A few weeks ago we asked our readers to name important sewing industry professionals of 2013. We looked for sewists who inspired and instructed, blazed new trails or reached new heights! Today we have Pat Sloan, radio host extraordinaire. Pat is out there in force in every social media outlet. She designs fabrics, patterns, she connects people in the industry and she loves what she does every day.

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

We want you to participate as well! 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 photos of your sewing this year and we enjoy clicking into your site to learn about what you’re looking forward to in 2014! (The complete set of questions for the series is at the bottom of this post.)

Why we chose Pat:

  • Because she’s “The Voice of Quilting”! For several years Pat has been interviewing bloggers, fabric designers, pattern designers and other members of the sewing community. She always makes her guests seem relaxed and comfortable and asks interesting questions. She literally has hundreds of great podcasts in her archives.
  • Pat isn’t just an interviewer or a quilter, she’s definitely built her own brand. She’s a fabric and pattern designer, she has a collection of thread for Aurifil, she developed a quilting ruler, she has videos, a blog and a quilting forum. For anyone aspiring to make a career out of being fully active in the sewing industry, Pat is a great role model.
  • She is active and supportive in social media. She shares and participates in the online sewing community every day.

Thank you, Pat, for all you do and for taking part in our series!

Pat Sloan: I may have had a tiny heart attack when I got the email from Sew Mama Sew asking if I’d share my thoughts on our wonderful industry. This is a huge privilege to share… Thank you!

SMS: Looking back on 2013, what trends stand out?
PS: A trend I’ve noticed is a lot more sharing via Facebook and Instagram this year. I’ve been on both for quite awhile and there has been this great momentum of talking about and posting our work in progress at both this sites. A lot more community, which is always more fun!

I’m also spotting new ‘start up’ retreats that are in person events. These are not associated with a quilt guild structure. They are being hosted and run by quilters who blog. They are bringing their online communities together to sew for a weekend. It is so awesome to finally meet face to face.

Quilters have always shared. Via in person guilds and quilt bees. And then we share online via internet forums, blogs, Flickr groups, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I love watching where people find the community that works for them. There are quilters all over the internet… Finding your tribe day and night is very satisfying.

Another trend I see is the influence of Pinterest for the makers of the world. We are able to search, keep and share what inspires us in this HUGE online scrapbook called Pinterest. Where else can you go to a board and find 800 quilt photos all curated together under one style? It is brilliant eye-candy. I believe this is inspiring people to try new things, to learn more, and be involved more in the sewing activities they love so much.

A mini trend I’m seeing is that people are starting to hone their skills and move up a level in complexity of their work. It is exciting to see more detailed projects being showed. In the form of a quilt block, a bag with fantastic detailing or an outfit that’s been remixed. All show that people have moved up a level with their skills and can– and want– to try new things. This is a plus for our industry.

Was there a personal or an industry high point?
A personal high point has been going out to do presentations and teach. I love traveling across the country (and world) meeting quilters where they live. It’s a thrill to see not only what they do with my designs in a workshop, but I love seeing the types of quilts they are making. The best part of a group meeting is show and tell. Your quilts and the stories behind them inspire my work.

An industry high point was being part of developing the only ruler on the market that has a sharpening blade on the one side. I worked with Sullivan’s USA to create all of the gridwork. This ruler won best new idea and it really does keep your blade sharper. The rulers are called “The Edge” and are available at your local stores. I have several videos about it on my YouTube page.

What did you make that you’re most proud of?
I’m thrilled with the reception of my All Quilting online radio/podcast. It is exciting to be entering my fifth year as a producer and host of my own radio show! I never in a million years would have thought producing and hosting a radio show would be part of my quilt business, but it is.

I produce about 45 brand new shows each year. All are podcasts so you can listen online anytime day or night! Download to a player, subscribe by Itunes or just listen on your computer.

Whose work inspired or awed you?
My friend Jane Davidson, better known as Quilt Jane, constantly blows my socks off with her work. We first met online (see how I LOVE online?) when she invited me to do a block for her Desperate Housewives quilt along. First the name caught my attention, next her work. Jane lives in Australia and I am lucky to see her at the trade shows.

She is on the Aurifil 2014 Design team and you can find her quilts in magazines. Be sure to follow her at her blog, Facebook, Flickr… I know you will love her.

What was your favorite fabric collection or print?
Well of course I’d have to say my own fabric line Bobbins and Bits from Moda that is in stores now… Wink! I am a total fabric junky. I would own all the collections I could and if I had the room (ha!). Lately I’ve been inspired by Moda designers Sweetwater Design, Bonnie & Camille and Kate Spain. I tend to collect their lines because they blend so nicely from one to the next and are in colors that work very well with my fabric lines.

I also am nuts about novelty prints. I picked up this Michael Miller print. But just a fat quarter. It’s hanging in my studio and I decided the other day I really needed yardage… Now I have that too! (Oh, do NOT ask me what I’m going to do with it. I’m collecting…)

Do you have a book, pattern or class from the past year to recommend?
Of my own work, I’d say most of my patterns allow people to develop skills. You can start with a project that uses a smaller range of skills, like my Stitched pattern that uses a jelly roll and one fabric and straight line sewing.

Then move into a more complicated looking block like Crush. It is NOT complicated but does require a few more steps to make the block.

Or my nice big applique shapes such as Pop. My designs are approachable and I break all the steps down so it’s easy to follow by yourself or in my workshops.

If you are interested in how to run a Quilt Bee, I really love Lindsay Conner’s book Modern Bee as a great resource to get started and learn what they are all about.

The other area that people really want to know more about is machine quilting. Either on your domestic machine or a longarm. Depending on the level you are at, you can find a book or workshop (online or in-person) that will fit where you are in the learning process. I highly recommend you look at a lot of the books and videos. Read the comments about them, see if they are at your level and if they suit your work style. I feel it is super important to be sure the teaching style of the instructor/author suits where you are in the learning process. If it’s too easy or too hard for where you are at, then it’s not a good investment.

What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate?
I love every single thing about social media, seriously. Community is so huge for me and I’m a geek. I have a degree in computer science and worked in the field for over twenty years (my first life). So anything to do with computers and people appeals to me. And personally I am fascinated with how our phones have changed our lives. Seriously CHANGED OUR LIVES. (I had to be sure you saw that.) My phone is not a phone… I rarely talk on it. My phone is a mini computer that goes everywhere with me. I can see a photo of the fabric my friend in Texas is getting ready to cut into, the very second she shares it. If she has a question, I can answer. Even if I’m at the grocery store.

Social media is a life style. It’s not for everyone, but if you love people, and love seeing what they are doing, then this is the lifestyle for you.

What do you predict for 2014?
I see the word “blend” being the buzz of 2014. As in blending of styles, blending of techniques, blending of fabrics… I am seeing that as makers in the quilting and sewing communities gain skills and confidence, they try new things. And new things often means blending of styles. Someone who might be making just basic patchwork will try applique. And the applique might be from a traditional design, worked in modern fabric, and turned and twisted for a different feel. Or a maker doing minimalist work might decide to punch it up with a more complex paper pieced project. Maybe a pure “cotton only” person will try linen, or corduroy or maybe adding in fantastic ribbons.

I am really seeing styles blend. And I attribute that to gaining experience in the craft.

Who do you think will be a rising star of 2014?
Oh, that’s such an interesting question. The internet has totally changed the way people enter the business world of quilt making. Someone will start a quilt business blog and become well known to their customer base. Another person will send in an awesome book proposal on a whim and be published without other credentials in the business. The same goes for fabric lines; if the concept is great, you now have access to the people who make decisions and your work can skyrocket.

But what comes next is up to the individual. To me the rising stars are the super-hard workers that get that break, then take it to the next level. They have a booth at Quilt Market, they go out and teach face to face, they build partnerships within our industry, they hone their skills so they create amazing designs and they are the boss of their business. It’s not a hobby for them.

I see a handful of people who have one foot in the door, and I’m watching to see if they put in that other foot, elbow and hip. I’m watching to see if they make a business out of it. Nobody is an overnight success; it takes time and hard work. I’ve enjoyed watching Amy Gibson of Stitchery Dickory Dock since her Craftsy block of the month course. She has taken that opportunity and grown her community and continues to develop exciting projects for quilters like her Sugar Block club.

I’m curious who your readers think is an up and coming quilt star, and why? What about them makes you excited to read their blog, buy their book, take their classes? Send me an email with their name and website so I can check them out. You might hear me interview them on my radio show or feature them on my blog in 2014! (pat@patsloan.com)

Can you tell us anything about what to expect from you in 2014? Any projects or life-changing goals you can share?
After 15 years in the quilt business I’m still thrilled to wake up every day and know I will be talking/doing/writing about quilt making. I just recently did a total facelift of my blog and I have new features coming out in 2014 like:

  • New free BOM called Globetrotting.
  • Monthly UFO busting challenges.
  • New curated find’s like scrap busting projects or even food for quilters (wait till you see it!).
  • I have a new camera so you’ll be seeing some interesting photography of my work and my events.
  • And more videos.
  • PS: There just MIGHT be a new office assistant arriving in January to help with my machine quilting (it’s exciting!). In 2014 I’m working to provide exciting quilt industry tips, links and showcased items. So be sure you read my blog and sign up for my newsletter.

Is there anything else about the sewing industry or community that you’d like to talk about?
I’d love to have a little “Soap Box” moment about our blogs. I adore blogs. I feel they are our home base. It is where we can share more deeply about a subject than we can on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It’s where we can present a tutorial, share a workshop we’ve taken, it’s where we tell our stories as a quilt maker. Lately I’ve seen people leave their blogs for the quicker fix of Instagram and Facebook.

Sharing a photo with a quick sentence is super for staying in touch. But it’s like waving hello across the street to your neighbor. Nice to keep in touch, but you miss out on knowing what is really gong on in your friend’s life. Isn’t it more meaningful and fulfilling to invite your neighbor over for a cup of tea? Invite them into your home and you can connect better.
I see our blogs as our “Home.” Where you come to visit us, we visit with you, we share in a more meaningful and in-depth way about our quilting making and our life.

My hope is that everyone visits the blogs of the people you love to hang out with. Leave them a comment to thank them for taking the time to share. Tell them you loved coming over to visit for tea and you bring the cookies. Then invite them to your home. Even if you don’t have a blog, support each other as you can. Our community is so awesome and the way we connect has changed, but let’s be sure we continue to have a deeper connection than just that wave across the street.

And I’d love everyone to take this quote to heart, to live it, to be it: “Being creative is not a hobby it is a way of life.” This tag with the quote is from Stephaine Ackerman, a mixed media artist.

Visit my “Home” at http://www.patsloan.com. Please sign up for my newsletter and then you can click to my blog, radio show, places I’m teaching, info on my workshops, free pattern page, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, my internet group, google+ and Flickr folder. I can’t WAIT to chat with you.

We’d love to hear from you! 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.)