03 March, 2007

Trends Observed

This is the final installment of my three part report on Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival 2007.

Today's post will cover cover trends I observed in quiltmaking through studying both finished quilts and what was flying out of vendor booths.

I want to kick off this post with a photo of "Fall Into Spring" by Cheryl See of Ashburn, VA. It is hand quilted! Fewer and fewer entries are hand quilted anymore; I wanted to celebrate the fact that some still are. This is a stunning quilt in every aspect; color, design and workmanship.
(detail:)

Yes, I would definitely say that fine machine quilting, and amazing examples of such, are at an all-time high right now. Quilting skillfully executed by both domestic machine-quilters and long-armers dominated the show. This was evidenced by the popularity of quilting threads being sold, variegated beauties and dazzling solid colors were being snatched up by the baskets-full in the YLI and Superior booths, as well as in the shop booths. I'm not sure that I have seen such a thread presence in prior years. Embellishments for surface design are hot, too.

Kits are big business. Entire fabric lines, cut and bundled together with a pattern, are popular choices for busy quiltmakers who prefer one-stop shopping. I find these of interest but am not normally tempted to buy them. I like the hunt, the chase to find "go-withs" and make up my own fabric palette for a given project. I am aware that I am in the dwindling minority here. The most popular fabric line this year? I'd have to say "Dick and Jane" by Michael Miller fabrics, they were spotted everywhere in and around the festival! Batiks and Ethnic fabrics continue to be exceedingly popular. Block-of-the-month programs are still huge, many of the shop booths displayed their own BOM quilts and offered subscription programs and pre-packaged fabric kits for purchase. I do one of these at my LQS and find I must draw the line there! I have participated in mail-order BOM's but find that I lack the motivation to keep up... aha, another post for another day!

There were fewer knitting and weaving booths than in past years displaying their sumptious yarns. This would lead me to think that the number of quilting-knitters has fallen off. I can't say
that I even saw one eyelash-yarn scarf being worn this year, not that long-ago it was the accessory!

The least visited booths? Ironing board cover vendors. I counted four. The booths selling
permanent lipstick and paint-on embroidery seemed to have idle clerks and few, if any, customers.

Lunch time at the convention center was a learning experience. This year the organizers added
another option to the in-house meal offerings. A short-order grill was opened up in the back of the convention space for hot dogs, hamburgers, and submarine sandwiches. Lots of big, round tables and chairs were placed strategically to accomodate the lunch crowd. Great idea. In theory. Grilling was handled on an as-you-order basis. Imagine: hundreds of ladies in line, a hot-dog placed on the grill only WHEN it was ordered... customer steps aside to wait... next order: hamburger, placed on the grill WHEN it was ordered... you get the picture. "Grab and go" outside the show was quick and efficient, lesson learned. Over-all there seemed to be too little staff in the hotels and restaurants to serve the number of attendees. Staffing issues should be of concern in these service areas. They could take a page from the book of the shuttle-bus service which was well-run, omnipresent and easily available. The drivers were friendly and courteous.

So, there you go. What's Hot, What's Not, What Worked and What Didn't... my observations. In conclusion, a few more of my favorite quilts from the show, they speak for themselves:
(click on any quilt to enlarge)




Life is Good!
... and some days, oh-so-quilty!

15 comments:

Shelina said...

Thank you so much for sharing your observations and the quilts. I like virtual tours - get to see the eye candy without the tired feet! Amy (Calico Cat) has also posted her observations on her blog. Did you see her there?

meggie said...

Oh Thank you for sharing this with us! I just loved this whole post! I must admit, after seeing those magnificent quilts, I feel very pedestrian, & very humble!
They are truly works of art!

Judy said...

Oh my goodness - thank you for sharing this show with us! Cheryl See's quilt is truly stunning. It is certainly awesome and inspiring!

Quilting Kim said...

Wow - What eye candy those quilts are - thanks for sharing.

Helen said...

Great post. The grill people need to take a leaf out of McDonalds book (not that I love mac'n'dees - I don't - but you gotta love their production line mentality). Ironing board covers? I never buy these, I always make my own, and if I did buy one I would get it from my local discount store (here in NZ it is The Warehouse , so those booths wouldn't get any business from me. Knitting? Gave that up years ago - for quilting.

Cheers!

YankeeQuilter said...

Thank you so much for posting those photos. Amazing hand quilting! The cats...well, great! I sometimes get overwhelmed at the vendor malls at these large shows and come home with things I never ever use - like the three kits that are now almsot 10 years old! time to either break them up or move them on! But they look so nice at the shows....

Marcie said...

Great job with your report on the Mid-Atlantic QF. I love how your blog displays so nicely. I was in that food line and we waited a LONG time. Plus they were running out of all the good stuff. Then an employee came along and said there was no waiting upstairs, so we went up and it was very nice. Loved the whole event!

teodo said...

Thank you for the pictures and details of your visit at quilt festival. I really like them but my favourite is Renoir! ciao, ciao

Sioux said...

Hi. Yours is the first blog I have visited in over two weeks. And, wow, what a wonderful post it is. I loved seeing all the quilts and hearing about the quilt show. Interesting about the weaver/quilters. I would love to learn to weave. Hope to finish my latest quilt this week. Thanks so much for sharing all this. Oh, and I do love batiks...love, love, love! Hope you have a great week.

Nancy said...

Great report. Still like the Renoir best . . . .

Bea said...

Thank you for all this fotos - many eye catcher - beautiful inspirations.

Conni Lu said...

You were my eyes & ears for the quilt show so I thank you for the post. It sounds wonderful in spite of the food service negatives. The photos show some stunning works of art. It's very fortunate that you were able to be there. :D

gwen said...

Thanks a lot for sharing those wonderful pictures with us. Your comments were really a help as well to know what is going on on the other side of the ocean! I share your view about kits, I love too much using my scraps! Funny about the knitting, here it seems it is getting into fashion again.
Take care.

Faith said...

ooooooh this is so yummy thankyou so much for sharing this blog with us. I have saved this page on my favourite heart saver tag hee hee.
These things keep you going when at times you feel such a daft amateur but yes you have to practise practise. Im hoping to dye some fabric one day that will fade in fade out just like one of the quilts shown here.

Nutbudx

The Calico Cat said...

Would now be agood time to mention that I rarely use my microwave...