Come the end of the year, it’s easy to look past all the actual hard work that goes into making something like this run, and see it more through a fond, googly-eyed nostalgia that befits the season. Through the hard work of many on this small little team, I think we’ve had a particularly darn exciting year. It’s fun to look back and see some of my favorite events of 2011.
So what’s the first? Well, you’re kinda reading it. This year we launched the StitchPunk blog in April, and it’s been a fantastic sounding board to share new inspirations, ideas, tutorials, and of course news and updates of exciting goings-on around Urban Threads.
It’s been this blog that has enabled us to share with you many exciting new things, such as…
(If you want to know more about each event, click on the image to take you to the original blog posting.)
Our special batch series (the ones that release all at once, instead of one design a day) have been a fantastic way to more deeply explore our favorite themes. Everything from the cute and spooky Cirque Noir gang, elegantly dark Apothecary designs, a new alphabet, and of course, our hugely popular Dark Fairytales series have come from this year, and we couldn’t have had more fun designing them.
Those aren’t all that showed up this year. There were 10 brand new series in 2011, and you can bet there will be just as many next year. We’ve already started cooking up some fun new series we know you’re going to love.
We also love hearing from you too. Got a killer idea for a new series? Send it our way!
If you want your fill of what new creations are coming from the crafty fingers of our customers, you can look no futher than our flickr pool. However, sometimes little thumbnails or even just one image doesn’t do full justice to the amazing projects you guys have turned out, so we introduced Featured Projects to highlight some of the best of the best.
Not only did we get to see big photos and behind the scenes looks on these projects, but each of their creators joined us for a quick interview talking about what it was like to make it. So, if you ever want to know what it’s like to stitch one of these crazy projects for yourself, look no further than the Featured Project section to find out, and get crazy inspired.
As it seems, it almost became the Featured Steampunk Project section, because our steampunk stuff popped up all the time in amazing creations and costumes. I don’t think it would be too far off to declare 2011 the Year of the Gear, we only wait to see if it’s going to be just as big in 2012. You don’t seem to have lost your appetite for it yet, so rest assured our steampunk designing days are not over.
For many budding entrepreneurs out there, recent times and places like Etsy have meant you can turn your creations into one crafty biz. We have so many stitchers and crafters using our designs for making their own way in business (and yes, it’s totally cool with us!) that we thought we’d do a series highlighting some of these folks with our Urban Entrepreneurs series.
It’s a recent addition to our blog postings, but expect it to really pick up in the new year with more shops and more exciting interviews with people who have been through the often nerve-wracking process of starting something of their own.
Plus, pretty soon we’re going to include a public list of stitchers who have been featured on our series, so non-machine embroidery users have a fantastic resource of people who are willing to work with them on custom stitching! It should be a great way to hook up people with no machines with people who would love to earn a little extra making fantastic stitchy goods. Look for that list coming in 2012!
One huge change in our product offering came this year in the long-awaited form of packs, meaning you could buy all of your favorite design series in one convenient and discounted bundle! You’d been asking, and we were more than happy to deliver. Of course, you can expect lots of exciting new packs coming your way next year!
Urban Threads Fabrics
A recent addition to our site, the amazing online store of Spoonflower has made it possible for us to offer coordinating fabrics to some of your favorite design series through our very own Spoonflower Store!
Our first offering in December was heavily Christmas themed, but expect all kinds of new prints and matching coordinates to come out for all your favorite series in 2012. We’ve already got a whole new batch of fabric swatches on the way, so you should see new stuff pop up in our store early in the year.
That coordinating Alice in Wonderland quilt you’ve always been planning? Now’s the time!
2011 saw lots of fun contests and giveaways, like this super popular Coloring Contest we offered back in May. Soo many of you grabbed your thread and got creative that we had to extend the deadline to accommodate you all!
Contests like this were a favorite this year because, somewhat selfishly, I think it shows that we have the craftiest and most creative customers around. That’s right, you totally give me bragging rights.
Speaking of another favorite contest near and dear to my heart, I don’t think anything teared me up quite as much as your responses to our Pay it Forward campaign working with rescue animals. We offered a free rescue paw design and asked you all to stitch it on something to benefit your local shelters or your rescued pets, and the response was amazing! People stitched blankets and bandanas, donated goods to their local shelters, and shared their goodwill towards pups, kitties, even rescue horses.
I also had an grand time visiting my local shelter to meet some of the pups in need of rescuing, and all our fabulous furry models were adopted by the end of the contest. Also, I really can’t say having to go out to a shelter to play with little puppies and love-hungry dogs was a real hardship. I’d suffer like that again, in a heartbeat.
That Pay It Forward campaign was so successful in fact that we’d like to do it again, possibly benefiting other charities or events. Got a cause you’d really like to stitch for? Share it in the comments!
Behind the Scenes Goodies
It may not be as groundbreaking as contests or new website features, but it’s been pretty fun to share some glimpses of life around Urban Threads, including pics of our totally legit safety signs, various Kamikaze Turkey attacks, or perhaps the slightly facetious process behind choosing a design.
We love working here, and it’s fun to share a little of what it’s like around the office. You can check out all the behind the scenes postings to get a better taste of the fun.
Though most of our attention of course goes towards creating fabulous new designs for you folks, I think in order to keep yourself thinking outside of the box, you need to push your creativity a little bit.
This past year, we wanted to see just what we could do with our favorite medium of machine embroidery. As it turns out, you can do quite a lot, when you put one crazy art director and a bonkers digitizer to task. Danielle and I had a fantastic time seeing what could be created with the medium in order to make this Crane Wife piece.
Yeah, there really is machine embroidery in there. Quite a bit of it in fact. Don’t believe me? Check it out up close.
The Crane Wife was a great way to play with the medium, but I also thought we should see what could be done with our own designs, the ones that we offer on the site. This idea turned into this fun Steampunk Coat that was great fun to make, seeing just what could be made with our many previously created steampunk designs. I wore at a local convention, trying to show a little of what contemporary embroidery can really do.
Yes, that kind of convention. I’m a nerd. Shocking, I know.
After the creation of the Steampunk Coat, I really had an appetite for seeing what could be done with some mad sewing skills and the right kind of embroidery. We stepped it up a notch and collaborated with local designers KMKostumes to make this one of a kind steampunk gown, that was created for and in conjunction with the Clockwork Natura series to show just what embroidery could do in the right hands.
It was our biggest projects to date, and resulted in a fun feature over on BurdaStyle, as well as some adventures in runway shows (don’t trip don’t trip omg cameras don’t trip). It also has awakened an unhealthy new obsession with embroidery and fashion that I plan to carry on well into the new year, with even more crazy projects to come.
Stitches Power List
Finally, as a nice little cap to the year, we were deeply honored to be included on Stitches list of 75 Most Influential People in the Industry, coming in at a healthy 54 for a newbie. Not only was it a great article, but I feel it cements my self appointed Evil Genius title as official, as it has now appeared in print. Awesome.
Feeling nostalgic about your favorite parts of 2011?
Well, lucky for you to wrap up the year, we’ve got a Best of 2011 Sale going on through Jan. 3, 2012. All our bestselling designs from last year are included, and you can grab them all at $1.11 each for machine embroidery, and just $0.50 for hand embroidery, or grab your favorite packs at a yummy 25% off! Grab em now before it’s too late.
2011 was undoubtedly our biggest and best year yet, and it’s given us a lot of momentum to go bigger, bolder, and crazier for 2012. We couldn’t have done any of it without you or your inspirational stitching, and we are determined to do you proud in the coming year. Rest assured we already have some big and totally crazy schemes in the works we promise you’re going to love.
2011 was fantastic.
2012 will be better.
Hang on to your hats, and have a Happy New Year!