Monday, May 23, 2016

Quilt Market: Top 10 lessons learned

I've just returned from Salt Lake City where I attended the Spring Quilt Market 2016. For those of you that haven't been, it's the wholesale market where publishers, fabric designers, tools and notions distributors, sewing machine manufacturers and anyone who sells anything in the quilting world, puts their products on display. Quilt shop owners, buyers and anyone who works in the quilting retail world attends the show to see what's new. So it's kind of like cramming everything quilting related into one giant convention hall and then throwing a party!

It's wonderful and overwhelming and crazy all at the same time. I had a great time while I was there, but I know I didn't see everything and I certainly didn't meet everyone. I do feel like I had a successful trip and got the things accomplished that I wanted to. So here's the top ten things I learned while I was at market (I learned lots more, but you don't want to read all of it, trust me!)

1. Wear comfortable shoes
There's a ton of walking to be done at market. My hotel was across the street from the convention hall, but once inside the convention center is where the walking begins. It's huge. I kind of wish I had worn my fitbit just to log the steps. So wear comfortable walking shoes. And I find it helpful to wear a different pair each day, to give my feet a little variety. It seems to help.

2. Bring your own snacks
There were snacks and food available, and there were even healthy choices. I will admit I'm kind of sad that I had to pay $8 for a tuna sandwich and $3 for a hard boiled egg. Think of the fabric that could have bought? So plan ahead and pack a few snacks or grab some at Starbucks on your way to the convention center.

3. Make a List
Organization is key to getting a lot done in a short amount of time with more distractions than you can possibly imagine. Make a list of things you want to look at and people you want to speak to before you leave home. Then refer back to your list often, because you will get distracted! 

4. Map out a plan
As soon as you check in at market, you will be given the show book with the layout of the booths and information. Find a quiet place to sit down and study this. Mark the map with the places you must not miss. Also, find out where the classes will be and schoolhouse sessions, and sample spree, etc. You'll be glad you are familiar with this when you are rushing to the next event.

5. Schoolhouse
This event is held the day before market opens and is geared mainly toward quilt shop owners. The classes are 30 minutes long and the schedule is ongoing all day long. The menu of classes, locations and times is not available until the morning of schoolhouse. So plan to arrive early and make your selections ahead of time. There are about a dozen choices for each time period, so you can't see them all. It's best to just select your favorite for each time period and then go back and verify that you're not missing something important. You can expect free promotional materials at the door as you enter, you will also drop a business card in a basket for a drawing at the end of class. So bring LOTS of business cards. You'll be swapping them with everyone you meet as well. Then a presenter (or two or three) will pitch their product, book, etc. They are like fun little infomercials with prizes! I attended several before and after I presented my own.

6. Sample Spree 
This event is really hard to describe. It takes place the night of Schoolhouse or the first night of market. It begins at 7pm but folks start lining up in the early afternoon. This is not necessary. The fabric and thread companies will have loads of inventory stacked high on tables. People swarm to their favorites and buy up as much stuff as they can, as fast as they can because the prices are at or near wholesale. The products will not be shipping to stores for months, so getting to sew with the fabrics ahead of time is great for store samples or just for bragging rights. I did buy some fabric and thread. I would have happily bought more but I set a budget and stuck to it. Also, I knew my suitcase space was limited. See #10 below.

7. Meet & Greet
I think this is the most important aspect of market. You can email and text all day long. Meeting people face to face gives relationships so much more meaning. I was able to meet all of the magazine editors that have published my quilts. I was able to meet the people at C&T that I've worked with for two years but never met in person. I also got to meet fellow authors. I can't express how important it was to meet people who have been through the same process as I have and realize that my experiences were very similar to theirs. I found out that it's normal to have no idea what's going on, or how things work, or who to ask. That's just the nature of the game. But now I am relieved to know that it wasn't me failing to make the right inquiries or connections. Being an author is a very solitary experience and there are no co-workers. There's no one to talk to or to bounce ideas off of. It's up to you and only you, period. I honestly have no idea why I ever expected it to be any different!

8. Trends and colors
Market is a great place to spot trends and see what colors will be available and trending in the next year. It's also a great place to get ideas for marketing materials and branding information. I walked around looking at pattern covers to see what the styles are for those. I want to rebrand my pattern covers and while I don't want them to look just like everyone else's, I do want them to appear current and be comparable to others on the market. It's also fun to see what colors and fabric prints will be popular. I'm happy to report that bright clear colors and light prints are trending. Gorgeous prints that will look fabulous in patchwork and applique. Woohoo!

9. Be realistic
You've seen the photos on Instagram and Facebook of gorgeous booths, smiling faces and large dinner parties. All that happens at market. But it may not happen to you. I ate dinner alone every night, and that's okay. I was tired and probably wouldn't have been a great conversationalist. The companies I work with don't host dinner parties or plan social events. But if you do want to party at market, hook yourself up with Moda. They know how to throw a party! Their event was held at my hotel and I had fun just peeking in the door and seeing the decorations! But hey, my hotel gave out free cookies every day at 5pm, so I had a free to look forward to!

10. Bring an extra suitcase
What you buy at Sample Spree will take up a whole extra suitcase (or it should!) But you will also get lots of samples and freebies, promotional materials and gifts. You'll be given copies of books and magazines as well. All of these things need to come home with you and they are heavy! So pack an empty bag in your suitcase that you can fill and check on the way home. If you're not flying, the bags you are given will be more than enough. I came home with a huge Moda bag, several Aurifil bags, and several others. There is no shortage of totes at market. But if you are travelling by plane, you'll need an extra suitcase, just trust me on this one.

I hope I'll see you at the next market!

PS: I have no idea what's wrong with the fonts, spacing and sizes. I've checked everything I know how to check, and they are still funky. Sorry for that!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Winner of the book is...

Congratulations Monica!!! Send me your mailing address ( )and I will forward it to Riel. Thanks to everyone for playing along!!

I'm still at market but will post an update when I get home (and after a long nap!)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I'm off to Quilt Market...

This will only be my second time to go to Quilt Market. I went two years ago when it was held in Pittsburgh. You can read all about that fun experience HERE.

This time I will be celebrating the publication of my new book. I may have mentioned it a time or 2 million. You can follow along on Instagram or Facebook. I may even update this blog if wifi, karma and the stars all align perfectly. Otherwise, I'll be sure to share the full story when I get back!

If you'll be at market please come see me! I'll be teaching a schoolhouse session at 12:45 in Room 255D on Thursday. I'll also be signing my book at 3pm on Friday in the C&T booth 2141. I hope to visit with some old friends and make some new ones. I hope meet some friends that I've only known online and visit with them in person.

If you see me, PLEASE grab me and say Hello! It will make my day, I promise. I'm travelling alone and I only know but a handful of folks, so a cheery hello from a blog friend will really help. I'm so excited and nervous, but mostly excited!


Monday, May 16, 2016

Sharing Scrap Quilt Secrets: Part 2

It's time to share a few more secrets! As I mentioned earlier, the chapters are divided into the following secrets:

 S is for Style
C is for Contrast
R is for Repetition
A is for Accent
P is for Palette

In the chapter "S is for Style" I share some secrets about 'style'. The chapter explores three different styles with a quilt example of each. There are lists of secrets about achieving each style included. These are just suggestions and ideas, basically, questions I think about or ask myself when I'm making decisions about the quilt I'm working on at the moment or during the planning process.

Citrus Squeeze

Modern is the first style discussed. Modern is actually the hardest for me because it doesn't really come naturally to me. I love bright colors and I love fun new interpretations of classic designs, but this quilt was a challenge. I actually really like the way it turned out and that kind of surprised me. 

The use of simple shapes and solid colors gives it a graphic look. The bright scraps come from many many different types of fabrics, but they do share a color palette of pink, orange and yellow. All colors of citrus. This was originally going to be a row quilt, but I decided I liked the blocks offset or staggered. I still pieced it in rows, but got a completely different look. The block inspiration actually came from my scrap booking desk. I use page protectors for inserting the photos, and this is similar to one of the designs. I added a few vertical lines, and voila! 

Of course, the complete list of concepts and suggestions is in the book, but I thought you might like the "story of evolution" that this quilt went through.

Homespun Hearts

 Folk or primitive style quilts really speak to my heart! I love the charm of plaids and dots and prints and stripes all together. I love the cozy colors mixed with wool and rick rack. I like how folk art style never takes itself too seriously. The 'make do with whatever is on hand' attitude of this style of quilting is my favorite.

I chose three hearts because of my three kids. It would be easy to adapt that to a number that suits your family. I also think the strip below the house would be great for adding a family name or year or just initials.

The best part about this quilt (in my opinion) is that it is all hand quilted with pearl cotton. This quilt, like most that I hand quilt, is first machine quilted 'in the ditch' between the blocks and borders. This serves as the basting for my hand quilting. The machine stitching secures everything in place and prevents the need for pins or basting stitches that sometimes get caught on the needle during the hand quilting process.

Windblown Wishes

Traditional quilts are always appealing to me. I may not make many strictly traditional quilts, but I always admire them. Some of the traditional elements in this quilt include the rows of blocks, the rows of sashing, the multiple borders and the traditional colors. Besides, what else says traditional like a bazillion half square triangles? 

The block can be strip pieced, I started with strips left over from several projects and it grew from there. I liked the triangles all rotating the same direction, they are not often placed that way, but I thought it gave the blocks and orderly look.  Also, piecing the sashing to create additional patterns where the blocks intersects is something I love to find in vintage quilts. It is just another opportunity to do something fun.

I plan to use this quilt on a bed during the holidays. While it's not strictly Christmas colors, they do dominate the overall color impact. I think I might have to play with this block again and put it on point. That would be a totally different look.

You are probably more drawn to or interested in one style more than another, but sometimes it is fun to try something different. My 'secrets' are meant to help with the process. Which one are you most comfortable with? Which one do you think would be most challenging? Take some time to consider working on something that you haven't tried before. You might be surprised! Don't forget, the coloring pages for each quilt (found at the back of the book) will help you preview different color options and placement of light and dark fabrics. Its a great way to experiment without cutting into any fabric. 

So what style are you going to try?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Modern Selvage Quilting Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Modern Selvage Quilting Blog Hop. I was so excited when Riel asked if I would play along on her blog hop. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love selvages! Well, I may have finally met someone else who "sees the selvage" with as much enthusiasm as I do. 

Riel has taken the selvage to the next level. She offers three ways of piecing selvages, that are not only practical, but genius. I love how easy the photos and illustrations are to understand. The photo above uses all three methods of piecing. Not to mention,  how cool is that medallion quilt?

Most folks think of selvage quilts in the typical string style blocks. I happen to love those as well, but Riel turns it up a notch with the accent of adding an additional selvage to the middle of the block. See in the photo above? Fun, isn't it?

The book includes all kinds of projects from pin cushions, to home decor and even Christmas ornaments! The sewing room valence is fun and the Pick A Color Pillow is really cheery. 
 Selvages are scraps, after all. Selvages are scraps, afte

But this is the pattern that really spoke to me. I love these arrows. It's like they don't know which way to go, and that is something I can relate to very well! 


Here I've cropped a single block from the "Which Way to the Fabric Store" quilt and think it would make a fun pillow. This block could easily be enlarged or reduced. A tiny arrow would make a cute mug rug don't you think?

Don't miss any of the stops on the blog hop! Remember, there will be a winner from each blog at the end of the tour. C&T will mail books to US winners and e-books to international winners. 

May 10 Riel at C&T Publishing Blog
May 11 Cindy at Live a Colorful Life
May 12 Yvonne at Quilting Jet Girl
May 13 Diane at Butterfly Threads Quilting
May 16 Krista at Poppyprint
May 17 Casey at The Studiolo
May 18 Leanne at She Can Quilt
May 19 Sandy at Upstairs Hobby Room
May 21 Riel at The Q and the U

To enter my give away, just comment telling me if you've ever made a selvage quilt or project before. I'll choose a random winner on May 21

Thanks so much!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Happy Birthday Craftsy!

(ad) You've probably heard that Craftsy is turning five this month –– but have you heard about their big birthday sale? For a very limited time, Craftsy is celebrating with major markdowns on best-selling kits and supplies. Just think; You didn't even have to blow out any candles to make this wish come true! 

Go celebrate!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Vintage Inspiration

Last week, after I finished a book signing, my friend Martha joined me for a delicious lunch and a little poking around a couple of antique stores on the way home. You know those places you've been driving by for years but never stopped to check them out? Well we finally did, and it was worth it for sure. 

We found some wonderful quilt inspiration! The two quilts above were made from the same intense, bright pink and blue fabrics. They were both hand quilted and in fairly good shape. It was hard to get a good photo because they were in a narrow hallway, but trust me when I say there wasn't a spare square inch to spread anything out! I've never seen so much stuff crammed into an old house. But take a peek at that border? Awesome isn't it?

And this pink quilt really caught my attention. I love how some of the blocks look planned out and some are clearly just a pot luck of whatever was left over. Scrap quilting at it's finest in my opinion! Thanks to Martha for holding it up and turning it around for the photos.

Then we found this sweet quilt in pinks and greens. It was fragile but in remarkably good shape. I was impressed by the care and workmanship. This quilter knew how to line up her points!

And this sweet bow tie quilt was tucked up too high to reach. I would have had to lean over quite a few things on the floor and then wouldn't have had room to unfold it anyway. But I like to imagine that all of those sweet bows were made from different shades of blue. The pretty baptist fan hand quilting really impressed me as well.

And then this quilt was being used as a table cover way in a back corner. There was no way to reach this one but I was so intrigued by the simple nine patches and bars that I've already started working on this pattern in EQ7. I'm pretty sure I need to make this sweet simple design!

Maybe I should have been taking the time to stop in this shop a few years ago! I'm just glad I finally did, and I have Martha to thank for the encouragement.

Enjoy every stitch!

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