John Adams is Quilt Dad— father of three and quilter extraordinaire! John creates beautiful quilts, of course, and also launched the popular Fat Quarterly e-magazine in 2010. John big goals for the upcoming year and we can’t wait to see what 2011 has in store for him. He’s a rising talent in the sewing world, and is kind and funny to boot. John shared his thoughts with us today for our Reflections & Predictions series, joining the fun group of designers, shop owners and sewists we’ve interviewed in recent weeks. Remember, we want to hear from you too! Answer any or all of our questions for a chance to win.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Looking back on the sewing scene of 2010, what trends stand out in your mind?
John: 2010 was definitely an exciting time in the world of sewing and quilting! I was fortunate enough to attend both Quilt Markets in 2010 (Spring in Minneapolis, and Fall in Houston), so my observations are based largely on what I observed at those events.

First, I have been amazed by the introduction and rapid adoption of alternative textiles to the sewing and quilting scene. Hungry for more options beyond quilting cottons, sewists have accepted home dec weights, voiles, corduroys, laminates, linens and, most recently, velveteens into their stashes. It’s exciting to see designers offering their current collections in additional fabric types, led by such popular artists as Anna Maria Horner, Valori Wells, Heather Ross, Denyse Schmidt and, of course, Amy Butler.

Isso Ecco & Heart from Lecien

Next, I definitely noticed the influence of the Japanese fabric & design aesthetic on the industry. Of course, you can’t mention this without mentioning the growing popularity of the Japanese fabric companies, like Lecien and Kokka, whose booths at market are consistently some of the most visually stunning and are chock full of inspiration. But while these companies continue to push the envelope, you can see the trend emerging at many of the American fabric companies (e.g. the very popular MoMo lines offered by Moda). Even better, the Japanese companies have become a new avenue for fresh non-Japanese design voices — take Heather Ross and Melody Miller at Kokka, or Monica Solorio-Snow and Sarah Fielke at Lecien.

Finally, I definitely noticed a trend towards increased use of solid colored fabrics in modern quilting projects. Many who were drawn to quilting by the beautiful prints and patterns have begun to explore how they can embrace the possibility of sewing and quilting with solids. This movement is clearly being led by the fearless Cherri House, whose 2011 book title City Quilts has almost single-handedly shifted the industry in this direction. And the fabric companies have noticed– 2011 saw the emergence of several new options for quilters working with solids, from linens to cross-weaves, and from Grunge to Crush. And color cards have become a must-have for every quilter’s studio.

SMS: What were some of your favorite things?
John: I don’t think it’s a monster trend (yet), but I for one love seeing bits and pieces of embroidery popping up within the quilting and sewing circles. I am huge fan of prolific stitchers Cathy Gaubert, Nicole Vos van Avezanthe of Follow the White Bunny, Alyssa Thomas of Penguin & Fish, and Georgia McDonald. Their creativity is matched only by their skill, and I am always excited to see what they’ll do next.

In fact, I was thrilled to see the marriage of fabric and embroidery when Lizzy House and Nicole collaborated on a set of embroidery patterns based upon Lizzy’s Castle Peeps line. I had often wondered why more fabric designers haven’t translated their art to embroidery patterns, and I hope we will see more such collaborations in 2011 and beyond.

Bag with embroidery by Penguin & Fish.

SMS: What was your very favorite fabric collection or print?
John: I’m terrible at self-editing, so I can’t pick just one. But here are a few favorites from the year:

  • I absolutely loved the unique, vibrant colors and subtle prints of City Weekend, the debut collection by Oliver + S for Moda.

    Parisville by Tula Pink

  • Tula Pink’s Parisville will always hold a special place in my heart, not just because it’s FABULOUS, but because I made my first Quilt Market quilt from it!
  • Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry was an absolute favorite, and I think the Herringbone print from that collection is especially brilliant. I can see myself using a lot of it for a long time to come!
  • I’m gaga over pretty much anything Kate Spain does. I now have a stash of Verna, Fandango, 12 Days of Christmas, AND Central Park, and I already can’t wait for her next collection.
  • Heading into 2011, I can’t wait to play more with the just-released Ruby Star Rising, Swoon by Melissa Averinos, and…
  • …As far as a single print goes, I’ve loaded up on the Thyme Flower print– part of Carolyn Gavin’s Wild Thyme collection for P&B Textiles– in all of its different colors. I think it will be a great staple for years to come.

    John’s quilt top featuring Swoon in the Rectangle Reverie pattern.

    SMS: What was the best thing you made in 2010?
    John: Wow, this is a tough question. It’s like being asked who your favorite child is! It may be because it’s the most recent quilt top I’ve completed, but I am in love with this project made from Melissa Averinos’ new line, Swoon, using Monica Solorio-Snow of Happy Zombie‘s Rectangle Reverie pattern (featured in a recent Quilts & More magazine).

    I wish I could say I was keeping it myself, but it’s to be donated to support a good cause in 2011.

    Detail of John’s quilt top.

    But I have to say that the accomplishment I am proudest of is the launch of the Fat Quarterly e-magazine. What started as a nugget of an idea at the start of 2010 has grown beyond my and my team’s wildest expectations. The ways in which quilters and sewists are seeking out and consuming information and inspiration is in the midst of a radical transformation, and I think we’ve really hit on something with our fresh content and innovative ways of connecting with readers and delivering that content.

    If you haven’t checked out Fat Quarterly yet, please do. We have lots of exciting things planned for the year ahead!

    SMS: What is one of the best things you saw that was made by someone else?
    John: I’m in love with pretty much any Single Girl quilt that I see made from Denyse Schmidt’s pattern, but this one really caught my eye in 2010:

    Lee’s king-size Single Girl Quilt, Freshly Pieced

    The Pop Flower mini quilt made by Jessica of twinfibers is another of my favorite pieces of the year:

    Finally, I loved seeing the marriage of one of my favorite fabric lines (Castle Peeps by Lizzy House) with one of my favorite patterns (Mixtape Quilt by Oh, Fransson!), made by Elizabeth Hartman herself.

    SMS: Anything you’re ready for the world to get over?
    John: I’m kind of over the obsession over out-of-print fabric collections. Don’t get me wrong– I’ve been known to buy a Neptune fat quarter or two in preparation for that “quilt-I’ll-make-one-day”– but I feel that the fixation on hard-to-find fabrics detracts from the great new things that are always being released, and that are continuing to push the industry in fresh, new directions.

    SMS: What do you think 2011 has in store?
    John: I can’t wait to see how Lizzy House and Tula Pink are going to follow up their standout 2010 lines (Castle Peeps and Parisville, respectively), and what’s next from Monica Solorio-Snow after her fantastic Holiday Happy line. I had the pleasure of speaking with Denyse Schmidt at Quilt Market in Houston, and I think we’ll be seeing great things from her this year– beginning with the just-released Greenfield Hill and continuing with the release of her next book.

    Greenfield Hill by Denyse Schmidt

    I think we will continue to witness the democratization of fabric design, a direction in which the industry is being pushed due in large part (if not exclusively) to the Spoonflower phenomenon.

    Trend-wise, as I previously mentioned, I predict the ways in which quilters and sewists seek out and consume information will continue to change. As we’ve seen with Fat Quarterly, our community is eager to embrace digital content that can be obtained instantaneously. I was glad to read Susanne Woods’ announcement of, a vehicle by which we can purchase PDF versions of popular patterns– a service that I felt has been lacking for a long time now. (I mean, in this day and age, why should we pay for the delivery and materials of printed patterns, not to mention having to wait upwards of a week for their delivery?)

    SMS: Any bloggers, quilters, sewists or designers who you think will be rising stars in 2011?
    John: I predict that Ruby Star Rising— already one of the most buzzed-about fabric lines that I can remember, and rightfully so– is just the start of great things to come from Melody Miller. I think Elizabeth Hartman’s (Oh, Fransson!) star will continue to rise– I have the utmost respect both for her quilting aesthetic and her professionalism. Pattern-wise, I am always in awe of Sarah Fielke‘s work (more books like Material Obsession, please!) And based on the rumblings I’ve heard about Tula Pink’s follow up to Parisville, I predict it’s going to be her biggest smash yet!

    Oh, and is it bad form to list Fat Quarterly as a rising star of 2011? Fingers crossed!

    SMS: Can you tell us anything about what to expect from you in 2011? Any big projects, life changes or goals you can reveal?
    John: I predict that 2011 will be a busy but exciting year for me. I have drafted four resolutions that I am going to try hard to stick to in the coming year:

      1. I will continue to work on things that I find either challenging or fun. And if I can find a project that is both challenging and fun, then that’ll be a bonus!
      2. I will produce high-quality, inspirational patterns and project ideas that will continue to build the Fat Quarterly brand, in an effort to help it reach its fullest potential.
      3. I will FINALLY get some of my design ideas uploaded to Spoonflower, and print and use something that I myself have created.
      4. And last but not least, I will continue to chase the elusive goal of figuring out a way that I can follow my dreams and passions in this industry full-time.

    Happy New Year to all of the Sew,Mama,Sew! readers! Here’s to a great 2011!