Spotlight on…String & Story: Free Motion Quilting with Confidence

Craft 04-05-2022

HollyAnne Knight, of String & Story, teaches quilting with confidence and how to become a free motion Quilting Rockstar.

She has worked with 20,000 students from 17 different countries around the world.

With String & Story actively growing, she will soon be opening a brick-and-mortar store in Duluth, GA, where she lives with her husband and 2 sons.

An Unexpected Passion

Growing up, HollyAnne always wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a teacher.

“Being able to meet students, find out their roadblocks and where they want to be to help them overcome their fear, anxiety, and get the answers that they need in order to succeed – that’s magic.”

Little did she know, she would fall in love with teaching an unexpected craft. Prior to quilting, HollyAnne Knight was a dancer and oil painter but after having her first child, she realized that these hobbies are difficult to keep up while being a mom.

She began seeking other creative outlets when her mother suggested making a t-shirt quilt. While HollyAnne had no experience quilting at the time, she figured she’d give it a shot, borrowed a sewing machine from a friend, and googled the rest.

“It was all trial and error during nap time” HollyAnne says, “but when I finished, my mom loved it, I made a useful thing and it’s something I could do with my son at home.”

She continued making t-shirt quilts while researching other methods of quilting and once free motion quilting caught her eye, she knew what she wanted to do.

Inspiration in Education

The String & Story journey began in 2016, as a rebrand from HollyAnne’s Etsy shop and quickly transforming into something else entirely. One of her proudest and longest-running projects is the Free Motion Quilting Academy. The academy has humble beginnings, starting as a 4-week class recorded with her iPhone and has grown to a professionally filmed 12-week course. The class starts at the very foundation of free motion quilting skills and ends with confident Quilting Rockstars.

Why does HollyAnne call her students Rockstars?

“These are spicy, cool humans and they want to be addressed as such.”

Gaining creative inspiration from each of her Rockstars, HollyAnne finds her classes to be mutually uplifting. The courses have become a safe space for craft enthusiasts to get relief from the day-to-day stresses in life and build up their resilience and confidence.

“Knowing the community that String & Story has created and what it means to these students gives far beyond just quilting skills, and that inspires me every day.”

HollyAnne Knight’s wise words for beginners:

Many get scared of the idea of free motion quilting but action cures fear – just keep going.

“Embrace it being awkward and not looking how you want it to look, but keep going because it’ll get better faster than you think.”

When Light Matters

“Lighting is going to be the thing that not only helps quilters and crafters see colors well, but it is physiologically going to save you a lot of pain and trouble because if you have good light, you can see what you’re doing, and you don’t have to get your nose right down into your work.”

HollyAnne believes one of the biggest pain points that no one talks about in quilting is ergonomics and the importance of having good posture while you are working. Quilters spend a lot of time sitting and focusing on detailed work and tiny stitches. Without proper lighting, the way they look at the details is by getting very close to them, resulting in hunching, bad posture, and eyestrain. HollyAnne mentions a lot of quilters suffer with back, shoulder, and hip pain because of poor ergonomics.

HollyAnne works with several Daylight Company lamps including the Slimline 3 Table lamp and Luminos, and Wafer Lightbox, mentioning that her world changed with proper illumination, and she could quilt for much longer and more comfortably.

“It is the unsung hero of the sewing room.”

Her recommendation to fellow quilters, crafters, and sewing enthusiasts, is to invest in good lighting. To learn more about her thoughts on the topic, read her blog article, “How to Light your Sewing Space”.

Create an account

Already have an account? Log in

My Basket

Your cart is currently empty