It was one year ago that I not only attended my first International Quilt Market, I exhibited as well. Thanks to Bluprint’s Quilt Designer Fellowship, I was able to debut my first booth at a professional quilting trade show. If you missed it, you can read more about my 2016 Quilt Market experience here and here.
Fast forward one year later and I decided to attend Quilt Market again, not as an exhibitor but as an industry professional.
Having a booth in 2016 was great. I sold my patterns to shops, promoted my workshops and made a lot of connections with industry professionals. But, I hardly left my booth.
This year, I was able to reconnect with those I met last year and make new connections. These types of relationships are critical to growing a business.
While walking around observing the new fabric collections, products and trend, I spotted some of my quilt samples displayed in various booths. Both my Sun Salutations and Sew Speedy quilt patterns launched at Quilt Market (and they’re available on Bluprint).
Let me share with you some of the highlights from International Fall Quilt Market 2017.
1. The venue
The sheer size of the George R. Brown Convention Center, where Fall International Quilt Market takes place, is impressive.
It was also amazing that Houston and the Convention Center were ready for us quilters just months after Hurricane Harvey devastated the area.
Right outside the Convention Center, visitors were greeted with colorful art installations made out of common materials like tablecloths and shower curtains. These canopies were created by two Texan artists, Sunny Sliger and Marianne Newsom, and were the perfect welcome to Quilt Market participants.
2. Beautiful booths
Fabric manufacturers and pattern designers not only show their latest designs in their spaces, they tell stories through their booth design and styling. It’s amazing the immersive environments that are able to be created with only two days to set up.
(Here’s some behind-the-scenes scoop: many exhibitors will augment their booths with purchases from the local Ikea, Target and Home Depot. This year there was a furniture drive at the conclusion of Quilt Market. Many companies and designers donated items from their booth to a local organization serving those in need.)
Check out these beautiful booths and displays showcasing new fabric, patterns and products that you’ll be seeing in stores soon!
3. The latest and greatest gadgets and products
Every quilter knows that you can’t make a quilt with fabric and patterns alone. You need great tools as well. Here are some of my favorites (some of which I bought while I was at the show!)
After learning about this product on one of my favorite television shows, Shark Tank, I was excited to see them at Quilt Market. I bought my own Thread Cutterz, a handy thread cutting ring.
I got to see the latest needle offerings from Tulip. Their big eye appliqué needles are my go to tool for handwork.
There are lots of new and interesting books coming out in 2018, including “Making Faces in Fabric” by Melissa Averinos (QuiltCon 2016 Best in Show winner) published by C+T Publishing.
Cork (yes actual cork) is definitely a big trend this year. Makers are incorporating it into their bags, pillows, cording and other sewing projects. Fabric Funhouse was just one of the many booths to feature cork in sewn projects.
Skacel Buttons was just one of the many button vendors.
While quilting is the main focus of Quilt Market, some companies featured additional materials too. Cloud 9 had a beautiful display of their new yarn offerings. I love the framed swatches!
4. Pop-up shops
Quilt Market is great way for buyers to not only see what’s new, but buy small quantities of samples to share with their customers before the products are available for mass distribution. Some of the fabric companies had small, cute pop-up shops for buyers to purchase small bundles of fabric, patterns and other products.
5. The quilt show
The week following Quilt Market, Quilt Festival is held in the same convention center. A big part of Quilt Festival is the quilt show that contains over 35 quilt exhibits.
One of the nice things about attending Quilt Market is that you can see the show. It’s virtually impossible to see all of the exhibits, so I concentrated on those I was most interested in. I even put together a video of all 25 quilts featured in the Modern Quilt Showcase exhibit.
6. The after parties
Quilt Market is a time when colleagues, collaborators and industry friends come together. After Quilt Market officially closes for the day at 6 p.m., there are many dinners and parties sponsored by different organizations.
As an Aurifil Artisan and collaborator, I was fortunate enough to attend a party thrown by Aurifil to celebrate their 10th anniversary in the United States.
Above, Angelo Gregotti (one of the original founders of Aurifil) and his daughter Elena Gregotti (current co-owner of Aurifil), spoke at the even. Mr. Gregotti came all the way from Italy to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Aurifil in the United States.
7. Emerging quilt industry professionals
Last, but not least, I was able to visit Sylvia Schaefer, the designer of Flying Parrot Quilts. I was excited to pass the Bluprint Quilt Designer Fellowship torch to Sylvia and this year she had her debut booth at Quilt Market.
It was great to see Sylvia, her sample quilts and patterns. She did an amazing job and I know first hand how much work goes into designing and producing a booth.
That’s a wrap! The next Quilt Market will take place in Portland, Oregon in May 2018.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill is a designer, pattern writer and award-winning quilter. With the help of books and the Internet, she taught herself how to sew and discovered her love of designing and making quilts. As a trained and practicing graphic designer, her quilts start with a concept and research shapes the design. Her work is inspired by her everyday life and experiences. Sheri strives to make beautiful objects that inspire others to make and learn by providing clear instruction and encouragement. In 2016, she was awarded the first annual Bluprint Quilt Designer Fellowship. Learn more about Sheri and her work at wholecirclestudio.com and on Instagram or Facebook.