What is life like for those living with the designers of Moda’s amazing fabric collections in the weeks leading up to Market?
Is it sane? Crazy? Completely normal? Does laundry get done? Are the kids being fed?
What’s “real life” really like?
Fortunately, this isn’t it.
Or is it?
The blogs and social media feeds of the following Moda designers are being taken-over, commandeered, yes… shanghaied! Husbands, significant others, beloved fur-children and others are telling the whole truth about “living with a Moda designer”.
I was eight when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and like a lot of folks, I loved the idea of riding a rocket somewhere. It might have been the speed of it all, or maybe the adventure. Whatever the reason, I always wondered what it would be like to be launched into space at more than 17,000 mph.
I don’t wonder about that anymore… I now know what it feels like.
I’m a rookie at Moda Fabrics and Spring Quilt Market is in three weeks.
Okay. That might be a little bit overly dramatic – terra-firma for yours truly – but there are times when it feels like things are hurtling past me at very high speed. Even though I’ve been an exhibitor at Quilt Market more than a dozen times, the logistics of it all are just so much bigger. In short, this ain’t no “booth in a bag” sort of deal. But more on all that in the coming weeks… right now, there is so much to tell you about – lots of alerts and countdowns.
Piece & Comfort Challenge. To recognize and honor the sacrifices made by the military families in the U. S., Moda created a fabric collection and a challenge that will benefit USA Cares, an organization that is focused on helping our service men and women, and their families. The deadline for participating shops to submit their winning quilt is today and voting opens next Thursday so mark your calendar and stay tuned!
Do you Pin?
Photo from Instagram – A HelloFromCat
Not Pinterest – this is about swapping and collecting pins. Cool, unique, custom-made pins – the idea is to swap or collect as many pins as you can from other people attending Quilt Market. Yes, she who gets the most pin wins! Seriously! If you had a big collection of these, wouldn’t you feel like you’d won?
Image from Instagram – MayChappell
This was absolutely one of the most infectious and enjoyable things at QuiltCon. Quilters from all over the world designed and made pins in all different sizes, shapes and colors to swap. It wasn’t just the people attending, the vendors and exhibitors were also swapping pins. Half the fun was stopping to actually talk to people, swap pins and take pictures.
Rumor has it that “many” of the Moda folks will have pins to swap. We’re hoping that people attending – shops, industry folks and other exhibitors – will join in the fun. And maybe – just maybe – someone here might see about collecting extras to share with people who can’t make it to Market. Just saying.
Viola is finished and is already at the quilter. I hope you’ll forgive the funky lighting but natural sunlight wasn’t available – I took this at about 1:30 in the morning. The upside was that by staying up late to finish this, I got to see the end of the playoff hockey game that went to three overtime periods.
Sewing. I’m locked and loaded and ready for a big sewing weekend. I stopped into Wally-world on my way to work the other morning and stocked up on sizing. There was a young man stocking the shelves and he was standing right in front of the sizing. I apologized for interrupting his work but I needed sizing. He laughed and handed me a can, teasing that now he wasn’t going to have enough cans to keep the rows even. I told him that I could help with that, I really needed every can he had – all ten of them. (At $.97 a can, it’s worth stocking up when I’m there.) He laughed again, said he appreciated my cooperation and could I help him with the rest of the shelves.
I’ll be working on some “frivolous” blocks, some nine-patches for a quilt and I don’t remember what else. I have a list. This is on it but it has an asterisk that means “you can make another block after you finish something on the list.”
I’m shamelessly copying one of Jen Kingwell’s Gardenvale quilts and I need seven more blocks. (I’ve made nine blocks.)
That’s all I can think of for today… but I do need to warn you that I think there is some mischief afoot. I’m hearing whispers and what can only be described as chortling. And I’m certain I heard someone use the word “coup”.
1canoe2 operates out of an old barn in rural Missouri, on the farm where Carrie Shyrock grew up. Though she’s lived and traveled elsewhere, it’s the landscape she grew up in that provides inspiration for the designs she creates for the company she started with friend Beth Snyder.
“I’ve traveled and lived a lot of different places and now I realize there’s something so beautiful about this place,” she says. “I’m obsessed with the sky—seeing the clouds change and the storms roll in—and with the wildflowers that grow on the roadsides in summertime.”
The happy crew of 1canoe2. At left are business partners Karen Shyrock and Carrie Shyrock. Partner Beth Snyder is fourth from the left.
That love of nature right outside her window will be shared with fabric lovers in October, when 1canoe2’s first line of Moda fabrics, Tucker Prairie, hits the stores. Beth is especially excited by the opportunity to create fabric. “I majored in graphic design and fiber in college, so fabric design is something I’ve always wanted to do,” she says.
Beth and Carrie went to high school together and college too—at the University of Missouri in Columbia—and both studied and enjoyed art. After college, Beth was working as a graphic designer and living in Nashville when her husband-to-be bought her a small letterpress on Ebay so she could print her wedding invitations. “I just love touching ink, changing colors, and getting dirty,” says Beth. Carrie contributed some drawings to the process and after they wedding they continued to work together long distance.
Beth moved back to Missouri in 2008 and she and Carrie opened an Etsy shop, selling wooden recipe boxes made by Beth’s father, filled with the recipe cards they’d designed. Since they’d enjoyed canoe trips together on Missouri’s clear, spring-fed rivers, they decided to name their shop 1canoe2, which Beth says is shorthand for one canoe, two girls. “But I didn’t really think it through, because I’m always having to tell people ‘It’s the number one, the word canoe, and the number two,’” she says with a laugh.
In the loft of the renovated barn, where Carrie’s dad used to store lumber, 1canoe2 staffers prep samples for Quilt Market.
Today, 1canoe2 employs between 11 and 15 people. Carrie’s sister-in-law Karen Shyrock has joined as a partner. “It’s a talented, hard-working team and I’m so proud of how they treat one another and how they help 1canoe2 do our best,” says Beth. The company works with manufacturers to produce greeting cards, calendars, art prints, notebooks, glassware, tea towels and more, which they ship themselves to shops large and small. (They still print some of their designs via letterpress, although a much bigger press than the one they started with.)
Another view of sample-making in the loft. The open, light-filled spaces work well for the 1canoe2 team.
Each 1canoe2 piece is adorned with the fresh designs that are typically based on Carrie’s paintings. “Carrie comes up with brilliant ideas and color palettes no one else would ever think of,” says Beth, who then imports them into her computer. The two sit side-by-side to make design choices. “My role is to do design and to run the business and I’m really enjoying that. We have total artistic control and we think having our hands on every product is what makes them special.” She mentions that working with Moda has been a perfect fit in that way. “They’ve let us do exactly what we wanted and have been great to work with.”
Friends and relatives gathered this week to prep samples for spring Quilt Market. Beth’s mom is on the step stool. Her aunts also helped out.
Carrie and Beth are preparing for Quilt Market: Beth’s mom, aunts, and family friends pitched in to make samples this week, and 1canoe2 employees did the same. In the photo of staff in the loft, it’s easy to see the barn has changed significantly since the days when Carrie’s great-grandfather raised mules and when her dad stored lumber here. Concrete’s replaced dirt floors and insulation keeps it warm in winter. “It’s a bright, open space that’s perfect for what we’re doing now,” says Carrie.
Outside the barn Carrie’s family still grows corn and soybeans in the wide open fields that inspire 1canoe2. Inside, 1canoe2 raises an appreciation for color and fresh, vibrant design. “We feel so lucky we get to do this work,” says Beth.
More Quilt Market prep. About the sample sewing day Beth said, “We made a big mess and had a lot of fun.”
Well, not me personally, as in “not on my person”, my physical self. Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co. is the beneficiary of this enhancement – the patterns.
I – we – need it. And I’m pretty excited about it.
Aren’t they pretty?
Okay, they’re not done. That’s not even one of them. Think of this as a sneak-peek into the operating room.
Wee Hours? It’s a new pattern but that’s not it on the cover, that’s the Collection for a Cause – Friendship quilt from a few years ago that was used for context and to help with the visual. Full Circle? That’s it on the cover – made with Alice’s Scrapbag, the beautiful new collection by Barbara Brackman. Susan is working on the layout and diagram now. She’s the perfect person to work with me as she used to teach third-graders. The one in back is Viola… more on her soon.
I wrote a little while back that the biggest challenge has been working backwards – at least it’s backwards for me.
Back in the day – it does occasionally feel like forever-ago – I would see fabric I liked and let it noodle-around in my head until I got an idea for what to make. Then I would think about different sizes of blocks, how big each would make the quilt, “about” how much fabric would I need and so on. That part is still the same, the difference now is that I used to make the quilt before I wrote the pattern. Now I calculate the yardage, write the pattern, make some chicken-scratch diagrams and then pass it along to the computer wizards. Sounds good, right?
It is. But it isn’t without a hiccup on two. This is Otis – more on “him” soon too.
The problem – problems? – arise when something doesn’t work as planned. One of the new quilts had yardage calculated based on getting six squares per strip. Cut to size, it would add up to 20 1/4″. It was a very tight fit… maybe 1/4″ to spare. But many of us – including me – would cut those squares a little bit larger to allow for trimming – they’re for half-triangle squares. I cut them at 3 1/2″ instead of 3 3/8″ and while it adds up to 21″ and “should” still fit, it didn’t. I could only get 5 squares per strip. So that pattern will need a little work, a revision or four.
Where I have to get better is keeping the drafts and revisions on the computer updated or, more importantly, making sure that whomever is working on that pattern knows that it’s been updated. Learning to work with other people is really hard!
As we find a format and style that works for the new patterns, some of the “old” patterns will be updated, re-colored and perhaps even re-made. As we go through this process, I’d like to ask for your help on two fronts.
First, are there any “old” Miss Rosie’s patterns that you think should be on the list for a makeover?
And second, if you were making a list of what absolutely, positively should be in a pattern for it to be good, what would you include? E.g., pressing, little tips, why I’m doing it the way I’m doing it, etc.
I started with this picture for two reasons – I love the theme of this booth, especially those big quilt “blocks”, and Pittsburgh just might be my favorite convention center because of those big windows.
A lot has changed over the twelve years since I went to my first Quilt Market in October of 2002. One thing hasn’t, a cool-looking booth gets a lot of attention. And Moda has always had one of the best booths there.
I always knew it took a lot of planning, teamwork and woman-hours to build – I just had to consider what I did on my own for my single, low-tech, not particularly imaginative “booth design” and multiply it by a thousand. Make that ten thousand. Still, I was a tiny bit surprised to learn that planning the booth for Market generally starts the day after the prior Market ends.
Whether it’s on the last day in the convention center or back in Dallas a few days later, booth planning essentially begins at the Market “Exit Meeting.” One of the primary topics is the booth – What worked? And what didn’t? What should be changed – what can be changed? The idea of adding pockets to the table-covers so the sales reps would have someplace to keep orders, pens, candy bars, etc., came up during one of these post-Market meetings.
Tiny mock-ups are built… okay, not really. Let it suffice to say – souvenir, meeting, playing with the tiny chairs.
The first thing to keep in mind – if it’s in the booth, it was shipped there from Dallas.
And before it could be shipped, it had to be designed, built, painted, sewn, counted, organized and then finally, packed into crates. New crates have been built and will be used for the trip to Minneapolis next month – these are more “user-friendly”. (That’s a nice way of saying they’ll be more easily packed and unpacked by women.)
Fall Quilt Market, October 2013. Make a Splash!
The theme and concept for the booth come from a variety of sources – sometimes from a single image from a book and sometimes it’s the result of a combination of images, products and ideas from a wide array of sources. A single fabric from a designer’s collection can spark an idea for the theme, or a trend in the color palettes of several designers might be what starts the development of a cohesive idea that will include, enhance and showcase everyone.
Every step of it is collaborative – if you’ve got an idea, speak up!
That dresser? Shipped from Dallas. It’s easier and less expensive than trying to find “just the right one” in a day, get it to the convention center, assembled and filled with “whatever” in a day. And yes, the drawers often serve double-duty by storing “stuff”.
This is the Moda Photo Booth at Spring Market in Pittsburgh. (Yes, we love those Ikea carts too.)
The bushel baskets were purchased and painted to coordinate with the “skinny bolts” of Bella Solids. And the same Bella Solids were laser-cut into leaves and stitched together to make streamers. Whether it is stitching the leaves to making the paper-mâché octopus, everybody in the office pitches in to help in the months and weeks leading up to Market.
It looks like fun, right? Would you still feel that way after painting 1500 of them – and drilling a hole in the end so it can be hung?
So what gets shipped when Moda goes to Market in Minneapolis?
5400 square feet of flooring. That’s enough for the main area where the sales stations are location, the “designer row” booths and the United Notions booths
110 chairs – and the chair covers that go with them. That’s enough for the 40 sales stations with chairs on both sides. One for the sales reps and at least one for the shop owner being shown the new collections
40 table covers for the tables used by the sales reps
Catalogs / sales sheets / order forms for the sales stations
Quilts / props / furniture / quilt ladders and such for the displays in the Moda Booth and the Moda designer row area
It will take two 18-wheelers fully loaded with “poundage” to haul get it all to Market and back. (It goes without saying that it’s just a tiny bit more neatly packed going than coming-back.)
As for people… there are 27 designers attending, 21 of whom will be in “designer row”. The 35 Moda/United Notions sales reps will be there, as will people working for and with the many overseas distributors. There are more than a dozen people from the offices in Dallas attending. All totaled – more than 116 people representing Moda Fabrics will be there.
I’m pretty sure I won’t be allowed near the power tools or cutting implements. But I have lots of recently acquired expertise in unpacking and packing so I’m sure I’ll be kept busy.
I’d best make a note to pack some stretchy pants and sneakers.
And my camera. I’ll take lots of pictures – I promise.
(I’m sewing this weekend – I hope you get to do the same.)