Reflections + Predictions ~ Anna Graham of Noodlehead

on December 30 | in Featured Creativity, Sewing Inspiration, Sewing Trends | by | with 8 Comments

Today we have Anna Graham of Noodlehead, here to share her reflections on 2013 and her predictions for the year ahead! We selected 10 sewists to participate in the series via suggestions from our Facebook and Instagram followers. We asked:

Which quilters, sewists, bloggers and authors rocked 2013? Who inspired and instructed, blazed new trails or reached new heights? Who changed the way you think about sewing, quilting or making in general? If you could pick a sewing industry person of the year, who would it be?

Why we chose Anna:

  • Those awesome bag patterns! I think we all became addicted way back with the Gathered Clutch and since then it has been one amazing must-make pattern after another, from the 241 to the Divided Basket to the Super Tote and more.
  • Her tutorials, including the Open Wide Zipper Pouch. Anna has always been very generous with her freebies.
  • Her clean and appealing blog with beautiful photos. Every post is a visual delight.
  • Her kind, friendly, good-spirited participation in the sewing community. She’s one of those people you wish you could sew with in real life.

Additional posts in our 2013 Reflections + Predictions Series: Lisa Sipes from That Crazy Quilty Girl, Pat Sloan, Luke Haynes, Victoria Findlay Wolfe of Bumble Beans Inc., Heather Grant from The Modern Quilt Guild + QuiltCon, Vanessa Wilson from Crafty Gemini.


SMS: Looking back on 2013, what trends stand out?
AG: Text prints! Everybody’s doing them!

Was there a personal or an industry high point?
A personal high point was finally making a pattern for print. I love all things printed, so it was truly awesome seeing one of my patterns on paper in and my own two hands. I also am really proud that I started knitting and am continuing to enjoy doing so. Having such a great community cheering you on is such an awesome thing!

Anna’s Social Tote Pattern, a collaboration with Carolyn Friedlander.

What did you make that you’re most proud of?
Gosh, when I look back it seems like a long year. I’m really proud that I took on Project Sewn; it was something that I could have easily just turned down, but I knew it was going to be a great opportunity for growth. I’m also proud of some of my own patterns/work, especially being able to collaborate with Carolyn Friedlander on the Social Tote Pattern, and the new Cargo Duffle I designed for Robert Kaufman.

The Cargo Duffle

Whose work inspired or awed you?
Carolyn Friedlander with her quilting and color prowess, Vanessa (Little Big Girl Studio) with her great minimalist aesthetic, Sophie (Cirque du Bebe) and all her gorgeous garments, Krista (Spotted Stones) for her amazing quilts and steps into handprinting, Rae (Made by Rae) for always being ahead of the game and constantly pushing herself, Shannon (Very Shannon) for being such an amazing publisher/author and pattern designer, Jeni (In Color Order) for rocking her fabric collections and for becoming such an amazing designer, Lizzy House for designing some of my most hoarded fabrics, Amanda Jennings (Hey Porkchop!) for her cross stitch awesomeness and positive vibes, Grainline Studio for her clean modern garment patterns… I should probably stop there, but my list could go on and on, I’m inspired by so many! Everyday I seem to stumble on yet another great blog!

Lizzy House Catnap

What was your favorite fabric collection or print?
I hope this isn’t too wimpy, but I love cross weaves, shot cottons and yarn dyed fabrics. They always seem to make their way into a majority of my projects. I think they can really bring out the beauty of the many designer fabrics we have at our fingertips. Oh and I can’t wait to get my hands on some Lizzy House Catnap. Gah! The cuteness! I continue to love the designers and their collections from Cloud 9 Fabrics.

Do you have a book, pattern or class from the past year to recommend?
Book: Island by Jane Richmond and Shannon Cook. I know it’s a knitting book, but the way it’s put together just screams beauty!

Pattern: Lady Skater Dress by Kitschy Coo. I really loved making two garments from this pattern and it’s very well thought out with lots of advice and knowledge.

Class: Not really just a “class” but Camp Stitchalot hosted by Pink Castle Fabrics is a really great format and I really enjoyed my time at camp!

What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate?
Social media can be so tricky. It’s hard to know what’s too much, what’s annoying, and most importantly, when to put the phone down! At the end of the day I would like to feel that I did my best and shared things that are interesting or fun and to stay true to myself and my values. It’s also really difficult to keep from reacting to a post. It’s easy to get caught up in the quickness of social media (and I admit I fall into that as well). We’re not perfect, but we can all try to keep positive and encouraging!

What do you predict for 2014?
I think we’ll continue to see group projects pop-up. I think bloggers are really starting to “join forces” so to speak, and do collaborative group efforts whether it be patterns or books or new businesses. It’s really interesting to see how these connections form and what boundaries need to be pushed in order to achieve this.

Who do you think will be a rising star of 2014?
There always seems to be so many! And I think I probably have a pretty limited view of the overall industry, but I’ll share a few I think we’ll see a lot more work from:

  • Carolyn Friedlander: I truly feel she has a unique point of view that a lot of people can relate to (sorry, you saw that one coming, girl crush).
  • Penny Layman (Sew Take a Hike), as she’s the sweetest person, and I love every one of her beautifully crafted projects.
  • I am also super excited about quilt patterns from Alison Glass and I know she’s got a great perspective.
  • April Rhodes: She took the blogging world by storm with her first garment pattern, The Staple Dress, and followed up with more great patterns already. I’m really excited to see all that she does in 2014!
  • Oh, and I can hardly wait to see what the new group Cotton & Steel will be unveiling!

Can you tell us anything about what to expect from you in 2014? Any projects or life-changing goals you can share?
Who me? Well, I think there’s more to come. I’m putting the finishing touches on revising my older patterns to make them as accurate and user friendly as possible as well as getting them ready for print. And of course there’s lots of time for possibilities, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Is there anything else about the sewing industry or community that you’d like to talk about?
I think too often we get stuck saying the words “I’m a quilter” or “I’m a dressmaker,” but truthfully the whole world of sewing is amazing and you can learn so much from each area. So don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and sew yourself a shirt, or make that quilt you’ve always wanted to try. I’m also really interested in where blogging will continue to fit in, especially with so many active users on the social media scene. It seems like it will be taking a backseat, but everything seems to be ever-changing who knows what will happen.


Your turn! Please answer any or all of our questions below on your own blog and share the link to your reflections and predictions in the comments on any of the series posts. We love seeing photo collages of your sewing this year and we enjoy clicking into your site to learn about what you’re looking forward to in 2014!

  • Looking back on 2013, what trends stand out?
  • Was there a personal or an industry high point?
  • What did you make that you’re most proud of?
  • Whose work inspired or awed you?
  • What was your favorite fabric collection or print?
  • Do you have a book, pattern or class from the past year to recommend?
  • What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate?
  • What do you predict for 2014? (It could be related to style, social media, manufacturing, etc.)
  • Who do you think will be a rising star of 2014?
  • Can you tell us anything about what to expect from you in 2014? Any projects or life-changing goals you can share?
  • Is there anything else about the sewing industry or community that you’d like to talk about? (It could be good or bad, but hopefully constructive.)

Check out all of the predictions from previous years here!

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8 Responses to Reflections + Predictions ~ Anna Graham of Noodlehead

  1. Dayna says:

    I have been out of the sewing/blogging world since Fall 2012, so I’m popping by for some inspiration. I was delighted to see Anna interviewed! I still carry the gathered clutch – personally made by her – from the swap I had the privilege of joining back in 2010. We had just moved back to the US from Moçambique. Now we’re living in South Africa, and no one has a clutch like mine. :-) Thanks for the inspiration! I can’t wait to get some projects checked off. And do some blogging.

  2. Kay Holm says:

    I made some predictions too!

    http://sewgoldenachance.blogspot.com/2014/01/looking-back-and-little-forward.html

    these are all so interesting!

  3. Kathy says:

    That was a fun read! I decided to do a post too. Here is mine.

    http://handmadedresshaven.blogspot.com/2014/01/sewing-reflections-2013.html

  4. Pamela says:

    I love Anna’s blog! I am sharing my reflections for 2013 as well – and yes, I mention Anna as someone who inspires me. https://sovanisa.com/?p=1460

  5. Rachel says:

    I always enjoy reading Anna’s blog and seeing what sewing projects she is up to.

    I answered most of the questions here: http://nestfullofeggs.blogspot.com/2013/12/2013-reflections-looking-ahead-to-2014.html

  6. rachel says:

    I loved this interview so much! It was my favorite one yet!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Anna! Such a fun read!

  7. Laura Kammarmeyer says:

    I was so excited to see an Anna interview ,,,love her bag patterns!! I’ll be checking out some of her faves that I wasn’t famiiar with.

  8. I must admit Anna is a bit of a girl crush for me too, lol! I love her aesthetic and her bag patterns are the best – Super Tote was my first “real bag” and it was so easy for this beginner! I even felt comfortable to make my own adjustments to make a zippered pocket on the outside.

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