All of my personal 2015 reflections and predictions are embodied in the people we asked to participate in the annual year-end series. Throughout 2015 they wowed us, caused us to think, inspired us to create, and made us look forward to the year to come. They’re what make it great to be part of the sewing community. A huge THANK YOU to all of them! (Their Reflections + Predictions are linked to their name.)
Amber and her Fancy Tiger Crafts partner, Jaime Jennings, are our craft professional role models. They run a busy retail fabric and yarn shop in Denver with a calendar full of events and classes. They create beautiful, easy-to-use sewing patterns, such as the Sailor Top and the Fen Dress. They design knitting patterns and have their own line of yarn as well as Fancy Tiger brand knitting products. On top of all that they have a handful of great Creativebug classes and they make their own clothes! We don’t know how they do it all and still manage to be super nice and fun.
Abby designs fantastic patterns and writes great books; she’s fearless when it comes to blogging about issues no one else wants to talk about; she produces an amazing podcast; she’s active in her local community of entrepreneurs and crafters; and she speaks openly about what she does and inspires others to be the best entrepreneur/crafter/person they can be. Abby and I also launched Craft Industry Alliance this year, an endeavor that would never have gotten off the ground without Abby’s big ideas, hard work, and professionalism. It’s been a great adventure.
We think Nicole had one of the freshest sewing vibes of the year. Everything she produced was clean, cool, and modern. Just when you think you’re so over something (we’re looking at you, hexies), Nicole comes along with a totally different perspective. Whether she’s working with denim, prints, or solids, it all looks great. Be sure to check out the Modern Handcraft blog— all of the tutorials are terrific, and her photography is stunning. We wish her luck in her new home in Indianapolis and look forward to seeing how the change of scenery affects her work.
Melissa is a talented quilt maker, new-but-popular instructor, creative book author, and great fabric designer. But most of all, Melissa is an amazing artist with a style all her own. Whether she’s painting beautiful mermaids, quilting free motion magic on her long-arm, or making one of her captivating face quilts, we love it all and are really hoping for a new hand-drawn fabric collection from her soon! Be sure to follow Melissa on social media— she’s funny, surprising, and honest.
If we had to pick just one must-have book of 2015, it would Sherri Lynn Wood’s Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. The methods are solid and nearly every page is a visual delight. Even if you aren’t into the bright, high-contrast color choices in many of the quilts (I’m definitely a fan!), you have to admit that the forms are unique, organic, and beautiful. Through her book, blog, and classes around the country, Sherri Lynn is challenging quilters to loosen up, step out of their comfort zones, and break free of quilting rules. She’s a modern master with an uncommon perspective. If you get an opportunity to learn from her, jump at it.
Bari has been making bags and designing fabric for a long time, but 2015 was the year Bari’s star started to shine the brightest. By design, several aspects of Bari’s career and brand came together– she became a master at using Periscope to expose people to her art and aesthetic; she honed her painting skills and developed a very distinctive style; and she fine-tuned her use of newsletter marketing to communicate effectively with her followers and build a strong community. If you’re working on building a brand, follow Bari J— she’s got it down.
There are dozens of amazing podcasts within the crafts community, but Sandi’s Crafty Planner Podcast has been rising to the top as one of the most thought-provoking and insightful. Even though her guests are crafters, she’s not afraid to tackle issues like gender, race, and culture. Sandi is an expert interviewer– she asks informed and interesting questions, plus her on-air style manages to make guests feel really comfortable, while also pushing them to dig deep to reply honestly and intelligently. We look forward to seeing where Sandi will go next with her show and other endeavors.
Here’s what we love about Mandy’s book, Wanderlust Quilts: It makes the modern vs. traditional debate completely irrelevant by framing the designs within the backdrop of ancient art and architecture. (That Sawtooth Star is modern when you’re comparing it to the Roman aquaducts.) Plus, she helps us break out of the mindset that quilts need to be based around blocks, or even need to be parallelograms, for that matter. Mandy’s also a great long-arm quilter, a Craftsy instructor, and a forward-thinker with a unique voice. Follow her.
If you follow Sara Lawson on social media, you know she is always busy with a new project. This year we enjoyed watching her learn more about garments and pattern drafting, and we look forward to her new line of unique clothing patterns for women. She also filmed a great Craftsy class, Interfacing and Structure for Bags, which is exactly everything you ever wanted to know on the subject. Her second bag book, Windy City Bags, was released in 2015. And if all that wasn’t enough, she is the co-founder of Sew Pro, a convention for sewing industry professionals, scheduled for September of this year.
Heather Jones is one of those people who, over the years, has beautifully crafted a versatile career out of her passion and talent for quilt-making. She’s designing great patterns, writing amazing books, teaching at well-respected venues and events around the country, developing online classes for Creativebug, and producing unique archival prints and patchwork art pieces. Plus, she’ll soon have her first line of fabric! What we admire most about her, however, is that she doesn’t let all of that business stop her from getting into her studio to create. She’s always sharing her recent experiments, her works in progress on her design wall, and the inspiration for her next piece. She’s a creative who hasn’t let the job slow her down– and that’s a feat.
Alex Veronelli is the Chief Business Development Officer at Aurifil, the popular Italian quilt, patchwork, and embroidery cotton threads manufacturer. Obviously, Aurifil has gained a huge following and a large portion of the thread market in recent years because it is an amazing product. But it’s also hugely popular because Alex is an incredible spokesperson. He’s friendly and charismatic, but he’s also great at supporting his buyers– the retail shops that sell Aurifil. On social media he asks their advice about colors and packaging; he listens to suggestions from retailers; he works with shop owners and designers to develop custom sets; and he travels around the country meeting and talking to people! If you’re developing products to sell to quilt shops, it wouldn’t hurt to watch what Alex does.
There are a lot of people who advocate for body positive sewing, but Jenny Rushmore of Cashmerette really walks the talk. As a co-founder of the Curvy Sewing Collective, and the founder of a new line of sewing pattern specifically designed for women with curves, Jenny is showing us that being a size 12 or larger doesn’t mean you have to settle for ill-fitting or unstylish clothes– you just need to make the right clothes to fit the body that you have. Jenny looks great in everything she makes– swimsuits, jeans, and the wrap dresses she loves so much. And as her #cakewithcashmerette hashtag proved this year, haters ain’t gonna slow her down. We can’t wait to see the new Cashmerette Patterns for 2016!
Please check out the Reflections and Predictions posts from all these creative, savvy, inspiring humans! And since we asked all of them what they are most proud of accomplishing in 2015, I will add mine.
I’m super proud of the #lovewinsquilt, a collaborative celebration of the Supreme Court decision of 6/26/15 that guarantees a right to same sex marriage. I’m grateful to the 36 amazing quilters who contributed blocks and their quilting expertise to this project:
Row 1: Julie McMahon, Susanne Woods, Megan Cavagnaro Dye, Mary Abreu, Gabrien Chaney, Rossie Hutchinson
Row 2: Paloma Link, Mo Bedell, Shea Henderson, MaryAnn Morsette, Heather Jones, Susan Manson
Row 3: Amy Gunson, Elizabeth Dackson, Kristy Daum, Cheryl Arkinson, Laura Harden, Susan Beal
Row 4: Alissa Haight Carlton, Amy Friend, Angela Milliman, Lauren Hawley, Michelle Freedman, Cherie Grzych
Row 5: Heather Givans, Dan Rouse, Becca Jubie, Juline Bajada, Juline Bajada, John Adams
Row 6: Denyse Schmidt, Kristi McDonough, Susan Fuller, Carla Crim, Monica Solorio Snow, Nicole Daksiewicz
Quilted by Charlene Trieloff
I’m also very proud of the Craft Industry Alliance. Abby and I spent nearly a year planning and it was such a relief when it finally got of the ground. It is a joy to work on every day. I’m thankful for the nearly 700 members who have joined us in just three months and look forward to growing the organization with them. If you are a craft industry professional, please check it out!