Picture a quilt design program that lives online, so you don’t have to take up precious hard drive storage; that keeps your designs private but accessible from any Internet connection and that works with Macs and Windows-based systems. Then add in the tools needed to take your blocks from simple grid lines to complex curves.
What you have is Threadbias, but the design program is just the start of this innovative website that serves our stitch community. It’s also a deep reference source for current fabric collections as well as a gathering place for Web-thread-heads everywhere.
We’ve loved what this evolving Website has done and will continue to do since they first approached us about sponsoring our efforts after Spring Market this year. It’s exciting to watch innovative ideas grow into viable businesses all serving us—the most-addicted fabric worshippers around.
So we decided to go behind the scenes of Threadbias and learn more about who put it together. There’s Alex Peachy and his wife, Rebecca. Alex is the tech wiz and Rebecca is the sewist and quilter. And then there’s Amanda Clow, Alex’s sister and another sewist and quilter. Well, put two dedicated fabric hounds together in the same room, holiday-after-holiday, and throw in a long-suffering fabric widower who just happens to know his way around a circuit board and, voila, you have Threadbias.
This week, the threesome launched a Kickstarter campaign to finish funding the development of the design tool. And from what we’ve seen so far (there’s a cool video on the Kickstarter site that shows the tool in action) we can’t wait for it to be finished. So we paid the kindnesses and support done to us months ago forward and have kicked in a little to Threadbias to see them realize their quilty dream. You might consider the same if we peak your interest some. Remember that even $5 helps and pledgers get early access to the design tool.
Alex and Rebecca live in Las Vegas with their 3-year-old son. Amanda, her husband Jeremy, and their three daughters, ages 6, 5 and 3, live in Vancouver, Washington. Let’s spend a little time with them and learn what Threadbias is all about and what it can do for you Q-bies.
So we know that you gals learned to sew from your respective moms. Did any of that flow over to your brother?
Amanda: Alex didn’t get into sewing like I did, though he did make a football shaped pillow in middle school that is still around today. However, sewing and fabric (or waiting in the parking lot of the fabric store for our mom to come out) were always a part of his life.
How did the idea for Threadbias come about?
Amanda: Although we live far apart, Rebecca and I spent a lot of time talking, sharing our projects, and sending each other pictures. We had both started to read a lot of sewing blogs and were always passing ideas and tutorials back and forth. Alex, a web developer, was around for all of this and it sparked an idea for him. His original idea, in late 2010, was to create a Web-based design tool for quilters, a program anyone could access online and use to create quilts and blocks and determine measurements and fabric requirements. He quickly realized that an online community would complement his idea and that it was needed. (He looked around and couldn’t find anything like it; there was no central place for sewists and quilters to gather and share ideas.)
Besides the design tool what other features draw people to Threadbias?
Amanda: We knew a Studio space would be good; a place where you could organize your projects and keep track of fabrics and patterns. We also wanted a lot of fabrics to “stash” and have more than 34,000 in our database. We work with manufacturers to add more. I use mine not only to keep track of fabrics I have, but fabrics I want to have as well. It’s sort of a wish list for me and helps me remember when I’m shopping online or even at a local shop.
Talk about the community aspect of Threadbias…
Amanda: We knew we needed forums and groups for people to gather and talk. It’s been amazing to see conversations happening, and to watch new groups form. What we want more than anything is for people to feel like they can come to Threadbias and have their own space, have it really be their place. I like to imagine the community growing, but at the same time, everyone being able to find their own little corner. The Internet is huge (endless, really,) and it can sometimes feel like you’re writing to no one, or sharing with so many that it’s hard to find people to truly connect with. Our hope is that anyone who joins Threadbias feels like they have a group to share with and people to connect with.
Alex: We took some cues from Ravelry (which serves the knitting community). But we decided it really was a different enough industry that translating their yarn focus into fabric just wasn’t going to be the same.