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 always enjoy Pink Chalk’s blog and the information found.
    I am very glad that more time is being spent with the fabric collection, such as, more colorways, variable design sizes and type of printed designs. Also, I am glad that the manufacturer is producing several solids to go with collections. The trend with more solids really is stricking, and the new blenders, such as earlier in the year, Art Gallery’s “Squared Elements” and now Carolyn Friedlander’s “Botanics” is wonderful. Thanks for sharing the Houston Show.

    View Comment
    Gloria

    November 4, 2013

  2. Thanks for an excellent blog post! I feel like I was there…without the feeling of being overwhelmed.

    I’m eager to see the tone-on-tone Color Call. And I see a Jordan Jacket in my future!

    View Comment
    Sunny

    November 4, 2013

  3. I am enjoying the colors – many pinks and oranges. Also, while not a big fan of modern movement, it is starting to grow on me.

    View Comment
    Theresa Stanley

    November 4, 2013

  4. I am all for “slower fewer better.” who can keep up? I also like the idea that no one owns the word Modern. It means different things to different people and I think that’s ok!

    View Comment
    Cheryl

    November 4, 2013

  5. I am so for “slower, fewer, better”. As a sewer getting back into quilting over the last few years I have been overwhelmed. First I have old “calico fabric” if you will, to use up and then pow, here are all these wonderful, beautiful,luxurious, bright and extremely colorful fabric lines showing up everywhere. I did what any fabric lover does and started buying collections and soon another collection would come out and I would buy more, and finally I would see a new collection by that designer was coming out. I have not gotten to the last one I loved. I know they want to sell fabric and they do but nothing makes me want to buy more fabric than to see it made up into something lovely. Here is to the quilt world slowing down so I can catch up! 😉

    View Comment
    Kris

    November 4, 2013

  6. I think I like the slower release of collections also. You can’t possibly keep up and it is nicer to enjoy them at a little slower pace. I also like all the lovely solids that match collections.

    View Comment
    Ramona M.

    November 4, 2013

  7. Although a quilter at heart my roots go back to sewing my own clothes in junior high when pants were never long enough! I am loving all of the skirt patterns I am seeing and want to try out those knits!!

    View Comment
    Cindy

    November 4, 2013

  8. I love that you mention working from the heart. After 10 years working in corporate America, I’m trying to find my place in the creative world so that I no longer have to work 12 hour days sitting at a desk, but instead can spend more time doing something I love 🙂

    View Comment
    Angela

    November 4, 2013

  9. Thanks so much for your fine details from QM. I particularly love the idea that less is more! I, too, was overwhelmed with the quantities if fabrics to choose from last year. Of course, I love following what you have to say about it all. It helps me, an armchair shopper with no shop nearby.

    View Comment
    Mary Knight

    November 4, 2013

  10. I really like the trend toward smaller, fewer, and better-curated fabric collections. It has been simply overwhelming, with too many things, looking too similar. I hope this trend continues.

    View Comment
    liveacolorfullife

    November 4, 2013

  11. Slower Fewer Better would be nice. It will take more creativity on my part as I use 40-60 fabrics in a quilt. Old collections that did 42 right off the bat were nice.
    Many of the things modern embraces I did in my 20’s as “crafts” so I am not fired up about it this time around. Would love to have a FQ bundle of 75 solids! Time will tell if my check book will allow it.

    View Comment
    Susan

    November 4, 2013

  12. I’m excited to see the growing trend in modern, especially the new solids. I am moving more toward utilizing solids in my projects, so it’s also fun to see new colors.

    View Comment
    Sydney Davis

    November 4, 2013

  13. I’m glad there are less collections coming out – quality over quantity is always a good thing. 🙂

    View Comment
    Patty

    November 4, 2013

  14. I like the variety of solids– subtle textures, cross weaves, etc. They’re a welcome addition.

    View Comment
    RS Trindle

    November 4, 2013

  15. The solids are a great trend. They were popular when Amish style quilts came into vogue years ago- now they’re coming back! In myriads more colors.
    I also like the slower fewer better idea. Too many collections- I can’t keep up either.

    View Comment
    Bebe

    November 4, 2013

  16. Oh, thank you for your insights! I am most happy to hear that quality vs. quantity could be a “thing”. We move so fast anyways, why not make slow art?

    View Comment
    Barb Mortell

    November 4, 2013

  17. This was my first market and what a fabulous array of color, beauty and creativity! I loved the paper piecing and the abundance of solids and blenders.
    Thanks for sharing your goodies!

    View Comment
    Jennifer @ Ellison Lane

    November 4, 2013

  18. I was happy to see how modern quilting is becoming a more established part of the quilting world, not just a novelty or flavor du jour. At the Modern Quilt Guild table, volunteers got many positive comments from the public.

    View Comment
    Denise

    November 4, 2013

  19. I love seeing all the photos of quilt market. It makes me more excited to sew and gives lots of ideas!

    View Comment
    lesley

    November 4, 2013

  20. I think the emergence of truly Modern quilts
    (not something with the label “modern” slapped onto it) is exciting. It gives me hope that a new generation of quilters will keep this art form / craft alive and thriving. And for this older quilter, it’s like a breath of fresh air!

    View Comment
    LeAnn Frobom

    November 4, 2013

  21. I read “Slower, Fewer, Better” and sighed with relief. And I just might have heard a collective sigh from sewing blogland 🙂 I know you meant this in terms of the volume of fabric collections, but it totally applies to sewing in general, for me. The best part of this sewing thing is enjoying the process while making meaningful things for the people I love. My time is precious, and with the scads of fabrics, patterns, and tutorials out there…I’ve found that I’ve HAD to curate through all of that to best use my time.

    As far as the high volume of fabric releases, I guess it could be viewed as a good problem for a consumer like me to have lots of choices, but it really just gets to a point where too many choices lead to non-purchase. An overwhelming assortment can turn customers away; and for me, that has led to going back to basics – solids.

    View Comment
    Angela Bowman

    November 4, 2013

  22. I agree with the Slower, Fewer, Better idea. Being new to quilting, I have been overwhelmed with all the gorgeous fabrics available. Wanting to make something with each set and knowing that I can’t afford to buy them all! Maybe now I can catch up with the fabrics I have bought and be able to buy some of the new ones next year!

    View Comment
    Dianna W.

    November 4, 2013

  23. I love the gorgeous array of fabric choices we have! Not just for quilting, but voile and knits too!

    View Comment
    craftytammie

    November 4, 2013

  24. I like to see the clothing! I started out sewing garments and I’d like to get back into that!

    View Comment
    Michelle K.

    November 4, 2013

  25. All I need are a few great collections, some versatile blenders and solids and I’ll be happy for months. I just can’t wait for Botanics!

    View Comment
    Michelle

    November 4, 2013

  26. Too many awesome things to even pick one! I really love the coat patterns, I need to sew more apparel! Thanks for the fun giveaway!

    View Comment
    Nicole young

    November 4, 2013

  27. I am so excited to see what comes out of the cotton and steel collaboration. Such an inspiring group of women. And just a lovely idea.

    View Comment
    Julie

    November 4, 2013

  28. I really enjoyed your recap. I’m looking forward to seeing what Cotton and Steel come out with for their fabric design.

    View Comment
    Kate E.

    November 4, 2013

  29. All these rapid collection releases are just too overwhelming. Do more with less!
    I like all those solids.

    View Comment
    Margareth

    November 5, 2013

  30. Slower, fewer, better….so glad to hear this. Thank you for the wonderful overview of the trends. Glad to see a knit line in there too.

    View Comment
    Barb

    November 5, 2013

  31. Thanks for all the pictures. Creativity never ends! Thank you for the chance to win:) Have a blessed day. Susan

    View Comment
    Susan Moore

    November 5, 2013

  32. Thanks for your inside scoop of quilt market. So many exciting projects to look forward to.

    View Comment
    Deb

    November 5, 2013

  33. Like the idea of slower, fewer, better. Get overwhelmed with all the lines of fabric out there.
    Also, getting together and sewing with others is always so much fun! My guild gets together every month at a local fabric store that has a huge area to set up. And, we’ve got a wonderful space here in Portland, Modern Domestic, that has sewing machines set up. Got together with some friends for a few hours of sewing ~ we have such a great time together!

    View Comment
    elsa

    November 5, 2013

  34. I’m excited about Cotton and Steel, and about things being better curated and produced with care.

    View Comment
    mjb

    November 6, 2013

  35. The cessation of the word modern was a surprise but I am glad it’s being used more judiciously.

    From the heart. Innovation comes when we combine courage, faith and action.

    I am loving all the solid collections coming out – I love to see the color trends.

    Cotton & Steel. squeeeee!

    THanks for the recap!

    View Comment
    modernmanson

    November 6, 2013

  36. Carolyn Friedlander’s quilt caught my eye – love the Scandi style design and the slightly muted colours. I’m not a huge fan of solids – they just don’t ‘talk’ to me so I’m hoping some new ones may be the ticket!

    View Comment
    Bronwyn

    November 6, 2013

  37. Love the colors and the evolution of quilting!

    View Comment
    Maria

    November 7, 2013

  38. Yes! More from Carolyn Friedlander! Hooray! Thanks for the giveaway!

    View Comment
    Katherine

    November 8, 2013

  39. I love all the bright colors in the fabric! I think the designers are doing a great job to cater to the younger generation but still keeping us “more traditional” quilter happy! lol I love all the pictures. job well done!

    View Comment
    Rhonda

    November 9, 2013

  40. I love the idea of slower, fewer, better. I’d much prefer better curated collections over more fabric to choose from :o)

    View Comment
    Jess

    November 10, 2013

  41. Wow…thank you so much for sharing with all of us
    “stay-at-home” sewists….& in such depth….very
    appreciated. In fact I’ll have to go back & read again
    ( & click to see more ) I’ll have to echo what has already been said…SLOWER>>>FEWER>>>>BETTER….it has been
    overwhelming & I am all for Less is More !
    Thanks again !

    View Comment
    Fran

    November 14, 2013

  42. I am loving the MODERN designs and applications. I moved from a Chicago (Evanston, actually) Queen Ann victorian full of swoony flowers and William Morris wallpapers to a Mid-century modern “walk out rambler” in Minnetonka, MN and am now an avid appreciator of the 60’s vibe. I am anxious to make a quilt that reflects my new inspiration–the era I grew up in…but how to begin? I think you may have the answer!
    Thanks!

    View Comment
    G Russell-Dempsey

    January 12, 2014

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