Reports on shows, trends, and more
Report: The 2005 Spring Quilt
Reports from one of the industry's
top trend- and design-watchers, and a personal view from a
traditional "craft" company.
by Ellie Joos, Ellie Joos and Associates (May 23, 2005)
Quilt Market returned to Kansas City for another well
attended show, and most exhibitors reported brisk business. A number
of first-time exhibitors were also pleased with the show. Although
the "fashion" trend is still towards the brighter,
sherbet-like colors, this show also presented a warm, earthy look in
browns, reds, tans, and creamy whites.
The popularity of knitting was also felt at this show with
several companies introducing fabric strips for knitting, patterns
available teaching the technique, and even kits available for the
quilt store that wants to get in on the knitting and crocheting
trend. Especially nice were the kits from Hourglass Creations, Inc.,
a division of Timeless Treasures. They featured 14 kits for purses,
totes, hats, and more using bias-cut batik fabrics. Bright Ideas
Design Co. had a great pattern for a wrap poncho using batik fabrics
mixed in with yarns. Pie in the Sky Quilts also had some nice
patterns for stockings, scarves, and other items.
A number of fabrics caught my eye including the beautiful blue,
yellow, orange Provence print fabrics from France from French
Connections. This company also imports gorgeous baskets from Ghana
and Morocco and brightly colored floor mats from Africa. FreeSpirit’s
new Finlandia collection was extremely eye-catching with bold
retro prints and bright colors, perfect for the customer who is
young, hip, and decorating with bold colors. Springs launched their
new Star Wars and Batman licensed fabric lines in true
Hollywood fashion with a "screening" room showing trailers
from the new movies, complete with fresh popcorn. Libas LTD., a
first-time exhibitor, reported a good show with their line of Silk
Dupioni fat quarters and 18"x18" squares in beautiful
National Nonwoven celebrated its 100th anniversary with the Centennial
Collection of felt colors and birthday cake for everyone who
visited the booth. New for the company is the Shaded Wisps Needle
Felt to match its WoolFelt colors and its WoolWisps
100% Wool Needle Felt that can be dyed by the consumer. This
product (which I had seen in Germany in January) is just beginning
to gain popularity is this country and adds a nice dimensional
effect to projects. Kindred Spirits also has needle felt in
hand-dyed wool in lovely colors and offers them in multi color
packages of pastels, brights, and primitive colors. The Colonial
Needle Co. completes the picture with the individual felting needles
as well as felting needle tools that can hold up to 12 needles for
larger projects, wool roving, and kits. Colonial also introduced Chipped
Quilts identity system and registry for quilts with their
microchip that is embedded into a quilt and registered to protect
quilts from theft.
Quiltsmart introduced Little Lone Star, perfect for
beginners, and Apple Core pattern which produces great
results in no time, magically creating apple cores with no curved
Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover is great for removing tough
stains using Grandma’s formula.
Atlas Glove, another first timer, launched three new gloves for
quilters, crafters, and artists that are perfect for gripping and
guiding fabrics, or their Dyeing glove which is resistant to
chemicals and punctures.
Rabbit Run and T.Rae & Co. are companies run by two sisters,
one a potter and one a quilter. Their booth featured their
coordinating quilt patterns and hand painted dishware. Very nice!
EZ Quilt once again had some "cool" new tools,
including their Rollup Ruller in 12" and 36"
lengths, colored template shapes with easy-to-read markings, Charmers
(templates with matched pewter charms) and their line of sewing
notions for Dummies.
June Tailor has taken fabric sheets to another level with You’ve
Been Framed, iron-on photo fabric frames for framing photos,
then ironing onto fabric projects.
Heritage Batting has two new battings, one is 95% polyester and 5
% cashmere and the other is 95% polyester and 5% silk.
Fairfield has also expanded its batting line with a 60% cotton
and 40% polyester batting for machine quilters.
Quilt Market is always a delight and I, like so many, come
away from it feeling totally inspired by the beauty presented there
not only in the special exhibits, but in the booths of the
exhibitors. I may not return home and begin a new quilt, but I feel
that my world has been enriched by the creativity and talent of so
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, click on the titles in the
right-hand column. To contact Ellie, call 908-459-9269 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another view of Quilt Market.
(Note: The following is from a vendor of traditional arts
and crafts who seems to be in a category that currently is not hot.
But they have a new product line, unrelated to their traditional
line, that they brought to Quilt Market; here's their
Our booth was busy almost non-stop. What a change from CHA! It
was probably our best Quilt Market ever. The other exhibitors
I spoke to almost all had a great show also.
Our new product line was a hit. The quilt shops had no trouble
understanding the concept. There are also a lot of "heads
up" quilt shops that are capitalizing on the memory trend and
scrapbooking. They are taking the products available to print photos
on fabric (several manufacturers make this) and making Memory
Quilts. They are attracting a whole new customer base by emphasizing
the memory aspect, yet by putting it on fabric they are also
interesting non-quilters in a "quilting" activity. They
hope that once inside a quilt shop, with a good class experience
behind them, the non-quilters can be converted.
In fact I had quilt shops who latched on to the "no
sew" aspect of my line (which I was not pushing) and see that
as a way of attracting crafters who were not sewers but liked the
look and feel of fabric projects.
I see quilt shops as evolving into "fabric arts shops"
(keep the word "crafts" out of the name!) in a few more
years because traditional craft stores just aren’t addressing this
market and the many products available for it.
I predict quilting will no longer be seen by crafts as some sort
of old lady activity. (They were the ones that not that long ago
thought that only little old ladies knit).
It’s still going to take us time to fully respond to the
changes in our traditional business, but by staying flexible and
having this new product line, the future is looking very promising.
Here’s an ironic twist. We’re beginning to see an increase in
the (formerly dead) traditional business. Maybe the tide is turning?
I do know that we get several emails a week on our retail site
saying that they are buying on line from us because they can’t
find the products they want in stores anymore. Yes, our web retail
sales of our traditional products are up.
All in all, life is good right about now. Spring is sprung, the
grass is riz, and I know where my market is! – Name Withheld
(Note: Again, to comment on any of the issues above, email
your thoughts to CLN at email@example.com.)