What's new in various product categories; monthly
Quilt Market, Pt. I
Changing colors, more wool -- lots of trends.
by Ellie Joos (June, 2004)
I have seen many convention centers in my career, and I must say
I was impressed with the Pittsburgh convention center. Glass-paneled
ceilings allowed natural light to flood the show floor, providing
great lighting for those of us walking the show – although I did
hear from several exhibitors that sunglasses were needed at certain
times of the day. Glass enclosed walkways above the floor gave a
great overview of the exhibits. The show floor seemed busy and most
of the exhibitors I spoke with reported having a very good show.
Show management reported good on-site registration numbers as well.
Color, Color, Color. Pretty sherbet, sorbet colors were
everywhere in lovely florals and coordinating patterns, Sasparilla
by Kimberly Hodges for FreeSpirit in gorgeous "Lily
Pulitzer" colors ... Ginger Bliss by Amy Butler was a
lovely line of luch exotic prints in bold colors. Amy’s booth
display was also very creative with an Asian flair ... Lovely garden
themes from P & B featuring the Morning Glory group by
Alex Anderson ... South Seas Imports has a very pretty, and romantic
collection of florals from Robyn Pandolph which was displayed quite
elegantly in a fabric tent complete with chandelier.
Wool. This category is growing with new exhibitors including
Woolrich and York Woolens with their wool solids, plaids and
textures ... There were great new patterns from Sue Spargo Folk Art
Quilts which incorporate wool and other textures with beads and
The 50’s. That decade inspired color and motifs, even
wonderful "bark" cloth textured prints from Michael Miller
... Moda Home introduced a charming line of hankie-inspired prints
in its Sliced Bread Vintage Kitchen Collection ... Vintage
cowboy themes including Roy Rogers were also apparent.
Tools. What’s a quilter without her collection of great new
tools? There were rotary cutters and mats from Clover, which
emphasized safety, were designed to fit a woman’s hand, and easily
converted for right or left hand ... Brooklyn Revolver II mat
from Come Quilt with Me, now with an ironing surface on the reverse
There was the Cutter Cubby for storing rotary cutters and Basting
Bright Pins in bright colors from EZ Quilting/Wrights – and Dissolve
Away Foundation Paper.
Chenille Short Cuts in a number of colors and the Fluffing
brush, also Quilted Memories, kits for making custom memory
quilts from June Tailor
Fairfield’s Knit Care line follows the success of their Quilt
Care, consisting of great needle cases, and liquid wash.
(Speaking of knitting, several exhibitors had fabrics cut into
strips for knitting.)
Ready Bias introduced Swag-maker templates in two sizes
which make it a snap to do accurate swags.
Long-arm machine enthusiasts will love Fabri Fast, to
attach fabric to the long-arm frame with this patent pending system
from The Grace Company ... QCI introduced a water-soluble aerosol
spray, Marking Magic, which easily marks the design on the
quilt and then washes out ... Colonial Needle offered a product no
sewer should be without, NeedleGrip-It, self-adhesive dots
for help with hand sewing. (I also loved the company's UltraThimble.).
Design Technology. Blumenthal Lansing previewed its new Crafters
Image program of CDs featuring their licensed designers and PhotoFabric
in four fabric types for home computer printing ... New software
programs and fabrics from Electric Quilt.
I always look forward to the Quilt Show for its creativity and
energy. This show was no exception with lovely exhibits and
beautiful booth displays.
Note: Ellie is president of Ellie Joos & Associates, a
marketing, pr, and product development firm. To read Ellie's reports
on other industry-related shows, including the recent N.Y.
Stationery Show, click Scene & Heard in the left-hand column. To
contact Ellie call 908-459-9269 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quilt Market Report, Pt. II
The overlapping of quilting and needlework.
by Wheat Carr (June, 2004)
Color. Clean, rich colors, from 1960's Acid Trips to
clear/un-gray/un-brown shades. Pastel to Jewel. They were just about
evenly split with "Folk" or "Primitive" – and
this is largely due, I think, to increased/growing interest in
fulled wools, well represented by many designers. For hand dyes;
both Kipp's Kits & Weeks Dye Works seemed to have it more
together. Folk/Primitive themes continue to be well represented in
cotton as well.
In the small, middle ground were the kinds of colors and patterns
you or I might associate with the late 40's - early 50's (but not
the 60's earth tones). Good examples of this would be the Feedsack
by American Jane line shown by Windham Fabrics and Sullivan's
USA Lilies & Lace by Bernie Mayer.
Pastels did not seem to as obvious, but they certainly existed,
and of course, jewels – especially batiks – continue to be a
staple. Speaking of batiks, Bali's new Flanetik is very
interesting and I can see it being a winner for the wearables
enthusiasts – not to mention quilts for cuddling with style.
There seemed to be more and more products and ideas aimed at the
kids niche. Seems designers and suppliers are concerned about the
aging market and are thinking about ways to get the kids involved,
especially teens. Guess they are hoping to move them from knitting
to quilting or other forms of stitching.
Knitting/Quilts. While I did not see any traditional yarn
suppliers, Notions Marketing focused a fair amount of its display on
a yarn program. Sullivan's USA showed the beginnings of its yarn and
thread lines, as well as that very hot commodity – needles –
which they seem to think they will be able to supply without
problems. Most folks already know that Checkers, obviously a serious
supplier to the quilting markets, has taken multiple booths for TNNA/INRG
in June, and more than a few fabric companies mentioned intentions
to walk the show.
Speaking of knitting, there were a number of knitting-related
products on display in several distributor booths, including
"In The Attic" knitting looms for knitting without
needles. As I was observing traffic around the knitting display,
more than a few quilt shop owners picked up the frames, smiled, and
better yet, made notes.
Felting was nominally represented, but not the way it should be
beyond the use of fulled wools or felts for surface design. Of
course, you already knew that Wandering Wolf Design bet the ranch
and made the decision to present quilting, felting, and fulled wool
at TNNA/INRG, but at least we are not longer feeling quite so
Attendance. I don't know what numbers management is posting
for attendance, but quite often the fabric company tables seemed
were rather empty. Appointments to have a line presented or to
discuss "your designer program" seemed to all to easy to
Equally of concern to exhibitors might be the rather obvious
number of "designers" and "we're with the owner of
such and such shop" as opposed to serious buyers. Noticeable
lack of crowds and often rather empty aisles.
Noticeably absent among the machine exhibitors was Babylock;
Pfaff, Viking, Singer, and Brother all had at least two or more
Although many exhibitors felt the show as "okay," very
few were really excited about their numbers; but they were better
able to network with distributors about their products.
Quilting/needlework. Digitized designs for machine-embroidery
uses in quilts also seemed to be well represented. Speaking of
machine embroidery, cross stitch and "RedWork" type
designs were obvious.
Hawaiian applique also seemed to be well represented, and these
booths often had at least a few buyers placing orders.
Not necessarily new to market, but getting lots of attention was
Tsukineko; the products offer lots of surface-design opportunities
for all skill levels. I know they will be taking a place in my
I ran into were several retailers who already have both knitting
and quilting, and more than a few shopowners with either yarn or
counted thread shops. I also had some opportunities to chat with
folks from the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand; they all
talked about the blurring of the lines.
For those yarn companies who think they have solved their supply
problems, it might not be a bad idea to be looking at the quilt
market. For "String" [yarn] shops trying to plan for the
inevitable down cycle, consider ways to attract quilters – both
for yarn & threads – and to get them knitting. It might just
be a good plan.
Closing thoughts, if attending or exhibiting at the David
Lawrence Convention Center, be sure to include a sun hat and sun
screen; with the exception of two rows, you could work on your tan
while working or walking.
Note: Wheat is the President of Wandering Wolf Designs, a
publisher of independent designer patterns. She will be exhibiting
at the TNNA/INRG show in Columbus June 12-14 and the NeedleArts
Market Aug. 20-22 in Charlotte. You can email her at email@example.com.
To read previous Category Reports, click on the headlines in the