Next up in the Reflections and Predictions series, we have Sarah Fielke from The Last Piece. Find more from Sarah on Instagram, check out one of the many books she has written, or join her 2017 Block of the Month club!

Don’t miss the other posts in the series! We are honored to have several sewing industry leaders take time out of their busy schedules to talk to us about 2016 and what they are looking forward to in the year ahead! So far, we have heard from Nydia Kehnle of Nydia Kehnle Design + PhotographySamarra Khaja from Samarra Khaja, and Debbie Jeske from A Quilter’s Table.

Want to join the fun?! Answer any or all of our questions on your site. Tag us or add the URL in the comments of any Reflections/Predictions post and we’ll check it out! #sewingpredictions

Sew Mama Sew: Looking back on the sewing scene in 2016, what trends stand out?
Sarah: I’m not huge one for following trends or watching too carefully for whats the latest… from behind my blinkers though, I’m loving the solid return of one of my favourite things in the world, gingham. The availability of really great bold navy fabrics is making me very happy, as is the continuance of the subtle metallics in so many prints.

SMS: Who knocked your socks off and why?
Sarah: Tara Faughnan. I follow her on Instagram (@tarafaughnan) and every time I see a new project from her I’m knocked out. She is doing interesting, exciting and ORIGINAL quilts, designed and made beautifully. And Chawne Kimber (@cauchycomplete), whose thoughtfulness and obsessive small piecing and tight stitching really appeals to me.

SMS: Favorite things? (Fabric collections, patterns, books, thread, tools, podcasts, classes, websites, events, etc.)
Sarah: Cotton + Steel continue to provide my go to basics. Every time I’m reaching for a colour or pattern that’s in my head, it seems to come from them. Heather Ross’s new collection for Windham Fabrics, Sleeping Porch, is dreamy, and so so soft on beautiful lawn… I may have ordered a LOT of that (Heather being my favourite fabric designer, ever, ever, ever). Alison Glass’s Handmade II collection is as beautiful as the last, and my stash has carefully collected every piece. Aurifl 80 weight is completely heaven and my new go to for hand applique. I love the new textiles magazine, Woven, which is beautifully designed and photographed and full of beautiful makes and well written articles.

SMS: Do you have any thoughts about the role of art in the years ahead?
Sarah: Personally I think art becomes more and more important as the world becomes less and less connected face to face. We are all connected to thousands of people through screens and yet our time with actual humans shrinks away. Art is a medium for giving your thoughts and feelings to someone else, either online or in person, in a more lasting sense than a line on Facebook or a meme. It’s a meaningful interaction with somebody else in a way that can touch or polarize. Quilts are art in their own special way. All of my quilts have personal meaning in one way or another, they all hold something that I wanted to say. If they can speak to someone else then that is a huge bonus and a privilege.

SMS: What did you do this year that you’re most proud of?
Sarah: In 2016 I decided to have a year off writing a book. 6 books in 8 years has done my head in a little bit.

I looked around for something “else” to try in my year off and decided it would be fun to run a little Block of the Month program – which turned into something bigger than Ben Hur that has changed the course of my business in many ways.

The program has ended up being a self published book with an optional add on video program which is now available to those who didn’t participate in the BOM for 2016, and the 2017 BOM program is open for signups at my website. It’s been great fun and I’m really proud of how the program has grown, what a professional face we’ve been able to put on it and how my students have risen to the occasion and made such outstanding quilts over the year.

Also, I knit a poncho. All by myself. And it fit and everything. I’m a bit chuffed.

SMS: What can we expect from you in 2017? Any big projects, life changes or goals you can share?
Sarah: 2017! OMG it’s here already, it’s kind of snuck up. Lots in store.

My 2017 Block of the Month program, Down the Rabbit Hole is open for signups right now, first pattern coming January 31. I have a new fabric collection, Word Play, being released with Windham Fabrics in April, and a new Aurifil thread collection. I have a hand embroidery kit being released mid-January and some new stand alone patterns coming mid year for the NSW Quilt Show. I will be teaching at Quilters Affair in Sisters in July – can’t wait for that! And I’ve started writing a new book for release 2019, as well as the book for the 2017 BOM which will be released in January of 2018.

In terms of goals and life changes – I’m determined to end 2017 feeling less burnt out. This year is about making what I do work harder for my business, instead of making ME work harder. Life is too short, creativity is too fleeting and time with people you love is too precious to be always working hard for somebody else.