The new year is almost here! Our series of reflections and predictions continues with sewing industry leaders… We’ve heard from Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness, Mandy Leins of Mandalei Quilts, Jenny Rushmore of Cashmerette, Sandi Sawa Hazlewood of Crafty Planner and Alex Veronelli of Aurifil.

Next up is Heather Jones of Heather Jones Studio. Heather had a big year with her new Quilt Local book, and there’s even more to come!

You can find Heather at Heather Jones Studio and on Instagram (@HeatherJonesStudio) and Twitter (@oliveandollie).

Sew Mama Sew: Looking back on the sewing scene in 2015, what trends stand out?
Heather: I may not the best person to answer this; I don’t frequently read blogs or follow the latest trends because I tend to focus on my own work. But, that being said, things that have really stood out to me this year are paper piecing, hand sewn appliqué and improvisational quilting, which is one of my favorite things ever.

Quilt Local by Heather Jones

SMS: Who knocked your socks off and why?
Heather: Nichole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft. I think all of her work is beautiful, but I especially love her work with hexagons.

Tricia Royal of Bits and Bobbins. Her use of color is really spectacular. Her quilts are so beautiful and full of bright, saturated colors; they’re like technicolor masterpieces.

I’ve been a big fan of Chawne Kimber of Completely Cauchy for a long time. I think all of her work is incredible, but I’ve been really amazed by her recent exploration of small-scale patchwork. She is piecing these tiny blocks together, with some of her log cabin strips measuring only about 1/8”.

Zak Foster makes the most amazing improvisational, functional quilts. I especially love his large-scale improv pieces and his hand quilting is so beautiful.

Drew Steinbrecher makes stunning improvisational art quilts that are so graphic and bold. I was able to see a couple of his pieces in person at QuiltCon this year and, luckily for me, we live near each other so it’s great to be able to get together and talk shop occasionally.

Interior Spread from Quilt Local

SMS: Favorite things? (Fabric collections, patterns, books, thread, tools, podcasts, classes, websites, events, etc.)
Heather: I love Creativebug. I released a number of new classes with them this year and I’ve got more in store for 2016. Their classes are top notch and I really love how they are full of great information, but they are also really beautiful to watch. It’s like the best eye candy combined with the best substance. I also love Modern Sewciety, Stephanie Kendron’s podcast. I could listen to her all day. She’s a great host too, and we always have a great time when we chat together for her show. I have also been using Aurifil thread a lot this year, and have completely caught the bug. It’s such a great thread to work with.

SMS: What do you think 2016 has in store?
Heather: I think we’ll see a continuation of what we saw this year, namely an emphasis on handwork and slow stitching, as well as unique improvisational work. I think we’ll also continue to see an increase of the sewing- and quilting-related retreats that seem to be growing throughout the country.

SMS: Who do you think are rising stars in the industry?
Heather: I think some folks to watch are Nichole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft, Christopher Thompson of The Tattooed Quilter and Felice Regina of Sew Scatterbrained.

Improv Linework + Design in Progress (Nido Class)

SMS: What did you do this year that you’re most proud of?
Heather: It’s been such a busy year for me! My first solo book Quilt Local: Finding Inspiration in the Everyday (STC Craft) was released in October, and it’s so exciting to me that it is finally out in the world. It was such a huge project and an incredible amount of work; I made every project in the book in two colorways, wrote all of the text and patterns and helped with the local photo shoot. I’m so proud of it and am thrilled with how it came out.

I also taught and lectured at a number of places this year, but my favorite was the Quilter’s Color Weekend with Amy Butler and myself, hosted by Samantha Lindgren of A Gathering of Stitches. We combined Amy’s color story class with my improvisational patchwork workshop and it was really great to see our participants create such stunning and unique work.

I’ve also spent a lot of time this year combining my love of painting and quiltmaking, and trying to figure out how to paint like I make quilts. I really love to explore and push the boundary between fine art and craft, and I’m quite excited to explore this idea further.

Pieced Patchwork No.1

SMS: What can we expect from you in 2016? Any big projects, life changes or goals you can share?
I’ve got lots in store for 2016! I think the biggest news I can share is that my first fabric line launches this spring with Robert Kaufman. I’m so proud to be working with Robert Kaufman and this is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I can’t wait to be able to share my designs with you! It’s an April release and will debut at Quilt Market in May.

I have a solo exhibit of my work, including some quilts from Quilt Local as well as some of my new experimental pieces, at Sinclair College outside of Cincinnati. It runs from January 23 through March 2016. I also have a few more group exhibits scheduled as well.

Quilt Local West Chester (Craft South Class)

I’m doing a lot of teaching in 2016. I’ll be at Craft South in January and Nido in Vermont in February, and I’m really excited to be teaching brand new workshops at both of those locations. I’ll also be at QuiltCon in February where I’m teaching three workshops and having a book signing. This summer I’m headed back to Maine for a four-day retreat with A Gathering of Stitches where I’ll work with a small group of participants to create completely unique quilts inspired by the coast and our surroundings. It will be like Quilt Local brought to life, and everyone will make their own projects with my help and guidance. I can’t wait!

Lastly, I’m bringing my current and all new quilt patterns to print. I’ve had them only available as PDFs for the past few years, and this is something else I’ve wanted to do for quite some time. I’m really excited to finally be doing it.