Final Market Update

Okay, so it's two weeks past Market and everyone else has long since posted their news (click on the KPKM post to the right and you'll find links to all kinds of blogs with Market news and photos). Better late than never, I say.

On Sunday, my friend Mary Lou Weidman arrived. Mary Lou is the person who invited me to Market with her last year. I read the term "Market doula" on someone's blog and I think Mary Lou definitely filled that role for me (and Mel...I missed you this year, Mel). Quilt Market is overwhelming the first time through—the sheer number of vendors and quilts is more than someone new to the industry can even imagine.

(I love the statistic that Quilt Market is the biggest convention that Houston hosts all year. That's right...the biggest! In Houston, they take good care of their quilters because they represent a big chunk of change for hotels, restaurants, and the like each year.)

At any rate, while it was fun to feel as though I'd taken off my Market training wheels this year, I'm always happy to see Mary Lou and was especially pleased to be with her this year when she got to see her new book for the very first time. Unfortunately, it's not yet for sale and there was a long line to get one of the autographed copies that Martingale was giving away at her book signing. But it looks fabulous and as I leafed through her copy, it was fun to see quilts by many people I've gotten to know, including most of the Lake Tahoe quilting gang. The quilt above is one of her "story quilts" and is an homage to Mary Lou's grandmother.

After checking out her new book, we wandered the aisles and soon found Mary Lou's friend, the very talented Paula Nadlestern. Paula had a one-woman show at the Museum of American Folk Art in NYC last year and Mary Lou always jokes that she's the only quilter at Market who dresses in black (she's a New Yorker). Paula had just gotten the first copies of some fabulous prints of her work (apologies, Paula, I can't remember the media in which they were done) and she got right down on the floor of the convention center and unwrapped them for us to see.

Soon after I met RaNae Merrill, whom I'd interviewed for American Patchwork and Quilting. It was fun to chat with her and she and Mary Lou exchanged information about teaching. I love the connections that occur as you walk the aisles and run into people.

This was also the day that I looked at quilts. There were some truly amazing pieces, and I took photos of several for a project I've got in the works.

In the late afternoon we decided to go get some lunch and ran into a group who were seated around a big round table. In the center of that table was...ta da...the armadillo cake, and we were invited to have a bite. The cake was made by LizzyHouse and it's obvious her talents extend far beyond illustration and pattern and textile design. She's a cake-maker extraordinaire! She'd created the cake for Pam and her traveling companion, who'd made the trip all the way from California without seeing a single armadillo. And not only was the cake a feast for the eyes, it was red velvet and delicious. I really did want seconds, but thought it best that when I left people didn't say "Who was that woman who just wolfed down half the cake?"

The group at the table included Jenny aka Tula Pink, a very talented designer (think Neptune. Nest. Flutterby). I'd had the pleasure of interviewing her for APQ, as well as meeting her at her mom's shop in Stewartsville, MO. It's called Country Expressions Quilt Shoppe and it's the classic example of why I think putting "country" in your name can be misleading. The name, the location (really off the beaten path), and even the simple style of the shop's exterior belie what's inside—a shop chockful of the most gorgeous, most colorful fabric around.

The day ended with dinner at the Hyatt in the company of Mary Lou and Brenda and Faye who are educators with Marti Michell. We also joined the lovely ladies, Linda, Brenda, and Linda, from Tennessee Quilts. Not only are they dynamic women (Linda, front left, still practices law while co-owning the shop with her sister-in-law, Brenda—she's on the right side in front) but their shop looks fantastic. I note that Kaffe Fassett was just here last week...not too shabby! In this photo we're all doing what my friend Emily calls "the author pose," the one where people gaze out from the dust jackets on their books with their hands under their chin, convinced it hides any multiples. I think it worked here, don't you?

I did have another picture of my tired feet, but I seem to have deleted it. So, my final picture is the next morning, when I stopped at Marti Michell's booth to see Brenda and Diane. I'd just made my big splurge purchase: an Arrow sewing cabinet. But more on that later.

There's no doubt that while Market is exhausting, it really recharged my batteries to be around so many others who share my depth of feeling for sewing and fabric and color and design and quilts.