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Reports on shows, trends, and more

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Reports from Quilt Market and iHobby Expo

Differing products and formats, but both successful.

by Ellie Joos (Quilt Market) and Staff Report (November 5, 2007)

Quilt Market.

Once again, I had the pleasure of attending one of the most beautiful trade shows in the country – and this year's show was no exception. The colors were fresh and pretty, sorbet colors of pinks, yellow, corals and softer pastels. Even the dark colors were pretty, not inky or blackened, but lively and colorful.

The quilts in the vendor's booths were less embellished, although many of the entries in the various contests in the exhibit area were artful and adorned. In fact, in the IQA exhibit area, I was told that more art categories were added this year, and as for trends, more digital imagery was being used in the quilts.

Several Quilt Markets ago, I reported on the buzz about reaching out to the next generation and the younger and "hipper" consumer. In an effort to do just that, a number of companies have joined together in licensing agreements with Project Runway™, the popular fashion designer competition series on Bravo, which many believe has been responsible for the increase of admission applications to fashion colleges.

(If you have not already done so, read about Craft-O-Rama Fabric Store and Sewing Lounge, the great new store in Austin, Texas in the November issue of American Quilt Retailer.) This store sells products, teaches classes, provides a sewing lounge for customers to use machines and work space, and sells crafts on consignment by Austin artisans.)


Springs deservedly won the most creative booth award for its beautiful Japanese tea garden theme complete with fountains, combed sand, kimonos, and bamboo to launch its lovely fabric collection, A Fuji Afternoon.

Michael Miller was also a winner, not only for its booth display but also for the collection of organic fabrics ranging from fleece and terry to herringbone checks, and sheeting with matching organic gingham bias trim.

Also winning a best booth award, Planted Seed Designs for Troy introduced a very happy, sorbet-colored print collection of florals and coordinates. Another booth winner for double booths was Tina Givens, designer of paper products, stationery, and greeting cards, with her dynamic collection of old fashioned yet fresh and modern fabrics for Westminster Fibers and FreeSpirit.

Going "Green".

As with other shows I attended this past year, I wondered what influence the growing interest in green products would have here. Fairfield Processing made a statement with a complete line of batting, pillow forms, and fiberfill products in bamboo. In furthering the company's commitment, a portion of the proceeds from these products will be used to support environmental and ecological initiatives.

Foss Manufacturing has been converting its polyester fiber products to 100% consumer recycled plastic bottles. In Houston Foss was also promoting the use of its Fosshield® fiber, an antimicrobial fiber.

Mountain Mist has expanded its line of EcoCraft™ Eco-Friendly fiberfill, batting, and pillow forms. The Warm Company highlighted its Warm & Safe™ eco-friendly naturally fire retardant batting. Andover Fabrics has a beautiful collection of Vegetable Dyes, designed by Kathy Hall. Using natural vegetable dyes and a traditional block printing method called "kalamkari," this time-consuming printing process resulted in a stunning collection of coordinated prints.

Patterns, Tools and Techniques.

Each Market presents great new tools and patterns and techniques to assist quilters and crafters in their designing and sewing. Several I noticed include the following:

Simply Crazy™ from EZ Quilting®, a new template for easy crazy quilt projects. The company's Side Winder™, a portable bobbin winder, is a big hit.

ExtremEdge Titanium™ Shears from Clauss, a division of Acme United, are three times stronger than other shears, perfect for cutting multiple layers, with an adjustment key to reduce tension. The company is launching a new website, www.acmeunited.com, this month.

606®Spray and Fix from J.T. Trading is a no-sew fusible adhesive which now has a new use to adhere paper images to fabric permanently. It works beautifully with decorative paper napkins.

Merry Christmas to All is a simply gorgeous block-of-the-month pattern from newcomer Daisy & Dell. The company also has a number of wonderful patterns for children's quilts, which, I noticed, is another growing category at this Market.

Oliver + S, a first-time exhibitor, was a hit with a line of adorable and contemporary patterns for children from infant to 5T. Each pattern also includes a bonus paper doll pattern.

Serendipity Studio has a line of really beautiful patterns for skirts, jackets, and totes and bags.

Hoodie's Collection, another new comer with a line of terrific patterns for aprons, bags, kits, and postcards.

Rock Star Guitar from Donna Babylon includes a full size pattern, perfect project for a tween, teen, or music lover. Donna also gives ideas for crystal embellishments.

Lennie Honcoop, known for her beautiful, lush floral quilt patterns, launched two new ones which she also embellishes with Hot Ribbon Art, an iron-on narrow ribbon from Imagination International.

For retailers looking to expand their pattern inventory, Kwik Sew was offered a line of learn-to-sew patterns.

Cathy Van Bruggen Designs teaches appliqué techniques with her Applique the Easy Way DVD and Learning Series of four patterns, with each one pattern teaching her simple and attractive appliqué techniques.

Pat Yamin, well-known teacher, lecturer, and inventor of great quilting tools has a new book, Quilt Savvy, One-Patch Scrap Quilts, with 36 templates for quilt designs for the beginner to the more advanced quilter. Pat has also just designed a lovely collection of vintage inspired prints for Marcus Brothers. Talented lady!

Just for fun – ironing fun that is! – from Bo-Nash comes Naughty Ironing Board Cover which has images of either "Mark" or "Richard" for the ladies, or "Jordan" for the men. As the heat is applied, their towels disappear and reappear when the cover cools. The booth created quite a stir, to say the least.

And last but not least, for quilt shops looking for additional add-on products, Samantha Cook combined her love of quilting with her passion for coffee to introduce Quilter's Coffee, which offering 180 blends of coffee available through her online site, www.quilterscoffee.com; and to pour the coffee into something appropriate, consider Quilt in a Cup from Dianne Springer Designs which is a new product for making a mini-quilt which is then inserted around her insulated acrylic cup.

Those who know me are aware that I wear several "hats" at the shows. One "hat" is as an observer and reporter on trends for CLN; another "hat" is as an associate of KS Productions, meeting with underwriters of several popular tv series on public television.

At this Quilt Market, I added one more "hat" that really puts everything else in perspective. I recently saw Cindy Kerr of ConKerr Cancer on the Martha Stewart Show and called her to offer my services in helping her with donations to help grow her amazing organization that makes pillowcases for children with cancer undergoing treatment in hospitals. On behalf of Cindy, I sincerely thank all those I met with at Quilt Market who offered to send products. For further information, click on "Vinny Da Vendor" to learn more about Cindy and ConKerr Cancer.

(Note: During the Quilt Market and Festival, the Houston Chronicle reported on efforts by quilters to honor our men and women serving in the armed services. To learn more about these programs, visit www.militarymomsandwives.org and www.iraqmemorialquilt.com. Ellie is president of Ellie Joos & Associates, a marketing, pr, and product development firm. To contact Ellie, call 908-459-9269 or email eleapple@hotmail.com.)

iHobby Expo Report

The recent, sold-out iHobby Expo, held in Rosemont, IL, had 281 exhibitors, including 96 new exhibitors, in the equivalent of 650 10x10 booths, an increase of 5% over 2006. Trade attendance was 2,772, of which 1,760 were dealer personnel representing 664 stores, down slightly from a year ago. The consumer portion drew 14,747; that's also down slightly from a year ago but up substantially from previous years.

The Hobby Manufacturers Assn. Board of Directors elected Frank Ritota (Model Rectifier) President and Lewis Nace (Minicraft Models) VP and reelected Abby Robey (Xuron) Secretary/Treasurer.

HMA's Radio Control Division Council James Hudson (Sullivan Products) President, Tom Atwood (Maplegate Media Group) VP, and Charlie Bauer (Four Pi) Secretary/Treasurer. Division members elected Shawn Spiker (Hitec RCD USA) as the second division representative to the HMA Board.

The 2008 iHobby Expo will be Oct. 16-19, 2008 again in Rosemont. For info, call 973-283-9088 or visit www.ihobbyexpo.com.



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