This article is written by team member Melissa of EcoArmoire, who had the opportunity to go to Quilt Market this past week in Houston, TX. Here is her recap.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it: take on the International Quilt Market for the first time with less than 24 hours to do it.
The only way to survive: lots and lots of planning. Driving down to Houston from Dallas first thing Saturday morning, only to return Sunday afternoon left little time and lots to do. The key: I made appointments weeks in advance with everyone I knew that I had to see and even managed to squeeze another few in on top of that.
First, I must say, upon arrival, I was completely both overwhelmed and underwhelmed simultaneously. The sheer number of booths was the overwhelming part: nearly 600 booths; yes, you read that right: nearly 600. Some were even mega-sized, like a dinosaur that ate the smaller baby booths. My goal, as an apparel seamstress, was to meet with my favorite fabric companies. There were some of the most truly unique, innovative ideas and styling that literally made me feel like my head was going to explode with potential creativity.
Recapping the blitz of 2014 #quiltmarket.
Warning: there’s lots of organic cotton here, since you know… EcoArmoire.. That’s kind of my thing. 🙂
Saturday, October 25th
07:00:00 – picked up Panera Bread that I ordered in advance so we could hit the road faster
07:05:00 – departed Dallas southbound on 45 towards Houston, breakfast in hand, much to the chagrin of the older gentlemen who didn’t know you could order on your phone and thought I butted in line when I got my food first
09:15:00 – pit stop for water and removal of excess water
10:50:00 – hit unforeseen snag in the planned route – all traffic diverted off of 45, north of Houston
10:51:00 – mental flogging as I remind myself how Houston’s traffic is notoriously worse than Dallas’
10:52:00 – more &^#@(* as my fellow drivers are cutting me off
10:53:00 – plans made to drop me off at the front door of the convention center if we can’t make it in time
11:15:00 – back on 45, sighs as we realize we’re ok on time
12:00:00 – we walk into the convention center and have a heart attack – thank god, I’m wearing tennis shoes
12:10:00 – our appointments mapped out, we set out to hit as many rows out of 22 that we can before the first appointment
12:30:00 – Nancy Zieman sighting – kindly taking photos with her fans
13:25:00 – only 6 rows seen, at a clipping pace, we’re now T-minus 5 minutes till first appointment
13:30:00 – Monaluna Fabrics
Monaluna was one of the first companies I started working with when I opened EcoArmoire. One-woman-show, Jennifer, is awesomesauce. Equal parts inspirational, kind, savvy and creative, she really helped me to breathe a little as 1.5 hrs in, I was already feeling overwhelmed at seeing everything. Her organic line of fabrics is expanding into canvas and knits this year, which is very exciting! Westwood was super cute and playful.
14:00:00 – made another appointment for Sunday, saw 2 more rows
14:30:00 – Cotton and Steel
Cotton and Steel should have won “Booth most likely to make you take out a second mortgage”. I want all the things. We’ve all been watching this ingenue steal every sewer’s heart and their second collection has left no room to doubt their staying power. But the best part about them: they’re just a group of girls who love to sew. Down to earth, fun and full of excitement, the entire team behind Cotton and Steel was a joy to meet.
15:29:00 – so distracted by all the beautiful creations in Cotton and Steel and plotting how to steal the items for ourselves, that I was almost late for…
15:30:00 – Cloud 9 Fabrics
Chatting with the creative director and designer herself, Michelle Engel Bencsko poured out one jammy option after another. Where Cloud9 really stands out for me is their expansion into some unique offerings, especially for an apparel designer, such as myself. But rejoice, home decor afficionados will shout for joy as well! With canvas, voile and flannel already part of their array, baby wale corduroy and barkcloth join the group. I love that organics are not just about quilters cottons anymore. But the delight was meeting Elizabeth Olwen. Cute as button, I just wanted to put her in my purse (which she complemented me on) and take her home with me to be my sewing bff. Only half kidding. Here’s an adorable outfit made from her new Wildwood collection.
16:00:00 – Surprise secret mission – must meet Nicole of Modern Handcraft!
Of course, the incomparable Nicole would be at the Quilt Market; she is the reason I think of dabbling into quilting. Her style and fun spirit not only come through in her blogging, but are even more rich in person. If you want to feel like you were really there at the #quiltmarket for a play-by-play, just follow her Instagram feed.
I was so happy to meet my fellow Sewing Rabbit, who also gave me the ‘in’ on an after party. Whawha. Rendezvous back after dinner at the convention enter at 20:00:00
16:30:00 – Coffee and chatting with Nicole – so many good ideas and strategery (that’s a word right, W?)
17:15:00 – drop goodies off at car and Yelp for food
17:20:00 – realize it’s easiest to leave car where it is and eat at Pappasitos next to the convention center
17:30:00 – of course, there’s a wait
18:05:00 – yay, finally seated. Get me a drink – it’s been a long day
18:30:00 – where’s my drink?
19:00:00 – fajitas = best decision ever
20:00:00 – she said at the convention center – where’s the secret party at?
20:10:00 – debating just going back to hotel
20:15:00 – found the party! Nicole knows everybody. Note to self – I didn’t bring enough business cards. I’m already tapped out.
21:00:00 – Leah Duncan sighting – too shy to introduce myself. If only I had a business card
21:40:00 – Door prizes!! Just throw in your business card. Fail.
21:45:00 – regailed with tales of survival by those who braved the Sample Spree: think Black Friday but with quilters. You know, that know how to use sharp objects…
22:10:00 – Time to call it a night
22:30:00 – check in at hotel. A free, warm cookie? I do believe I will.
Sunday, October 26th
06:55:00 – wake up from bad dream in a panic that I am going to miss my appointment only to realize that the alarm is set to go off in 5 minutes. Hit the snooze
07:05:00 – can I hit to snooze once more?
08:00:00 – breakfast while I google to see if I can get business cards printed at 8 am on a Sunday
09:30:00 – Birch Fabrics
Birch, ah Birch. So much love, organic love. Met with Cynthia, owner, designer, extraordinaire. Placed an order. Perused the sewn goodies and added some more to my order. Saw a cute shirt and then added some more to my order. Such is the power of Birch.
My favorite addition: organic double gauze. Cue heart melt.
10:30:00 – Art Gallery Fabrics
Two very cute and sweet girls showed us all the new things to expect from the always-on-top-of-their-game Art Gallery Fabrics. But by this point, I’ve literally seen too much. I’d rather go meet with the designers, such as April Rhodes and Maureen Cracknell. I even got to meet Leah Duncan, whose style is impeccable. Between these three rockstar women, I lost track of time and completely forgot to take pictures. Fail. Oh, well. Those memories can be mine.
11:30:00 – realizing we meant to be on the road by noon and chatted too long, we ran through the last 12, yes 12, rows in about 45 minutes.
*Sorry to the guy at Like Sew, who just wanted to tell me about his cool sewing based POS and social media site. I might have been rude when I said “I’m tired; give me the short version” when he started to spiel me. It was literally on the last row as I was trying to leave.
12:15:00 – found food gem at Local Foods – must refuel with farm to table yummies before heading back since we had to be back for work Sunday night
Given the little time I had, I feel like I learned a lot, met a lot of great people and just had some good ole fashioned fun. Next year, I’ll be a little more prepared. 1. Go for all the days so I can spread it out. 2. Take a box of business cards, not a stack. 3. Wear a backpack instead of a purse. A massage is order for my right shoulder and I feel lopsided when I walk. 4. Bring a hockey mask so I can attend Sample Spree. 5. Sell a kidney to support my fabric habit
Hope to see you all at next year’s Quilt Market!