What I saw at Market: Chapter 1

Last weekend was Quilt Market and it was grand. It was my first time at spring market and I expected it to be much smaller than fall Market, but my feet didn't seem to notice the difference—they felt just as worn out as they do after a day in Houston.

This time I went to Market with my Codi Josephson, one of the owners of Home Ec Workshop in Iowa City. Home Ec is a fabulous place—fabric, yarn, embroidery, excellent coffee and sweets and a great workshop area where its possible to rent machines and workspace...perfect for a college town. It's a real gathering space for sewers and knitters and the classes they offer range from screen printing to doll-making to sewing clothing and projects for kids.

Codi had never been to Market, so it was fun to be her guide, just as Mary Lou had been for me my first time. Codi was blown away by all that was available (and Home Ec shoppers will appreciate her excitement in the months to come, as fabulous fabrics and notions and patterns roll into the shop). From my perspective, it was fun to go with a shop owner and see things from that perspective—it made me appreciate even more the effort that goes into independent businesses and quilt shops in particular. Making tough decisions, keeping the customer always in mind: owning a quilt shop is a dream for many of us fabricaholics, but I'm reminded that it's a lot of hard work. Remember: support your local shop—they work hard for you!!!!

Okay, off my soap box. Here are some of the fabulous things we saw:

Organic prints: In the very first aisle we came upon two companies with fabulous, fresh designs in organic cotton: Birch Fabrics and Cloud 9 Fabrics. We had a great time talking to the women who own each shop.

Here's Codi talking with Cynthia of Birch Fabrics.

And here's the Cloud 9 booth.

Next was a fun surprise for me: Codi had admired an owl quilt at Brandywine Designs and when we rounded the corner I realized that I'd interviewed Linda Hohag of Brandywine for American Patchwork and Quilting back in 2007. It's always fun to meet in person the folks I've only chatted with over the phone, but I was especially pleased to meet Linda because over the course of our interview we realized that our daughter's lived in the same dorm, in the same "pod" at the same college (St. Olaf) and knew one another. Linda and her husband (another St. Olaf grad) shared the news that their daughter was expecting a baby. So fun!

In the next aisle was Sandi Henderson's fabulous booth. She was signing copies of her new book, Sewing Bits and Pieces.

Her booth just felt like spring and I was especially fond of the chairs upholstered in her fabrics.

Then we came upon Michael Miller's booth: "a fairyland dream" as we used to say in college (don't ask me why, I don't for the life of me remember).

They were featuring ruffled fabric and there was one sales rep wearing a shirt with ruffled sleeves...wish I'd gotten a picture. He looked mahvalous!

And then there was the excitement of seeing Monica's Lecien fabric in the flesh...or maybe "in the cloth"? It was so cheery and the fabulous samples were designed and stitched by a group of women I was so lucky to meet in person (for that photo, you'll have to wait for Chapter 2).

Monica's responsible for the amazing lantern quilt Glow Happy.

PamKitty Morning designed Sugar Stars.

And Karen Snyder of Anna Lena's The HMS Twinkle sets off Monica's fabric with bright red stars. Those West Coast gals were busy this spring!

Codi was very excited by some of the Japanese fabrics available through Lecien and embarked on her first Market fabric order. Note the intense concentration on her face as she flips through the gorgeous samples. Watching her order fabrics again reminded me of the intense thought and planning that goes into creating a shop that makes us customers so happy!

And finally, a shot of everyone's favorite Japanese designer, Echino. I didn't see her in the booth this time, but her new fabrics are sensational—especially love the cameras and helicopters.

Codi and I knew that we were kindred spirits when that first night, rather than try to network the night away, we both were perfectly content to retreat to our very nice room at the Marriott, put on our pjs, and play with our fabric, patterns, and thread!