Like many, HollyAnne Knight, Founder & CEO of “String & Story,” began quilting as a hobby. From an early age, HollyAnne found herself often being creative. She had hobbies that ranged from oil and watercolor painting to ballet and ballroom dancing and even picked up knitting along the way. Around her art, she focused her passions on education, earning her degree in English Literature, Secondary Education, and Linguistics. If there was one word to describe HollyAnne, it would be a Rockstar, just like she calls her students and sewing friends.
Surrounded by her family, HollyAnne has been married to her husband John for eight years, has two sons Jem and Ian, and a home filled with their loving pets a dog, two cats, and two fish tanks. With a mutual passion for traveling, HollyAnne and her family are currently one state away from hitting all 50 states and capitals of the United States!
When HollyAnne was expecting her second child, she decided it was time to find a new hobby to focus on since her current hobby of oil painting wasn’t easy with a toddler and pets around. In comes her friend, who lent her their small sewing machine, and HollyAnne found herself picking up a hobby she hadn’t done since elementary. One of her first projects was a t-shirt quilt her mother had been mentioning wanting, and HollyAnne had taken on the challenge. After a few mistakes with a rotary blade, she had finally completed her rag-style quilt and learned some lessons along the way. As she continued to enjoy quilting, she stumbled across the world of modern quilting and fell in love with the idea of “free motion quilting.”
What started as a small Etsy shop that sold stationery and knitted goods, continued to grow with her as she caught a bit of an entrepreneurial bug. After creating her Mom’s T-shirt quilt, HollyAnne started getting requests from others for their own. Upgrading from her old sewing machine into the JUKI J-150 QVP, she became obsessed with its durability, dependability, throat space, and stitch quality. As she started working on her pieces and growing her business, she began learning to free motion quilt. With her passion for teaching, HollyAnne created online courses to teach and rebranded the name to “String & Story.”
While the inspiration for the name was created by a trend happening at the time, the idea behind it flourished. With the goal being to show that we were all connected, and can continue to empower one another as we’ve done in the past.
“Spaces like quilting have historically been female-dominated, a rare area where women were considered experts, where information passed through social networks and collective power was used for everything from keeping families warm to expressing social commentary to organizing political activism. String & Story is about continuing that legacy into the modern era– for socializing, learning, empowering, and organizing.”
Currently, one of HollyAnne’s business ventures is her Free Motion Quilting Academy. A String & Story’s signature online course is a 12-week free motion quilting education program to guide students from being nervous beginner FMQ-ers to confident, intermediate FMQ Rockstars, as HollyAnne would say. To date, she’s been able to instruct and help 2000 students on every size, shape, and brand of machine imaginable. Only opening enrollment periodically, HollyAnne encourages people to attend sewing and quilting classes to grow more confident in their projects.
“I LOVE teaching FMQ and other quilting techniques, but my FAVORITE thing is watching my students try new things, master their mindset, and so often learn something they didn’t think was possible.”
The future of Strings & Story is bright as HollyAnne states, it’s only getting started. With ideas of expanding her digital course and online shop, she hopes to start adding in-person event classes as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes. If you’re interested in staying up to date with HollyAnne, her classes, and more, find her on social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest) @stringandstory today and via her newsletter at www.stringandstory.com/newsletter!