Quilt Market Houston 2012

Codi and Greta at Quilt Market

Made it home on Monday from Quilt Market (unlike many folks from the East Coast, who had their flights canceled). It was, as always, a visual whirlwind, as well as a time to reconnect with friends old and new. I especially enjoy meeting in person the people with whom I’ve had email and phone relationships. This time around I met Amber Eden, the editor of Stitch. We bonded over our journalism backgrounds and agreement on who was might be Quilt Market’s newest “It” couple (Julie and Eric Comstock).

I traveled and roomed with Codi and Greta and spent quality time with Mel and Mary Lou. It felt a little rushed this year, as though I had a day less than I usually do. Here are photos of some of my favorite things this time around.

Marny of Modern Quilt Relish talks about their new BOM (while Jill holds it up)
Michael Miller’s fashion forecast included jewel tones, pastels, and neon
Alexander Henry‘s booth was a little simpler this year, but still lovely
Amy Butler‘s new line for Renaissance Ribbons rested in vintage cigar boxes
I was in love with Anna Griffin’s Blend lines—so many outstanding designers and a partnership with designers and Etsy shop owners—want to make a project with their fabric? Just ask. 
Designer Jessica Swift’s Blomma line–one of the lovely Blend collections from Anna Griffin
I liked Brigette Heitland‘s Zen Chic Juggling Summer collection for  Moda even more than her last. These quilts were outstanding
Carolyn Friedlander and her Architextures collection were one of the biggest hits of Market. The quilt is from a Jaybird Quilts pattern
Echino eye candy at the Seven Islands booth 
Detail of some of the Echino bags at Seven Islands‘ booth
Fairfield created a natural wonderland entirely from batting and interfacing
Greta Songe’s Studio 37 collections for Marcus Fabrics–Adorable!
Benartex’s Kanvas Studios fabrics won a ribbon for their bright booth
Lisa Bongean’s luscious wools. Always so tempted, but I’ve yet to figure out what to make with them
Have long loved Marcia Derse’s fabrics for Troy, and she’s so much fun to talk with—fresh, honest, simply who she is
Moda brought in a vintage Airstream to celebrate designer Mary Jane Butters Glamping line
I thought Melody Miller’s booth should have won an award…such vintage good cheer
Moda’s well-deserved blue ribbon hangs on their booth-of-many-colors featuring hundreds of paint-dipped stirrers, paint cans, pantone tablecloths and “paint”-dripped chair covers, along with fantastic sample quilts. 

Time to Sew

Just returned from Lake Tahoe, site of a retreat I’ve attended the last few years (here, here, and here). I’ve so enjoyed getting to know and learn from the women in the group. While it feels more than a little indulgent to travel across the country (with 49 pounds of fabric in a check-on bag and my Featherweight in a carry-on), the opportunity to get input and insight on technique, color, scale, block placement, etc. is invaluable.

This group is super-experienced and there are both teachers and students who have attended many workshops with a variety of instructors (everyone has taken a class from Mary Lou Weidman, who was also in attendance) and I learn so much from them each time. The sad truth of my life is that while I get to talk with and write about passionate stitchers, I don’t have much time for my own sewing these days. So the time to just focus and sew, surrounded by friends who would stop what they were doing to provide suggestions and commentary (when asked for, of course) was fantastic. It was also a little bittersweet, as Lynn passed away this summer and her ready laugh and talents were greatly missed. But we were blessed to have De and Sue back with us, along with Sue’s niece Linda. They’d been in a terrible car accident just before last year’s retreat and their return marked a year of recovery. They were both stitching up a storm.

Strips cut in preparation for my hexagon quilt

So here are some photos of the week. There are so many that I’ll spread them out over two posts.

I leave tomorrow for Quilt Market, so expect some posts about that very soon, too!

Debby’s quilts, inspired by a Gwen Marston workshop

Kathy’s finished story quilt about her dogs, who bark at the Blimp!

Linda’s completed quilt
Mel‘s witch blocks surround a haunted house she based on her son’s drawing. Note her flying geese/witch hat border and the name quilt—she stitched one for each of us!
Yes, we saw a bear, although if Debby hadn’t shouted “Look!” we probably would have missed it as our heads were all bent over our sewing machines.

Quilt Market Update: Links, Photos, and a Bit of Commentary

–> The most charming Lucie Summers with her fresh, fantastic Summersville collection [Photos fixed and a few added..thanks for your patience!]

I’m far behind my other bloggy friends when it comes to sharing Market photos. Since you may have seen it all (or most of it) on other blogs, I’ll just share some highlights. Market, as always, was awe-inspiring—the fabrics, the colors, new bells and whistles on sewing machines, the clever patterns, the booths that look like living rooms from Elle Decor. It’s always sensory overload.

Maggie, Anna Maria Horner, and Pierette

While the goods were fantastic, catching up with people was really a pleasure. Yes, it’s tough to have a heart-to-heart with a designer or editor when people right behind you are taking her photo. But I think there’s such pleasure in talking with others who love the same things you do. Because so many of us work at home and because of blogs, we’ve learned about each others home lives and that makes these business relationships a little more personal, too—how are your kids? Is your mom feeling better? Are you really on an ice hockey team?

Finally, I had the extreme pleasure of sharing Market with my Texas daughter, Maggie. The Home Ec team decided they just couldn’t make it to Market and so Maggie came in their stead. She gathered lots of goodies for the shop, some that Codi specifically requested and some we thought she and Alisa would like. There was one crazy moment when Sample Spree was about to end and Codi and I were calling back and forth so I could find out if I should purchase fantastic Japanese zippers and we kept losing our phone connection. The announcers were saying Sample Spree was over, I was frantically trying to describe the zippers, and the guys were starting to pack up—mania! In the end, victory (and zippers) were ours.

Apologies for the funky layout…I decided it was better to finally get it posted than to make it perfect!

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Yoshiko Jinzenji fabric and perfect quilting

Marny and Jill of Modern Quilt Relish–Iowa gals!

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Modern Quilt Relishbooth-they also one made for Daisy Janie

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Seven Islands booth-lunch bags

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Malka Dubrowsky and her new fabric for Moda, A Stitch in Color–Wow!

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Cloud 9 has a new line based on Grandmother’s drawings

–> Alexander Henry‘s booth is always a knock-out

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The lovely Alyssa’s work in her Penguin and Fish booth

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Maggie with Amy Butler‘s clothing in the softest-ever voile

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Deploy that Fabric camouflage quilt
Love this concept and the cover quilt (above)

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Weeks and Bill Ringle have launched Modern Quilts Illustrated and it’s gorgeous!
A cow quilt from Mary Lou and Mel’s new book

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American Jane (Sandy Klopp) knocks my socks off every time

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Ty Pennington‘s booth with (get it?) ties
Making the most of down time: Kaffe knits and Liza binds

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Tina Givens knows how to make the best of chocolate brown paint

Share (Quilt Blocks) and Share Alike

I’ve never (successfully) been a part of a block exchange. I’ve wanted to join one, but just never had the time to follow through (that’s the unsuccessful part). So last year, when I was at Lake Tahoe with Mary Louand friends, I was delighted when someone suggested we have a witch block exchange. The witch was modified from a pattern that I think had its roots in one of Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran’s fantastic, freeform books. (You can see Cherise’s incredible version of this quilt below.)
One of my fellow retreaters, De, offered to create a pattern and share it with us, which she did last year. Then Mel made a variation of De’s template pattern using strips. I didn’t get started on these until I was at the lake in August and only have one completely finished. But I have all the segments of the other 14 blocks ready to go.
I admit that used to be a bit of a snob about novelty prints. Some slip too far over the edge of cutesiness, particularly if you don’t have a baby or grandchild for whom you’re stitching. And who really needs a Halloween quilt? But as my friend Anne R. reminded me yesterday, most quilting these days doesn’t have a whole lot to do with need. And is there a better excuse for buying skull and crossbones fabric?
I’ll share the results with you in mid-October, when the retreaters gather and swap blocks…it will be a perfect example of what I love about quilting—the way that one block can look so different, depending on the fabrics used to make it. 
Have you had any experience with block exchanges? Any stories you’d be willing to share?

Up Periscope…Full Speed Ahead

Full speed into fall, that is. I’ve been in a bit of a funk of late, and perhaps it’s because of fall…the fewer daylight hours, the impending winter, who knows? So instead of sewing shots, I share with you signs of fall in my backyard.

This dahlia bud does remind me of a cartoon submarine periscope. I fully expect it to start twisting around as it scans the horizon above the water’s surface. In this case, it’s peering above one of the dahlia’s my husband planted. We visited Buchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C. a few years ago and the dahlias were incredible—flowers bearing every permutation of color, size, petal shape, length, and width were staked grandly in a single border. Since then, Paul’s planted dahilas.


This guy was purchased in a small farming town west of here. One year we went to a festival of some sort there and a man was selling the most inventive sculptures from found metal objects. And this one was, quite literally, five dollars. We bought at least three. He, too, reminds me of a cartoon character—the one who practically disappears when he turns sideways because he’s so thin.


Here’s sedum, the go-to guy in fall. We’ve planted them in our front and back yard. The ones in front have gotten a bit leggy and floppy as the shade has increased, but these guys in the back are stubby and stiff and stay nicely upright. Love this new shot of pink in early fall.


Here’s a little stone landing that’s finally coming into its own. This is the first year without our big maple, which used to provide lots of shade before it fell and crushed the garage last summer. The only downside to that big ‘ol 120-year-old oak was that it made it impossible to grow much besides impatiens and hosta. While I love them both (and the hosta are definitely suffering without the shade) I’m thrilled with the purple fountain grass in the planter behind the chairs, which helps soften that big expanse of garage wall, and with the progress the wisteria has made in covering this funky arbor.


Finally, a flower that will last all winter long. A farmer’s market purchase from earlier this summer, when peas and spinach were abundant. Now it’s butternut squash and apple cider, which is a good reminder that fall certainly has its upside.