Amy Ellis from Amy’s Creative Side is the author of Modern Basics: Easy Quilts to Fit Your Budget, Space and Style and an extraordinary quilter. Amy has found lots of inspiration in the online sewing community and she gives back even more; she runs Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, coinciding with Quilt Market each fall and spring. Last year was huge for Amy with the publication of her first book and the first year of The Sewing Summit; Amy co-founded this annual event which is the first conference focused on blogging sewists. We’re so pleased to have her thoughts on 2011 and 2012 today in our series!

Join the fun with your own interview. Answer any or all of our questions for a chance to win a gift certificate to Sew,Mama,Sew!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Looking back at the 2011 sewing scene, what trends stand out in your mind?
Amy: I love the variety of substrates available from the major fabric manufacturers, and purple has jumped on the scene this year. Solids continue to be produced in a huge rainbow of colors. Emerging fabric companies, like Blend and Dear Stella just this fall, as well as the emerging fabric designers with Spoonflower. I only wish I had more time to devote to illustrator lessons!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What were some of your favorite things?
Amy: Actually being at Quilt Market for the first time this year it was great to see all the fabrics in person, and not just online. With the trend I have a new affinity for purple, and the wide availability of solids is fantastic.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What did you make that you’re most proud of?
Amy: Technically the sewing was done in 2010, but I’m so proud of my first book, Modern Basics. It was released February, and I recently remade one of the quilts in my book; I love how the colors pop.

Amy’s Graduation Quilt from Modern Basics

My year revolved around the promotion of Modern Basics, and details of The Sewing Summit. My partner and I founded this event for bloggers to have a place to connect, and learn more about sewing. It’s the first conference geared specifically for blogging sewists, and I’m excited to see where it goes in the years to come!

Made for Amy by a talented group of ladies who attended the Sewing Summit.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What was your favorite fabric collection or print?
Amy: LouLouThi has managed to work into many of the projects I’ve made recently. I love the variety of color, and scale in the group! And I picked up a bundle of both Echino and Echo in Houston, I’m looking forward to cutting into those soon.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Do you have a favorite sewing book or pattern from the past year to recommend?
Amy: Sarah Fielke’s book Quilting from Little Things is great for anyone learning to quilt, or looking to expand their quilting skills. She has ten techniques each with a doll quilt to learn from, and then a large project once you are ready for the challenge. Of course Sarah has a great sense of style; I always love to see which fabrics she puts together, and her book is a vivid source of inspiration! Of course, I’ll always suggest Modern Basics as well!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What sewn projects have you seen this year that you absolutely love?
Amy: Rebecca hasn’t let curves stand in her way, and I love how she uses them:

Rebecca’s Kaleidoscope Quilt from her original pattern, Chasing Cottons.

Also, Cheryl has a knack for the unexpected. There are so many HST quilts (half square triangle units) online, but none quite like this:

Cheryl’s Network Quilt from Dining Room Empire

These were both favorite pieces from the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, that I host on my blog each spring and fall; it’s a great way for bloggers to connect, and be inspired by each other. I’m always amazed by all the entries (600+) each time!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Are there any trends you’re over and done with?
Amy: That’s a hard one! I’m not a fan of juvenile, smiling animal prints, and could be done with those. And possibly there’s been enough red and aqua combos for this generation. But really, to each his/her own!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate?
Amy: I love blogging, and being on Flickr, Twitter and Facebook; it’s a great way to connect with like minded friends. In fact, Twitter is the primary way that we reached out in the community for The Sewing Summit! I love how instantaneous the conversation can be with social media. My online time has been limited lately, but know I can reach out and have that connection as time allows.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What do you predict for 2012?
Amy: I think garment sewing will continue to rise, even among quilters, with more independent designers producing quality patterns. Also, I think there will be more ikat quilting-weight fabrics, and orange is definitely on the rise. I think there will be more and more meet-ups organized, on large scale and small scale. Connecting with like-minded friends is so exciting, even if awkward in the first few moments! For the first timers– Meet a someone at a local fabric shop, and indulge!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Are there any bloggers, authors or designers who you think will be rising stars in 2012?
Amy: Thomas Knauer released his first line of fabric, Pear Tree, this fall. With his design background and intense drive I expect he will shine in 2012.

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?
Amy: There are a couple of things I need to keep to myself for now. However, I contributed to We Love Color, and it will be out Spring 2012. I’m excited to see what my friends made to be included in the book. I’m generally looking forward to all that 2012 brings!