Fingers and toes…

The good news is that calculators were provided.  The bad news is that we were inside the warehouse and the solar-powered devices weren’t quite sure they wanted to work… or maybe that was just mine.

If you’ve ever worked in a business that involves selling stuff, you know that one of the annual rituals is Inventory.  With a capital “I” – it’s that important.

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The Sartorial Splendor of Moda’s President

dp_howard-marcusThis year marks Moda’s 40th anniversary and Mark Dunn, president of Moda Fabrics and United Notions, has been at the helm of the company since its very beginning in 1975. Though much has changed in the decades since, there’s been one thing that’s held constant—Mark’s love of fashion.



You may remember that when I asked Sandy Gervais what she remembered about being asked to design fabric at her first Quilt Market, it was Mark’s wardrobe that stuck in her memory: ““…I was so enamored of Mark’s clothing. He had on a linen sport coat with a black Aztec print shirt and black linen pants. It was rare to notice what a man had on in those days.”



Brian Dunn and Mark Dunn

Marianne Fons of Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting describes him as snappy dresser.“I look forward to Market time to see what cool ensembles Mark might be sporting,” says Marianne. “I remember in particular a pair of awesome black-and-white spectator shoes he wore with a black-and-white outfit.”



Jamie Chupik, Mark Dunn, Holly Hickman, and Steve Morris


Karey Bresnahan and Mark Dunn

Cheryl Freydberg, Moda’s vice president of design and development, says: “Before I came here, Mark had a reputation for being THE most flamboyant dresser in the industry. He had a suit with painted flames and shoes to match. [Sadly, we have no photos of that.] Everyone would wait to go to these shows to see what Mark Dunn was wearing. To some extent they still do, but now he’s into Armani and Gaultier.”HMD-6



Lissa Alexander says the first time she came to Moda, Mark was dressed in fatigues and wearing cowboy boots with spurs on the back.




Jen Kingwell and Mark Dunn

While Mark admits that he loves clothes and probably spends too much money on them, it makes perfect sense that the president of a fabric company would appreciate elegant ensembles stitched from fine fabrics. And we’re all grateful. Not only does his keen eye mean that he cares about high quality textiles and designs, but it gives us all something to look forward to. What will Mark be wearing next month at Quilt Market? Stay tuned—we’ll share it with you here!



A moveable village…


Spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, May 2014.

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.)

Moda Fall Market 2013 - 1 Low

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!

Moda Fall Market 2013 - 2 Low

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.

Including me.

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.

Happy Friday!

(I’m sewing this weekend – I hope you get to do the same.)

Make. Piece. Sew.

That was the phrase used in a Moda Fabrics ad several years ago and I always liked it.  It also fits the occasion – tomorrow is National Quilting Day!

I’m almost hoping for snow – I did say almost! – so that I won’t feel guilty if I stay in tomorrow and sew all day – just me and Bernie.

We have 764 half-triangles to make and after giving it a lot of thought – okay, about 1 minute’s worth – I decided that I was going to use triangle paper.  It was either that or trim them all to size… so I needed triangle paper.  Since I didn’t have any on hand, that meant a trip to the warehouse.  I know… it’s such a long, long walk over to the other building.

The truth is that it takes me forever – F O R E V E R – when I go over there.  It isn’t that it’s all that far, it’s that I can’t bring myself to walk quickly… that would mean rushing by a sight like this…


Moda Dotties – I knew you’d ask.

Then I get here… United Notions.  All these lovely notions, united in one place.


And I get lost.

Not in thought… not in discovery… lost.  (Reference:  needles, haystsacks.)  The lovely people who work here have been amazingly patient with me, and they’re bonafide brilliant!  I’ve yet to ask a single person where to find something without them knowing exactly where it is.  Even from 50 feet away, they can direct me to where I will find it – no, one more aisle over… on the left side… three shelves in… second shelf from the bottom.

No Carrie, your OTHER left.

Fortunately, I found the aisle with the triangle paper I was looking for – Primitive Gatherings – fairly easily.  (I am starting to learn my way around.)

Why this one?  While I like almost all of the papers I’ve tried, there is one feature that makes this one was perfect for this project.  I’m using Layer Cake squares for my fabric so I can make 18 – 2″ finished half-triangle squares from each square.  Thinking in terms of squares, I can fit a total of 9 squares in the layer cake, a 3 x 3 grid.  The Primitive Gathering paper is printed in a 3 x 5 grid.


So I just stacked the paper and cut it on the line to make my 3 x 3 grid – with a 2 x 3 grid left for something else.  I don’t have to draw any lines or grids and this paper fits my layer cake squares perfectly – how perfect is that?  But while I was nosing around looking for the correct paper, I found these…


Primitive Gatherings also makes triangle papers that are specifically sized for using with charm squares.  For someone whose made as many quilts with charm squares as I have, I want to know why I didn’t think of this.  (Don’t answer that… Lisa is… well, Lisa Bongean.)

Then I got really side-tracked… I think it was the bright, pretty colors.


These are called Tulips.  They’re by a company called Smartneedle and they’re bobbin clamps.  I think I’m going to need these – doesn’t the orange clamp look good on my bobbin?  (And it doesn’t hurt that these clamps are a little bigger than the ones I use now.)  They come with a little chain if you want to keep them together for traveling, or doing some handwork.

The same company names these Bobbinis.  Bobbinis… you had me with that name.


They kind of look like mini pacifiers, don’t they?  What I like – and what is making me think I’m going to need some of these – is that the bobbini is very secure.  The bobbin isn’t loose at all, and it’s very secure in the spool of thread.  Trust me, I was knocking them around to see if they’d come out or the bobbin would come off.

These were in the same aisle – also from Smartneedle.  The scissor and sewing machine USBs are very cute, as is the ladybug sewing caddy.  There is a suction cup on the underside that lets you stick it to the side of a machine, or whatever.  The little porcupine bobbin caddy also comes in green.  As with the bobbini, I was surprised that everything fits together securely and the tops or bobbins aren’t going to keep falling off.


While trying to find my way out of the aisles – they look straight but with all the distractions, it might as well be a maze! – I was distracted by Maya Road.


The pins are purely decorative – they’re sharp but they’re a little thick to use for sewing.  But they’ll sure look really pretty in my pincushions.  I don’t know what I’d do with the buttons yet but they’d be cute on a pillow, a bag or even to embellish one of my pincushions.  Maybe I’ll make a pincushion to go with the buttons…  And the spools?  They’re just cute.

It isn’t like I really need to know what I would do with something before I bought it right?

From fabric to notions, thread to scissors… we like some of this stuff because it’s pretty.  And because seeing it makes us happy.

Or maybe that’s just me – I’m a little frivolous that way.  And I think that’s a good thing.

Have a terrific weekend!