Posted By Margaret on June 12, 2014
I’ve been off the grid for the last month or so. The month of May was crazy and I was away from Rochester more than I was home. I spent some time in New York City, always inspirational. Then I spent nearly a week with my mom in Ohio. She had a medical scare, but all is well now. After that I attend Quilt Market in Pittsburgh.
Store owners talk about Quilt Market all of the time and everyone always asks what is Quilt Market? Well, Quilt Market happens twice a year, Spring and Fall. Fall Quilt Market is larger and always takes place in Houston, Texas. Spring Quilt Market moves around the country each year. Since it was in Pittsburgh this year, so near Rochester and since I now have the credentials to attend, I decided to go. I have gone as a representative/guest of a local quilt shop in the past, but was never able to buy or attend the entire event. This year since I have purchase fabric for sale in my studio and because they changed the credential requirements, I was eligible to attend as Quilting with Margaret.
Basically, Quilt Market is just an industry-wide trade show with over 500 vendors. All of the major fabric companies and most of the smaller ones are vendors, in addition to many of the pattern companies, designers and distributors. Mostly it’s quilt shop owners who attend, to see what the latest trends are and what is new. They also often set up appointments with larger fabric companies ahead of time and purchase the next season’s fabric collections.
But in addition to buying and selling, many book writers, fabric and pattern designers and notion distributors put on an event called the Schoolhouse Series. It’s an intensive day of classes highlighting new patterns, fabric lines, techniques, and general information regarding running a fabric store, publishing a book, marketing and special events like retreats. This was the most beneficial part of Quilt Market to me. The evening consists of larger talks and one evening is Sample Spree. Sample Spree was a crazy event where vendors have products and fabric pre-cut bundles at greatly reduced wholesale prices.
I got a lot of inspiration at Quilt Market for some new fall classes, including a class on rotary cutting basics. I attended an evening talk about running retreats put on by Debbie Caffrey and Charlotte Angotti who do an annual beach house retreat at Myrtle Beach. I attended a talk about marketing Modern Quilting in quilt shops, but the information definitely applies marketing Modern Quilt classes as well.
And as far as what’s the current trend in quilting…it’s all about Modern Quilting. There was little or no country/Thimbleberries-like displays. Even the civil war reproduction displays were limited. I only saw one vendor displaying felted wool applique. The entire convention area was light (not dark) in color with mostly just modern inspired fabrics and lots of whites and grays. As you know, over the last couple of years I have become completely obsessed with the whole Modern Quilt Movement. And it is a movement, not a trend. There is a national Modern Quilt Guild and Rochester has a local chapter. Last winter in Austin, The Modern Quilt Guild put on their first nationwide Quilt Con which has already been scheduled and planned for 2015. Hopefully, I will be able to attend.
In addition to the modern fabric lines currently out, there are several new lines of solid fabrics. Every major fabric company was featuring their new young designers. The whole Quilt Market opened with a general session for everyone focused on the new subsidiary of RJR Fabrics, Cotton + Steel. This young and fresh company is headed by 5 young designers from around the country. Watch the following vimeos to familiarize yourself with this exciting new company. They were “definitely the belles of the ball.” At Sample Spree, everyone rushed to the Cotton + Steel booth. They sold out of the fat quarter and half-yard packs of their new fabric line in less than 10 minutes. It was insane. Three people deep all around their 20 x 30 foot booth. Those lucky enough to purchase these fabric packs were walking away with their arms full! The fabric won’t hit stores until July. Hopefully someone in Rochester will have their fabric for sale. Click on the links below to learn more about Cotton + Steel. You will need to create a profile on Vimeo and log in to view these videos.
My Tula Pink temporary? tattoo
Meet the 5 designers of Cotton + Steel.
See the new Cotton + Steel fabric lines.
How cotton fiber becomes fabric.
I also attended a talk by Tula Pink introducing her new line of fabric, Moonshine for Freespirit Fabrics in three color ways. It features a fun stylized deer, polka dots with bees, and an overall retro camping print. There is even a camo-inspired coordinate that more resembles scrolls and ferns rather than camoflauge. The whole stylized deer theme is big this year. If you’ve ever been in Abilene in downtown Rochester, think of the floral covered deer head mounted over the bar. I even saw a pattern to make a fabric deer head mount. Tula Pink has also teamed with Aurifil Threads and Renaissance Ribbons for coordinating threads and ribbons.
I met Angela Walters and received a signed copy of her new machine quilting workbook. She also demonstrated her fabulous quilting designs on a Handi-Quilter longarm for about 20 of us after the book signing. If you haven’t checked out her books on machine quilting, you need to. She specializes in the detailed quilting so popular in Modern Quilting today. She also is one of the up-and-coming gurus of the Modern Quilt movement.
Now that I’m back in Rochester, I will be working on scheduling my fall lineup of classes. I plan to do several classes using Modern Quilt Relish patterns. The two designers of these patterns presented the talk I attended on marketing Modern Quilting. They are from the midwest and have some really incredible patterns. I can’t wait to share them with you. I’m working on a smaller retreat idea for this fall focusing on these patterns. Meanwhile, stop by the studio this Saturday for Second Saturday and check out the new fabrics I have for sale by the yard. I also have a selection of charm packs and a few jelly rolls. I’ll be teaching a U.F.O. class at the studio from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday too. If you are interested in joining us for the class send me an email at email@example.com to register.