The Eternal Maker Crafts

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Quilt Market part too-whit too-whoo

This is how fast we had to move to make sure we saw everything. ok, maybe it's just camera blur..

Anna: I don't know why I wrote this post's title like that. I reckon it may just be because one of the images that kept cropping up over the next few days at Quilt Market was Owls. Now, you probably all know we like owls - we have the ghost owl in our tree, we had a huge ricrac owl (before he got unwound) and we have at least 2 other owls that I can think of in the shop. So now they've all caught on, and owls are everywhere!

Anyway, back to the important business that was Quilt Market.
The days usually started off with a class. We fabric shops need to learn too, you know. My classes were more 'lecture' like (when will I ever be old enough to sit in a lecture and not want a snooze???), whereas Rachael and Mum seemed to be able to pick classes where they actually made things, so I will let them do the talking (well, Rachael probably, Mum probably not).
Rachael: Yes Anna is right I was lucky enough to accidently choose courses that were more practical than many. One of the highlights was attending a class in Sashiko quilting. We were supposed to be learning to quilt the "Zen" way. We had to relax, we had to learn Sashiko history, we had to be calm and concentrate on nothing but the cloth, the needle and the thread...... it took an hour before our tutor would even let us start stitching! Needless to say when I did finally get started I was so excitied my stitching was anything but Zen! I'd love to pretend the photo above is my finished work but I just about managed three lines of stitching. As always it was a really friendly class and I expect you can tell it was also Halloween - I've never seen so many grown women in orange - I love an excuse for fancy dress!
Interesting Sashiko fact number one: Fireman used to be hailed as rock stars in ancient Japan due to their protection of the paper lined houses - their coats were made of many layers of cloth and stored in barrels of water for protection from the heat. Sashiko stitching was used to hold all the layers of cloth together and even today firemen parade at ceremonies flashing their coats open and shut to show off the decorative (yet very practical) stitching.

Anna: One of my best bits of the whole show was finally seeing in the flesh the Melody Miller range for Kokka, Ruby Star Rising. It is as fantabulous as I had hoped. I had a total star struck moment during a class when two ladies wearing lots of this lovely range came and stood beside me. As I knew it wasn't available yet I knew one of them must be Melody Miller herself. How excited was I?
the lovely Melody Miller and me
Ruby Star Rising by Melody Miller for Kokka - check out the viewfinder print- how could you not want that?

And of course very very very exciting is the new Echino Autumn 2010 range - how could we not love this?
Bird's featured again in the designs - and much of the colour palette is the same as we have already seen from previous echino ranges - so it will mix and match well with what you and we already have!
I'm thinking about an echino giveaway - how about being one of the first people in the UK to own an echino 2010 fat eighth pack? To win one of these just write a comment about how much you love echino below and we'll randomly select a winner in 2 weeks time!
The very talented Cynthia Mann from Birch Fabrics

I was super excited to meet Cynthia Mann from Birch fabrics - I have been admiring her fabric for a while but never actually managed to sort out an order (would have wanted it all, I need to cut down somewhere!) - but seeing it all in the flesh and meeting Cynthia sold me on it - expect it in the new year - but I'll definitely let you know when it gets here!

Trish Preston from Two Peas in a Pod and Me
Anna: I first came across Trish Preston when I commissioned some of her work for Sew Hip - how funny that I kept coming back to this little pattern stand and thinking "there's something familiar about these" and only putting 2 and 2 together when we got talking! It's great to put a face to a name I emailed so many times! Trish's patterns are in store now - we will be putting them online soon I promise!

And lastly one final note about Hoppy, the cutest bunny who lived on our hotel patio.
I Hoppy

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Quilt Market Part 1 (of how many I don't know...)

Anna: So I seem to only write this blog when we have just got back from somewhere. So, this time it's back from Quilt Market in Houston. So with my brain overflowing I will try to put it all in some order to give you the scoops!
The day before the market started, there was an organised quilt shop tour for us. Well, I guess it was a busman's holiday, but we totally all enjoyed it. First up was Painted Pony & Quilts, then Sew Contempo, and then Quakertown. It's interesting to see how other people do it. These were all great shops, but a lot more traditional than we are, which was definitely interesting to see. Quilt stores in America seem to have a lot more space than most over here, and although we have more space than many, it was good to see how people use the space, and learn some lessons from it. I'm frustrated I don't have any photos to show you - they are all closeups - I will ask Rachael to see if she took any.
Lovely sales lady from Painted Pony n' Quilts

Rachael: Ah ha! The reason (not an excuse) that we have no photos of the quilt shops is that they all had big "NO PHOTOS" signs (the meanies!) and I didn't want break the rules and get deported on my first day in the States! I did however ask really nicely if I could take a piccy of the lovely sales assistant in "Painted Pony" cutting my "Cat in The Hat" fabric. The shop was divided in to separate rooms for different themes and types of fabric (there was even a whole room of sale fabric). I think you can get a little bit of an idea from the photo how neatly and lovingly everything was displayed. (Lucky for me I bought the "Cat in the Hat" fabric when I saw it as it's not licensed for sale in the UK otherwise we would have stocked up for the shop - sorry guys!)

I definitely took lots of photos at the lunch stop that day - we were lucky enough to go to the Space Center, and because I was easily the most excitied of all of us about that, Anna says she would feel mean if she didn't let me tell you all about it!

Ok I admit it - NASA was the highlight of my day (don't get me wrong I loved the quilt shops - but it's not everyday you can touch things from outer space!!) The inner geek that I try and hide every other day just couldn't be contained. We looked inside a training mock up of the shuttle (so claustrophobic) and we were able to touch Moon rock, the actual Apollo 17 landing capsule and a Saturn rocket. (The inner geek also got to try on space helmets - how exciting!)
Rachael & Anna trying on the spacemen outfits... just kidding
this is really us trying on the helmets and not looking quite so cool..
Rachael's best day ever?

All in all it was an amazing day, with all around great shopping opportunities - I came away with a real mix of all my favourite things - lots of fabric, space food and a rubber ducky driving a space shuttle - I know!

Anna: Next day was a day of learning about new products, fabrics & patterns that will be available in the upcoming year. There was a huge emphasis on getting 'young' people into sewing, and some bits definitely held more relevance than others. I don't know. It's hard to say what I felt at this, but I know when we opened the shop it was very easy to buy fabric for an older generation, but much harder to find things to create a shop that I (still in my twenties, just!) would want to shop in. And I knew that we had to have the items in place for when people like me came in, otherwise they wouldn't come in again, even if it wasn't understood by an older generation. What I didn't realise but I quickly learnt, was that the older generation loved them too - when you mix good design with quality manufacturing, you get things which span generations, and so the emphasis at quilt market seemed positive, but yet somehow missing the mark on a lot of occasions. Despite this, there were many younger companies, young designers, and some of the authors being previewed were people famous in quilting circles not through their decades of quilting, but through their not-so-many years of blogging, and with the feedback that bloggers can receive, I have high hopes that these books will, as well as looking good, be more useable and sewer friendly.

One of the most exciting things I saw was a talk by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson! fame - inspiring quilts that I could actually have in my home. It was great to hear that she started with the same sort of unrealistic goals that many of us have, but turned it around to where she is today. We ordered her book - the Practical Guide to Patchwork - and it's already en route, yay! And, even better, the first (I think 3, but it may only be 2, sorry) books ordered will get a FREE template for this quilt that is in the book!
image courtesy of
Rachael: While Anna went to more of the quilt designers talks, I went to a lot of talks by suppliers and fabric designers. I was great to listen to the fabric designers talking about their ideas and how they develop their designs. Highlights including listening to Rosalie Quinlan (whose new range is already in-store and makes up part of our "Japanese Swatch" club this month) and our lovely friend Marianne Byrne-Goran of Cinnamon Patch talking about her new Victorian Christmas line launching soon. I also had the opportunity to see Liesl Gibson talking about how she developed her new range of accessories into the soon to be launched "Oliver & S" book. The mass of new things coming out is overwhelming and there are some lovely things on their way - so watch this space . We both finished the day truly inspired and are really looking forward to passing that all on to you guys out there, who share our passion for yummy fabrics and brilliant design. Keep watching the blog as we've only managed to bring you highlights from the first couple of days so far and there is LOTS more to come!

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