To Market, to Market

Finally, I've got a few minutes to sneak in some photos from Quilt Market. I had a wonderful time this year and it felt great to reconnect with people I'd met previously, as well as get to know some new folks.

Friday night I met up with the multi-talented Lila Scott (that's her on the left), the technical editor for American Patchwork and Quilting. I first "met" Lila when I interviewed her about her work. I'm still in awe of her skills—she tests all the patterns in APQ, Quilts and More, Quilt Sampler, and other publications—using math! This means she is so skilled with numbers that she can figure out the accuracy of a pattern without ever cutting out and stitching a piece of fabric. She also designs quilts herself (and builds stone walls in her spare time).

On Saturday, Lila's buddy Linda Lum DeBono (right) arrived. Linda was one of my earliest interviewees for Quilts and More and she's another dynamo. The three of us wandered around Market in the morning, taking it all in. Although I felt more "at home" this year, I was still stunned by the sheer number of booths and people at the event—a testament to the continued popularity of quilting, even during challenging economic times.

One of everyone's favorite booths (and ultimately a winner in the Best Booth category) included everyone's favorite fabric: Alexander Henry. The sister and brother design team Nicole and Philip DeLeon are not only the most versatile designers around, they're incredibly gracious (well, Nicole is—I didn't get to talk with Philip). Nicole admitted that she was responsible for their Halloween display that included a life-sized sewing witch (working on a spider web quilt) and artfully arranged tarantulas, rats, ravens an owl, and a warty toad (held here by Nicole). Sadly, my pictures don't do either the booth or Nicole justice. Their new fabrics are (as expected) so varied and so witty—a treat.

At lunch, I had the good fortune to meet Patrick Lose, a very friendly former Iowan and long-time designer of fabrics and patterns. He had been in North Liberty in June at Common Threads and has a special fondness for shop owner Peg (who doesn't?). He's got lots of adventures in his future and it was fun to talk with him about those, as well as to hear him brag about his granddaughter. I loved that he whipped out her picture to show friends at every opportunity.

Then I moseyed back to what I dubbed "the full-color corner," a section of the convention center that grouped Anna Maria Horner, Heather Bailey, Kaffe Fassett, Amy Butler, and others in close proximity. Squeals came from that part of Market all day, as visitors rounded the corner and were plunked over the head with a visual extravaganza.

Brandon Mabley was arranging things in the booth he shares with Kaffe Fassett—he explained that he'd hung the fabrics as if it were a carpet stall in a Middle Eastern market. When I asked if I could take a photo he started to step out of the shot. I said, "Oh, I'd love to have you in it because your shirt looks so fabulous with the other fabrics," and Mr. Fassett nodded and said rather thoughtfully, "Yes, it really does." I took this to mean that Kaffe shares my design sensibility and it made me very happy. To celebrate, I stopped across the way and bought a lovely umbrella covered with a melony Kaffe Fassett floral—it will definitely cheer me on grey days!

I stopped to say hello to Anna Maria Horner. I've had the opportunity to write about her twice—once for Quilts and More and once for her alumni magazine—and she is just a peach of a human being. I'm pleased to report that she's raised another fine member of society, her daughter, Juliana. Juliana is a senior in high school and interested in fashion journalism (again, my camera has not done the least bit of justice to how lovely she is). Having grown up surrounded by the fabric industry, she's got a real leg up over most folks her age. We chatted about the sad state of print journalism and I was so impressed with her maturity and friendliness. Best of luck getting into your school and program of choice, Juliana! Later in the day I also had the chance to chat with Anna Maria's assistant, Allie. She's another fabulous young woman—a graphic design student getting ready to graduate. She's got some wonderful samples of her work (materials she's pulled together of Anna Maria's lines) to share with future employers. She, too, was a little discouraged by the state of print, but she's got a good head on her shoulders about exploring her options. I never did get to say hello to Anna Maria, but I really enjoyed her "crew."

Heather Bailey's booth was another prizewinner, and I heard more than one viewer reverentially sigh and say "I want to LIVE here!" The fresh colors and the scenery—once again, my photos failed to capture just how lovely it was—Heather and her husband Issac rigged a clothesline and windows against a photo mural, so it looked as though there was view to the country just outside. Refreshing!

Amy Butler's booth was, of course, enchanting. I finally introduced myself to Amy—she was my very first profile for Quilts and More, back in 2006. She is absolutely the kindest person—I babbled on about how much I loved the Birdie Sling pattern and she acted as though I was a completely normal person. Her new fabrics are delicious and I'm especially drawn to her new Sweet Harmony bag—it's got that same comfy handle as the Birdie Sling. Must try one!

Okay, that's it for today. Much more Market to come...including an armadillo cake!