15 things we learned at Quilt Market

The creative craziness that is Fall Quilt Market is now behind us, and we’ve finally caught our breath. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Quilt Market is put on twice a year by Quilts, Inc., and it’s a place for people who make quilt stuff (like us) and people who sell quilt stuff (like your local quilt shop) to get together, catch up, swap stories, and find ways to get the latest and greatest quilt stuff into your hands.

Signing off from Fall Quilt Market 2013
Packed up and ready to head back home: signing off from Fall 2013 Quilt Market with a final photo.

Martingale has attended every Quilt Market since its inaugural event in 1979. We’d never miss it—there’s always something amazing to discover! Eleven of our staff headed to Quilt Market this fall in Houston, Texas, and we all came back with buzz to share. Here are just a few of the things we learned this time around, collected from staffers who attended.

International Quilt AssociationA special note: The quilts on special exhibit were breathtaking, as always. You can see the winning quilts from the 2013 Quilts: A World of Beauty annual judged show of the International Quilt Association at the Quilts Inc. website. You can also check out our new wall calendar featuring winners from the 2012 judged show here.

1. No matter how much we plan…setting up the booth is a big, big job.

Unpacking the booth
Day one: unpacking is half the battle.

Quilt Market setup--day two
Day two: looking good!

2. Fabric-wise? Wool is the next big thing. (With corduroy coming in a close second!)

3. Schoolhouse day—when authors get to make short presentations to crowds of quilt-shop owners—requires superhuman stamina.

Gerri Robinson's Schoolhouse presentation
Photographing others photographing Gerri Robinson’s quilts at Schoolhouse.

4. Donna Lynn Thomas is an engineering genius. Her new On-Point Ruler really does take all the math out of setting blocks on point. Watching her demo convinced us all—this is a must-have tool!

Donna Lynn Thomas
Donna Lynn Thomas, author of
On-Point Patchwork; watch her how-to video from Quilt Market here.

5. The quick four-patch method that Barb and Mary showed us from Simple Quilts from Me and My Sister Designs is very slick. Plus, they’re a hilarious pair—we’re certain they could get second careers as professional comedians!

Me and My Sister Designs
Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson, authors of
Simple Quilts from Me and My Sister Designs, in their Moda booth.

6. Teal is THE color. We saw it all over Market—in booths (including ours!), Rachel Griffith’s quilts, and even Elizabeth Dackson’s cute dress.

Teal is THE color!
Clockwise from top: the Martingale booth, Elizabeth Dackson, and Rachel Griffith (right) with fellow author Julie Herman (left—also in teal!).

7. Pat Wys’s latest neutral quilts are absolutely stunning in person. Who didn’t want to slip one of them into their suitcase? (C’mon, we all thought about it!)

Pat Wys's book signing
Patient quilt-shop owners wait to meet Pat and get an autographed copy of her latest book,
Knockout Neutrals.

8. The employees in the convention center, especially those in the quilt-exhibit area, are as sweet and polite as any we’ve met.

9. Pat Wys and Kathy Brown’s book “throwdown” at Schoolhouse—pitting Pat’s book Knockout Neutrals against Kathy’s book Strip-Smart Quilts II—reminded us of how uproarious these two ladies can be, especially when they’re together.

Filmed spur-of-the-moment on an iPhone…we give you the throwdowns!

Watch Pat challenge Kathy to a book throwdown on YouTube.

Watch Kathy challenge Pat to a book throwdown on YouTube.

10. New trend: framing quilts. Gerri Robinson taught us how cool and easy it is to frame small quilts (and skip the binding—shhh!).

Gerri Robinson
We had so much fun with Gerri at her book signing!

11. Hand or machine appliqué? It’s getting harder to tell the difference. At her demonstration, Nancy Mahoney wowed us with her technique for machine appliquéing circles on top of patchwork to get a scrappy look that appears hand stitched.

Linda Lum DeBono and Nancy Mahoney
Look who crashed Nancy’s (right) book signing—another lovely Martingale author, Linda Lum DeBono (left)!

12. Back to wool—it’s so forgiving! Authors Cecile McPeak and Rachel Martin showed us how simple raw-edge-free wool seams are to work with in their adorable new book Pincushion Appeal.

Rachel Martin and Cecile McPeak
Rachel and
Cecile from Just Another Button Company.

13. Back-basting appliqué is COOL. We all want to try Barbara Eikmeier’s hand-appliqué technique after seeing her demonstrate it in the booth—so clever.

Barbara Eikmeier
Barbara Eikmeier, author of
Back-Basting Appliqué, Step by Step

14. The convention center is much easier to navigate on wheels!

Pat, Karen, and Debbie
Director of Sales and Marketing, Karen Johnson—working on healing a broken foot—rented a scooter that was promptly “blinged” by author Pat Wys and her friend Debbie Frey.

15. Our authors continue to blow us away with their energy, enthusiasm, and talent. To all of you—thank you for making this Market a great success!

See even more creativity and fun from Fall Quilt Market 2013 —from beautiful booths and quilts to wildly imaginative displays—in the slideshow below.

Quilt Market, goodbye for now. We can’t wait to see you again in the spring!

1 Shannon-Fabrics-Dude-Ranch-booth

Yes, that IS a sleeping pig! There were lots of stuffed farm animals at the western-style "Dude Ranch" booth by Shannon Fabrics.


Adorable doggy fabric--but who makes it? If you know, please tell us in the comments section!


A fun theme at the Timeless Treasures booth--beware of (fabric) sharks!


Antique quilts are always a part of Quilt Market--here's an amazing red and green beauty.


Another beautiful booth from Birch Fabrics.


Introducing "Camp Sews-a-Lott" at the United Notions booth!


Carolyn Friedlander, contributor to Modern Baby, shows off her latest modern designs.


Three-time author Cheryl Almgren Taylor signs copies of her latest book, Christmas is Coming.


A warm and cozy booth from Deanne Eisenman, author of Scrap Quilts Go Country.


Fairfield's amazing building of batting


Jake Finch (third from left) of Generation Q fame gathers with friends for a photo in her booth--with surprise guest Rose Hughes (second from left)!


The delightful Geralyn Powers, author of Patchwork Plus, poses in front of her wildly popular Halloween quilt.


Gerri Robinson's booth was calm and soothing, bathed in creams, blues, and tans.


Hexagons Made Easy author Jen Eskridge is all smiles at her book signing.


Jill Finley, author of Home Sweet Quilt, signs copies of her book in her booth.


Jill Finley showcased a ballet theme in her booth, complete with a ballet bar and shadow dancers.


We loved this charming booth from Just Another Button Company.


Here's five-time Martingale author Kathy Brown at her book signing.


Kathy Brown, author of Strip-Smart Quilts II, invited people to sign the quilt she had on the table in her booth!


All the way from Australia! Leonie Bateman and Deirdre Bond-Abel, authors of Elegant Quilts, Country Charm, talk to shop owners at their booth.


It was a joy to meet Maaike Bakker, author of the new book A Paper-Pieced Garden. She came all the way from the Netherlands to attend her first Market!


Designer Natalie Barnes poses in front of her pretty booth.


Dressed up in neutrals at the Timeless Treasures booth.


Pat Wys busily signs copies of her book Knockout Neutrals for her fans.


RJR Fabrics captures the moment--with a giant Polariod camera!


Art Gallery Fabrics's booth for their new line "Safari Moon" by Frances Newcombe.


Sweet embroidery by Bird Brain Designs


Vanessa Christenson, author of Make It Sew Modern, shows off her latest quilt in her booth--featuring a gigantic sewing machine made of half-square triangles!

8 Comments (leave a comment)

  • Well that book throwdown was a total crack up! Those two girls are my favorite!

    pam on November 14, 2013
  • I love the throw-down…what a hoot to see the competition between the authors!

    —Claudia on November 14, 2013
  • The adorable doggie fabric is made by Blend Fabrics, and it is so adorable! Love it… And so much of what they do!

    Lisa on November 14, 2013
  • The cute doggie fabric is "Doglandia" by Peter Horjus for Blend fabrics!

    Joan on November 14, 2013
  • So fun! Thanks for sharing pics 🙂

    Christa Quilts on November 14, 2013
  • The Martingale ladies are a pleasure to work with–and their enthusiasm for the industry is contagious!

    —Cecile McPeak on November 14, 2013
  • I purchased "300 Paper-pieced Quilt Blocks by Carol Doak" quite a few years ago but the CD that came with it will not work on my late model laptop. How can I get new updated version?

    Hi Dorothy,

    You don’t need a new CD, you just need to follow a different set of installation instruction! Click here for instructions.


    —Dorothy Taylor on November 17, 2013
  • I have a question – in the photo of Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson (#5), there is an adorable red and white quilt in the background on the left. Anyone know whose pattern this is and where I might be able to get it online? Loved seeing all the photos – have never been but used to work in a quilt shop where the owner went every year and came back with all kinds of goodies and ideas!!

    —Laurie Towle on November 6, 2014

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