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!

Friends and Connections

Despite the “what not to do” list in the previous post, I really did have a great time at the show. AQS usually puts on a wonderful show, and this one was no exception. I saw (and bought) so many new things in the vendor mall, and made great connections with a number of vendors. I test-drove a couple of longarm machines, even though I’m not really in the market for one at the moment. I think I found the one I want, if I ever do buy one though!

I also made some great connections with the AQS folks while I was there; Kimberly introduced me to Bonnie Browning and Meredith Schroeder, and a whole host of others in the company that I’ve emailed back and forth with over the years when I’ve sent quilts to the show or the Quilt Museum in Paducah. It’s great to be able to put faces with the names I already know. I had a couple of really good meetings, and I hope to be able to share some super exciting news with you very shortly!

But the better part of the show was growing a friendship with Kimberly. We were great friends already, but spending so much time together made it even better I think. People couldn’t believe we’ve only really known each other for a couple of months, I guess because we are so comfortable and get along so well.

Kimberly and I are really good traveling partners. Our internal thermostats are very close most of the time, and we find ourselves reaching for the temperature control in the car to adjust it at about the same moment again and again to keep things within our 3 degree comfort zone. We both love to shop though not necessarily for the same things, but are perfectly happy to separate and shop alone for a bit, and then meet up for a drink or snack later. We tend to like the same kinds of foods and restaurants as well.

Kimberly and Nadine at Des Moines

And don’t get me started on how much time we spend dissolved in laughter when we’re together. Kimberly is “incessantly cheerful” (as one of the other instructors at the show put it), and, well, I’m anything but cheerful, incessantly or otherwise. Being the eternal pessimist that I am, I have a pretty dry and sarcastic sense of humor which cracks her up, and then I’m cracking up too. We seem to balance each other nicely.

Here’s another “what not to do”: never underestimate what an instructor goes through just to show up and teach at one of those shows. I got the inside look at it all hanging out with Kimberly. It’s damn hard work, from hauling all the quilts, books, rulers, class handouts, etc., to being on your feet and “in teaching mode” 8-10 hours per day for classes, and that’s after all the prep work at home. You’re lucky to get lunch, and it’s not like there’s anyone there to help you schlep all the stuff, so you really need the food!

I really enjoyed the time I spent in a couple of Kimberly’s classes watching her teach. She’s so professional and so good at it! She’s much better at it all than I am, and all her students loved her. Despite all the hard work and preparation, she makes it look effortless. I should have been taking notes…

AQS Show Des Moines–Quilts, Shopping, Walking

The AQS Show in Des Moines was a great time! Kimberly and I walked and shopped and dined our way through Des Moines, laughing the entire time. I’ll let you take in the quilt show stats and recap at her blog, and confine my first report to some thoughts and impressions:

Never let your husband (or any male, significant other or not) buy a laptop computer for you to travel with. His goals (big screen real estate, high processor speed and low price, in that order, and weight is no object) are vastly different from yours (lightweight and small, in that order, and price is no object). Pick out your own and save your back and arms when traversing three or more airports in 15 hours.

Never take just one pair of shoes, or even two, especially if they have any sort of heel or semi-pointy toes. Always have a flat backup pair with a big toe box, even if they’re ugly, don’t go with your clothing and your grandmother wouldn’t have been caught dead in them.

Never assume that the guy at hotel check in knows that you hate being right by the elevator, ice machine, soda machine, stairs, etc., or that you like to have a bathtub as well as a shower to keep your options open. Just be high maintenance from the get go and tell him what you want.

Never rely on the show literature to tell you the true walking distance from your hotel to the convention center. They measure it as “the crow flies,” completely discounting any required twists and turns through skywalks, around major buildings or via crosswalks that will save your life. If the show book says it’s .5 miles, count on a mile and a half. Each way. At least twice per day.

Never discount the value of a big breakfast at the hotel regardless of the cost. It will likely be the best and cheapest meal you have all day until dinner, which you’ll probably be too tired to enjoy properly or even consume the greater portion of anyway. And breakfast delivered to your room is even better since you can eat at your leisure (the only leisure you’ll enjoy all day as well) and have some quiet cups of coffee or tea. It’s only a couple of dollars more than eating in the restaurant, and for less than a twenty spot extra for the week, I’m there.

Never discount the benefit of laughing until you cry about something so totally off the wall (like chewing gum) that when you share it with someone later, they just look at you and say “I guess you had to be there.” When it happens though, it’s probably a sign that you need some sleep…

Never tell anyone back home that you’ll write, call, chat on IM, update Twitter, or otherwise communicate while you’re away. Chances are you won’t because you’re either too busy or sleeping like the dead, or wishing the jet lag would go away so that you could sleep at all.

Never commit to blogging while you’re on the road either. While you’re out at the show or shopping, you’ll think of all kinds of things to say on your blog, but by the time you get back to your room and the computer, your mind is complete mush and you won’t remember any of it at all.

There you have it. I did do some serious damage to the plastic, both at the mall and at the quilt show. I’ll share pictures of the loot from the quilt show in the coming days, just as soon as I gather it back up again. I had a blond moment when I unpacked and put it all away in my studio before I thought about it!

I’ll leave you with this shot of the show floor at the convention center, taken from the upper level:

Show floor at Des Moines

More to follow…

Two words for you: Bell boy!

Kimberly and I made it to Des Moines without major mishaps, and we’re really enjoying the trip! Northwest Airlines is pretty wonderful; we both agreed we’d choose it over Delta any day of the week. Better everything, and way cheaper, at least this time around.

In the Detroit airport during our short layover, we saw this little guy:

Boy with DS at airport

So adorable, sitting on the floor by the power outlet powering up the Nintendo DS! (I cropped this heavily since this is not my kid) He was quite content to wait as long as necessary for the flight to board.

After nine or so hours between Frankfurt and Detroit, a short layover and another hour or so flight to Des Moines, Kimberly and I were pretty loopy. We hit the ground in Des Moines, collected the bags (and more bags) and headed for the rental car. There we were, trying to drag all our bags out to the rental car lot (and don’t think either of us travel light, either), and Kimberly says, “I’ve got two words for you: Bell Boy!” I thought I might fall over from laughing so hard!

The car we got was this strange light metallic green. I didn’t think they made cars that color anymore! As we’re loading the bags, the man that was in line behind us at the rental car desk was picking up his car in the lot, and offered to trade us for his bumblebee of a car as he put it, a shocking yellow SUV of some kind. I told him we’d take him up on it, and to be careful what he wished for!

And as a testament to how many brain cells are really still operational after a trans Atlantic flight, neither of us remembered that Bellboy isn’t two words until we were in the car on the way to the hotel! But we were perfectly happy to make use of the Bellboys at the hotel, no matter how many words it is! 🙂