Sunday, May 15, 2011

Meet the Neighbors

Cotton, silk, wool, hand dyes, fleece, flannel, and bucket loads of inspiration fill just about every square inch of Quilt Market! And there’s something for every taste and style.  I used to wonder why some people would walk right past my booth as though I were invisible, but now I realize that when I escape the booth for a brief exploration of the “neighborhood”, I, too, tend to use my peripheral vision to eliminate from my itinerary those vendors who are selling things I happen not to need or vendors with a style that doesn’t suit me. This saves precious time in an exhibit hall that covers a few square miles.

My “neighbors” to one side this Market were “Izzy & Ivy Designs” were selling patterns for some of the cutest little girls clothes I’ve ever seen.  On the other side were the “Oh My Bloomin’ Threads” ladies with dozens of delightful samples of embroidered sentiments found in their patterns.  Sue Spargo wasn’t technically a neighbor, but I just had to share the fabulous sense of color, whimsy, and style exhibited in her quilts. Multiply these three inspired and inspiring pattern companies by about 200 (a guess), throw in numerous fabric companies showing products to come, and you have a glimpse of the wonder of the International Quilt Market. The good news is that, although attendance is restricted to qualified wholesalers, all these wonderful products are bound for the shelves of local quilt shops and online retailers, where you can enjoy them, too!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Getting Ready for Wonderland

GETTING READY FOR WONDERLAND—written about a week ago.
Perhaps you’ve wondered—that is, if you’re a rabid. . .no, I mean avid, quilter—what it’s like to participate in the International Quilt Market. For the uninitiated, it’s THE place where all aspects of the business of quiltmaking are staged and promoted.

To be held in Salt Lake City May 12-15, Spring Quilt Market is fast approaching. In fact, as a vendor (and someone trying to make a living with a pattern company) I’ve officially hit the large button labeled “PANIC!” as I try to finish up the text for new patterns, make lists of things to take, leave my house in order—its’ for sale—and a host of other imagined and real needs.

But despite all the apprehensions about jumping through the Market rabbit hole, I press on with anticipation of the new ideas and old friends I’ll see in Market Wonderland. The color, creativity, camaraderie and general splendor of the Main Hall, wherever the (wholesale) Market takes place, is a bit surreal as you attempt to take it all in.

The thing that impresses me most about the quilting business—and is impressed upon me whenever I have the privilege of participating in the IQM—is the general joy and authenticity found in the people involved, both at the wholesale level and the retail end of it all.

What a privilege to be part of this! And I want you to feel it, too! I’ll post a few photos and market stories in the coming weeks, in hopes of at least entertaining you, if not fanning your creative spark.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Fabric Gene

You know you’ve got it without running a test or taking a quiz of some kind. Color, texture, design, and quality of workmanship in cloth—a 10”-square or a thousand bolts in one room—produce a delight you may or may not be able to explain. Perhaps you recognized it long ago and have no difficulty explaining the happiness you feel in a textile-focused environment. I’ve had a love affair with fabric for as long as I can remember. My mom (from whom I got the fabric gene) asked me recently, “What would you say is your earliest memory [about anything]?” My immediate answer was “In the delivery room, I remember thinking, ‘Why are these people dressed so drably?’” No. . .really. . .my answer was that I remember wearing a white and red polka dot—seems like they were GIANT polka dots—dress. I know this to be an early memory because one day when I was in my teens, while helping clean out the family storeroom, I ran across the dress and it looked like a Size 2. At the time, thinking about that dress gave me an unexplained delight—and it still does.  Hence, the collection of polka-dot fabrics that have a place of honor beside my beloved batiks and hand-painted pieces. What little stack of fabric in your stash brings that sort of delight? Describe it, if you will, and let the rest of us with the fabric gene enjoy it with you!