Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating today around the world. Peace, love and joy to you and yours!

Who are the movers and shakers in the world of sewing? We asked 10 respected members of the sewing community to reflect on 2013 and look ahead to 2014. This is our third Reflections + Predictions Series and each year we find the responses insightful, interesting and thought-provoking. We hope you do too.

Please answer any or all of our questions 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! Here are the questions we sent the Sewists of the Year:

  • 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.)

Here are additional posts in this year’s series: Victoria Findlay Wolfe of Bumble Beans Inc., Heather Grant from The Modern Quilt Guild + QuiltCon.

Today we have Vanessa Vargas Wilson, The Crafty Gemini. Vanessa was a 2012 Teacher of the Year Nominee from the International Association of Professional Quilters. Vanessa and her work can be found in just about every social media outlet out there!:

Why we chose Vanessa:

  • Before there was Craftsy and before there was Creativebug there was Crafty Gemini! Vanessa saw the future of craft instruction many years ago and she ran with it, making simple yet informative instructional videos out of her home. She didn’t have a fancy studio or high-end equipment, but she did (and does) have a great deal of enthusiasm and the ability to communicate very clearly.
  • Vanessa’s Facebook page is loaded with parenting, cooking, crafting and health and beauty advice (not to mention quilting and sewing!). She is enthusiastic and authoritative about dozens of topics and we have a tendency to trust her advice.  Check it out.
  • Vanessa has caught the attention of TV producers, magazine publishers and other industry businesses who want to hitch a ride on her rising star. We’re sure 2014 will be a very good year for Crafty Gemini; she deserves it!

SMS: Looking back on 2013, what trends stand out?
VW: From what I recall I think text was a big trend this year. A lot of cool new fabrics with text printed on them. Another trend I saw a lot of is the increased use of solid fabrics. I think with the modern quilting momentum growing more and more sewists and quilters are starting to incorporate even more solids in their designs whether it’s a modern project or not.

Was there a personal or an industry high point?
I had so many personal high points this year it’s hard to wrap my head around it all. I was a guest on two PBS sewing shows, It’s Sew Easy and Sew It All. I also attended International Quilt Market & Festival for the first time. What an overwhelming experience to see how profitable our industry is and how it continues to grow! Another personal high for 2013 has to be hitting 100,000 YouTube subscribers this month! What a way to end the year! I have big plans for 2014 and am very excited for what is to come.

What did you make that you’re most proud of?
The one project I made this year that I’m the most proud is my Keys Afloat modern quilt. I offered this design as a video quilt along series on my YouTube channel. I love everything about this quilt! The design, colors, quilting, and the pieced backing and binding. It really is my favorite quilt this year.

Vanessa’s Keys Afloat Quilt

Whose work inspired or awed you?
Angela Walters and Lisa Sipes’ longarm quilting skills are enough inspiration to last me a lifetime. I love their work. They are super talented at what they do and they are very humble people. I met them both in person this year and was pleasantly surprised at how friendly they both were. Cool girls, for sure! Whenever I have no idea what quilting design to do on a quilt I will reference their work for inspiration and I’m off and quilting in no time.

Ann Kelle’s fabric designs are amazing! Her choice of colors and design really speak to me. I could stare at her prints all day long! The vibrant colors and whimsical designs really inspire me and make me want to add fabric design to my bucket list!

Vanessa’s Quilt-as-You-Go iPad/Tablet Sleeve

What was your favorite fabric collection or print
My favorite fabric collection this year would have to be Raaga by Monaluna; it incorporated rich colors with gorgeous prints drawn from Indian motifs. And it’s all 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. Love! I recently launched a new online class on how to make a quilt-as-you-go iPad/tablet sleeve where I use the Raaga fabrics. They really help make this project pop!

Do you have a book, pattern or class from the past year to recommend?
For quilters looking to try their hand at some modern quilts I would recommend Inspired Modern Quilts: 7 Small Projects With Big Style by Elizabeth Hartman on She does an excellent job of covering fun techniques while still keeping it all simple and approachable for the newbie. It’s a great introductory class into modern quilting.

What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate?
I love social media! There are so many different sites that I can’t keep up with them all, but I try. My go-to site is Facebook. I can upload a status update or a quick picture post in just a matter of seconds from my desktop, tablet or phone. I have almost 20,000 Facebook likes so I’d say it’s working nicely for me. Twitter is another one I use often. Of course there’s also Pinterest. I love that I can promote my tutorials and also catalog all the inspiration I find on the web into different boards. The one I’m still learning how to stay on top of is Instagram. I hope to master it in 2014.

Vanessa’s Keys Afloat Modern Quilt Along Series

What do you predict for 2014?
In 2014 I’m predicting more designers and companies will take to online video to promote their products and services. I think everyone is starting to realize that video is the wave of the future. In such a visually-oriented industry it really is where everyone should be headed. My business has taken off because of online video and I only expect it to grow in the coming years. I’m also predicting there will be a lot more collaborative projects among bloggers. It’s a great way to cross-promote products and services while tapping into other audiences. Video collaborations would be ideal! I think there is more than enough space on the web for us all to come together and share what it is that we do without it having to be a competition.

Can you tell us anything about what to expect from you in 2014? Any projects or life-changing goals you can share?
Definitely expect big things! My website/blog has already received a makeover so we are starting fresh and clean for 2014. Some things you can expect are new online video classes, fabric kit bundles, DVD lessons, new patterns, more free video tutorials, giveaways and maybe even a book. Hmm. Who knows? I also have a column in Quilty magazine for 2014. It’s called The Thread. Check it out! I’m super excited about 2014. It’s sure to be a life-changing year for Crafty Gemini!

Thank you, Vanessa!

Interested in seeing if any predictions from previous years have come true? You can see them all here.