Fall Quilt Market 2012 Trend Report

on Nov 4, 2012 in Quilt Market | 336 comments

Fall Quilt Market 2012 was held last weekend in Houston, Texas. This open-to-the-trade wholesale show takes place twice per year. Houston hosts the Fall show which is then followed by Quilt Festival. One day I’ll stay for the full run!

Market allows me to get away from the day-to-day operations of a retail business and get a bird’s eye view of where the market is going. I love seeing the direction vendors are headed – they absolutely have to be moving forward or their business stagnates. Talking with designers and industry shakers keeps me inspired and the ideas percolating.

(The solids orange peel quilt in the above photo will be released by Moda as part of a free pattern program – stay tuned and make sure you’re signed up for the Pink Chalk Fabrics newsletter).

‘Modern’ was EVERYwhere I turned. Not only the use of the term but represented in quilt designs and products. It’s not just a catch phrase anymore (albeit a tad bit overused one). The industry has embraced the concept of the modern quilter and the train is running full speed ahead.

An ongoing topic of discussion at the last several quilt markets is how local quilt shops that are more traditional in structure can meet the needs of the modern quilters in their area. I attended an excellent schoolhouse session by Bill Kerr of Modern Quilt Studio. He discussed modern quilting and told the story with his quilts. The sample above was made with a combination of civil war prints, Curious Nature by Parson Gray and Kona Cotton Pepper. It was great to see so many attendees nodding their head in understanding.

Solids continue to be showcased front and center.

I’ve been noodling over a block-of-the-month program for the past several years. I just couldn’t find the right pattern. Well, ask and you will receive. There was not one but three modern block-of-the-month releases. The one above is by Carolyn Friedlander who also has a new collection for Robert Kaufman shipping this month (featured in her quilt above).

Modern Quilt Relish (shown above) and Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts also have BOMs. I’d actually like to offer all three of these!

The Modern Quilt Guild was in the house. Convergence by Latifah Saafir was part of the exhibit curated by the Modern Quilt Guild in the Quilt Festival show area. My understanding is the quilts will travel with Quilt Festivals across the country. What a milestone. In a matter of several years, the MQG has grown into a bona fide movement of quilters that is influencing the marketplace, introducing a new generation of quilters to the craft, and re-invigorating the creativity of experienced quilters looking to grow, explore and enjoy their passion in new ways. It really is that simple and it’s fabulous!

This display in the Free Spirit booth reminded me how far the market has come in offering a variety of  base cloths. Linen, Rayon, Cotton Lawn, Voile, Velveteen, Double-Gauze Cotton, Laminated Cotton, Jacquard and Home Dec Sateen. The creative possibilities for mixing these textiles with garments, quilts, and accessories blow my mind.

This new dress pattern from Serendipity Studio (coming soon!) is a great example of taking a cotton/linen blend fabric (this is Melody Miller’s new collection for Kokka) and making it into something fresh and fabulous.

Craftsy. These guys were everywhere. Lots of good press from designers that have taped classes with them. I have a free class ticket and I’m looking forward to learning more.

Getting back to basics. I saw quite a few offerings of basics targeted toward the modern quilter. All bathed in bright color. In keeping with that trend, I also saw many side prints in designer collections that can stand on their own. A much needed direction. Modern stash builders want timeless designs and colors that will work in a variety of projects. There also seemed to be a shrinking of the mega designer collections. Fewer SKUs and better curated. What’s not to love about that!

Now I maybe should leave this next set of opinions in the Hilton Lobby Bar with my glass of cheap house cabernet but I won’t. One phenomena that can be observed at a place like Quilt Market is that of the copy cat. Designs that look like something we’ve seen before. A lot of it is just ‘same old, same old’. Been there done that. Some of it is, gasp, someone else’s designs. Copied, scaled and colorized a bit differently. I’m always amazed someone even takes the time to do it. Why bother. I like to be dazzled when I view a new collection. I like seeing something fresh. Art on fabric that really makes me stop and take a closer look. Something that makes me say ‘wow, that is SO cool!’

There are several designers creating work that are just worth a shout out in terms of originality. This is by no means a complete list – it’s just a handful of things I noted when I reviewed my pictures that I just couldn’t stop admiring and feel a need to highlight and celebrate:

Carolyn Friedlander – an amazing talent that has blazed her own trail in paper-pieced modern designs.

Cloud9 Fabrics – Michelle Bencsko and Gina Pantastico continue to design, curate and produce a line of organic cottons that always delight.

Zen Chic – Brigitte Heitland presented Comma, her second collection for Moda. Fresh design combined with a line of breathtakingly simple graphic quilt patterns.

Anna Maria Horner – her passion for needlework and the extent to which she’s producing quality designed products to showcase the craft is inspiring!


I have a bit of quilt market swag to give away including a signed copy of Anna Maria’s Needleworks Notebook, a Michael Miller Cotton Couture Charm Pack and twenty $10 Pink Chalk Fabrics Gift Certificates (I love having lots of winners!). Winners announced 11/14/12

Leave a comment sharing what trends you see and/or like the most. What did I miss? What do you think of Block-Of-The-Month programs, can they work for modern quilters?

Thanks for reading along. See the entire set of Fall Quilt Market 2012 Photos on Flickr.