Fall Quilt Market 2013 Trend Report
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.
– 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.
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.
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