things?
Amanda: My favorite is seeing more people take up handwork! Obviously because I co-own The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, but more so because I like that people *want* to take time out of their busy schedules and create with their own two hands, not just a sewing machine. There is a great satisfaction in handwork. I’m really thankful for blogs like feeling stitchy, wild olive and we love french knots, and designers like Anna Maria Horner who are really putting handwork out there! I also love seeing people go outside their comfort zones with sewing. When Angela (Fussy Cut) and I started the Farmer’s Wife Quilt-a-Long, we assumed it would be five or six friends but now it’s a giant quilt-a-long and it’s a lot of very modern quilters creating these very traditional blocks but completely freshening them up and putting their own unique stamp on them.

Amanda’s Neutral Quilt

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What did you make that you’re most proud of?
Amanda: Oh, sheesh. I’m bad at this! I really love my Neutral Quilt. I used everything special to me to create it. I just like knowing that I made something that keeps me cozy and reminds me of why I sew!

Anna’s Lemon Slices from Noodlehead

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What sewn projects have you seen this year that you absolutely love?
Amanda: Anna’s Lemon Slices are amazing. I love Takiyaje’s Plush; they are so incredible! Karyn’s Hand-Pieced Mini. This wasn’t made this year but I discovered it this year and I love it! Brooke’s in-progress photo stole my heart big time! Kate’s Capsule Quilts. Amy’s Mini Quilt. These really neat mini quilts. I loved these totes.

Takiyaje’s Plush Creations

I could keep going but I’m pretty sure this is too many. In all honesty I want to just give you my entire Pinterest “patchwork” board!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What was your favorite fabric collection or print?
Amanda: This is a toss up between Lizzy House’s Outfoxed and Meg Hawkey’s White Wash. I know, two totally different things– But Lizzy satisfies my desire to fussy cut everything to death and Meg’s neutral tone on tones are perfect. I’m strictly a fat quarter girl but I’ve bought actual yardage of these two lines!

Another favorite from Amanda:
Karyn’s Hand-Pieced Mini from Make Something

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Do you have a favorite sewing book or pattern from the past year to recommend?
Amanda: I love all of Anna’s (Noodlehead) bag patterns, I recently made the 241 Tote and it’s so awesome! Really clear and easy!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Are there any trends you’re over and done with?
Amanda: I’m really not into solids. I think quilts have more depth and personality when the fabrics are rich in texture/pattern. Plus I want to support more fabric designers! The more we encourage them, the more they’ll design and it’ll be a great cycle of awesomeness!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate?
Amanda: This is a HARD question and I’m going to be 100% honest with you. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I’ve blogged for six years and I blog for myself. I don’t blog to make money or be hip. I just like to share snippets of my life with others. I don’t have a zillion followers, and I’m always appreciative of each comment; I like to use my blog to make new friends and just bring some Porkchop to the internet. Twitter is really neat and I think it’s a good tool but it makes me sad to see folks trying to “one up” each other. I’m very much over the whole “let’s post hateful blog posts and tweet passive aggressive things about each other” mentality that seems to be infecting the online quilting community. I won’t read a blog or follow a person’s tweets once they do that. If someone wants to sew 900 quilts a year, that is AMAZING. If someone wants to sew just one quilt a year, also AMAZING. To each their own! I *truly* believe that the online quilting community is so inspiring and amazing; instead of “going viral” with hateful stuff, we should be supporting each other. Blog posts with great quilts, awesome hand sewing, someone learning a new trick, inspiring photos, designers new books/patterns/fabrics, etc. should go viral. Those posts should have dozens of comments! Let’s use social media to encourage new quilters and sew-ers, not be jerks. At the end of the day, sewing is awesome, fabric is amazing, quilts are warm and nothing feels better than knowing you created something and have the skills and passion to keep doing it.

The in-progress shot that stole Amanda’s heart:
From Brooke at apriltwoeighty

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What do you predict for 2012?
Amanda: I’m hoping more events like The Sewing Summit will pop up; I think group meetings like that really enhance the tight knit feeling our community. I’d love to see Kokka release more; I love the lines they produce with American designers like Melody Miller and Heather Ross. They are just so unique and fresh with a beautiful base cloth; I’m predicting more people will fall for them. I’m also predicting that the girls from the Ringo Pie Online Bee will take over the world which would make me SO happy! I’m predicting quilters will gain more confidence and more people will play with different genres of fabric within the same quilt. Let’s add modern fabric with Civil War and a dash of 30’s! And I’m predicting that 2012 will be the biggest year for new sewists and quilters, so we have to inspire and encourage them to take it up!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Are there any bloggers, authors or designers who you think will be rising stars in 2012?
Amanda: I’m hoping Kayanna strikes gold with her new line for Cloud9 because she has a great aesthetic. I’m expecting awesome stuff from Cloud9 in general in the future; they are picking amazing designers and they are incredibly smart to make organic fabrics more budget friendly. I’m always curious about what Karyn has up her sleeve, she’s always creating garments and quilts that have great unexpected details. I really hope the Ringo Pie girls write a book because their patchwork is so creative and unique. I’m dying of excitement for Lizzy’s new line of Halloween fabric– She’s incredibly clever and I think under rated! I’m really hoping in 2012 Heidi Kenney designs for a major fabric manufacturer! I love her work and want to see an entire line of it!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Can you tell us anything about what to expect from you in 2012? Any projects or life-changing goals you can share?
Amanda: Ashleigh and I are hoping to release some new embroidery and sewing patterns in 2012 for The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery which is exciting; I want to invite more of our designer friends to design cute stuff for us. I’m teaching a few cooking classes (my other passion!) and I’d love to teach more sewing classes. Mostly I just want to sew patchwork and make jam, while inspiring others to do the same!