The Eternal Maker Crafts

Thursday, 4 November 2010

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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