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Report: Quilt Market 2009

Better than expected, and beautiful as ever.

by Elle Joos (November 2, 2009)

Congratulations to Karey Bresenhan and her team on their 30th anniversary of producing the industry's premier Quilt Market and Festival. As they say, "You've come a long way, baby" since the show's beginnings at the Shamrock Hilton.

Celebrating 30 years of Quilt Market and 35 years of Quilt Festival, Quilts Inc. produced a beautiful show once again with dozens of breathtaking exhibits, including one of my favorites, the Fabric Forest, consisting of two-sided panels resembling trees in the forest made by members of the Groebenzell Quilt Gruppe from Germany.

Of course, the many wonderful new fabrics and products from the exhibiting vendors, including 39 new exhibitors this year, also provided great sources of inspiration. From the look of the busy aisles and reports of various vendors, business was better than expected and even quite good for many of them.

Colors, Fabrics, and Designs

Reflecting trends in fashion, pretty colors dominate with yellow, pink, blue. and green. Shades of brown were evident in traditional combinations, or looked new with green and brown as in the new print collection Chirp! by Katie Hennagir for Robert Kaufman (www.robertkaufman.com).

Turquoise with pink and soft lime, and blues and greens together in retro-inspired paisley and floral prints stand out in the new "Love" collection by designer Amy Butler for Rowan/Westminster (www.westminsterfibers.com). This popular designer now has product lines that include desktop accessories, stationery and gift wrap, and bedding, in addition to her fabrics and patterns (www.amybutlerdesign.com).

Heather Bailey's nostalgic floral and geometric prints in yellow and green or with pink were exhibited in her award-winning booth (www.heatherbailey.com).

In Michael Miller's award-winning, gnome-inspired booth complete with charming house trailer, trees, mushrooms and gnomes, designers Pillow and Maxfield presented Whimsy, their first collection of very modern scrolls, medallions, and stripes in appealing shades of green, turquoise, white, and rich chocolate brown (www.michaelmillerfabrics.com).

Another great take on shades of brown was in the print collection from Daiwabo Co. (www.daiwabo-tex.co.jp), one of several Japanese companies with lovely, saleable collections.

For quilters looking for fun and novelty, Timeless Treasures has the answer with Empty Nest by Wing and a Prayer Design. Charming chicken motifs combine with clever quotes and phrases for amusing quilts, aprons, and other end- uses. This company is also co-sponsoring the American Patchwork and Quilting 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge with a pillowcase pre-pack of 18 prints to assist retailers in promoting the making of pillowcases by their customers for charitable organizations (www.ttfabrics.com).

Another way to give back while quilting comes from Della Q with its exquisite 100% taffeta silk from Vietnam; a portion of the proceeds support Vietnam quilts, a non-profit organization that trains low-income women in the art of quilting (www.dellaQ.com).

If your customers are looking for organic fabrics, new exhibitor Cloud 9 is off to a good start with an attractive line of 100% certified organic cotton printed with eco-friendly dyes. (www.Cloud9Fabrics.com).

For felt customers, National Nonwovens introduced its environmentally friendly felt, XoticFelt, made from bamboo (www.nationalnonwovens.com).


Adorable pattern lines for children's quilts and apparel continue to gain momentum, including those from PinkFig (www.pinkfig.typepad.com) which combine fabrics in very sweet combinations.

Izzy & Ivy, another first time exhibitor and booth winner (www.izzynivydesigns.blogspot.com) and Amy Bradley Designs with owl-motif quilts that can be personalized with fabric photos.

Other cool patterns include purses from Ellen Medlock, whose brochure recognizes the latest in communication technology and directs customers to Facebook and Twitter (www.ellenmedlock.com).

From fabric company Art Gallery, Pat Bravo has launched her new line of patterns for bags and soft toys using colorful, lively fabrics from her line (www.artgalleryfabrics.com).

Notions and Related Products

Accuquilt released 12 new fabric-cutting die designs, based on customer feedback, for its award-winning (Innovations at the 2009 CHA show) AccuQuilt Go! Fabric Cutter (www.accuquilt.com). This company also supported the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Expo in Omaha, NE this past September. Good work!

Clover always has innovative products. Who doesn't need the new Soft Touch Thread Pic, a versatile tool for hiding or removing stray threads which also holds projects in place while stitching and they now have new shapes to make with their Yo-Yo makers (www.clover-usa.com).

Prym Dritz, another company with great tool ideas, introduced UV Sterilizer Wand and Travel Wand, to disinfect areas in hotels, restaurants, and public restrooms. (How timely!) Also, look for the Petite-Press Mini Iron with four temperature settings (www.prym-consumer-usa.com).

To go with the company's Bias Tape Maker, Simplicity Creative Group offered a perfect accessory, Winder Machine; for your knitting customers, the Electric Yarn Ball Winder; and seven rotary cutting machine blades to use with the Rotary Cutting Machine. (www.simplicity.com).

Simply Renee, first time exhibitor, offered Clip It Up! organizational products for fabrics, trims, and scrapbooking (www.clipitup.com).

Speaking of organizing, June Tailor, known for its innovative products, launched the Quilter's Planner/Organizer, to keep quilt project details in one handy planner. Also new is Iron-On Glitter Glamour, ink-jet-printable transfer sheets, (How cool is that!) (www.junetailor.com).

Colonial Needle the needle experts have expanded their line with Sashiko Needle Sampler by well known designer Pepper Cory, inspired by the classic Japanese needlecraft sashiko. (www.colonialneedle.com).

To better see what you are sewing, new exhibitor Mighty Bright featured a number of lighting and magnifying products including Vusion, a combination light and magnifier with a flexible gooseneck (www.mightybright.com).

Fairfield Processing introduced the industry's first fusible batting made with a special blend of cotton and bamboo fibers another time-saving product that is environmentally friendly. (www.poly-fil.com).

In a lovely tribute to founder Jean Barr, an icon in the sewing and quilting industry who passed away earlier this year, JHB Int. presented a commemorative collection of exquisite buttons. The company also unveiled, from their Green Harmony Collection, buttons made from Coconut Palm, from the nut of the coconut palm and traditionally used for Hawaiian Aloha shirts; and Corozo buttons, which resemble ivory and are from the nut of the Taqua Palm tree and now used for apparel, home dcor, and accessories (www.buttons.com).

Mrs. Barr, you are and will be missed.

(Note: 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.)



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