Spring Quilt Market 2017 - Day 1

Scott and I spent a very busy day at Quilt Market on Thursday, and I can’t wait to share what I saw! The day opened with a Keynote hosted by Moda, who showcased a new collection of reproduction fabrics based on designs by William Morris. They worked closely with the curator of the Victoria and Albert Museum, which houses an extensive collection. The four quilts onstage fascinated me the most.

On the left, you see two traditional quilts. These highlight the collection and its place in history—classic designs that capture nature in an artistic rather than realistic way, and designs that pushed the idea of what could be printed on fabric and used throughout the home.

Here’s one of William Morris’ original prints [above] re-produced in this collection [image licensed under Creative Commons].  First registered in 1883, it’s entitled, “Strawberry Thief.”

And here’s another original Morris print re-produced in Moda’s new collection, entitled “Acanthus,” based on a wallpaper he created in 1874 [image licensed under Creative Commons].

Scott saw something different in the collection and I’ll let him tell you in his own words.

Thank you, Jennifer, and hello, IQ!  What I learned from Moda’s presentation of its William Morris collection, has to do with dimension.  The printed fabric produced by Morris’ contemporaries in the mid-19th century was ultra-realistic, including a wide variety of bouquet colors lit from one angle and casting shadows.  Such a print poses problems for quilters, who are looking for specific colors and for smaller patches of graphics that present a simpler message when “excerpted,” if you will, and scattered throughout a quilt pattern.

Here’s a close-up of a modern, Union Jack-based quilt whose fabrics, if you look closely enough, are based on a Morris design.  When Morris produced fabulous fabric patterns with simpler contents, they became more available for quilters to borrow for quilt patterns.  (Wonder if there’s a message in there for me.)

After the keynote was Schoolhouse. Schoolhouse is optional (you have to pay to attend) but informative and well worth the time. It’s set up in mostly half hour segments throughout the day (towards the end of the day, the segments were shortened to 15 min.) Each half hour, you can choose from 8 to 10 different presentations. The sessions are given by the leaders in the industry, fabric manufacturers, fabric and pattern designers, book publishers and so on. Scott and I divided our agendas so we could cover as many sessions as possible. I’ll let him tell you what he saw.

First I met Judy and Judel Niemeyer, who produce fabric designs from their studio in Montana, for Timeless Treasures.  Their fabulous patterns incorporate tricky looking curves constructed through foundation piecing. To help you create these intricate patterns, they recommend a stitch-and-peel stabilizer, which Judel is showing below.

The Niemeyers call their design motif the New York beauty concept.  Judy described it to me as being based around a “New York Beauty block,” which is a circle with spikes.  “We teach how to use paper to get your perfect, spiked points,” said Judel.  “We’ve floated the points on all those edges, so they never get cut off or sewn into your seam allowance.  We also teach curved piecing, for how to piece it back onto a template and get the blocks squared off.”

Hanging on the wall to Judel’s right is Diamond Wedding Star, whose pattern is set to be released by Timeless Treasures on June 30. These quilts use the Heirloom Strip set, curated by Quiltworx, plus their Tonga Antique Garage and Cactus Mini collections.

Here, Judy is holding up their stunning Fractured Paint Box quilt.  This pattern is set for release on June 1.

And here’s Fractured Star, set for release on June 8.

In my next Schoolhouse session hosted by Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Elizabeth Hartman delighted attendees with her playful and whimsical designs based on animal character blocks.

Here’s Elizabeth with Sea Urchins, which shows her signature style.

And here’s Awesome Ocean, which drew audible gasps of awe from the audience.  She’s produced one pattern with dogs so far – a wiener dog pattern, which shop owners in the audience said has been one of their best-selling patterns in recent months.  So why not more dog patterns, they asked her?  “I’ve said for years that I wouldn’t make a dog pattern at all,” Elizabeth told them.  “I’m just not a dog person.”

What followed was the saddest sound uttered by a group of people since the revelation that Elvis had left the building.  It seemed to sway her, so don’t be surprised if there are beagles or shepherds in Elizabeth Hartman’s future.

Ann Lauer from Benartex Fabrics [pictured right, above] headed up the next Schoolhouse session and presented quilts based on Benartex’ new line of fabrics blending antiqued, but vibrant, colors with a sunflower print that would brighten Van Gogh’s day.  Here’s Morning Melody [above].

In a very different vein, but with the same fabric line, here’s All That Jazz.  In Kansas, whose state flower is the sunflower, quilters are going crazy for this fabric, Lauer told attendees.

And here's Round the Block, whose sunflowers follow a circuitous path that Vincent would most certainly have enjoyed.

Also from Benartex, fabric designer Roseann Cook based her new fabric line, entitled Modern Antiques, on this discovery: this bruised, battered, but beautiful quilt, dated approximately 1870, which she picked up about ten years ago from Robyn Pandolph’s quilt shop in Galveston, Texas, for a hundred bucks.

“I saw this sad, old quilt, rolled up in a basket,” Robyn said, “and I made a beeline for it. . . and I bought it on the spot.  People said, boy, did I get rooked.  But I love this quilt.  I love the size of the patches, I love the soft hues of the colors, and we reproduced this for my book.  I kitted this as far as I could go.”

From that inspiration, Roseann conceived this beautiful fabric line, whose prints are not only designed but engineered to help quilters reproduce the look of a genuine antique quilt – albeit without the rips and tears.

Here’s Roseann's stunning quilt produced with her pattern that incorporates the Modern Antiques line.  It’s called County Fair, named for the Round Top Antiques Fair from which her inspirational antique quilt was found and rescued.

Part of what makes this pattern easier to work with than it looks, Roseann told me, is the inclusion of engineered prints, which you can see at the top of her samples.  This makes detailed borders as easy as solids.

But there’s also this wonderful, cream/ivory background fabric that you’d think is a solid, but that’s actually a very subtle print.  That print is picked up in the background of the engineered print.  The design of this fabric, she explained to me, is such that the light will pick up subtle shades when you quilt it, thus reproducing this genuine antique look from a fresh, new fabric.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, Roseann is a dog person – one of her most successful Benartex lines thus far has been Joey, the Shop Dog.  As you know, Benartex donates 10% of its revenue from purchases of this fabric line to help rescue animals.

Thanks Scott! I can’t tell you how much its meant to have him supporting me as I make new contacts within the industry and explore the business side of quilting. I hope you enjoyed his take on things! I’ll post about my sessions soon—maybe later today, so please continue to stop back. You won’t want to miss my visit to Sample Spree, a two hour Go For It session where you can purchase threads, fabrics, patterns, and tools at wholesale for your quilt store (or in my case, for yourself!)

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