Quilt Market Recap!

Melody Miller, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Alexia Abegg, Sarah Watts, & Kim Kight of Cotton + Steel, and me
Each market has a personality all its own, and this one had one definite theme: Cotton + Steel. I planned to go to market for my own business, to meet & greet with my friends, visit with editors, and chat with other designers and fabric companies. But in addition to all of that, I was lucky enough to have my bestie pal Alexia Abegg and her C+S partner Melody Miller ask me if I'd assist them with their booth prep and schoolhouse presentation. Clearly the answer was a big fat YES!

details of the Cotton + Steel booth wall
First off, I have to say that the lovely ladies of C+S and their accompanying men (AKA, beards of steel) were so kind to me and really treated me like one of their own, despite being a helper and not a C+S designer. It was also really educational to see market from a presenter's perspective, and I am so grateful for the behind-the-scenes access, all kinds of knowledge to store away in my head for one day when I have my own market booth!

the beautiful Cotton + Steel booth
I arrived on Wednesday afternoon and went directly to the show floor to see how I could help the team with their set up. I had seen the booth in its full glory a few months prior when they were setting things up at the RJR headquarters in Torrance, a lucky break that it is not far from my home. I helped with whatever needed an extra set of hands and then we headed off to dinner.

Market was in Pittsburgh, a city I hadn't been to before, and I really liked it! It reminded me of all the mid-sized midwestern cities I know from Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio, all of which have that rustbelt feel to them. I judge every city on how easy it is for me (a vegetarian) to eat there, and for that, Pittsburgh got a surprisingly huge two thumbs up from me! We landed that first night at a meatball restaurant, complete with a veggie "meat" ball option! Thank you!

After many drinks and meatballs, somehow we found ourselves getting a cartwheel lesson from Sarah, to which me and Melody were the only takers, but we've decided to have a redo in the fall after a summer of practicing. Hopefully it will be slightly less embarrassing than our first go!
the Cotton + Steel Schoolhouse presentation
The next day was an early to rise day, as the C+S ladies were presenting in the premier schoolhouse, which meant speaking in a giant ballroom to about 1,500 people. Alexia and I had proper breakfasts, and headed off to meet up with the rest of the team. Again, watching how all of this went down from behind the curtain was so wonderful and these ladies are such pros. Melody and Alexia spoke and they showed the documentary films that Melody's husband made, all of which are so amazing.

Melody wearing an Emery Dress during the Schoolhouse presentation!
One of the films goes into all the details on how the fabric is made and prepared and I cannot recommend it enough. It's amazing how many people in this industry don't understand how fabric is made and printed, including some fabric designers I've met along the way. Seems like fabric 101 if you ask me! You can watch this video along with their others on the Cotton + Steel Facebook page.

details of the pretty Cotton + Steel booth
After the presentation, it was back to booth prep, and I helped with sewing buttons on garments in the booth, binding quilts, making throw pillows, and the like. I was so happy to help and even was given my very own Cotton + Steel T-shirt! Thanks ladies! After all of that, I got to help (and witness) for Sample Spree, an event I've only ever heard about. OMG, it lived up to the madness hype and then some!
my sample spree haul :)
Okay, so for those of you that don't know, Sample Spree is where people can come in and buy fat quarters and other things from the company's booths before it all ships later in the year. So, for C+S, their fabric ships in July, but if you were at spree, you could get your hands on some of it NOW! You see how this can mess with your mind, right? The doors opened, the people RAN towards the booth and then loaded up armfuls of fabric! Melody's husband and I sat on the floor under the tables and threw all the fabric up on the tables and into the hands of the happy shoppers, until the back stock was empty, which was exactly 10 minutes. Yep, 10 minutes and all the C+S fabric was gone! After that madness ended we hit dinner and then passed out!

sample spree madness!
The next two days were filled with walking the show floor, visiting with friends, meeting up with people that I knew from the internet and meeting new people. Friday I got together with Lotta Jansdotter so she could shoot my photo for her next book. She asked me and a few other people to make a project from her book, which was a huge honor to say the least.

me & Tasia of Sewaholic
I also met the lovely Tasia from Sewaholic and was lucky enough to score one of her new books and get it signed by her. Tasia is as nice as you'd suspect and her book is big and lovely. I know that people are going to love it!

Jaime & Amber of Fancy Tiger, Lotta, and me
Friday night Lotta and I met up with Amber and Jaime from Fancy Tiger and planned to get Thai food and then visit the Andy Warhol museum. Delicious Thai food was had (vegan duck curry!), then we walked over the river to the museum, only to find that it was closed in prep for their big 20th anniversary party the next night. Needless to say, we were all really bummed. No worries, we found a bar that was happy to have us!

Carolyn Friedlander and her beautiful booth & book
Saturday was more visiting and I hit the vintage fabric booth... twice! Oh man, that is a deadly spot for me. I blame Carolyn Friedlander, as it was her booth that drew me over to that area, but as she was always wrapped up with fans, I found myself wandering into the vintage fabric. Curse you Carolyn! Not really... Carolyn is SO nice and her booth was lovely. The organizers agreed and while we were there getting our books signed (her book too is lovely) she won a booth award! Well done!

Deborah, Keli, Monica, and Kristin all shared a cab to the airport Saturday afternoon, then after Monica and Kristin flew away, Deborah, Keli and I wandered off to find a chill spot, only to find Lotta having a meal and cocktail by herself, to which we happily joined in! A lovely way to end the trip!

me & Alexia
Thanks again to the lovely and talented Cotton + Steel ladies for including me, and thanks to all the other fine people I met and visited with over the weekend! It was such a delightful trip and I hope to see everyone again in Houston!