fall 2011 Quilt Market recap – Houston

The International Quilt Market in Houston, TX came and went last week…and I popped in for a full 24 hours. It’s nice that it’s just a 3-hour drive from Austin (and even better to have friends who live 1 mile from the convention center, who let you crash at their beautiful home for a night, even though they have 1 month-old twin babies, and then they make you pumpkin pie oatmeal for breakfast with fresh whipped cream and pecans on top. Wow it was good. Thank you Diane and Fernando!)

But we’re talking about fabric here, not pumpkin recipes.
Though I’m not sure which I enjoy more.

(Lotta Jansdotter – photo source – Windham Fabrics)

The Quilt Market is an industry trade show that happens twice a year (Spring is always “on the road”, popping up in cities around the USA, and Fall is always in Houston). The show is not open to the public (though the week after Market is a public Quilt Festival with separate vendors). And like most trade shows, it’s a place for designers, book authors, pattern makers, sewing machine manufacturers, button makers, shop owners, and buyers to get together, show their new stuff, buy/trade/talk/shmooze?/meet, eat, and talk sewing talk together.

Our husbands would absolutely hate it.

All the big name fabric designers come to Market. And aside from the lovely new fabrics they’re sharing (I know. It’s supposed to be about the fabrics), I’m mostly there as a “media” person to check out the booths. I’m intrigued by the design aspect and art that goes into it. Displaying fabric and projects in unique ways is something I love. And if I ever had a booth (uh, I guess that means I’d need a fabric line. Haah. Not sure that’s my forte), well, I can totally picture what I’d do.

But….let’s see what’s really happening in the fabric world.

Welcome to Houston.
(I secretly had fun driving around on the crazy freeways; reminded me of my years of LA living)

Friday night at the Market is always the Sample Spree and it’s the only way to purchase “small” amounts of the latest fabric lines till they come out in stores (since buying fabric on the Market floor is typically done in large transactions, buying bolts and bolts of a designer’s stuff).

The manufacturers bundle up 1/2 yards or fat quarters of new fabrics, buttons, threads, etc. and you can purchase them for retail price. No discounts here.
Women go absolutely nuts over it.
They line up for hours ahead of time and when the doors open, they’re off–usually running straight for the Moda and Kaufman tables.
It’s pretty crazy and not my scene to be in the middle of.
But I sure like watching it.
Staring Saturday morning is the Market trade show, held in the Houston Convention Center.
The best part about industry events that you get to meet people you’ve only seen online! I’ve been fortunate to hang out with Vanessa of V and Co. before (left) before and Deborah from Whipstitch Fabrics (right). But it was fun to bump into Lindsay (center) of the Cottage Home. She was there promoting her patterns and has a great post about Market too. Click over for more photos.
I spent the morning in a few vendor meetings, then gabbed it up with Deborah, so my time walking the floor was more limited than usual (I was trying to make it back to Austin that night for a Halloween party. Oh busy weekend). But I managed to snap photos of my favorites booths to share with you.

(Dear Stella fabrics)

Now I must point out, as I have before….that most of the Market is catered to an older quilting generation, with lots of booths caring gooey fabrics that I just don’t care for. I don’t mean to sound negative about that. There’s clearly still a market for it. But I assume that most of you who stop by my blog share my similar design aesthetic and enjoy more current trends. So I’m only showing you about 20% of what you’ll find at the Quilt Market. These are fabrics that have a more modern take and every year it’s refreshing to see more young designers pop up. Over time I hope a majority of the Market will be filled Ruby Miller Rising/Cloud 9/Echino/Amy Butler type stuff. Because there’s definitely a younger generation of modern quilters (thank you Denyse Schmidt). But time will tell.

Okay, enough soapbox.

First stop, the Westminster Fabrics aisle.
I loved these embroidery hoops with all the designers names.
Anna Maria Honer’s booth was deep midnight blue. Smaller than what she typically shares and I’m not sure she was attending. But her stuff was bright and pretty, as usual.
Very cool needlework packages.
Amy Butler’s new line is called Lark and is true to Amy-style, but with a bit more “earthy” vibe. There are less flowers and more ikats.
And this is something new…..a line by her husband! David Butler.
He and Amy are standing there below on the left. She’s a tall lady.
David’s line is called Parson Gray and it’s got a great color palette.
There’s always a lack of men’s fabrics around but I’m not sure I could talk my husband into this. Too “metro” for his liking. It would be cool to use in Home Dec projects though. And it really is great to see more masculine fabrics popping up.
Next up, Jenean Morrison’s line Power Pop. Last year I was impressed with how she wrapped an entire bicycle in fabric. She’s so artistic. And this year, she covered the floor with her textiles (and made a pretty funky lamp).
How cool are those laminate tiles?
And these weren’t in her booth but I can’t remember where I saw them. Just some pretty tissue paper flowers.
Had to take a token Yo Gabba Gabba shot for the kids.
I’m sure they’d love it if I made PJs out of this:
The Yo Gabba line is by Hoffman Fabrics (click here to see all 20 prints). It comes in cotton sheeting and flannel and doesn’t ship till December. Whipstitch Fabrics will be carrying it so check back in Dec/Jan for prices.

A fun pillow caught my eye.
Not mine. But part of the large Moda booth.
I popped in to the Moda aisle to meet Ellen of the blog The Long Thread (who was there promoting her new book and new fabric line). She’s great fun and very creative.
Next are some of my favorite organic cotton designers.
To be honest, I’m not so much drawn to the fact that it’s organic….mostly I just love their cool styles!

This collection is from Spring but I was lucky to score a sample pack in the mail from Jan at Daisy Janie. The line is Shades of Grey and I’ll never be able to decide which print is my favorite. I’m picturing a project for Owen….
Here’s what I have. Fun, fun:
And since I somehow missed her booth at the market, I grabbed a couple photos from her blog, showcasing her new line Tilly. Great fall colors. Hopefully we’ll talk next time Jan!
Cynthia of Birch Fabrics always has clever fabrics for kids:
And seriously, designers probably think it’s too simple…but I love a good dot! I wish every designer did it.
Cloud 9 Fabrics continues to grow with more and more lines each season.
I was wowed with the over-sized peacock print.
Sadly, that was just for booth display. But you can purchase it in smaller scale which is pretty cool too.
I really love their Simpatico line by Michelle Engel Bencsko
Next, I spotted The Sewing with Oilcloth booth (check out my book review here).
And Sarai from Colette Patterns was there promoting her new book (which I’ll be reviewing later this month) and selling patterns.
She’s adorable.
If you’re into embroidery this stuff by penguin & fish is pretty cute:
And two of my favorite booth set-ups were Alexander Henry and Michael Miller.
I didn’t even look at their fabrics. I just enjoyed the atmosphere.

Alexander Henry had a cool Mexico/Day of the Dead thing going on for their Zanzabelle collection.
I wanted to pick up a marionette and make it dance.
Michael Miller was all about color, whimsy, and feeling free.
I’m not sure what that theme is, but there was a vintage MG parked in the middle of the booth, a cool drink stop serving fresh lemon, lime, or orange water (the orange was delicious), and whimsy photos up on the booth walls.
Finally, two booths that I didn’t get to and I’m kicking myself for it….
Lotta Jansdotter and Ruby Star Rising. Both have very modern takes on fabric and their styles just make me want to sew.

(photo source – Windham Fabrics)

Thankfully Lindsay popped in and snapped a photo of Lotta…and kindly let me share it from her Market post. I’ll have to meet her next time around.
As for Melody of Ruby Star Rising, I got to her meet her last year and she’s just adorable. And she’s got a cool/retro vibe going on. Most of you are familiar with her Viewmaster fabric from last Fall. Here’s her new set of retro designs:
I was also lucky to score some Spring fabric samples from Melody in the mail. I’m still brainstorming about projects. That gray/purple/yellow one is really calling my name.
And if you’re ready for a cool surprise, this print has a large pixelated bee on it.
How cool is that?
It gets better.

Deborah at Whipstitch Fabrics created a skirt pattern to go with the fabric.
Check it out!
Are you exhausted?
I totally am. That was a lot of fabric and a lot of links.
Thanks for sticking with it.

After a few hours of pregnant walking, I snatched up some mini-Snickers from random booths and tucked out the side door to my car.
I drove by a beautiful park downtown and reminisced about our family visit here two years ago….when I was a bit skinnier, my hair was a bit longer, and the kids were much younger. Wow. Two years really flies by.
Thanks Houston for a fun weekend trip.

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