As you know, I’ve been in Kansas City enjoying Quilt Market. Quilt Market is an industry convention that’s held twice a year—in the Spring in various cities and again in the Fall in Houston, Texas.
I had some little adventures on my way down to Market—you can read about that here.
First things first—I arrived at Market on Day One and registered. Then I met Haley @ Timeless Treasures to pass off the quilt I’d made for their booth. The quilt pattern is called Facets and the fabric collection is Tonga Batiks Passport.
Day One for exhibitors is rather busy, as they spend the day putting the final touches on their booths. Visitors like me don’t normally see the setup process but I tagged along and got a few photos to share with you.
As you can see, there is lots to do to get the Market ready for visitors.
For non-exhibitors like me Spring Quilt Market begins with the Schoolhouse, a series of short presentations by industry leaders. Typically, each Schoolhouse is a presentation of the latest offerings by that particular company or designer. Sometimes a Schoolhouse is a learning session focusing on an industry topic. I went to a mix of both types.
You get to pick and choose which Schoolhouse sessions you attend. Since there are many sessions going on at any given time, you have to be choosy. I decided to go to these sessions.
Session One - Benartex and Eleanor Burns
I decided to go to Eleanor’s session because I felt it was a rare opportunity to meet one of the founders of our industry. And she’s so sweet and nice and of course really funny that I just couldn’t resist.
Eleanor’s session focused on her 25 years with Benartex and it was a treat to see her quilt patterns and fabric collections through the years. So many of them are familiar, especially because her sister Pat used to come to our Guild once a year. Pat is just as funny as Eleanor and does an awesome presentation if you ever get the chance to see her. Pat retired a few years ago, but Eleanor shared with us that Pat is unretiring and going back on the road. You go girl!
At the end of the session, Eleanor showed off her newest fabric line Zellie Ann, named after the founder of the rural town she grew up in.
Session Two - Robert Kaufman and Elizabeth Hartman
Elizabeth presented her latest fabric collection, Adventure. It’s a lovely mix of colors and so, so Elizabeth! I love the charm of her quilt patterns which feature large pieced animals. Isn’t her new Lana Lemur quilt adorable? Love those striped tails.
How about this quilt, inspired by the animals of Africa? It’s called Spectacular Savanna and I think it’s wonderful! Elizabeth told us that a lot of people have asked her to render African animals so I just know they will be thrilled with this!
Session Three - Andover and Alison Glass
I’m a huge Alison Glass fan and her session did not disappoint. She unveiled her Sun Print 2019 collection and Sun Print Light. I have several Sun Prints from her previous collections and I just know these latest additions are going to end up in my stash soon.
She also showed off her Holiday collection, shown here in her Ventana quilt.
Session Four - Andover and Edyta Sitar
It’s so fun to attend the Moda designers session because they get along so well it’s almost crashing a party! This time each designer presented an 18” block and a project you could make with it. Some of the designers combined their designs, creating unique quilts, table runners, and wall hangings.
After Schoolhouse we were invited to visit each designer’s booth to pick up their free pattern.
Session Six - Island Batik Foundations
In the first of several Island Batik sessions I attended, they featured their Foundations line. Unlike most fabric collections which are out for a season and then depart, the Island Batik Foundations collection is available all the time, so it’s filled with solids and tone on tones you can find and purchase again and again as needed. I always receive a pack of half-yard Foundations in every Island Batik box and I love them because they can do so much in a quilt.
Island Batik presented several quilt patterns that feature the Foundations line during this session, including the Adventure quilt (which I know a lot of you made during the quilt along) by Tamarinis and Seams Like a Dream; A Gathering by Barbara Pershing (a super adorable bird quilt) and Lollipop Garden by Eye of the Beholder Quilt Design (just love how the black background makes those colors pop!)
By the way, did you know that Island Batik offers black, white, and gray solid batiks? Try them instead of your usual solid the next time you need one. You will love how crisp they are when pressed and how saturated the colors are in a solid batik.
Session Seven - Island Batik Designer Deb Tucker
Here is Cut Crystal, Doves of Hope (created for the book, “Hope on the Inside” by Marie Bostwick), and two versions of her Christmas Everlasting wall quilt (created for the book, “The Second Sister” by Marie Bostwick and the Hallmark Movie, “Christmas Everlasting.”) The version on the left uses the Icicle collection while the one on the right features Candy Cane Lane.
Both of these last two quilts are being promoted in quilt stores nationwide with special events so watch for them in your local quilt shop that carries Island Batik!
Session Eight - Auriphilosphy
Aurifil is a partner of the Island Batik Ambassador program but even before that, I loved using Aurifil thread for quilting and piecing. So attending the Aurifil Schoolhouse session was a must do.The session was on Aurifilosophy, a thread education program. Haven’t you ever puzzled over which thread type to use when, and what needle to use with which thread? Aurifilosophy takes care of all that and more. When an Aurifilosopher comes to a quilt store near you, be sure to sign up for their class—you’ll be sure to learn everything you need to know about thread types, weights, needles, and more.
Session Nine - AccuQuilt GO!
Next, I went to the AccuQuilt GO! session. They are also a partner of the Island Batik Ambassador program and I wanted to hear what they had to say. As you can see, the session featured designer Kaye England! She’s a delightful person and awesome teacher, designer, and quilt shop owner and if you ever get a chance to meet her you’ll leave smiling. Anyway, Kaye and Greg from AccuQuilt Go! acted out a little skit that showed us how AccuQuilt GO! supports quilt shops that carry their product.
It was a fun session and I left with a new catalog and a lot of information about the new dies that are coming out.
Session Ten - Island Batik Designer Tammy Silvers
This session featured Island Batik designer Tammy Silvers, who presented her Speakeasy fabric collection by Island Batik. I love the colors in this collection—deep gold and purple, rich magenta and teal, and a touch of olive green to round out the mix.
Shown here are the Sea Lily (Cindi McCracken Designs), Tribeca (Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs), and Tammy’s Compass Point quilt patterns.
Tammy also explained how to do her guided improv technique, which she uses to achieve perfect points without the fuss of templates or paper piecing. Basically, you lay a strip of fabric over a triangle at a measured angle, sew, press and trim, then repeat. Woot! You’ve got a perfect mariner’s compass point in minutes.
Session Eleven - Social Media
The next session featured Kim Niedswiecki, our Island Batik social media guru. In this session Kim explained how to best use social media to attract and audience. Kim also showed shop owners how to access the vast social media content available on Island Batik’s website: product scans, quilt images, lifestyle photos, flatlay images of fabric collections, catalogs, posters and informational flyers, and most of all, the Island Batik Ambassador projects and content.
Kim is full of energy and information! I so love how she has helped all of us Ambassadors better run our businesses. More than that though I love her generosity, friendship, and sense of fun. We are so lucky to have her!
Session Twelve - Free Spirit and Tula Pink
The last session I attended was the one given by Tula Pink of Free Spirit Fabrics. If you’re ever lucky enough to meet Tula, you’ll quickly discover that she’s sweet, funny, incredibly artistic, and completely down-to-earth.
In her session, Tula introduced her next collection, Monkey Wrench. Tula explained that when she was little she used to think that life’s little troubles were caused by a mischievous monkey. Sometimes the monkey hands you bananas and other times a wrench. But you can make beautiful things with either if you try.
What’s cool about Tula is that she thinks like a quilter and a shop owner. As such her new Monkey Wrench collection coordinates completely with her other collections, especially Pinkerville, which is in shops now. So if you don’t want to buy every fabric in a new collection you don’t have to, you can buy what you like, add it to your stash, and still make a wonderful rainbow quilt like the ones shown here.
Featured here are Tula Sunrise which is English paper pieced, Starburst (pattern from Quilts in America by Kaffe Fassett), a quilt I can’t identify (sorry!) and Daisy Chain Light (a free pattern from Free Spirit).
After the Schoolhouse sessions, our group gathered back together to line up for Sample Spree. Sample Spree is designed for shop owners but industry professionals like me can enjoy it too. At Sample Spree you’ll find fabric bundles, shop samples, pattern bundles, tools, and new offerings for sale at wholesale prices. Purchasing a sample saves a quilt shop the time and effort in making one so that’s often what they are looking for. Me, I like to shop the Aurifil booth for new threads, and the other booths for fabric and tools that catch my eye.
After Sample Spree, I returned home to rest up for the next day—Friday—and the opening of Quilt Market! If you’d like to see the latest offerings by the leading manufacturers in the quilting industry, stay tuned for my next Market report.
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