Welcome to the 2013 Reflections + Predictions Series! This is the third year we’ve asked sewists who’ve inspired us to look back on the year and share personal high points, as well as forecast trends they see down the track in 2014.  To help us select our interviewees we asked our Facebook and Instagram followers:

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?

Although there were dozens and dozens of nominees, we sorted through and chose 10 Sewists Who Rocked 2013. They’re people who we felt not only reached new personal highs, but also changed the way we think about sewing, quilting, writing and teaching. They did great things for their own careers, but they also impacted the industry, and for that we’re very thankful.  We hope you enjoy the series as we say goodbye to 2013 and look ahead to the new year.

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.)

First up is Victoria Findlay Wolfe of Bumble Beans Inc.

Why we chose Victoria:
– Many nominations in our social media polls.
– Her book, 15 Minutes of Play, which nearly all the reviewers on Amazon LOVE!
– The amazing quilt Double Edged Love which won Best in Show at Quiltcon. It is a quilt that simply gobsmacked the judges and the show attendees.
– Victoria’s activism through Bumble Beans Basics, a service organization which gathers quilts to share with those in need.
– Her participation on the board of the American Quilt Alliance, “a non-profit organization founded in 1993 to unite the varied elements of the quilt world around a shared vision of preserving and disseminating the stories of quilts and quiltmakers. Recognizing quilts as both works of art and as pieces of history, this vision celebrates quilts because they tell stories worth sharing. Quilts matter!”

In general, Victoria is a spectacular quilter who shares her love for the art in many different ways– as a teacher, a writer, an activist and a leader.

SMS: Looking back on 2013, what trends stand out?
VFW: I was pleased to see that hand sewing was back this year, with people obsessed with hexagons and even more complicated blocks. I think it’s a great sign to see people stretching themselves and learning new techniques so that their quilting skills will grow! That means they are good and hooked, and we can expect many more great quilts in the future! Ha! Also, it’s just a great industry for women– and men– to connect through, so we need to keep it energized creatively, and push people a little. Hopefully those peeps with skills will rub off on the other newbie sewers. Encourage a new quilter!

Was there a personal or an industry high point?
I had a goal this year to get a quilt into Houston. Not that I want to be a “show quilter.” I don’t, but I wanted to know that my skills were good enough to be included in the show among the best in quilting. I exceeded that goal, with two of my own quilts accepted plus a group quilt, in Houston this year.

Double Edged Love, collaborated & quilted by Lisa Sipes, won Best in Show at QuiltCon!

What did you make that you’re most proud of?
The surprise “high point” was winning QuiltCon. “Double Edged Love” grew out of some very personal issues I was dealing with at the time. It was a “turning point” quilt in my work. I had so many light bulb moments happening while making that quilt; I knew there was more to be done with it. By that I mean making more DWR quilts (Double Wedding Ring). QuiltCon was not even on my radar, so that was a double surprise. Having Lisa Sipes quilt it was the icing on the cake. “Double Edged Love” is the quilt I am most proud of.

A few of Victoria’s beautiful Scrappy Quilts.

Can you tell us anything about what to expect from you in 2014? Any projects or life-changing goals you can share?
When I made “Double Edged Love” I had so many ideas come up about the relationship between myself and my grandmother’s work, where I’m from, and where I am now. They are truly full circle moments for me… I now have a series of 12 Double Wedding ring quilts that will be shown at the Wisconsin Quilt & Fiber Museum in June 25th, 2014. To me that’s life showing me I’m on the right personal path. It brings me great joy, each time I finish one of these quilts.

A selection of Victoria’s Commissioned Quilts.

Hoping for a Forever Trend:
Here’s a Forever Trend I’m hoping for: quilt giving… We all make more quilts then we need and I hope more people will consider giving quilts to those in need. (Local giving or to any group collecting.) Give your best work, not your old things you don’t like. People who have nothing deserve the very best, more than anyone else… Quilts give hope, love and big warm hugs!