I was going to write a big post about all that I’ve accomplished this year from a sewing perspective, but I’m afraid I’ll look back and realize that I didn’t do nearly what I had planned. Instead, I’ll look to Sew Mama Sew’s Reflections and Predictions challenge, and try to answer their questions for 2011 and 2012 here.

Looking back at the 2011 sewing scene, what trends stand out in your mind?

Owls. Definitely owls. And less so, hedgies. Hedgies are the new owls. I predicted it on facebook a while back. I stand by that. I think they will stand out more in 2012. I’ve already got my first charm pack featuring hedgies… from quilt market no less.

Another trend seemed to be a fascination with hand sewing projects like hexies and big stitch quilting. Hand sewing is something I love and have done a lot of over the years, and so while I was glad to see other sewers taking it up, I wasn’t sure where that left me. I can’t decide if that makes me an individual, a rebel or just someone who needs a clue.

What were some of your favorite things related to sewing this past year?

This is the easiest question of all. Sewing Summit stands out foremost in my mind. What a wonderful event for all of us bloggers and sewists. Some famous and others (most) not so famous. As you’ll remember, I signed up at the eleventh hour and flew to Salt Lake City on a bit of a whim. What a fabulous weekend. I can’t wait for 2012′s Summit. Thanks so much to both Erin and Amy for putting on such a great show.

What did you make that you’re most proud of? (Share a photo in your post!)

I don’t feel like I finished that many things this year. I’m certainly no quilt-a-week quilter. I’m very glad (and I guess you could say proud) to have finished Alexis’ quilt. I do really really love how it came out. (I even sort of wish it were mine to keep… hehehe.) But, I think my favorite project is the Busy Book. I feel like it was solely my creation and my son is absolutely crazy about it. I hope to get a pattern written up soon.

I’m also very excited that I managed to make a few articles of clothing for myself this year. I’ve made countless dresses and pairs of PJs for the kids in my life, but have never really been successful in making any kind of garment for myself. I have only Simplicity 3835 to thank… and the sewing community that showed me the path to its greatness.

Aside from sewing projects themselves, I’m proud of myself for restarting the blog in May, keeping up with it, and also for writing a few new tutorials. I hope I can keep up the momentum in the new year.

What sewn projects have you seen this year that you absolutely love?

This question is almost impossible to answer because there are just so many answers. Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts is a big favorite of mine, and has made many quilts that I love this year. I particularly love her Prism quilt and her Wonky Wonky Little Star Mini-quilt.

Rachel of Stitched In Color is another of my favorite bloggers. Like Faith, I got to meet her in person at Sewing Summit and she is just as sweet and genuine in person as she comes across on her blog. I love her Retro Flowers, and I’m absolutely looking forward to her curves class in the new year.

But my favorite quilt that I’ve seen this year, is by Amanda of MrsMcPorkchop Quilts. Her mermaid Oregon Star is to die for. I can’t believe I got to see it in person at Sewing Summit. I think I might have stood in front of it drooling in fascination that fussy cuts could look so. damn. awesome. Seriously.

Besides all that, during Amanda’s class at Sewing Summit (Marvelous Minis, if you’ve forgotten) she actually inspired me to give paper foundation piecing a try. OMG. What the hell have I been waiting for? Talk about an awesome tool! My first paper pieced block was the block I contributed to the Beebolt charity quilt.

Are there any trends you’re over and done with?

I’m so un-trendy that I’m not sure I could ever be “over” a trend. But if I had to choose, I’d pick red and turquoise. Or owls (despite my recent stashing of some owl fabric — it was on sale!) or hedgehogs. I think I just don’t get it. I also don’t really get the Japanese fabric trend. Not that I don’t like the fabrics, but I just can’t see the need to import (at a great cost) fabrics from Japan when there are such great designers and manufacturers here in the states. But that’s just me.

What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate?

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay, so we’d better get with the times. I hesitated and hesitated to start tweeting, but at Sewing Summit, I decided to jump on the band wagon and tweet away. I’m also trying desperately to keep up with my flickr account, and keep my photos up to date, but I still seem to forget about it regularly. (On the other hand, flickr is how I found do. Good Stitches. And I’m loving being a part of such a great cause.)

I also am enjoying Pinterest. It’s just completely porn for crafters. Admit it. You know it’s true. I love seeing what my friends (and idols) find fascinating or beautiful or just plain genius. I’ve gotten more selective with my pins recently. I’m not completely sure why. At any rate, pinterest is the social media forum where I have the most followers. (Which is still a paltry amount I admit. :) )

Did you have a favorite fabric collection or print in 2011?

Again, I’m so behind I don’t think I even realized there was a whole movement of fabric lines behind the scenes. I’ve almost always bought fabric from brick and mortar stores, and so I was limited to what they carried. Which I’m now finding out is extraordinarily limited. I had no idea that Anna Maria Horner even existed until this summer, and now some of her voiles are on my favorites list. (Not to mention that she is a super fun blogger who really allows you to get to know her in her posts.)

But, then again, because of my past experience in buying fabric from my LQS, I’ve never really been drawn to create whole quilts from a single line of fabric. For me, this is a new concept, and in 2012, I hope I’ll get a couple of these “mono-line” quilts finished.

I guess if I had to choose a favorite line, it wouldn’t be a spectacular print line, but rather Robert Kaufman’s Kona Solids. This year, my love of solids has just bloomed. I’ve worked with the Moda Bella solids, and while I think they are perfectly adequate, I just prefer the feel and the color selection available from the Kona. And I recently found that both JoAnn and Hobby Lobby carry some of the more popular colors… so that makes it even more appealing!

What do you predict for 2012 in the sewing industry?

We’ve talked (and talked and talked) about how absolutely oblivious I am to the entire movement of the sewing industry as a whole. I’m probably the last person to make any kind of predictions for the coming year. However, I suppose I can play it safe and say that I think the bright colors we saw this year will continue. I suspect that turquoise and lime green and hot pink will have an even bigger role in the fabric lines to come. I also think there will be even more organic yet primary shape patterns will come into play.

Will I keep up with it? I can’t tell you that. I go where my heart sends me. I love to make beautiful things, and I rarely let others define beautiful for me. So we will just have to wait and see if I can keep up with the trends or become decidedly more “unique”.

Can you tell us what to expect from you in 2012? Any big projects or life-changing goals?

My big goal this year is to get published in a sewing type publication or forum. (We can just all ignore my geekdom publications, can’t we?) So look for my name in print and let me know if you find it, kay? Because as I’ve already pointed out numerous times, I’m oblivious to these things.

Other than that, as I mentioned before I really want to keep up with the blogging and creating. I’m also trying very hard to remain true to myself and not get sucked down a path that is too similar to my bloggy idols because I want to attract more readers. Really, while a larger audience would be nice, I really just want to share what I learn and what I love with whomever is interested at the time.

Whew. I would say I can’t believe how long that got, but I know rather well my penchant for being rather verbose. At any rate, I hope that anyone reading this at least got a little insight into my 2011, and maybe a little foresight to what might happen in 2012. But as we all know, no one can predict the future. That’s what’s fun about it, right?

It seems like I’ve made a thousand and one posts (ok, maybe only four) about this particular quilt, but I’ve finally come to the last post about it.

Alexis is nine and a half, and has never been the recipient of one of my quilts. They are always gifted (usually baby gifts) to other people’s kids. So this summer I finally swore to her that the next quilt would be hers. Well, the next big quilt anyway (as I snuck in several mini’s and a tree skirt).

So she picked some colors and I headed to the LQS for some solids. At the store, somehow a Moda Sugar Pop charm pack snuck in.

I thought I was only going to tie this quilt, which is something I’ve never done, but in the end it is partly machine quilted (4 horizontal lines on the ditch between each row of blocks) and hand quilted using the “big stitch” technique and 3 different shades of variegated cotton perle floss.

When I started the hand quilting, I thought I would only do every other “row” of white squares, but ended up hating that and didn’t really think it was enough quilting anyway, so all the other white squares were outlined as well. Unfortunately that still didn’t seem adequate as the centers of each windmill block were still completely unquilted, so I added small “x”s to the center of each block.

The back is also from the Moda Sugar Pop line. I had considered adding a border to the finished top, but there was just enough of the backing fabric to cover it as is, so no border. Which means this quilt is a little shy of a twin size at about 80 x 60ish. But that’s ok as Alexis’ bed is a loft style bed, and it doesn’t need to hang over the edges when made.

The binding is yet another Sugar Pop print. I love the binding. It’s not quite polka dotted, but close enough to make me smile when I see it. And the turquoise is Alexis’ favorite color at the moment.

This is also the first time I’ve added a hand embroidered label to a quilt, but I knew that the occasion screamed for it. So I included a simple message to remind us how long she actually waited for this quilt. She loves the label more than you could imagine. Go figure.

Originally I had hoped to give it to her for her birthday at the end of the summer, but that didn’t happen, obviously. Around Thanksgiving I decided that come hell or high water, she would get it for Christmas. I know she thought it would never get done because the squares would sit untouched for weeks on end. I know she was really surprised when she went up to watch TV in the loft one day and found a basted quilt folded in my spot.

I was wondering how I was going to pull off “surprising” her when she already knew what state the quilt was in at any given moment. On the 23rd of December I took the finished quilt down to our room and wrapped it up. I thought for sure she was going to notice it missing from my chair upstairs before we left for my aunt’s the next day.

I gave it to her Christmas Eve night, and as you can see, she was so excited when she finally figured out what it was. She was fighting with the tape on the box so hard for so long trying to get it out.

I’m so glad it was so well received. I know she will treasure for years to come… even when she hits those teenage years and wants a room entirely shrouded in black.

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.

When I saw this tutorial by the infamous JeniB, I knew I had to make one of these scarves. At the time though, I didn’t realize I’d be doing it as a gift.

But when Chris and I drew a blank on what to get his mom — she has everything! — this scarf popped back up to the front of my mind. I had an entire set of Little Folks fat quarters from Anna Maria Horner that I’ve been hoarding for a quilt for myself, but I decided to bust into it and chose two neutral shades of the same forest hills print.

There just wasn’t anyway to substitute anything but an AMH voile for such a luxurious silky scarf. It’s the perfect juxtaposition to the snuggly flannel. And I love the way the pom poms add just a tiny playful touch.

Boy was Sean mad when I confiscated his new lovey Grandma’s new scarf. I hope she loves it as much as he did.

Thanks to everyone who entered! I am slowly working my way through all of your favorite blogs, and also trying to implement some of the tips you all gave. Thanks for all of the constructive criticism… and Thanks to those who like the blog just the way it is.

And now… the winners.

#38 – Kim says: “I love karencheng.com.au. She’s inspiring and funny! I didn’t even know about those Wendy patterns by Simplicity. How awesome!”

Kim chose the Built by Wendy pattern.

#16 – Taryn says: “I love the Sew4Home blog. There has been so many great projects I want to try.”

Taryn chose the Emma pattern.

#36 – Erin, chose to pass since the two remaining patterns would not have been something she could use.

#20 – Ashley says: “I love adventuresindressmaking. She posts awesome tutorials and always makes cute stuff!”

She chose the Maddie Bee pattern.

#39 – Kim says: “To improve your blog I would perhaps have a page of Tutorials cos I always go to that page on every blog I find. It’s either that or Recipes, lol.”

Yes, that’s the same Kim as the first prize winner, so she will also receive the Giraffic Park pattern. And Kim, you’ll notice that I already added the tutorials link up there. That was a much requested item. Thanks!

I hope all of you enjoy the patterns. I’d love to see what you make!

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