A pattern for her future

An art degree gave Alumna Anna Graham the building blocks to start her online business venture. Skills acquired in UWL classes from photography to painting to printmaking, have all played into the creation of both her blog and patterns, she says. Photo courtesy of Anna Graham.

Art grad starts sewing blog, online business selling patterns, more

During her children’s naptime, Anna (Meyer) Graham, ’02, stumbled on the world of sewing blogs. Drawing on an art degree and inspiration from other’s creative endeavors, the UW-La Crosse alumna decided to pursue her own blog in 2009 and, a year later, her own online shop featuring sewing patterns of all sorts.

Today Graham, of West Salem, sells sewing patterns for bags, home décor, accessories and supplies needed to make patterns. Those patterns and the inspiration to make them are all on her blog, Noodlehead.

Her book, “Handmade Style,” published in 2015 by Lucky Spool Media, features similar inspiration, plus patterns for two women’s garments, quilts, and home decor items. She designed a fabric collection in 2015 and has a new collection expected to come out next spring. Local sewers may know Graham as she’s taught two sewing classes at Olive Juice Quilts, as well as sewing classes throughout the country and via video on her blog.

Start with needle and thread

Anna Graham, an art major, with one of her latest projects, a range backpack.She shares her sewing projects on Noodlehead, a blog named after her daughter Natalie, who was given the nickname for her curly hair. In addition to her achievements in art, Graham has also been recognized for her athletic achievements at UWL. She was inducted into the UWL Athletic Wall of Fame for swimming in fall 2016. Photo courtesy of Anna Graham.

Graham grew up sewing with her mother who taught her the basics. Together they made garments for special occasions, but Graham didn’t fully appreciate the craft until she was older.

After college, she started a decade-long career in graphic design and marketing. When she married and was pregnant with her first child, she transitioned to part-time work. During those nine months, she got the itch to get creative — particularly with sewing. She started out creating bedding for her new baby’s crib. The projects continued from there. “I was even sewing while in labor,” she laughs.

When her children were young, Graham continued to try new sewing projects with inspiration from blogs. “I started using other people’s patterns and then I started creating my own,” she says.

A degree in art

An art degree gave Graham the building blocks to start her online business venture. Skills acquired in UWL classes from photography to painting to printmaking, have all played into the creation of both her blog and patterns, she says.

“It was hard for me to envision this kind of future (having my own business) in college,” says Graham. “It seems like there is so much more out there that you could do that wasn’t as lucrative or even possible before because of the Internet.”

While Graham had that itch to be creative during her pregnancy, she says her creativity has come and gone throughout life. But it has never stopped. To those who struggle with the inspiration to get creative, she invites them to start by digging into a project and to not be afraid of failure. Anyone needing more encouragement along those lines should check out her blog. In it she writes:

“Do what your heart wants. Creativity is not a contest — that I know for sure … I hope you have fun with whatever you create, even if it sucks. I’ve made a lot of things that suck. But I also never questioned if I should stop creating. We were born for this.”