It’s that time of year again.
The time when I review the quilty predictions I had for 2021, give you my forecast for 2022, and announce next year’s theme. First, let’s look at what I thought would happen in 2021 and see how right or wrong I was.
- More brick-and-mortar quilt stores would close in 2021. I’m rating myself at 50 percent with this one. I believed at the beginning of the pandemic, quite a few quilt stores would fumble the ball and close. With no non-essential businesses allowed to function, I honestly thought by 2021, a large number of them would just decide to shutter. What I didn’t allow for…and had no idea would happen…was the huge number of folks who purchased a machine and taught themselves how to sew. This, coupled with the fact quilt stores sold fabric, and fabric was needed to make masks, made the shops flex and many updated their websites or offered curbside pickups until customers could once again return to their shop. As a result of new sewers/quilters, a good number of retail quilt shops not only survived but have thrived. Those that did close didn’t try to meet customers’ needs and demands, or the owners were ready to retire. So overall, I’m rating myself a solid 50 on this prediction.
- There would be few in-person quilt shows. I was correct on this one. There were very few in-person shows during 2021. Most guilds cancelled their show, or hung their quilts outdoors for people to drop by and look at. Houston still went on, but without the vendor market. Still wary of Covid or any of its variants, everyone erred on the side of caution. Some quilt show organizers put on virtual shows, but according to statistics, most quilters weren’t impressed. We like to see the quilts in person and touch what we want to purchase. I do believe 2022 will be better.
- Zoom is here to stay. And boy is it. Once quilters, quilt teachers, and quilt guilds learned how to navigate this user-friendly software, we didn’t miss a beat. Guilds, bees, and sit and sews met virtually. Quilt teachers and program presenters quickly picked up on how to share the screen and drop in Power Point presentations. Virtual quilt workshops filled quickly – and honestly what’s not to love about taking a workshop from the comfort of your own quilting space? I love hearing how guilds are making this work for their membership – from spectacular speakers to having the ability to garner members from all over the world. Per usual, hand us quilters lemons and we make lemonade. I rate a solid 100 on this prediction
- Quilt groups will grow and have new members. I was right. Zoom gave groups and guilds the opportunity to engage new members from literally anywhere in the world. The need for masks pushed many people to thread a sewing machine for the first time in a long time or the first time ever. A good percentage of these “newbies” were bit hard by the sewing bug and have joined quilt groups. Now we must foster their love of the art and their need for the knowledge of all things quilty.
This brings us to 2022. What do I think will happen to quilting this year? Working on the assumption 2022 returns to some kind of normal existence again, here’s what I believe is on the horizon.
- Zoom will still be a major player in our quilting world. The Zoom genie is out of the bottle and most quilters seem to be pretty comfortable with it. From having monthly guild meetings to workshops to quilt groups, I think on many, many levels, Zoom isn’t going anywhere. I believe small quilt groups may still meet in person, but there are too many positive qualities about Zoom for us to just toss it by the wayside.
- In-person quilt shows will return. I think they have to, in order to survive. Best case scenario, local guilds may have gone two years without a show. Quilt shows generally fund the broadest part of their base budget. They need to have a show if at all possible. Large quilt organizations, such as AQS, also want to get back into the show business as soon as possible. With vaccinations and masks, I’m pretty confident we will see an uptick in real-life shows (versus virtual ones) and if these are successful, I expect shows to return to their normal schedule.
- Brighter colors, but more expensive fabric. The pandemic was a tough time, but the fall out afterwards isn’t any easier. And like quilters of the past, today’s quilter will want brighter colors of fabric to lighten their surroundings. Whether it’s the modern colors and prints or the brightly colored feedsack reproductions, I think our color palettes will be lighter, sunnier, and clearer than last year. However, I think fabric, like everything else, will be more expensive and maybe even harder to find. I’m lucky I live near Pineapple Fabrics and their huge fabric warehouse. However, if the cargo ship juggernaut remains floating off the coast of California, we may find some fabric difficult to obtain. Cotton supplies are already at an all time global low and was trading in November at levels not seen since 2011. The United States is the third largest producer of cotton, so our prices may not be as high as some European countries. You may be glad you’ve cultivated an extensive stash.
- Get used to “organic quilting.” By this, I mean almost improve quilting. I think with many new quilters entering our playing field, we will experience a time of new innovation. While they may understand the basics (consistent seam allowance, accurate cutting, etc.), they may very well throw out the rulebook on slavishly following patterns. They may not see the need. If they enjoy the creative construction part, with fabric they love, they will opt to make the quilt they want to make the way they want to make it. Not a bad idea at all.
- T-Shirt quilts will get an upgrade. And to top this, I think they may lose the name “T-Shirt Quilt” and be re-invented as “Memory Quilt.” These quilts will include more than just t-shirts. Fronts of ball caps, baby clothes, scraps of important clothing (think christening gowns, prom dresses, graduation gowns), scouting patches and the like will also be front and center as well as important T-shirts. I think everything from quilt layouts to quilting will change. Forget nice, neat, predictable rows of t-shirt fronts and backs. I’ve already seen changes in this type of quilting and those changes have been well-received. I expect to see more, and this may very well be one of the most creative quilting trends in 2022.
- Comfort will be key. One of the most interesting changes the pandemic brought was the whole persona of “working from home.” Most of us, at least some of the time in 2020 and 2021 had to work from home. This brought a whole slew of changes in itself, but the biggest perk was you didn’t have to get dressed up and go into the office. We quickly learned Zoom calls only showed you from your waist up. Dress shirt and sweatpants? Yes! Blouse and pajama bottoms? I’m in for that. This idea of comfort has carried over into quilting. I think quilts will continue to have soft backings such as minkie or flannel.
In this line of thinking, I also believe quilting clothing may be making a comeback. What leads me to this assumption? A few days ago I was doing some online window shopping and came across this:
This pretty, little quilted jacket sells for $355 at Saks Fifth Avenue. Well, it definitely caught my eye and I did some more online research only to discover several retail establishments are carrying several quilted clothing options. Our quilts may not only be dressing our beds, but we may also very well be dressing in our quilts before the year is out.
Six predictions for 2022. It will be interesting to see how right and wrong I am in about 365 days.
And now, as we get ready to flip our calendars over to the New Year, let me introduce you to the 2022 Sherriquiltsalot blog theme. For 2021, I was all over the quilty map. We were pulling out of the pandemic, some of us faster than others, but the overall sense of feeling I had was just to survive this year. When 2021 began, the vaccines had just rolled out. I was anxious for my 80-something mother to get hers. My brother was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, and both kids were moving away. There was a lot of upheaval in my life and everyone else’s I couldn’t help but think if we all could just get through 2021, 2022 had to be better.
Maybe. Maybe not.
Either way, we’ve learned a lot in 2021 – about each other and quilting. So, the theme for 2022 is
Make It Yours. We’ll take a deep dive into some more advanced techniques, and I’ll detail how to take ideas and patterns and change them to help you make the quilt you want to make. There will still be blogs on quilt history (I’m currently researching Baltimore Album Quilts) and hopefully some interviews. The pod casts are done, but there is a general consensus we may need to by-pass these and go straight to video. Quilting is more of a visual thing than a spoken medium. We’ll see how it goes.
Until next week, make your quilt yours!
Love and Stitches,
Sherri and Sam