Spring Quilt Market! Top 10 trends

Martingale Publisher and Chief Visionary Officer, Jennifer KeltnerQuilt Market is a trade show where shop owners, designers, and quilt industry professionals gather to show the latest and greatest offerings coming soon to quilt shops near YOU. You might say it’s where independent quilt shops go to shop—looking for new fabrics, notions, books, club ideas, and more!
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Spring Quilt Market 2015--Martingale booth
The Martingale booth, where we shared our latest offerings.

This May, Quilt Market was held in Minneapolis. Martingale sent a team of 10 employees to the show, not only to scope out potential new authors, but also to showcase authors’ books that are soon to be released. In addition, our team was looking to spot new trends. So what did our team find at this latest Market? Here are 10 top trends you might want to keep your eye on:
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1. It’s all about the HOUSE—house blocks, houses printed on fabric, embroidered houses, wool houses, no matter where you live, you’ll want to be quilting a new neighborhood that’s uniquely yours! Author Melissa Corry is right on trend with her quilt “The Village Square,” from her just-released book, Irish Chain Quilts.

The Village Square quilt
“The Village Square”
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2. Big animals were BIG: Think supersized lions, foxes, deer, and elephants. The bigger the better—and we’re thinking they’ll be a big hit!

Jungle Abstractions Lion Quilt by Violet Craft
“Jungle Abstractions Lion Quilt” by Violet Craft; a show favorite in the Michael Miller booth
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3. Tradition is back in vogue. In blocks and in fabrics, traditional patterns and looks are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. In patterns, think classics such as Log Cabin, Nine Patch, Ohio Star, and Churn Dash. In colors, think fewer superbright palettes and more traditional colorways, especially those involving browns and tans.

Civil War Remembered4. Reproduction prints? Hot, hot, hot! Big quilts, little quilts, and every size in between. Quilts that appear to be from the past are very popular in the present. Need a little something to help you get started? Check out the latest bestseller Civil War Remembered from authors Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene.

5. Color trends? We saw fashion hues coming on strong around the market—coral, mint, purple, and blues, to name a few.
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Stitches to Savor 2016 Wall-Art Calendar6. Got wool? If so, you’ll be seeing plenty of books and patterns to put your wool to work. The tactile nature and ease of stitching wool seems to be catching on. Even if you’re not a wool stitcher, get in on this trend with a copy of Stitches to Savor: 2016 Wall-Art Calendar of Designs by Sue Spargo from Martingale. Its rich, detailed photographs will have you oohing and aahing every month and maybe even petting the pages! Trust me, you don’t want to miss getting your copy of this limited-edition calendar. Buy one early before they sell out!

7. Handwork is hip. Embroidery and English paper piecing continue to capture the attention and imagination of quilters. For those of us who juggle multiple projects at once (and really, who doesn’t?), consider always having at least one handwork project in your repertoire. If you haven’t yet joined the hexagon craze, check out the best-seller The New Hexagon from author Katja Marek. You can join Katja’s Millefiore quilt-along on Facebook.
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Karen's rosette from The New Hexagon
Director of sales and marketing Karen Johnson’s rosette from Katja’s quilt-along, based on blocks from The New Hexagon.
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Machine Quilting with Style8. Machine quilting. Learning to finish your own quilts—whether on a home sewing machine or long-arm quilting machine—is what everyone is talking about and learning to do! Have no fear, there’s plenty of advice coming in books from your favorite authors. And if you’re thinking, “I’m no artist, I can’t do free-motion,” have no fear. You won’t have to wait long. In September 2015, author Christa Watson’s Machine Quilting with Style book from Martingale includes an entire section of walking-foot wonders that take you beyond stitching in the ditch. Who knew?
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Primitive Style9. Primitives are popular again! It’s been a while, but dark wool, primitive motifs, and rustic designs are everywhere. Stay tuned for a Martingale book in December, Primitive Style: Folk-Art Quilts and Other Finery from author Jenifer Gaston.

10. To go along with the machine-quilting craze, we saw fabrics go beyond basic to help you in developing your machine-quilting muscle memory. We loved Robert Kaufman’s DRAWN fabrics by Angela Walters. Her fabrics incorporate some of her favorite quilting designs. For your part, drop the feed dogs and practice free-motion quilting over the printed designs until you get the rhythm and confidence you need to try it on your own. Brilliant!


Those were the top trends we spotted at market. Which ones make your quilting heart beat faster? We’d love to hear the top trend or two you’re most excited about.


32 Comments (leave a comment)

  • Wow, they all look great. Civil War Remembered caught my eye, Sue Spargo’s wool contribution is great, The New Hexagon is very interesting as I love EPP, and Primitive Style also looks wonderful. So many to chose from. I like them all.

    —Patricia D. Roberts on June 4, 2015
  • The primitive and Civil War are my type, but I must say I love the lion. Very cool.

    —Dawn Smolsky on June 4, 2015
  • I would have to say the "Civil War Remembered" and the Primitive patterns are the ones I’d be most interested in. Being partial to the old school patterns like Ohio star and such, plus the applique techniques from the others. My hand stitching is getting better and I believe those projects could be doable for me.

    —debra lee on June 4, 2015
  • What an exciting list of trends with so many possibilities for quilting. I’m already deeply into reproduction prints, so that’s an easy choice for me. The one that I’m most excited about, however, is machine quilting and going beyond stitch in the ditch. The new book coming out in September will be a must buy for me.

    —Bill Boisvert on June 4, 2015
  • It’s all about the House, color trends and traditional blocks. Also want to start doing some machine quilting on my home machine. Lots to do!!

    —Nicky on June 4, 2015
  • i am so happy to know that traditional quilts are back in style. I just can’t wrap my head around modern quilts. Still love my bright batiks but brown and tan are great too. Especially if they are batiks.

    —Eileen Wright on June 4, 2015
  • I am thrilled that repros and traditional patterns are coming back into vogue. I thought I was a loner in my love for quilts that don’t look like a kaleidoscope or have a ton of negative space. And I still love all things houses.

    —Donna B on June 4, 2015
  • Civil War and primitives but the wool would be fun to try.

    —Diana O. on June 4, 2015
  • I am right there with the Civil War and traditional quilts, the wool applique designs, and I am embarking upon doing my own free motion quilting. Keep up the good work, Martingale! :o)

    —Melanie on June 4, 2015
  • Ooh I’m going to have to get that Sue Spargo calendar. I love houses too, so its fun to see them in so many ways. My biggest excitement is with the millefiori quiltalong. I’ve just started. I’m using paper pieces and Katja’s method of glue basting. The photo you showed looks like the center and round 1 of Rosette #1 – thread basted.

    —Karen on June 4, 2015
  • Traditional is more my type of quilting. I have made some contemporary quilts, but I really enjoy the piecing of traditional blocks like the log cabin, stars, nine patch, four patch, Irish chain, etc.

    —Virginia in AK on June 4, 2015
  • I will enjoy anything relating yo quilting your own quilts, on domestic or mid arm machines. I enjoy batiks and bright clear colors. I don’t buy any repros or civil war or dark drab fabrics. My friends and I are waiting for someone to put more pure colors out there, not grayed ones. I do a lot of shopping on line trying to find the colors I need. Many of my local stores have good sales on civil war or repros because they are not selling well. My friends generality stay away from those fabrics.

    —Brenda Whiteley on June 4, 2015
  • Two things from your list that I’ve always loved. I’ve been machine quilting for over forty years; first on my sewing machine, then on a long arm. I just got a new one two weeks ago. And I love house blocks. My mom was an elementary school teacher in country schools, so I’ve always liked school house quilts, too.

    —Sharon on June 4, 2015
  • I really like the Irish Chain quilt, made of batiks, in the first picture of your booth display. I think that is an absolutely amazing quilt!

    —Sharon Powless on June 4, 2015
  • House quilts and walking foot machine quilting are the trends that appealed to me. I’ve gotten rid of all my reproduction fabrics and will never go back to that as I much prefer the clear colors of modern quilting.

    —Marsha on June 4, 2015
  • Anything with English Paper Piecing! Love the Civil War fabrics & quilts too!

    —Vicki Sprain on June 4, 2015
  • Nice job in letting us in the loop for new trends. I like the book on machine quilting and fabric in which to practice quilting to get in the groove of it. Also like "Civil War Remembered". Thanks

    —Rita on June 4, 2015
  • Would love to try DRAWN? I am an accomplished piecer, but not good at home quilting. This may be just for me! Loved the other nine as well, though! Drawn just caught my eye.

    —Diane Stillman on June 4, 2015
  • Very happy that reproductions, traditionals, primitives, and wools are again gaining in popularity — I was worried for awhile that the soul of my quilting style would become difficult to perpetuate!

    —Susan O. on June 4, 2015
  • Love the foundation pieced lion!

    —Suzanne Coyner on June 4, 2015
  • I’m happy to hear that Houses are in! You can never have too many house quilts. Thanks for the insights–very interesting!

    Diane Harris on June 5, 2015
  • I always loved the house designed quilts and have always wanted to create one.

    —Charlene Boniscavage on June 5, 2015
  • I like the new color trends and traditional quilts coming back in style, but I am always a proponent of handwork (embroidery, piecing and quilting) so I hope more people will enjoy it, too. Sometimes the process is more valuable than speed.

    —Becky Reed on June 5, 2015
  • It is hard to pick. Been doing Civil War the past three years. It is part of celebration and this is the third year. been wanting to add more to the transitional quilt with the primitive flare. Can you see I love it all. it is hard to keep up and hard to have time and money.

    —Linda Christianson on June 5, 2015
  • The The New Hexagon Quilt-A-Long has me inspired and trying things I never knoew I could do! Over 4000 in the group – WORLD WIDE – and growing. Just looking through the picture files makes me happy!! And yes, I am the original Block 4 in the book!

    —Lorraine B on June 5, 2015
  • WOW! That lion is really cool! What fun that would be. I will certainly be looking for the big animals.

    —Mary on June 5, 2015
  • I am trying to get into wool appliqué. It is going very slow. And it sounds like it is the year for a house quilt.

    —sew happy on June 5, 2015
  • I love house designs, but my heart belongs even more to primitives, and Civil War Remembered. I would love to try the new method of machine quilting, too. Too many wonderful choices!!

    —Norma on June 5, 2015
  • I love that we are getting back to the traditional quilting and the primitive look. I also am enjoying the come back of embroidery.

    —Renea on June 5, 2015
  • I love the large Lion quilt!

    —Joanne on June 5, 2015
  • I love reproduction fabrics and quilts. Right now my focus is on miniature quilts!

    —Renee Welton on June 5, 2015
  • Can you tell me the name of the Irish chain pattern with the log cabin around it. It’s in the first picture?

    —Mary on June 12, 2015

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