Fall Quilt Market 2013 Trend Report

on Oct 31, 2013 in Quilt Market | 302 comments

Fall Quilt Market 2013 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 (open to the public). Each May, the Spring show rotates between 5 cities located across the US making it more accessible to quilt shop owners in different regions of the country.

I attend the show to keep current on market trends, network with other shop owners, and breathe! It’s so easy to get caught-up in the day-to-day operations of the shop that I forget to do all three. As a bit of an introvert, it seems odd that traveling to a large industry show would give me the solace I need to think but it works. I’m topped-off with enthusiasm, ideas are swirling, and I’m feeling centered and balanced. All these things fuel my effectiveness as a small business owner.

Based on a feeling I got from everything I saw and what I’ve been turning over in my brain for the last several days, following are my three big take aways from market:

1. The Word Modern

At last year’s Fall Market, vendors appeared to be incorporating the word ‘Modern’ into their product labeling everywhere I turned. To the point I had no idea what meaning the word held anymore. Since the tag line for Pink Chalk Fabrics is ‘cloth, pattern + tool for the modern sewist’ I’ve always had a few opinions about this topic!

When I started the shop 5 1/2 years ago my use of the word ‘Modern’ related to attitude over aesthetic. An attitude of fearless experimentation, pushing boundaries, redefining what it means to sew, personal expression through our work, and defining for ourselves what we like and how we go about making it. A passion for individualism and unique creative endeavor.

This is not to say I’m the only person that has an appropriate definition of the term. Exactly opposite. Other uses of the term Modern within the quilting and sewing world embody the idea and further expand and define it. I’m going to refrain from shouting out my opinion with examples on this point because it ultimately lies in the eye of the beholder. There is no single way to define the word and no one owns it. I do think I can spot a good use when I see it and vice versa, when it’s maybe a stretch and used for marketing rather than to genuinely express a point of view.

Well, I’m here to report, that I observed an almost overnight cessation of the practice of plastering Modern on anything and everything. I saw some amazingly great new things that were tagged ‘Modern’ and that gave me hope that the movement in its truest form will continue on. It will evolve, grow, progress, and become what it will. Just as we do as sewists.

2. Market Innovation

I have about a gazillion experiences on why this theme emerged for me. I’ll try to convey it in words:

From the heart. I attended a class entitled The Success of Passion. The panel included Jo Packham creator of Where Women Create, Kaari Meng of French General, Nancy Soriano, and Eileen Hall. Each shared their story of creating a business and making a living through their creative passion. Incredibly inspiring. It reminded me that I have gifts and, equally important, choices on how I use those gifts. Often times it’s a wild ride of intuition, doing the next right thing, and nurturing our creative vision through persistence, hard work, and perseverance. And, of course, a few lucky breaks sprinkled in along the way to keep the faith. Innovation comes when we combine courage, faith and action.

Kaari Meng recommended two books both by Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit and The Collaborative Habit.

In action. Melody Miller, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Alexia Abegg, Kim Kight, and Sarah Watts teamed with RJR to launch Cotton + Steel, a new division of RJR Fabrics. Fresh, innovative, brave. Watch the video for the story.

Simple, practical, perfect. Denyse Schmidt Modern Solids, 75 modern solid essentials hand-picked by Denyse Schmidt from the Free Spirit Fabrics Designer Solids collection. Pre-cuts and bundles will be available in 2014. This was an announcement, no specific dates on when they’ll ship. I can’t even order yet.

Community. Every time I turned around I was having a conversation with someone about a retreat, a class, an online sew-along, a guild event, you name it, it is being planned, organized and executed by quilters and sewists all over the world. It’s about bringing us together to share our passion. Do good works. Connect as individuals. Positivity through creativity. Cristy Fincher was handing out buttons she made that carried the message ‘Quilting Matters’. It truly does.

3. Slower, Fewer, Better

Whew. It was getting to be a little crazy there for awhile. So many new collections being released in rapid fire. Multiple collections from the same designer in a single year. I literally have not been able to keep up. Uncle! Well, I think the manufacturers got a little tired trying to set that pace. I observed a marked reduction in the number of collections I was being shown and in the number of designs in each collection. Thank goodness! I saw many well curated, thoughtfully produced collections. Let’s hope this trend has legs!

Now of course, there’s also a lot of cool stuff to highlight. Fun new products coming soon:

1. Moda Slice. Delicious 10″ triangles. A layer cake cut in half diagonally. Some of the collections will be available in this pre-cut. I was most excited about this Make a Splash set that contains 48 10″ triangles of 12 assorted Bella Solids. Quilt pattern included.

2. Modern Quilt Relish. Two new quilt patterns, Torte and Cutlery. Cutlery features 12 Solid FQs for the throw size.

3. Carolyn Friedlander. Botanics, her latest collection for Robert Kaufman fabrics was the talk of the town! Fabulous samples and presentation. New patterns too including one with a center medallion applique design. (pattern coming soon to the shop)

4. Monaluna Knits. Jennifer Moore is both a talented designer and organic fabric manufacturer. Exciting to see the addition of knits.

5. Lizzy House Cat Nap. One of my favorite collections from market. Also one of my favorite people along with her extremely talented and lovely mom Cherri House who I got to see too.

6. Modern Solids II by Alissa Haight Carlton for In The Beginning Fabrics. Modern Solids from ITBF is my favorite new basic in 2013. The addition of these brights designed by Alissa push my LOVE over the top. Yahoo!

7. Sew Serendipity The Jordan Jacket. Totally caught my eye. Totally want to make it. Kay Whitt’s fabric selection and workmanship always impresses! (pattern coming soon to the shop)

8. The Color Call by Modern Quilt Studio. A set of 30 tone-on-tone basics spanning the color wheel by Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle. Supports the value techniques they teach in their patterns. Innovative – taking things to another creative level.

9. Bella Duster. New pattern from Amy Butler. (pattern coming soon to the shop)

***

See full gallery of pictures on our Pinterest Fall 2013 Quilt Market Board.

***

Are you still with me? I brought back a couple of goodies for giveaway (really good stuff!):

  • A signed copy of 1-2-3 Quilt by Ellen Luckett Baker!
  • Make a Splash Slice Stack from Moda (used to make the anchor quilt above)
  • Botanics 2 1/2″ charm pack by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman

Leave a comment sharing what you think is most exciting about the trends coming out of Fall Quilt Market 2013.

Thanks for being a part of this community and sharing my creative journey. I love you all. xoxo Kathy

    302 Comments

  1. I really like the idea of slow, fewer, better. I just started quilting 4 years ago and thought this pace was the norm. It was really overwhelming and made my head spin. Thanks for the succinct recap.

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    Julie

    October 31, 2013

  2. wow i love your market post…next best thing to being there….carolyn friedlander is my new love…looking forward to her botanics xo thanks xo

    View Comment
    pam cole

    October 31, 2013

  3. Awesome summary of what you observed and saw at Quilt Market! I love slower, fewer, better. There are so many beautiful fabrics but we hardly have time to enjoy them before the next line is released. Really enjoyed your thoughts.

    View Comment
    Shirley

    October 31, 2013

  4. Thanks so much for this super interesting report.
    I really hope that the release of fabrics will slow down a bit – it is really overwhelming.
    and these triangle stacks sounds interesting.
    And YEAH for more quality knits!
    I gonna check out the monaluna website right now.

    View Comment
    Tina Schrader

    October 31, 2013

  5. I am thrilled that the trend is to slow down with things. And that modern isn’t being dropped a ton.

    The collections I saw through Instagram were truly amazing!

    View Comment
    Samantha

    October 31, 2013

  6. I am very excited about the Cotton and Steel announcement and can’t wait to see what will come of that!

    View Comment
    Sarah

    October 31, 2013

  7. Glad to see a slow down. I think it was a little overwhelming and you couldn’t keep up. Plus they didn’t all have a staying power that would last thru time. Thanks for the info.

    View Comment
    Debra Esper

    October 31, 2013

  8. I liked you mentioning “thoughtfully curated” as it makes me think of patterns and designs that can inspire heirloom pieces. And it’s true that opinions and interpretations may vary, but to slow down and reflect on a fabric or pattern that resonates with us at the time can result in pretty special quilts (or other items!). Thanks for all the photos.

    View Comment
    Sj

    October 31, 2013

  9. I love that modern can really mean something for everyone. I’m drooling over that Make a Splash set!

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    Kelli

    October 31, 2013

  10. I am excited about simple, practical, and perfect. I love simple quilt and can’t wait for the new solids. 🙂

    View Comment
    Tracy

    October 31, 2013

  11. I, too, like the idea slower fabric releases. For awhile, it was just overwhelming. Fewer offerings of high quality would be appreciated — at least, by me!

    View Comment
    Cindy

    October 31, 2013

  12. Thank you for the post, what a great summary. Ice always wanted to attend one of these, but it’s just never worked out. I am really looking forward to seeing – Simple, practical, perfect. Denyse Schmidt Modern Solids. She has such a clean, refreshing look in her designs, I know I will just love her color schemes. Also caught my eye is Cotton & Steel, can’t wait! thanks again. Erica.

    View Comment
    Erica

    October 31, 2013

  13. Thanks for the great report – loved reading it and hearing your thoughts. I am glad that things may slow down a bit – I have observed that trend recently too on peoples blogs – quilters working for longer on one, more complicated, quilt rather than churning them out quickly. I like this trend!

    View Comment
    DeborahGun

    October 31, 2013

  14. the most important aspect if that there are no rules, anything goes and design is all the rage! love it!

    View Comment
    diane

    October 31, 2013

  15. I love the solids coming out. I look forward to the new patterns that will show them off.

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    Dianne Megenity

    October 31, 2013

  16. Just love to see so many hip young designers continuing to pull the ancient tradition of quilting into the new age!!!

    View Comment
    Annie Chermak

    October 31, 2013

  17. I like the idea of a slower pace! The hand sewing that I feel I am seeing everywhere….absolutely love!

    View Comment
    Emilee

    October 31, 2013

  18. Very interesting insights, I fully agree with your thoughts. Your posting is important as it is a source of good ideas, generosity and it shows the need to carefully remind us to keep up quality over quantity. Thank you so much for sharing your impressions! I have a question…on the very first photograph, there is a mini quilt on the wall with four dresses. It is so cute and attractive. Do you have a pattern for it, where can I get it?

    View Comment
    Karine

    October 31, 2013

  19. Two things – the word modern and slower, fewer, better. I loathe the overuse and inappropriate labeling. It’s had a bit of negative effect on me as I stopped looking at books and magazines with the modern label and I know I’ve missed out on a few good ones. Slower, fewer and better – YAY. This past year has been crazy and unfortunately it’s had the same effect as overuse of modern. Totally dilutes the market with only a few winners. (and Carolyn Friedlander looks like she has another winner)

    View Comment
    Carol Y

    October 31, 2013

  20. I agree with all of the slower fewer better votes! And the cotton and steel upcoming! Is that a contradiction?

    View Comment
    Cecilia

    October 31, 2013

  21. Thanks for the great report! Love the slow down. I hand piece and hand quilt and have been feeling lots of pressure as fabrics generally have a 6 month self life before they’re gone and I want to enjoy so many.

    View Comment
    Lily jack

    October 31, 2013

  22. The modern quilts are exciting to me. I love thinking outside the box.

    View Comment
    Claudia

    October 31, 2013

  23. Whew. My head spins just thinking of the amazing input you have had. THX for sharing your thoughts! Inspiring.

    View Comment
    kd

    October 31, 2013

  24. Thanks for sharing about Quilt Market. Currently I am hooked on Bonnie and Camille fabrics and Camille’s patterns. I love that she focuses on precuts..it makes quilting doable for me.

    View Comment
    Michele Avery

    October 31, 2013

  25. loving that slower is better and maybe we can really enjoy the process. that is most of the fun I believe!

    View Comment
    kristen

    October 31, 2013

  26. I love the idea of a slower pace and less fabrics coming at once. Maybe it will be better for everyone to not be so consumed by consumerism.

    View Comment
    Nicole Gendy

    October 31, 2013

  27. “Simple, practical, perfect!” You used this to describe a more “basic” line. I love that because while I like to push traditional boundaries and try new things all the time, it is also important and reassuring to me to have a basic foundation from which to jump, something from which to build. I love those collections that keep me grounded.

    View Comment
    Becky

    October 31, 2013

  28. I’m repeating a comment made. I will appreciate a slower, smaller rollout of fabrics as well. I’m such a fabric addict! It’s difficult not to buy some of each fabrics that really call out to me. Then the danger sets in. The longer you wait to use the fabric the more you may not have enough for a project. Such is life.

    View Comment
    Lydia Stevenson

    October 31, 2013

  29. Great report!I agree that there have been way too many new fabric collections- too hard to keep up, especially from here ( over the pond). Any increase in the choice of solids is fine by me and Cotton and Steel( all those amazing women!)- can’t wait to see what comes of it

    View Comment
    Carol

    October 31, 2013

  30. I love when new precuts appear, like the 10″ triangles. I am also delighted to see that the selection of solids continues to improve.

    Thanks!

    View Comment
    Anne Rita

    October 31, 2013

  31. Lovely to have your perspective on the quilt show. I wonder what is replacing the word “modern”?

    View Comment
    Laurie Churchill

    November 1, 2013

  32. I’m really looking forward to working with the new solid collections from Denyse Schmidt and Alissa Haight Carlton. Amish quilts were my first lure to quilting, and I am still inspired to interpret those designs in new ways with new solids.

    View Comment
    Marcia Larson

    November 1, 2013

  33. Ok, I’m cheering for slower, fewer.
    It’s overwhelming, to the point where a lot of collections from the big companies all seem to look alike. And the speed with which they all go out of print again is pretty discouraging. Blink and all the focal fabrics are gone and the blenders put on the sale shelf! How nice to be able to absorb collections until designs start to emerge.
    BTW, who could afford so many different fabrics at once?

    View Comment
    Sandra

    November 1, 2013

  34. I love to hear that concept of slower, fewer better! So much has been coming out so often, it’s been hard to keep up! I love the idea of fewer, well curated collections, and hope this trend continues.

    View Comment
    Laura

    November 1, 2013

  35. I’m looking forward to a huge array of new solids to choose from — in hue palettes and subtle cross-weave shimmer.

    View Comment
    YC

    November 1, 2013

  36. I like the idea of slower. There are so many fabric designers I love and not enough money to buy all their collections that I love in a given year.

    View Comment
    Aimee Marshall

    November 1, 2013

  37. I’m so glad there is so much talent out there. There really is something for everyone. I remember looking for more colorful solids and not finding a good array of choices, but now? It’s great….there is so much choice.

    View Comment
    angie h.

    November 1, 2013

  38. Thank you for this thoughtful and interesting report!! Similarly to you, I’m a bit relieved to see that manufacturers are slowing down their pace. I think it’s a wise path, since like this everybody has a better chance to make good choices – designers, shops and consumers. I’m also really excited about Catnap (love Lizzy House’s fabrics and that combined with cats … oh my! :-))and I love what I see from the Botanics booth. That applique quilt looks amazing, I’m glad there’ll be a pattern. I think that quilt is a great example of what I think is “Modern” at the moment. Very traditional but the designer has put her own spin on it. Thanks again for the insights!

    View Comment
    Eva

    November 1, 2013

  39. So interesting to read an insider’s viewpoint on the industry. I agree wholeheartedly about the manic rush of fabrics being flooded onto the market. Fewer fabrics means everyone gets a chance to look properly at what is available.

    View Comment
    trash

    November 1, 2013

  40. Amen, Sister, to the trend about producing new fabric lines slower, fewer, and better! I read lots of designer blogs where they are lamenting so many deadlines and so much stress. Meanwhile no one I know has unlimited funds to purchase all of the new stuff they like as quickly as it appears. It just pushes the stress downstream to the consumer and feels more frustrating than fun. I’m looking forward to actually making stuff with my favorite fabrics before the next round appears.

    View Comment
    Amy DeCesare

    November 1, 2013

  41. Oh my gosh! The saturation of color! Be it solid, or print, so vibrant. Love it all. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    View Comment
    Diana A

    November 1, 2013

  42. As with everyone else, I’m glad to see a slow down. There are so many beautiful fabrics out there that I want but can only grab a couple at a time.

    View Comment
    Karen Tremonti

    November 1, 2013

  43. Just love how modern quilting is opening the doors to creativity in quilting, well it has really blown the doors off the hinges for me.

    View Comment
    Stephanne rudder

    November 1, 2013

  44. I love all the bright colors in solids and seeing them incorporated into the quilts. That anchor quilt is sooooooo fabulous!

    View Comment
    Morgan

    November 1, 2013

  45. I think the trend of fewer new lines is very important but also the idea of working together to help others which seems to be everywhere but not always mentioned. Quilters are the some of the most generous people I know sharing their talents ( and stash!) with others in need. Thank you for your awesome review of quilt market and great photos. One of these days I’ll make it there!

    View Comment
    Cathy

    November 1, 2013

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