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Quilt Market 2005

Beauty – and good causes.

by Ellie Joos, Ellie Joos & Associates (November 7, 2005)

Regular readers of this column are aware of my love for Quilt Market and have read my praises for the enthusiasm, energy, and beauty of the show. This recent Market is no exception; however, what was also very clear is the beauty within the hearts and souls of quilters worldwide.

As you may have read, in the days following Hurricane Katrina, it was announced that thousands of evacuees were headed to Houston. Quilts Inc. wasted no time in creating Quilters Comfort America and asked quilters to send quilts, blankets, and bedding to comfort the disaster victims.

They also announced that they would match donations to the Red Cross in what was truly a generous, caring spirit. It was thrilling to see enormous banners hanging over the show floor announcing that more than 12,000 quilts were received and one million dollars was raised.

I am so proud to be a member of this wonderful industry. To see pictures of the quilts arriving in Houston and being distributed to victims, be sure to visit www.quilts.com. Congratulations to Karey Bresenhan and her staff for a job well done!

Overall impression.

As for the show, the special exhibits and exhibitors booths did not disappoint the attendees; beauty and creativity were everywhere. As I walked the show floor, I did wonder about the attendance which seemed quieter than past shows and whether gas prices and other economic concerns deterred any attendees. Reports on the business done at the show were mixed; some exhibitors reported having a great show and some were not as happy with the attendance. New fabrics and products were abundant. Again I saw the crossover from the yarn crafts into the quilting market. More about this later, but first here’s an overview of the products for the quilter.

Colors in fabrics ranged from pretty, clear pastels to the brown family ( or chocolate) that we are seeing currently in home dec and fashion. Springs Industries had a very exciting, colorful room setting display appealing to the tween/teen market and featuring their Glam Girlz collection of novelty fabrics. Long haired plush and graphic patterns made this collection stand out. One quilt creatively combined Silky Fleece flower appliques with their Beyond Basics print line.

Michael Miller Fabrics debuted its Fairy Frost by Mark Hordyszynski collection of pearlized and glittered fabrics, now in a fat-quarter box. Libas Marketing expanded their line of silk to include beautiful fancies in plaids, checks, and stripes – also available in fat quarter packs. Free Spirit personnel were busy with their new collections including Girlfriends, inspired by vintage wallpaper, and a whimsical, conversational line by Heather Ross called Lightning Bugs featuring gnomes, seagulls, and coordinating stripes, dots, and florals.

In tools and notions, Blumenthal Lansing presented its all-natural shell program, Shellz, of two-hole buttons and one-hole danglers in natural and dyed fashion colors. The six different Class-In-A-Bag packets from Crafter’s Images makes it easy for retailers and teachers to teach projects using their fabrics for inkjet printers.

June Tailor recognizes the effect of color psychology on sales and has re-colored its cutting mats and other tools in a gorgeous teal color. Get Squared is the new ruler for creating two different size squares with one tool. They also have taken aging baby boomer eyes into consideration with the ink colors being used on their rulers.

EZ Quilting presented its Easy Circle Cut tool for cutting circles measuring from 2" to 10" – perfect for making yo-yo quilts. Hancy Mfg. was demonstrating its Full Line Stencils and Pounce Powder for incredible ease in applying stencil designs to quilts.

For ease in traveling with quilt blocks or other crafts, the Block Box Co.’s handled block box in a number of pretty colors is perfect; with an anchor inside that does not crease, it is also acid-free to accommodate scrapbook pages.

Several exhibitors are using their products to make a difference in the lives of others through cause marketing. (According to a survey by PR WEEK, corporate America is increasing its budget to give to relief funds and to champion causes they believe in.) Cranston’s Quilting Treasures division introduced a line of fabrics by lifestyle designer Karen Neuburger. A portion of the proceeds from this pretty Pink Ribbon Signature Collection of cotton prints and flannels benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Participating retailers will be identified on the Quilting Treasures and Karen Neuburger websites. Moda, American Patchwork and Quilting, Husqvarna Viking, Fiskars, and C&T Publishing have combined efforts to host a Quilt Pink Day to make pink and white quilts. The finished quilts will be auctioned with net proceeds to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Yarn's influence growing.

At the last show, I reported on the knitting trend and the related products which were exhibited; it was even more evident at this show.

Lion Brand Yarn exhibited for the first time and reported having a good response. Lion had gorgeous garments and afghans on display and introduced a number of new yarns including Mystery, a colorful boucle yarn; a gorgeous Cashmere Blend; and new accessories, including Stress Relief gloves.

Royal Fiber Spinnery received a good response to its display of beautiful alpaca yarns in 14 natural colors and 80 dyed colors. When asked why they chose to exhibit here, personnel said they had begun to receive requests for their yarns from a local quilt shop, so thought this might be an industry to explore. (For those of you unfamiliar with the qualities of alpaca yarn, it is reportedly three times warmer than wool with half the weight, twice the strength, and with 80% less itch.) There is a trend in raising alpacas and most recently a record was set when one male alpaca was sold at auction for close to $500,000!

Casu Designs had an interesting take on the knitting look with their concept and book, Sew Like Knitting, by Carol Moffatt From a distance you think you are looking at a knitted item; however, on closer examination, you discover that it is really made from fabric that was stitched together in strips and then frayed from washing. Great for someone who doesn’t knit but wants the look in a poncho, shawl or other items.

K1C2 uses Adornaments fibers in another new way by combining the fibers and water soluble substance in their lovely, upscale scarf kits. Hourglass Creations, an affiliate of Timeless Treasures Fabrics, expanded its knitting line of Toku, fabric-based batik ribbon cut on a bias, and new kit patterns for purses, scarves, and hats. Heatherworks added patterns for fabric knitting to their line of quilt patterns. Lantern Moon displayed beautiful knitting needles made from hardwoods such as ebony and rosewood with lovely silk sleeves.

This Market was also a showcase for punch-needle embroidery products. A number of exhibitors have expanded their quilt pattern lines to include patterns for this craft. Design Originals introduced a Punch Needle book for miniature rugs, coasters, and other items. Fairfield Road Designs has a line of charming patterns for snowmen, Santa, and other motifs, including 10" weaver’s cloth in the pattern. Debbie Dear Designs added a number of adorable punch-needle designs to her quilt pattern line. Clover introduced punch-needle embroidery tools of needles. including 6-ply needle and hoop stands for ease and comfort when stitching.

As always, I leave this show feeling very inspired and in the case of this particular Market, feeling very proud to know such wonderful, talented, and caring people.

Visit www.quilts.com to view a webcast of Quilt Festival at Home and the 2005 winners of the judged contest by the International Quilt Association.

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 eleapple@hotmail.com.



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