quilt market peeps
By Patricia Belyea
PORTLAND OR It was easy to get to Spring Quilt Market this year—just three hours down the road to Portland. I met up with personalities and pals to learn what’s new in the quilting industry. Here are some of the people I caught up with as I tootled around the expansive show floor.
I chatted with hand-stitching guru Sue Spargo of Sue Spargo Folk Art Quilts. Not only is Sue adored by her legions of followers, she is loved and supported by her own squad of adult children. What a blessed woman! Joe Langman showed me a book that’s hot off the presses at Schiffer Publishing. Think lemonade and Southern Quilts as the perfect combo to while away a sunny afternoon this summer.
Valori Wells was not in her award-winning booth which showcased her 40th fabric collection, Marmalade Dreams. Instead I met up with her renowned mother, Jean Wells, and admired Valori’s bohemian style.
Look who I bumped into—my neighbor, Blair Stocker of Wise Craft Handmade! Blair was also taking advantage of the close proximity of this year’s Spring Quilt Market to connect with industry folks. Veronica Salazar of Clover Needlecraft smiled as I once again let her know that Clover’s fine patchwork pins are my fav for curved piecing.Laura Jaquinto, one of the style leaders at Windham Fabrics, warmly welcomed me to my first Quilt Market in May 2010. It’s always a pleasure to see Laura. Finally I met Marcia Derse, a creative force with her eclectic designs. Marcia exhibited her new collection for Windham Fabrics, Art History 101. I also learned that Marcia shares a retail space on Whidbey Island with my friend, Peggy Juve. The lovely Melody Miller was manning the Cotton + Steel booth when I dropped by. Her responses about what’s next for the creative team that built the Cotton + Steel brand were minimal yet I sensed a quiet determination from this leading-edge designer.
Can you catch the mischievous look in the eyes of Tina Hilton, the luminary behind Turtle Hand Batik? Here’s a woman who’s committed to fair trade with her Malaysian batik and hand-dye artists, but who’s also full of spunk! Designer and company president Jason Yenter of In The Beginning Fabrics introduced his newest fabric collection, Calypso, with a dreamy watercolor undersea world. It was great to see the brilliant Robin Long of Robin Ruth Design with her revolutionary rulers that enable quilters to make strip-pieced mariner’s compasses. What a breakthrough—no paper piecing needed to sew together those tricky blocks! The booth for Mary Koval Antique Quilts was full of fans. Who doesn’t appreciate venerable quilts and the engaging Mary Koval? Elena Gregotti, the belle of Italian Aurifil Threads, joined her team in Portland to present a private label thread program and a bevy of new products.
A big smile from designer Brigitte Heitland beguiled me into striking up a conversation. I discovered that she traveled from Germany to attend Spring Quilt Market! Her low-volume Zen Chic fabric collections for Moda play nicely in modern quilt designs. Crossing paths with Breanna Farner of Quiltfolk reminded me that I wanted to subscribe to this appealing quarterly magazine. So Breanna signed me right up! Just before I left, I checked in with Pati Violick of Studio 37, a brand of Marcus Fabrics. Studio 37 has been a great partner for the Okan Arts monthly giveaways—for which I am truly thankful. My whirlwind trip to Portland reminded me of how much I appreciate the people and companies that contribute to our vibrant quilt industry. From the tiniest appliqué pins to the freshest fabric collections to the largest longarm machines, inspirations and innovations abounded.