Quilt Market Houston – A Newbie’s Perspective

Houston’s International Quilt Market didn’t indicate any sort of economic recession to me. These people have a passion and they take it seriously. There are some wonderful men at Quilt Market (if you’ve never met the big wigs over at Clover tools, run their direction as fast as you can – they are funny, generous true gentlemen!). But overall, the estrogen was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Husbands lined the walls, held the bags, and stood aside while female shop owners and designers worked the floor. Fabulous!


In Amy Bradley’s booth.

They even have little green ribbons for those of us who were venturing there for the first time. Other newbies stopped me to ask where I got my ribbon. You see, at Market, it’s all about what you’re getting: contacts, friends, food, fun, but most importantly…inspiration. And I’m not even a quilter!


Izzy & Ivy Designs won best new booth or something like that (an official award; not a made up one like mine!).

I came upon Quilt Market almost by accident: hubby transferred to Houston and my good friend Benay, of Beany Boy Quilts, wanted me to help her design and layout a quilt book. We’ve been in Houston about 14 weeks and – true to her word – Benay came down to visit me and we headed out for downtown. The rows upon rows of interesting fabrics and quilts were mind boggling. I don’t quilt, you see, but any girl with graphic sensibilities can appreciate a good quilt design. You could immediately tell which pattern and fabric designers stood out from the crowd because their booths were crowded. There were so many fun exhibitors who actively passed out fliers, smiled and said hello, inviting you into their booths. In contrast, there were quite a few exhibitors who just sat in their booth looking unfriendly and not even saying a word. I noticed a trend: those with traditional patchwork and pass√© designs were the ones looking uninviting. The best exhibitors had not only fresh, fun quilt designs but they also included other projects: animals, backpacks, books, you name it! Their creativity wasn’t limited to quilt design. And it showed. They were genuinely creative people.


L to R: Benay Derr, Amy Bradley, Lizabeth Rolfson


Amy’s quilt design for baby – great idea!

The sweetest and kindest exhibitor has to go to Amy Bradley and her daughter and mother. What a fun crew! They are the kind of people you just know you love instantly. And her work…well, she was a graphic designer first (I’m not biased or anything) and it shows.


Mary Cowan, right, of Mary’s Cottage Quilts

Another trend I noticed was that the freshest designs of the lot were not from good old Moda or Windham Fabrics but from independent start ups – most coming out of Utah. Riley Blake was a huge hit – what a great setup out of Alpine, Utah – and Mary Cowan of Mary’s Cottage Quilts in Sandy, Utah. Another Utah favorite was Abbey Lane Quilts: Marcea Owen and Janice Liljenquist were so friendly and patient with us as we had to touch every. single. thing. My favorite fresh designs outside of Utah were from The Noble Wife. Designer, Jacquelynne Steves and her stalwart husband showed that all of the hotbed of fabric designs is not exclusive to Utah as they hail from Woodstown, New Jersey.

My all-time favorite booth of the show, however, has to go to Melanie Hurlston of Melly & Me. This group from Australia and their lovely accents were not the only thing that attracted me to their booth. I was hooked from the Friday night Sampler Spree and sought them out Saturday to get another hit from their hip wares. The books – all designed and produced by themselves (including the photography!) – were a breath of fresh air. They exuded confidence in their own designs and it just plain didn’t look like everybody else’s version of the latest trends. They were fantastically independent and I cannot toot their horn enough. I will be seeking them out for personal inspiration, graphically speaking, and I don’t even quilt! They totally were the Homecoming Queen of Quilt Market in my book!

Speaking of graphic inspiration, the award for best overall graphic sensibilities in quilting design would have to go to Patrick Lose of Patrick Lose Studios. I had the chance to chat with him and it’s no wonder – he used to teach Graphic Design at a design college in Des Moines, Iowa. Now that’s so close to home, it gave me goose bumps (I’m still a little midwestern home-sick!).


Lizzie B’s groovy peace quilted rug.

Other standouts: Lizzie B Cre8tive – she would have to be runner up for Quilt Market Homecoming Queen – great rugs and all around design. Very eye catching! I also liked Cloud 9 Fabrics, organic and super soft fabrics.

The Miss Congeniality award goes to Laura and Lynnette of Beach Garden Quilts in Seattle. They were wonderfully friendly – like instant best friends – and helped us feel at ease. They have some innovative quilted looking floor mat designs – be sure to check them out.


A quilt in the display section…name anyone?

The only thing left is to recuperate. But I don’t have time. I’ve been so inspired, I have all sorts of graphic design inspiration to work out.

p.s. You can look at all of my Houston Quilt Market pictures at my flickr account.

Escapades with Ben & Minky Fabric Ideas

Today I went to JoAnn’s. Actually, twice. I hesitated going at all because Benjamin was grumpy and I was too. I knew the day would go much more smoothly if I just stayed home. My friend was going, though, and I love to feed off her beautiful energy so I went along with the idea, hopped in my car, and met her there. It helps that our children are in love (she’s 2 and Ben just turned 3 and he calls her is “grill-friend”). Anyway – Ben would not put down a bolt of fabric. It was hideous green with dinosaurs but he loved it. It was in the same aisle as the Minky fabric and he actually pulled down a matching soft green dotted fabric too – yes, he had two bolts. Unbelievable. Then he wouldn’t let them go and so I gave in (I had two 50% off coupons to use) and got 2 yards of each fabric to make a quilt for him. We had the fabric cut and when they bagged up his fabric, he wanted the bolt instead. He cried and cried for the bolt of dinosaur fabric. It was insane. I tried showing him we had purchased some and it didn’t suffice (anybody else going through the stubborn 3 year old phase?). I purchased some matching green thread and went to lunch with my friend. Afterwards, I found another coupon that was going to expire on Saturday so I went back in for binding material. I lost track of Ben and — guess what? — he came walking out of the aisle with the newly-put-away bolt of dinosaur fabric. What a crazy kid. On the way home, he slept with the fabric in his car seat. I told the realtor no showings for tomorrow because I am going to have to make that stupid quilt in one day. We’ll see how it goes and I’ll be sure to post pictures tomorrow. The pictures above are inspirational ideas found on flickr from Southern Sassy Pants, Snug A Bug Blankets and Baby Gees.

Creating Clothing Labels for Sewing & Knitting

Interesting concept. I’ve come across a few sites that I don’t want to forget and – just in case you’re interested – thought I’d put them here to share with you. First, there’s a great tutorial by Grumperina on how to make your own custom labels with ribbon and an inkjet printer here. She also has a great knitting blog. Thorough as she is, there’s also a great tutorial on cabling here.

Next, I’m bookmarking several companies who will produce your labels professionally: namemaker, Northwest Tag & Label, Clothing Labels 4 U, and Custom Couture Label Co.

A few other options: I’ve heard also that you can search ebay and etsy sellers for custom labels as well. If you really like to control the creative process – print your label onto inkjet transfer fabric and create your own to sew in the seam.

Photo above from the Clothing Labels 4 U website.

Korean Pojagi & Fabric Wrapping Ideas

One of my friends who went with me to the quilt study museum in Lincoln at UNL where we saw the Korean Pojagi exhibit made me this and wrapped up a yummy loaf of bread. What a great treat, huh! I do have great friends…any of you would be jealous of Billie Kay. She can make, bake or create just about anything. I attract those kinds of friends because the universe knows that I am sorely lacking in those areas, but I keep trying! I forgot to take a picture before I unwrapped it and I could NOT get it wrapped back up the way she had done it. Follow this link for some interesting fabric wrapping ideas. Thanks for the link, Billie Kay!

Amy Butler Designs & Ohdeedoh

Ummm…delicious fabric and patterns! I’d never visited Amy Butler’s site before but there is a ton of great images there for inspiration and a severe case of gotta-have-it-itis. Be sure to check out her site here (pictures are from her site) as well as the site Amy mentions called ohdeedoh (great design there!). Fun stuff and great design; being a midwestern girl myself, I especially enjoyed the Midwest Modern preview and collection.

Quilting Blog – The Jolly Jabber

PhotobucketGreat blog. Great sales. Great vintage style fabric collections. What’s not to love? I enjoy buying the fabric, apparently, even more than quilting. Just build the stash, right? The quilt doesn’t magically appear?!?