Houston Quilt Market Report

I’m back from Quilt Market in Houston, and what a wild ride it was! Kimberly and I had a great time traveling and rooming together, with much laughter and fun, even during the rotten flight over. The flight on Lufthansa was just plain painful, and not nearly as nice or comfortable as the one to Des Moines on Northwest. The only thing that made the flight to Houston even sort of okay was this:

Lufthansa freebies

Lufthansa serves either Cognac or Bailey’s Irish Cream after the main meal during the flight, and it truly was the only good part aside from good company!

meerkatThe best part: watching Kimberly perk up like a curious meerkat when the cart with the Bailey’s came into view! 😉 She’s just so funny! The main meal on the flight was some weird pasta thing that was barely even passable as “food” in my book, and my thought was “This is really not very good, is it?”, but Kimberly, being the “glass is half full” person that she is, says “Boy, we’re really going to enjoy dinner tonight!” 😀 We kept each other laughing.

I can’t begin to tell you about all of the new things I saw (and in some cases, bought!), but I’ll try to touch on some of the “new and notable” highlights, things I thought were just plain cool and other fun happenings.

Everything in the quilting world is “foody” right now. Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, and new Sweet Rolls (like Jelly Rolls but with 1 1/2″ strips) and Turnovers (5″ x 5″ stacks of fabric like charm packs, cut diagonally into a turnover shape) from Moda. It’s not just Moda with the food thing either; the other manufacturers are on that bandwagon too, I just can’t remember the names of all the other foody things I saw. I visited the Moda Bake Shop, and ordered charm packs for the DreamWeaver’s Quilts Studio (eeek! I actually ordered stuff for my online shop, which was a little scary!). The Moda rep gave me the most adorable little box with two teeny tiny “Sweet Roll” fabric rolls, each about 2″ across. I think they’re just too cute to use!

Mini Sweet Rolls from Moda

I played cards with Ricky Tims and won the deck, including his autograph:

Ricky Tims Playing Cards

Hmmm. Maybe pictures of my quilts will be on a pack of playing cards one day, but I’m not sure I want my face on the Joker cards. As for other celebs, I did see the winner of Season One of Project Runway, Jay McCarroll (though because I don’t watch TV at all, I’m clueless and I didn’t even know who he was until I read Kimberly’s blog just now. I do remember seeing his hair at the show though! ;)), but I missed seeing Marie Osmond at the show by two minutes. C’est la Vie!

And one other notable celeb sighting: Kimberly invited me to accompany her to the Robert Kaufman reception on Saturday evening (which was very nice) where I met Mark Lipinski, who is just as real in person as he is in the pages of Quilter’s Home magazine. Of course I couldn’t come up with a witty response (or any response at all for that matter) when he said “I know your name! Why do I know your name??” I can’t imagine why Mark Lipinski thinks he knows who I am. Not a clue. Who knows? Maybe I’m an “It Girl” and I don’t even know it.

I bought lots of embellishments; beads, fibers, hand dyed floss, threads, micro beads. You name it, it was there at Quilt Market, and I sampled heavily for both the book and the DWQ Studio. I viewed new fabrics from Hoffman, RJR and Robert Kaufman Fabrics, with an eye toward including some of the newest fabrics in my book, and let me tell you, the newest fabric lines are awesome! The batiks in particular from Hoffman and Robert Kaufman are really wonderful! I also met the folks who should probably be held responsible for my bead addiction, Edward and Ruthmarie Hofmann, creators of Hofmann Originals Bead Mixes. I brought home some of the newest additions to their Bead Soup Starter lineup, and a few totally new, limited edition mixes called Soup du Jour. See, more of that foody stuff, yummy!

Here are some of the other goodies I brought back with me:

Houston goodies

Notable faves: Hot Ribbon Art fusible ribbon (bottom center), Valdani 3-strand hand-dyed floss (top left), Kaleidoscope Kreator 2.0 software (bottom left), Diva Cord Maker (top center), Yazzi organizer tote (top right).

I picked up so much stuff, including a small mountain of literature from many different companies, that it almost didn’t all fit in the suitcases to get it home. I’ll get to play with some of it while I work on my book, but a lot of what I was after at Quilt Market was for the DWQ Studio, and I have to put that on the back burner for a month or two. In fact, I have to put everything on the back burner for a month or two, and work on nothing but the book, so I can get the manuscript done asap. I hope to have it done and to the publisher by mid-January at the latest, so if things are a bit quiet here until then, that’s why. I’m just going to have to ask forgiveness ahead of time for being too busy to write much here! Exciting times ahead!

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AQS Show Des Moines–More Loot

One more stack of loot to share from the AQS Quilt Show in Des Moines:

More loot from the AQS Show

Here we have a very mixed bag. From the top center:

  • Beads! Couldn’t pass up the Miyuki beads since I’ve been wanting to see what all the fuss is about. Interestingly enough, though Miyuki beads are purported to be the “be all and end all” of high quality seed beads, I’ve kind of decided that I like plain old average seed beads just as well for my purposes. The Miyuki beads are TINY, as well as being more cylindrical and uniform, and while the uniformity doesn’t bother me, sometimes they’re too small (though maybe that’s just the combination of the colors that I have with the fabrics that I’m using them on at the moment), and the more rounded edges of a regular seed bead work better for what I’m trying to do than the cylindrical shape of the Miyuki beads. So now I know.
  • Next are some hand printed fabric panels from Block Party Studios. These are really fun printed panels with sayings on them like
  • The fabric is four fat quarters of Halloween type prints with holographic or iridescent overprinting which was just too unusual and fun to resist!
  • The bundle in the middle is a few bits of hand punched, hand dyed wool fabric, and the curly stuff below it is also wool, hand dyed but more “au naturale” just as it came off the sheep. There was a booth that had all kinds of wools and other things for needle punch, and they had these overflowing bins of curly, colorful wool that you just grabbed what you wanted out of, and they sold it by weight. Think embellishments…
  • The packets in the lower left corner are Painters Potpourri from Tentakulum, a German manufacturer. Each packet contains a paper-like background card, silk cocoons, a bit of silk fiber fabric stuff, and a hank of different fibers, all hand dyed in a coordinated colorway. These were too unique to pass up when I came across them in the YLI booth. I’m sure that any of you who are into the altered art or mixed media thing would know just what to do with these, but so far, I’m just admiring them. Their day will come though.
  • Last we have the Bo-Nash bonanza bag. Bo-Nash was at the show with their newest products, a line of super fine glitters, Tonertex foils, glue pens and fabric adhesive in a fabulous squeeze bottle. I bought some of everything, and can’t wait to try it all out. I’m not sure it’ll be as “no-mess” as they claimed though. 🙂

Even that’s not quite all the loot from Des Moines, since we did spend one day at the local mall where I found the leather coat I’ve been searching for for years, and a pair of Anne Klein brown patent leather boots to die for. The boots were quietly waiting for me to discover them in the giant shoe department at Von Maur, but the coat positively screamed my name from across the store, and what could I do but answer the call? Everything else I bought is cool, but the coat was the best buy of the entire trip!

Believe it or not, I’m getting on the plane again on Thursday morning (yes, just 10 days after returning from Des Moines) for a super quick, four-day trip to Houston. Kimberly and I are going to Quilt Market to see whats new and news in the retail quilting world. I’m planning to make connections with distributors in preparation for stocking my new online shop which should be opening by the second quarter of 2009. My head is already spinning with products and plans, but I’m sure it’ll be doing a negative 4-g rolling dive by the time I get back!

Monday’s Melange

I was digging around in my browser bookmarks the other day, and thinking how badly they need to be organized. I have hundreds (maybe thousands??) of bookmarks, some of which probably date back to the beginning of my serious Internet usage more than 10 years ago. I’ve been carting these bookmarks around from computer to computer, and from browser to browser for all these years. After all, if whatever it is was important enough to bookmark once, it must be important to save it, right? Well, maybe. Yes, I’m just as much of a packrat on the computer as I am in the rest of my cluttered life. Inside my Firefox Bookmarks folder, I even have folder of Internet Explorer Bookmarks from the time of my great sickness back when I thought IE was the only browser in existence. (Psst! Get Firefox!)

I’ve decided to plow through a few of these sites weekly with the intent to cull and organize, so that hopefully when I open my bookmarks folder, it doesn’t look like this—Eeeewww:

The evil bookmarks folder, before

And guess what? I’m going to share a few with you every week as Monday’s Melange! This week, I’ll start with some (related to) quilting links, since that is my “thing,” but obviously not all of my bookmarks pertain to quilting, since I do have a life outside my studio (an unfortunate fact, sometimes!). As I’m sure that my readers have that kind of “life outside the quilting” thing going on too, I figure that there might be something of interest in the “non-quilting” bookmarks, even for quilters.

Without further ado, here is the Melange on this happy Monday:

Monday's Melange

San Francisco Stitch Company—Okay, this is not a bookmark from years ago, this is a very recent addition, like from just yesterday. Their machine embroidery designs are really beautiful and got my creativity totally spinning off the map, and the design packs are downloadable and reasonably priced, too. I found this machine embroidery design company via Irene at Sunimp. She’s made a beautiful quilt (top?) with some embroidered medallions from San Francisco Stitch Company. Love her blog, too!

Treadleart—Heh, I’m already seeing that this bookmark exercise will probably cost some $$ as I rediscover things I’d forgotten about! Treadleart is a fine example. They carry Shisha mirrors (the page includes a great explanation of the different types of mirrors), made popular in the quilting world by Ted Storm, as far as I know. Treadleart also has Tidy Totes which you can buy already made up in various fabrics, or they have the kits including the pattern and kit refills to make your own. I’ve always wanted one of these, but I’ve never run across the pattern anywhere, and maybe now I’ll just buy one ready-made. Lots of other cool stuff awaits at Treadleart, but my only complaint would be a lack of a shopping cart system for online shopping. I could put on my Web developer hat and fix that for them… Continue reading Monday’s Melange

Favorite Things: Valdani Hand Dyed Variegated Threads

Valdani ThreadsI discovered Valdani Hand Dyed Threads about a year ago, when I was working on my Paisley Pavane quilt. I absolutely love them! They really are hand-dyed though I can’t imagine how they go about doing that without losing their minds. I mean, hand dyed fabric is one thing, but thread? Anyway, Valdani is a cotton thread, and it comes in two weights and a pretty large assortment of colors. Variegated thread adds such a wonderful touch to quilts, and cotton thread is so much easier to work with than rayon.

I used a lot of different variegated rayon threads Continue reading Favorite Things: Valdani Hand Dyed Variegated Threads