We’re not sure if there’s anyone more universally appealing in the sewing industry than today’s interviewee, Anna Maria Horner. She has limitless talent, of course, and we fall in love with each of her new fabric collections as soon as it’s released. Anna Maria leads us to try different substrates like her luscious voiles and soft flannels in 2011, and her focus on handwork has us all jumping in too; the LouLouThi Needleworks are irresistible. Oh, and the velveteens! Anna Maria’s sense of color, proportion and design, coupled with her all-around artistry make it easy to admire  everything she puts out in the world. Her honesty, humor and sneak peeks make Anna Maria’s blog a daily stop. We’re so happy to have Anna Maria Horner here today to reflect on 2011 and look ahead in 2012; this is our final interview in the series and we want to thank everyone who took time to talk to us.

Enjoy all of the interviews in the 2011/2012 series: Anneliese, Jacquie Gering,
Deborah Moebes
, Amy Ellis, Kim Fraser + Stephen Fraser, Katy Jones, Elizabeth Evans + Liz Evans, Tasia Pona, Kathy Miller, Amanda Jennings, Amanda Carestio. Let us know what you think too 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?
Anna Maria: The great thing about our industry is that there is one overarching environment as well as many small niche facets that one can inhabit… And through friends, shops, guilds, blogs, magazines, social media, etc. you can let yourself absorb only that which you’re really interested in. I guess in other words, the answer to these questions can be very different or extremely similar depending on who you ask. Maybe that’s obvious, but as a designer my perspective feels kind of narrow maybe, seeing mostly what I want to see or whatever facilitates my work. Hopefully I can be somewhat insightful… I keep my head head down working generally all the time, and don’t look up all that much, but when I do raise my eyes… Here are a few things that have stood out: Definitely the use of solids in quilts like many have said, but with that I also think that interest in a more traditional style of block, but with a modern vision of color and balance is coming into view these days. Lots and lots of hand work is popping up all over the place, and not just through decorative little vignettes of embroidery, but through hand quilting, hand stitched details on garments, etc. Very exciting for a girl like me. Lots of great clothing. And more clothing than bags for a change I think. Lots of reinterpreting vintage sewing patterns made new through tweaks and fabrics, which isn’t altogether a new thing, but I think more and more I’ve seen people drafting their own patterns. I think this partially stems from looking at what is in stores and saying “I can make that”– and not just an elastic waist skirt either– things with details, fit, etc. I love watching people operate with an inspiration piece; it’s how we all learn whether painting, drawing, quilting or sewing. Closing the gap on how things are made en masse and at home is fun to watch. Liberating, I’d say.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What were some of your favorite things?
Anna Maria: There are really too many favorite things to name just one or two, but I think the occurrence of folks picking up handwork for the first time or for the first time (in years) was a wonderful thing to witness…

Anna Maria’s Bonne Nuit Quilt, a bonus project in her
upcoming embroidery pattern collection
called “Love From A to Z” ~ More info here.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What did you make that you’re most proud of?
Anna Maria: I enjoyed lots of my sewing this year, but I think I would look back at the Bonne Nuit quilt years from now and it would stand out as a favorite. It has all the things I love, handquilting, embroidery, bold and improvisational piecing, voile backing, and velveteen.

Bonne Nuit Quilt Detail

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What was your favorite fabric collection or print?
Anna Maria: Uhhhh… I don’t know. I guess I can’t say my own, ha ha, but it’s obviously what I use all the time. How about this: A favorite from my own collections this year is Clippings/Forest from my Loulouthi Voile collections, and I think my favorite not-me-fabric is this little number from Designers Guild, London.

Loulouthi Voile ~ Clippings in Forest

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Do you have a favorite sewing book or pattern from the past year to recommend?
Anna Maria: I think Kim’s A Field Guide to Fabric Design is so useful, and pretty to thumb through. I’ve probably opened my copy of Crewelwork more than any other this year.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What sewn projects have you seen this year that you absolutely love?
Anna Maria: I love this quilt in progress:

Quilt in Progress by Drew, Kitsch Café

I love this quilt too:

Queen-size La belle étoile quilt by Sylvie, -Vivie-

I love these pajamas made from my fabric:

Pajamas by Lies, Oon

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Are there any trends you’re over and done with?
Anna Maria: Oh here we go, where I ostracize whole entire group of people. If I’m tired of something, I just stop paying attention to it and it becomes white noise. I think I am tired of overlap in design, particularly the fabric world– In other words, anything that we’ve seen over and over and over again. You can fill in your own blank here!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate?
Anna Maria: What’s that? Just kidding. I do not tweet. I do not Pin. I sort of Facebook because people told me I had to. But I am not too faithful to it. So what happened was I had sort of a default user page, that I ignored for about nine months, and when I finally got to it I had like 800 friend requests, mostly from people that I haven’t necessarily met, but who follow my work. So I was like sure, let’s be friends. So what happens then is it’s really no longer a way for me to keep up with long-lost cousins as much as it’s just me generally republishing what I blog or Flicker, and every now and then some small thought here and there. What I regret about my personal Facebook wall is that I every time I come back to it there are friend requests, but I am slow to sit and “friend” everyone, so an awkward acceptance or not sorta thing happens which is not intentional. So I decided that a fan page was more in order based on the amount of time I can’t offer this business (the friending business), but I haven’t really publicized that yet, erh, until now. Anyway. What I like about Facebook: small snippets are easy. What I don’t like is what a vacuum it feels like. What I DO love? Blogging. It’s my fav. Its like showing your best friend what you’ve been up to every time she comes over and she can come over whenever you want. And I’m in charge. And you won’t see an advertisement about how to get rid of belly fat when you’re there or how to earn a college degree in less time than it takes to friend 700 people.

Bonne Nuit Quilt Detail

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What do you predict for 2012?
Anna Maria: More handwork in various disciplines, various base cloths becoming the norm and not the exception, less owls, more detailed garments, less wonky-by-design stuff, more fabric stores morphing into one-stop creative supply. These could be hopes more than predictions. (Oh, I’ve said too much.)

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Are there any bloggers, authors or designers who you think will be rising stars in 2012?
Anna Maria: Do you remember when the person of the year for Time magazine was “you” and the cover had a mirror of sorts printed on it? That’s how I feel about rising stars of the industry… The makers. That really isn’t me taking the easy way out and not specifying anyone. I just really believe it. Never before has the everyday girl/guy had so many tools at their disposal for creating anything they want, whether it’s a business venture or a personal venture. It’s an exciting time for all makers.

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?
Anna Maria: I think for my work it is going to be a year of solidifying my offerings in the handwork category with new patterns, a book, and new materials. Very exciting indeed. I will be traveling a whole lot due to my new relationship with Janome so that’s a tall order for a mom of six, but one I am excited about. I am also really excited about my next fabric line called Field Study, which is due to ship in May. I just sent in my corrections for the first round of strike offs (first print run samples) and it’s feeling very adventurous. I hope the year proves to feel the same! Happy 2012!