Here I am at one of my favorite places; the Echino Kokka / Seven Islands display at the International Fall Quilt Market. I just got back from attending my 4th Quilt Market in Houston and it just keeps getting better and better! If you are unfamiliar with Quilt Market it is basically a giant tradeshow for quilt shop owners to attend and see all of the latest fabric, pattern & notion offerings that they can order for their shop. This show is filled to the brim with creativity and inspiration. I think I look forward to Quilt Market more than Christmas now! Even better is that it happens twice a year; once in spring at changing locations and every fall in Houston.
This year I got a taste of just how much work goes into setting up for this event by sewing some samples for a couple fabric designers, Alison Glass & Melody Miller. Let me back up a little by saying that most fabric purchased at Market has not even been made yet or is currently in production at the fabric mills. Shop owners are shown sample cards and photos and place orders of bolts based off of those and then several weeks or months later the fabric will be rolled onto bolts and shipped to stores. Because of this future based marketplace it means that often fabric designers will only have sample yardage and a few weeks time to sew any items they want in their booth to showcase their designs. This means that an army of sewers go into making each and every booth display culminating in a frenzy of activity in the few weeks right before Market.
Here I am excited to be with Melody Miller in her adorable christmas living room themed booth. Her fabric line this season is called Ruby Star Sparkle and has metallic ink rollerskates, 110 cameras, telephones and metallic text fabric overlaid vintage flowers all on a linen/cotton canvas base cloth. Stellar, as usual. Kokka has a great thing happening here.
Melody Miller is a designer very near and dear to my heart. I met her when she was showing her first collection for Kokka at my very first Market in Houston a some years ago and I have seen her and her designs absolutely blow up! She has done a few lines through Kokka now and some of her retro designs have become instantly iconic in the fabric world- Typewriters and Viewfinders anyone? I was more than thrilled when she asked me to sew some items from her new book Ruby Star Wrapping for her booth.
Her new book Ruby Star Wrapping is all about making re-useable gift boxes and containers, not only to elevate simple gifts, but also to eliminate unnecessary waste or just make a gift look darn cute. There are some very clever ideas in here! From the book I made a couple large drawstring totes that would be perfect for giving a quilt or even a roll of batting (Quilter’s always need more batting!). I also made some adorable cinched casserole covers, aprons and I couldn’t resist adding a traditional looking star to the mix. Some people assume you can’t patchwork with the heavier linen/cotton weight Kokka, but I have nothing but fantastic results working with this fabric.
Alison Glass is a brand new designer for Andover Fabrics that I met at Spring Market in Kansas City earlier this year. I saw her fabric sample cards and the vibrant color palette blew me away. It is always great to see fresh talent especially when you love what they are doing. This first collection Lucky Penny is so bold; I can’t wait to get yardage to play with and to see what else Alison has hiding up her sleeves!
Here we are looking at something fabulous just over to the side there while we happen to be holding some bags I made for her out of Lucky Penny.
A big part of Quilt Market is excitedly gasping and pointing at fabric and samples. I had the pleasure of meeting Brenda from Pink Castle Fabrics who has a great eye for fabric and is running an amazing online fabric store that carries some of my hard to find favorites like Yuwa and has this great Stash Stack Club that I think I must become a member of. Alison was also running around with Lisa that Crazy Quilt Girl who is just plain RAD and an incredible custom long arm quilter. I could have spent hours chatting with these three ladies.
I also finally got a chance to meet one of my fabric store heroes Kathy Mack from Pink Chalk fabrics. I swear I don’t just like things with “pink” in the name! I have been ordering from her shop for years and it has always been cutting edge. She offers PDF instant download patterns and notions! Online quilt stores sometimes forget about the notions. (Word on the street is that she ordered some of that new upholstery Echino fabric too! EEEE!)
Speaking of Pink.. Of course if you know me you know I love TULA PINK! Getting to see her and her newest collection is always a highlight of my quilt market. Not only is she an artistic badass, but she is also a wealth of knowledge about the fabric industry. This girl’s out of print past collections are worth more than their weight in gold because she has such a following. She is my productivity inspiration because she is always getting a million things done all while drawing and planning future fabric collections. This year she is right on trend coming out with a pre-cut hexagon quilt kit of her new Salt Water collection. Espresso ice cubes=serious business.
This Quilt Market I was fortunate to have my mom, Susan and my sister Rebecca along who were a big help in keeping me organized and most importantly carrying my sample spree haul.
Rebecca, when not lounging in Tula Pink’s booth, would help me out by taking notes and pictures when I was talking business.
My Mom was maybe a little overwhelmed by the number of awesome quilts that are at quilt market. She had heard all about it, but this trip was her first time attending. This is her explaining how much she loves Dear Jane quilts. I think she took more pictures than I did.
Another great experience was working a few shifts manning the booth for the Modern Quilt Guild exhibit that was hung in the International Quilt Festival. The Quilt Festival show is hung right before Market so that we are able to peruse the display before the crowds, which is a perk that not enough Market attendees take advantage of.
This is the first year that there is a “Modern Quilt” display at Quilt Festival. As big as this modern quilt movement has gotten- we ain’t seen nothing yet! This movement is going to continue to get bigger and bigger. I drove to Houston and back again yesterday to check out Quilt Festival and work another shift at the booth. It was great to see the general public response to our quilts. It was very positive! We got a lot of people to sign up to find out more info about joining their local Modern Quilt Guild and also a few ladies saying they want to start one in their area!
If you live and play entirely in this modern quilting bubble it can be hard to step back and realize we’re not the ones running the show quite yet. A lot of the industry is taking notice finally and leaning our way, but even still we are just a small blip in this giant quilting world! I get very exciting thinking about what the next 10+ years hold in store for all of us.
The woman who quilted the above is named Angela Walters, born somewhere near Pinkerville, MO. She has been making huge waves in the quilting world. TWO books, a new fabric line with Art Gallery Fabrics and a quilt in every corner of Quilt Market. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Just one look at her quilting and you can see why she is so popular, but the best part about Angela is that she loves to teach and tell you that YOU can quilt like her too! Oh geez. She makes it look so effortless too if you watch her. I do have a little Angela angel on my shoulder whispering about buying a longarm quilter into my ear every so often. I found myself looking at my bedroom and thinking to myself that a longarm would fit great in there- if I took the bed out. Perhaps it is an Angela Devil on my shoulder! Here is a closer look at the work she did on the Modern Quilt Guild banner.
I want to give a shout out to Kim Kight and link to her blog True Up, which always has the best Quilt Market coverage and for the rest of the year keeps us up to date on fabric happenings and interviews with designers. She already has a great Quilt Market Trends & Themes post right off the bat.
I will do my best to take a break from sewing now and then and blog more, but I may also just throw a bunch of photos on flickr so make sure to take a peek over there to see more.
xo, gina pina