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Reports on shows, trends, and more

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International Quilt Market, Pittsburgh, May 2009

Smaller, but beautiful as ever.

by Ellie Joos, Ellie Joos & Associates (June 1, 2009)

(Note: Ellie is one of the industry's premier trend watchers, marketing pros, and product developers.)

The International Quilt Market once again provided its visitors with a sense of well being and optimism in a time when economic uncertainty and a swine flu epidemic are dominating the news. From the feeling of joy to one's spirit to the daily dose of Vitamin D from the natural light filling the Pittsburgh Convention Center, the Spring market was an oasis of creativity. Although the number of exhibitors and attendees was down compared to past markets, 39 new exhibitors brought freshness and growth to the market. Many of these new companies expressed general satisfaction with the show and the reception from attendees to their products.

Greeting the attendees in the lobby, was the Pittsburgh Friendship Quilt, a 8ft.x80ft. quilt made from approximately 32,000 small, signed squares and arranged to reflect the color spectrum. Made at the Buhl Science Center in 1987, the signatures included those of past Presidents, First Ladies, celebrities, and sports figures. Apparently this "quilt" had been lost for many years and had recently resurfaced, much to the delight of attendees, and it will also be on exhibit at future shows.

Speaking of optimism, in my recent trend report in this newsletter, I talked about yellow, as a trending color, and here at Quilt Market, I found myself drawn to yellow fabrics in various shades, from butter to sunflower, often mixing with other pretty mid-tone bright shades.

Retro inspired prints are still strong and color mixing with pink, coral, green, and turquoise were very pretty. Riley Blake Designs, a new exhibitor, displayed a lovely collection of cotton prints and flannels in these colors in retro/modern designs. www.rileyblakedesigns.com

Michael Miller launched a new collection of fabrics designed by artist Laura Gunn, very pretty Asia- inspired designs that beautifully captured the layers of colors in her original paintings, which were also on display in the booth. Laura also has a collection of patterns that reflect her unique style and personality. www.michaelmillerfabrics.com

Floral prints are looking very fresh from Art Gallery, combining flowers and geometric designs in fresh, young colors, often with a "kiwi" green color, blues, purple, and pink. www.artgalleryfabrics.com

Textile Creations displayed hand-dyed batiks and wovens in their award winning booth and also introduced a 10-yard bold size to appeal to buyers. www.textilecreations.com

In a sea of color, Sweetwater stood out with their "scrapbooking" inspired fabrics available through Moda. Prints looking like newsprint and dictionary pages, and bold numbers, combined with cleaner, simpler designs, and also available are kits for pillows and totes. www.sweetwaterstreet.com

Me & My Sister Designs, also for Moda, introduced a very cute singing bird motif coordinating with flower prints in perky colors. www.meandmysisterdesigns.com

Hand dyed woolens, appliqu, and hooked rug patterns and stunning kits from Woolylady were unique and received great reception. www.woolylady.com

Amelie Scott Designs, a new exhibitor, is a family business with mom, dad, and the kids involved in designing and manufacturing their patterns. Teenage daughter Kate brings a sense of whimsy and Japanese animation to her charming quilt patterns. www.ameliescott.com

Serendipity Studio displayed a collection of patterns for apparel and accessories, very modern and fresh looking, sure to appeal to those looking for one-of-a-kind designs. www.sewserendipity.com

Crooked Nickel, owned by Lisa Maki, former hairdresser turned quilt designer and teacher, has a number of patterns for striking quilts, wall hangings, and bed "scarfs" that are achievable by novices and experienced quilter alike using her technique for piecing with Pellon's On Point Fusible Grid product. www.crookednickel.com

In addition to fabric collections, new notions, tools, and other related products are always fun to discover. This must be the year of the glove; several new gloves, either therapeutic for the "aging" consumer or one to assist with general sewing and crafting, made their debut. Grabaroo's gloves protect hands from pin pricks and scissor cuts, while also making it easy to pick up pins while crafting; they were designed by a former nurse. www.grabaroos.com

Prym Consumer launched a line of comfort products including a Comfort Glove, Elbow Relief Band, ShoulderSaver, and Soothing Eye Pillow. (There are some days when I can use one of each!) www.prym-consumer-usa.com

Thera-Glove expanded its line of fingerless support gloves to include a full-fingers glove for additional support and relief for arthritis sufferers. www.thera-glove.com

Simplicity Creative Group was busy demonstrating several new and innovative tools, the Rotary Cutting Machine that not only cuts strips of fabric, but can also cut paper in various widths for the quilting and scrapbooking customers. The Bias Tape Maker is perfect for those that want to make their own bias tape and quilt binding to coordinate with their projects, quick and easy to do. www.simplicity.com 

The Colonial Needle Company launched the Roxanne Products line of functional, pretty thimbles, each dye-cast by hand, and orthopedically designed, needles, Glue-Baste-It, and other useful products. www.colonialneedle.com

What quilter's studio would be complete without a great reliable iron and ironing board? The Reliable Corporation introduced the Digital Velocity V100 Iron, a professional iron for the home quilter and sewer, with a new safety feature that shuts off steam after three seconds of no movement. www.reliablecorporation.com

A relative newcomer to Quilt Market and one that I found to be especially delightful is Honey Guy Products. Don Johnson, a third-generation beekeeper, and his wife Ardy (#1QueenBee) displayed and sell the work of their busy bees. Beeswax Bandage is a workroom necessity to instantly stop dripping blood from damaging a work in progress. For the outdoors, Bite Free is a natural mosquito repellent, and new to the line is the Beeswax Lip Balm. www.honeyguyproducts.com

As always at Quilt Market, so much to see, so little time, and of course so much beauty to inspire and cheer us as we look forward to a more optimistic year ahead.

Note: Ellie is president of Ellie Joos & Associates, a marketing, pr, and product development firm. To read 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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