The last word…

Not from me.  As if?!?

There are just a few more things to write about Spring Quilt Market and then we’ll close that book.

A few of you asked about trends at Market and I wish I had a better answer for you.  I didn’t see anything that jumped out to me as an emerging trend – like punch needle, hexagons or English Paper Piecing have in years past – and I think there are a couple of reasons why that might be.  First, I missed four or five Markets in succession and I’m just getting back to seeing what’s at Quilt Market.  And I’m a little slow to notice trends.


String-pieced appliqued deer – stag? – by Rana Heredia of Sewn Into the Fabric.  Whether it’s called “string piecing” or “improv” making of your own fabric, I did see a few things with this kind of technique involved.  This stood out – it’s so much better in person.

The second factor is location.  With the cost of travel, shipping and attending Quilt Market, many exhibitors only go to those Quilt Markets that are withing driving distance so something that seems to be very prevalent might only be a reflection of a regional preference.  Location also factors into how many international exhibitors are attending; meaning, if the Aussies are there in force, you will see all sorts of wonderful embroidery and stitchery, and plenty of very scrappy quilts with lots of pieces.


These confections are by Natalie Bird of The Bird House in Australia – also so very much better in person.

One of my other favorite quilts had embroidery on it.  I’m not sure what it was about this one that I loved – the mix of Reproduction shirting prints with the random setting or the color palette.


This is by Kori Turner-Goodhart of Olive Grace Studios Patterns.

The last factor is more subjective – is it a trend or am I just seeing the things that I like?  A friend and co-worker noticed that there was a lot of pink at Market.  I must have missed that, perhaps because I was noticing the aqua and the somewhat muted, retro-40s colors.  I saw quite a few quilts with big-stitch quilting but I’ve noticed those in past years too.


These two quilts are by Madeleine Roberg of Domestic Strata.  Everything she showed at Market was amazing – I went by this booth a couple of times.  (I wasn’t alone on that – lots of people fell in love with Madeleine’s quilts.)

Since wool and wool projects always get my attention, I can’t say with any kind of accuracy that there was more or less wool in Minneapolis than in past Markets.  There was a lot of it and it was all beautiful.


Autumn Time by Norma Whaley of Timeless Traditions – Norma also does gorgeous quilts in a traditional-reproduction-primitive style.  That means she combines different colors and styles of fabrics to make things that are original and just plain awesome.

Minis!  There were mini-quilts in many booths.  But there were just as many in Pittsburgh last Spring, and with the Reproduction designers and quilters, small quilts and “minis” have been around for at least ten years.


With all the amazing minis in just the Moda Designer Studio, this was my favorite – Idyllic Mini from Sweetness by Corey Yoder for Coriander Quilts.  It uses Corey’s debut collection, Prairie.  (The Bella Solids are 9900-97 White and 9900-178 Etchings Stone.)

The same goes for bags – there were a lot of great bags.  The one really good trend is that with all the great bag patterns in the marketplace, it’s getting easier to find a wider variety of bag hardware and accessories.


This bag was in front of a very cool quilt made by Mon Ami by Basic Grey, fortunately, it was also my favorite bag at Market – the Maxwell bag by Abbey Lane.  (Though we’re going to have to make one for ourselves in other fabric.)

There was a lot of “modern” fabric and a lot of Reproduction and traditional fabric.  There were bright colors and muted colors, lots of neutrals and textures, and a variety of weights and fabric types/weights.  But is any of that new or a trend?  I don’t think so, unless the trend is that “there is something for everyone” and new products are finding a place in the market.  (But what do I know, right?)

You also asked about notions – rulers, gadgets, tools, etc.  The coolest “new” ruler is one that came out a month or so ago, the Itty Bitty Eights Rulers by Lisa Bongean for Creative Grid.  If you like piecing “small”, these rulers are terrific as they’re small and come with clear, easy to read 1/8″ markings.

Scissors.  It seems like there were 157 different styles or types of new scissors being shown.  The most interesting to me were the angled “table-top” scissors by Fiskars.  The blade and handle are angled so that you can slide the scissor blades along the table for easier  cutting while still holding your hand at a natural angle.  This is the Razoredge 9″ Tabletop Scissor – there are three different sizes, and then three sizes of the Easy Action model which has the same off-set angle.

Fiskars 9-inch Tabletop Scissors

They look weird, don’t they?

After the needle-companies collaborated to make the eyes of needles smaller, and therefore harder for me to see, I am always on the look-out for a good needle-threader.  So when I heard that the folks that make the Hiroshima-Tulip needles had a new threader designed to use with their super-tiny-eyed needles, I went looking for it.


This is the Suitto Needle Threader by Tulip.  Is it any different than the cute needle-threader by Clover?  For most needles, there isn’t much difference.  But for the very fine Tulip needles, this one works far better as it was designed for use with the Tulip needles.

Clover has finally come out with a new little iron – the Wedge Iron – to replace the much-loved, much-missed craft iron they discontinued several years ago.  It’s not that there aren’t other small travel-sized irons, it’s that the Clover iron had a sharp point that made it particularly good for prepping applique work for the non-needle-turn applique folks.  (Aka “the Barbarians” to some needle-turn – and back-basting – applique afficionados.)


Clover Wedge Iron

The other Clover tool that several people were talking about and looking for were some new bodkins.  It’s that thing you can use to thread a drawstring or elastic through a casing.  Think of it as a really long, thin safety pin – that’s what most of us use if we don’t have a real, actual bodkin.


There’s the Flex ‘n Glide for threading – it has an elongated eye for threading something thin.  The Clip ‘n Glide is for threading elastic that won’t fit through the eye of the regular bodkin, it grips the end securely.  And the Elastic Lock Set firmly holds elastic preventing it from slipping into casing.  While I don’t use these tools a lot, they’re the kind that are always great to have when you do go looking for them.

My favorite new notion is this one… it’s a rotary cutter that can be adjusted.  For what?  I haven’t quite figured that out.  But the picture of the Fiskars Adjust Handle Rotary Cutter with the instructions makes me laugh so as soon as it comes into the warehouse, you can count on me to try it out.  Giggles and grins, right?

Fiskars Adjustable Rotary Cutter

I’ll put Band-Aids on my grocery list now so I’m ready.

For those of us who liked and used The Angler, Quilt in a Day has come out with a similar type template for sewing connector corners, half-triangle squares and straight lines.  It’s called the Sew Straight.

(The Angler is no longer available.)

Quilt In A Day Angler




As for what’s happening here in Dallas, “life” is returning to “normal”.  (Quotes because I’ve not been around long enough to know what the real “normal” is yet.)

There was a lot of rain in North Texas over the Memorial Day weekend and that was probably perfect as it gave everyone an excuse to stay home, nap, relax, nap and so on.  And sew on!  (I did some of that this weekend, pictures coming soon.)

I’m finishing writing the new patterns while others are working on the layouts and diagrams.  They’ll be sent off for proofing and those “should” be ready by June 1st.  (It’s a “quote-y” kind of day, isn’t it?)  Everyone else is working on finishing up Market-related projects and going forward with the new collections.  Quilts have already been shipped off to different places for shows, photography and I’m not sure what else, and the deadline for the next catalog is less than a month away.  So once the new patterns are finished, I have to finalize a couple of quilt-ideas for the next batch of Frivols and a couple of collections.  There are a couple of magazine and book compilation projects to finish and an ride-along with one of the sales reps to schedule.  And that’s just me!

And then there’s that whole other thing that I’m not supposed to talk about it… it’s in less than five months.

But you didn’t hear that from me, right?


(P.S. Be sure to come back on Friday or over the weekend – rumor has it there might be some kind of Market-related giveaway.  But you didn’t hear that from me either.)

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Eight seconds…

Someone in the office is fond of saying that “this isn’t her first rodeo”.

The phrase has stuck with me the past couple of weeks because while this wasn’t my first Quilt Market, it often felt as though it was.  It was still Quilt Market and I knew what I would see there, but my role and responsibilities would be different.  Bigger, faster, more.

I mean these folks actually have a plan when they set-up the booth – a schematic?  Can you imagine?  Bigger.  Faster.  More.


This little buckeroo was hanging out in the Basic Grey booth, he’s made with their new collection, Mon Ami.  (It was a big hit at Market… just saying.)  And yes, I’m in love with that pincushion too.

So Spring Quilt Market 2015 is done and let it suffice to say that I’ve been advised – for the sake of my health – not to mention anything about something similar happening any time soon.  It’s forbidden.  For at least the foreseeable future.

Everyone is back in the office and the crates have arrived, so there are quilts and Market-paraphernalia everywhere.  Most of the quilts are being gathered and organized for traveling, some won’t be back for months and months.  Folks are still a little tired and the office is quiet, in part because there’s plenty to catch-up on and partly because after the people-overload at Market, a little quiet and alone-time is much-appreciated.


Jen Kingwell‘s quilt, It’s a Small World from the Spring 2015 Special Issue of Quiltmania.  It measures 33″ x 52″ and it’s glorious.

(If you’re wondering about the pictures, these are a few of my favorite things from Quilt Market.)

Like this – this is a postcard size business card from Kathy Cardiff of The Cottage at Cardiff Farms.  It would take too long to explain but basically, with what she’s provided on the back of the card, you could make all of these projects with the diagrams and a little creativity.  Kathy has a lot of that, she does beautiful quilts and wool projects.  And she’s nice!  Her booth is always one of my favorites – she’s got that knack.


I also visited with Heather and Joel Petersen – Heather is the genius-designer-quilter behind Anka’s Treasure books and patterns.  They’re from Minnesota and Heather has skipped the last couple of Markets because she was busy with Carter and Max, their two adorable little boys.  I met Heather many years ago when we were invited to the offices of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine in Des Moines, Iowa to be on the committee to select shops for two issues of the Quilt Sampler.


This quilt and wall-hanging/tablerunner is from Heather’s new book, Angles With Ease 2, and it uses her terrific Triangler ruler.  The fabrics in the big quilt are from Fresh Cut by Basic Grey, and the fabrics in the small quilt are from Vintage Modern by Bonnie & Camille.


While the Triangler ruler is available now, the book will be in stores and at United Notions any day now.

I also caught up with Gudrun Erla of GE Quilt Designs – another one of my favorite people, I’ve known her for many years too.  Gudrun and I once sat next to each other on a flight leaving Market… only because I was willing to go to extreme measures to save a couple of seats for she and her assistant.  (Unless you think “accidentally” dumping out your purse a couple of times, faking coughing fits and removing your suitcase from the overhead bin and unpacking it on the seat sounds like normal behavior.)

This is Gudrun.  (She runs in those Ragnar relay races and is super-fit… but I like her anyway.)


That terrific quilt behind her is a pattern titled Strip Plus.  It’s made with 2 1/2″ strips – Jelly Rolls, anyone?  She cuts strips using her Stripology ruler.  It’s a terrific ruler for cutting and organizing everything from fat quarters and fat eighths to scraps.  With all those strips, you could make something from her two new books using 1 1/2″ strips.


Both books have six different designs in three different sizes… meaning there are 18 projects in each book.  (I used the calculator just to make sure.)

This is my favorite, it’s the 1 1/2″ version of the Strip Plus quilt above.


I think I’m going to need to make this quilt, except I want to make it bigger.  A bigger version of the smaller version… please tell me that makes sense.  (And if it doesn’t, little white lies would be much appreciated.)

There were a couple of “Miss Rosie” quilts in the booth – non-Frivols quilts.


On the ladder on the left, that’s Otis on the top and Full Circle on the bottom.  Otis is made with For You by Zen Chic, and Full Circle is made with Alice’s Scrapbag by Barbara Brackman.  On the right is Viola, it’s made with Farmhouse by Fig Tree & Co.  (The gorgeous quilting is by my sweet friend in Phoenix, Diane Tricka.)

I’m already thinking ahead to “that thing I’m not supposed to mention” and I’d like to know what you’d like to see.  You saw the set-up and take-down, a little bit of the Moda Party and Sample Spree, and the finished Moda booth and the Designer Studio booths, but what else should I take pictures of?  What did I forget?

I confess to being the sort who tries to take pictures of quilts and pretty-stitchy-things and usually winds up forgetting to take pictures of familiar people standing in front of those things so if that’s what you’d prefer seeing, let me know.

That’s it for today.  I hope you have a lovely Memorial Day weekend; I’m going to sew and start working on some quilts and projects for the next catalog, that deadline is in less than a month.

A nap.  I think I should plan on taking a few of those this weekend.

Long ones as that bull done wore me out.  But it was sure fun.

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Sniffing Out Trends: Big Stitch Quilting

Carrie’s photograph-filled posts gave you an excellent idea of the hands-on labor that goes into building Moda’s Quilt Market booth. Looks backbreaking, doesn’t it?

But there’s another kind of work that goes into Market, and it’s the kind that requires lots of looking, listening, and note taking. While I didn’t burn nearly the calories that those who were setting up the booth did, I noticed that while my muscles may not have hurt, my brain did. That’s because there is just so much to see and do. I carried my pink Moleskine notebook everywhere, jotting notes about patterns that appealed, notions that struck my fancy, and of course, the fabric lines I loved.

I also tried to sniff out trends. While it’s not brand-new, one that’s continuing to make its mark is big-stitch quilting. It’s a little ironic that quilters have taken the hand stitching previously prized for its small, unobtrusive look and turned it on its head. Today’s hand-quilting calls attention to itself with threads in colors that contrast and lines that echo or cross over design elements. You can find it in both modern and traditional quilts.

Laurie Simpson of Minick and Simpson used big-stitch quilting in Circle Garden, the pattern she created using their Polka Dots & Paisleys . Laurie uses 12-weight Aurifil thread and size 9 John James Darners or sizes 8, 9, and 10 Tulip Milliners needles. She only marked one of her lines—the first one—and then eyeballed the rest. The not-perfectly-even look reminds her of Indian kantha quilts, and she likes the handmade ambience it gives Circle Garden.

Minick and Simpson Circle Garden detail

Minick and Simpson Circle Garden full

Corey Yoder highlighted a couple of quilts in her new Prairie line with big stitch quilting. She chose to use multiple colors of Presencia 8-weight perle cotton on a single quilt, and these two provide a great example of the way it looks on both a light and dark background. (The light background is her Floret Mini Quilt, which is included in her Sweetness patterns, and the dark background is Gingersnap.)

Corey Yoder Big stitch quilting Moda 2
Corey Yoder big stitch quilting Moda

And then there was Moda fabric rep David Evanciew. Though he didn’t sew it himself, his shirt was evidence that the big-stitch trend extends beyond the world of quilting. Here’s David posing in Joanna Figueroa’s booth (where the black of his shirt and jacket works perfectly with the accents of black in her new Farmhouse line), and a close-up of the big stitches on the placket of his shirt.

Mod Fabrics rep David Evanciew

David Evanciew Big Stitch Moda

If you were at Quilt Market, did you pick up on any trends? Do tell!


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That’s a wrap…

Roll credits…

  • Lissa Alexander
  • Holly Hickman
  • Tammy Vonderschmitt
  • Kelli Trimble
  • Debbi Duckworth
  • Debbie Outlaw
  • Alison Dale
  • Kathy Bauer
  • Juan Calderon
  • Josh Dunn
  • Bob Wallner
  • Mark Pytel
  • John Atkins
  • Steve Morris

Eight very large crates and four loaded, shrink-wrapped-like-there’s-no-tomorrow pallets.


This is what the Moda booth looked like fifteen minutes after Market closed at 4:00 pm.

It happens pretty quickly; an announcement is made that Spring International Quilt Market 2015 is officially closed, everyone is thanked for attending and all of a sudden, the sounds in the building change.  Additional announcements are made to keep the aisles clear so that the carpets can be rolled up and removed, that has to happen before the forklifts can begin delivering the additional crates.  There were already six crates in the booth – they formed the corners of the Moda booth and the two “walls” of the United Notions booth.  (Pretty clever.)

While the booth stays in-tact until the 4:00 pm announcement, there’s a whole lot of “straightening up” and organizing in the hour or so before then.  The designers and sales reps who are still there are suddenly very tidy.  Papers and whatevers they’ve collected and don’t need are tossed – paper is heavy and bag-weight is always an issue – things to take home are “organized” and a quilt or two might happen to fall down.

As soon as it’s time, quilts come down, table and chair covers are removed and piled on a table.  The chairs are folded and stacked on tables, and more than half of the tables are broken down and stacked on top of each other.  The tables belong to the convention center so it’s all about making room to move around.  The props, ladders, tables and chairs in the designer booth are collected, and the flooring is rolled.


It’s now 4:50.

The long cross-pieces/signs that connect the four pillars of the booth have been taken down.  The backdrops and pole covers in the designer booths have been taken down, folded and stacked; they’re ready to be packed.


Twenty minutes later – 5:10 – most of the convention center carpets have been removed, but a few remain.  The United Notions booth is packed and being loaded into the crates.  The cross-pieces are stacked, so are the saw-horse style tables from designer row.  The folding chairs have been loaded in the crate and the rather large pile of table and chair covers will be put in on top and used to fill the spaces.  (Yes, everything is unpacked and sorted when it comes back to Dallas.  And yes, the chair and table covers will be re-purposed and/or claimed.)


It’s now 5:35 and while all the carpets are now up-and-out, things are moving a bit slowly because the “waiting for crates” has started.  There are two large crates in storage, one of which holds a large lift that allows the big booth crates to be moved off the flooring.


It’s a few minutes to 6:00 and Quilt Market Exhibitors now fall into two categories – “Those Waiting for Crates” and “Those Who’ve Left the Building”.  That corner booth in the lower-left corner was Antler Quilt Designs, Doug Leko’s booth.  (He had a terrific Market, all three of his new books are best-sellers.)

The lower-right corner picture?  Our first crate has arrived – the one with the lift.


The good news is that there is now a flurry of activity.  The large crates are moved – that’s the lift in the lower-left picture – so the flooring can be rolled.  Pallets are stacked and shrink-wrapped.

The bad news is that the last big crate still hasn’t arrived.  The rolls of flooring go in there, as do the long cross-pieces/signs that have become a makeshift bench.  Fortunately, we still have plenty of bottles of water… though the large Costco-size bag of trail mix is disappearing quickly.  (And it hasn’t escaped notice that there are a lot more raisins left than M&Ms.)

It’s now a little after 7:00 pm.

The large – it’s more long than tall – crate finally arrives a few minutes later.


The flooring and signs are inside, the ladders and a whole bunch of other stuff is stacked on top, and the entire crate is shrink-wrapped.  Tightly.  A couple of times.

Bags and totes are retrieved, one last picture of the crates is taken and Moda officially leaves the building at a few minutes to 8:00 pm.

After a celebratory dinner at the hotel – pizza and libations – we fly home later this morning.

Most everyone is planning to head home from the airport though it’s also expected that a few will still “run by the office” since it isn’t that far from the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.  Some will be in tomorrow but it isn’t required.  But given that there is plenty to organize and start working on from Quilt Market, and more to catch-up on from the office, some work will get done.  While market might be over, the next few weeks are very busy for everyone.

After all, Fall Quilt Market is only five months away.

And if memory serves, someone is having an anniversary.  A big one.

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