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Fall Quilt Market/Quilt Festival: 2011

Highlights from the recent trade and consumer shows.

by Ellie Joos (November 7, 2011)

Quilt Market

Pre-show registration was up 3% from last year; although there were slightly fewer exhibitors, there were more multiple booths displaying fabric collections of traditional and modern, retro and organic, some reflecting a bit of Scandinavian minimalism.

With the much anticipated Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie about to open next month, I wondered if I would see any Swedish influence. Although a dark thriller, this movie and the other books in the trilogy have spurred a huge interest in other Swedish authors and Scandinavian design influence. "Stockholm" is the name of one of Robert Kaufmann's new collection and its clean design and clear colors is a great example of this print and color direction. 

Most vendors and buyers were optimistic and reported having a good Fall show. The floor seemed quite busy both for market and festival with independent and chain buyers in attendance at market.

For a few years now,  several fabric companies have produced beautiful magazine-style, collectible books to illustrate their fabric collections. Amy Butler, Art Gallery, Michael Miller, Anna Maria Horner, and Blend, among others, designed and printed books that are great sources of inspiration and beauty. 

Speaking of Amy Butler, her newest expansion will be into the magazine world with Blossom magazine, a twice-yearly online magazine. We know guys quilt too, so does Amy, and now her husband David launched his first fabric line, Curious Nature,  featuring modern geometric prints in muted grays, browns, greens. 

Scrapbook design crossover: Basic Grey had a very sweet booth featuring charming sampler kits,  embroidered buttons, wool felt flowers,  and other lovely accessories in their first Fall market booth. 

Little Yellow Bicycle, one of a number of gorgeous collections for Blend Fabrics, presented Babysaurus, a fresh and fun collection of coordinating prints.

Show Highlights

Several New Exhibitors -  McKay Manor Musers Yosemite Collections Mother/daughters team partnered with Shannon Fabrics to design blanket and pillow patterns with owls, foxes, moose motifs  

Such Designs, also new with artful patterns and kits, modern and simplistic.

Cloud9 Fabrics –  this line of organic cotton fabrics featured a new collection of elephants, forest friends, and jungle prints by Ed Emberley, known for his children's books.

Birch, also an organic cotton fabric company, featured elephants, bicycles, planes, and rocket ships, among other unique and charming prints.

Lovers of classic primitive colors and designs are sure to be thrilled with the new Primitives magazine, a new quarterly publication featured quilts, hooked rugs, cross-stitch, and other primitive-style projects.

Many fabric companies have exclusive fabric lines for independents; now Fairfield launched American Spirit Batting, exclusive for quilt shops. Four premium battings are available and each features a landscape quilt by different designers.

Heat Press Batting Together: I always love cool new products and this 1 ½" cloth tape batting binding  on rolls fuses any batting together while staying soft.

Quick Points Ruler – prairie points and scalloped edges are a breeze to make with tools from this company.

Prym’s Babyville Boutique: independent quilt shop owners responded positively to this new sewing program that reaches the younger sewer through cloth diapers. As reported previously in CLN, this DIY program of cloth diaper sewing products responds to the needs of young mothers who want products that are eco-friendly, good for baby, and the wallet.

Fabric 2.0  is a pre-show party that provides an opportunity for manufacturers, designers, bloggers, and publishers to get together at the beginning of Quilt Market to meet and network over refreshments.  This year CHA was a silver sponsor, along with Gold sponsor, Stash Books, and bronze sponsors, Michael Miller, Mod Kid, Andover, and Drygoods Design and JCaroline Creative.

I chatted with several of the representatives from CHA who were attending Quilt Market and walking the show floor for the first time with the intention of creating a stronger fabric presence at their show. The energy and enthusiasm of Quilt Market was bound to impress them.

Quilt Festival

This was my first Festival in about 15 years; it featured more than 950 vendor booths, classes, and exhibits to accommodate the thousands of eager quilters and shoppers. Festival also celebrated Texas' 175th anniversary with life-size painted horses and a fabric quilted patchwork car. Wilma Hart of Quilts Inc. created a fabulous exhibit of large photographs of historical buildings in Texas decorated with quilts placed digitally on the buildings by Wilma.

Vendors at Festival include jewelry, beading, Victorian-inspired products, knitting kits, and a show favorite, Make It University.  The opening evening was quite busy as was the first day of the show.

And  finally, if you are a quilter, or lover of quilts, and find yourself in the area of LaGrange, Texas, then you must visit the new Texas Quilt Museum. This incredible museum, the creation of Karey Bresenhan, Founder and Director of Quilts Inc., and Nancy O’Bryant Puentes is about to have its grand ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 13. I was fortunate enough to visit it last week on a day off between Quilt Market and Quilt Festival. This lovingly restored former furniture store, complete with original interior brick walls and gorgeous wood flooring, is the home to quilt exhibits.  The opening exhibit celebrates 175 years of Texas’ independence  from Mexico through the beauty of Texan-made quilts. Three exhibits a year are planned in this absolutely perfect bright and airy atmosphere.

(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



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