Houston 2019, Part 1: Market, New Products and People
Houston 2019 is a wrap! This year was my smoothest ever and I didn’t forget anything major – that’s a win right there. It is hard to convey in words the excitement of being at Market and Festival. It’s the world’s stage of quilting and there is a lovely feeling of unity that pervades both events. We are united by a love of quilts and what divides us fades for just a bit.
I was thrilled that my energy did not flag. It is a brutal physical experience and stressful at times. I didn’t sleep but an hour or two on two separate nights and although that was a challenge, I did not lose steam while teaching, a blessing indeed. All 10 days had at least 14,000 steps and my high was 26,000, not at all unusual for Houston. I’m sure some of the vendors topped that and hardly left their booth!
Market and Festival take over the entire George R, Brown Convention Center and it is the second largest yearly event in Houston. It is always a difficult decision to figure out when to arrive and when to leave. It is expensive to be there so it’s an important choice. I arrived in time to catch all of Market and left on Sat morning, the day before the show closes. You may not realize that the Show is hung by the Saturday before Festival, so Market attendees can view the show when there are very few people there. The poor vendors usually do not get a chance to see the quilts.
Market started on Friday morning with a gathering of all attendees to hear a welcome speech by Tula Pink. She has a whole new line of products and fabric that all relate to sewing items. There is ribbon, Aurifil thread colors, 2 fabulous BERNINA sewing machines and of course – fabric.
I was not in the Tula Pink BERNINA sewing machine room, but I got a gander at them:
Those polka dots and the rainbow faceplate are soooo cooll!
Friday at Market is for “Schoolhouse”. Vendors, makers, authors and designers have an opportunity to show their new offerings to the industry. In attendance are shop owners, industry professionals like me and all kinds of other interested parties.
From 10 AM – 6 PM there are 30-minute segments for presenters, with each time slot having around 20 choices – there are a LOT of things to do! You make your choices and circulate freely as you wish. You must be a credentialed member to attend Market.
I attended schoolhouse sessions all day including:
The talented Jennifer Sampou. Her new ombre line, Skye, is just stunning. She’s talking about the quilt on the cover of her book – isn’t that beautiful? Her book includes patterns for all of the quilts.
Tadah! And there is the quilt she asked me to quilt for her, “Whale and I”. It was a trip to be at Schoolhouse and see that quilt shown. And BTW, Jennifer’s blouse is made from her Skye line of fabric.
Claudia Pfeil is launching her new fabric line and patterns. It was so cool to see her work up close and chat a bit with her.
Everything single thing that Elizabeth Hartman showed was adorable!
Weeks and Ringle debuted some new fabrics and patterns. The pattern for the quilt on the right is called “Tube Socks” – how cute! I loved how their fabric makes super simple quilts look complex. Many people do not know this but they are the original Modern Quilters.
Pepper Cory‘s new sashiko book will be out next year and I can’t wait to see it. It is a real Moment to be around people that built the industry that I now thrive in. And we are building for those to come after us.
They let the gates open on Saturday for Market:
The Market floor opens on Sat AM and goes through to Monday at 3PM. Last year was my first Market and I stumbled around in a daze. There are over 1,000 vendor booths after all! This year I had a plan. I was looking for a thread and batting sponsor and I found both at the RNK booth. I was thrilled! I researched all of this and I appreciated RNK’s attention to quality and detail. I love the Quilters Select products and am slowly amassing my own collection, replacing previously acquired items. The Quilters Select thread is divine and is now my go-to thread.
I looked at all the batting manufacturers and settled on Quilters Select also. They only make a 4 oz cotton (the thinnest available, similar to the Request loft of Quilters Dream), a 4 oz poly/cotton blend and a New Zealand wool batting that is soft as a feather. I am learning a lot of details about batting and thread which I’ll pass on at a later date.
And ooooo, lookie here:
It’s still a thrill to see my book in the wild. I have no idea how I got that black and white/color thing going on in the photo, but I did. That is Jennifer Sampou in back there and MY BOOK under Best Sellers!
I also wanted to see what new products are out there that I might want to carry in my traveling and online store. There were a few fabulous finds:
This interesting little grip and thimble thingy is pretty cool and I will be testing it out. It is super comfortable and there are so many times that I need both, so I think it’s a great idea to marry the thimble and gripper. As I age, my hand strength is declining and I need grip more often.
These Magic Pins feel sooooo good! I am not a fan of the flower ones – the dog gone tip is just too big. These are super easy to grip and the needles themselves are super strong. I MUST get some of these asap! They feel so good in the hand.
This stuff is super cool – Chenile It! It is not like the chenile of the past. It is roll of flat fiber/ribbon that is uber flexible and thin, making it very easy to round sharp curves. When washed, it blooms into chenile. The samples in the booth were awesome, filled with that chenile texture and this new product makes it so easy.
Another example. Neither sample shows well in my photo but in real life, if you were walking past the booth, you HAD to go in and check it out because it was just so striking. They do sell kits for both of these samples.
The entire Odif booth is like a candy station to me! They make a whole range of products to solve our vexing sewing problems. Already know about 505 spray baste? Yup, that’s Odif.
They also make 303, a permanent adhesive that does not “wet” things and make them curl; 606, a fusible adhesive that will hold badges and hems through wash-after-wash, Grippy – a spray-on that will make your rulers grippy, and Odi-Coat that makes any surface waterproof – you can make your own “vinyl” fabric from what you already have. I was like a groupie at their booth!
TIP: Did you know that even if you are doing a light spray, you must fully depress the spray button for the proper mix of product to be distributed? If you just half-press the button, you will not get the right mix. Who knew?
There were lots of other cool products but I’ll stop now! BTW, I just don’t generally shop much for fabric. The only fabric that slapped me in the face was Denise Burkitt’s fabric by Free Spirit. It is unique and speaks to me adn I’ve gotten to know Denise a bit from visiting her at Market for the past 2 years:
I did have a tiny little bit of time while at Market and early Festival to walk around at the adjacent Discovery Park:
The Green is so pretty at night. This photo – #nofilter!
It was near Halloween so there were all kinds of fun performers. Even at night, it is safe and fun, with lots of families walking around with children. Every night I was out, there was some sort of music.
Right in front of the GRB there is this kinetic and audible sculpture. It was mesmerizing.
How fun is this? The children’s play area lights up and glows at night. It was magical.
And then there was this:
Quick story: My energy level is set to high. Sometimes that works against me and makes it hard to sleep. I will go on a long, brisk walk to put down some energy so that I can sleep. Well on Monday night I was walking along and noticed people streaming to a particular venue, so I just joined in and followed, not knowing where I was going. I asked some security guards what the event was and they said they didn’t know, but that it was free.
Cool, so I thought well I’ll just go in and see what’s up. I went through the gate where they check your purse and asked what was going on. It was an Astros Watch Party at Minute Maid Stadium! I was at the Stadium!
Back story: Hubby and I lived in Houston in the early 80’s, then again in the 90’s, total of about 10 years. Both boys were born there, making them native Texans. Hubby is from El Paso and his Mother’s kin hail back 3 more generations. We had Astros mini-season tickets when we lived there so we are legit Astros fans.
It was like there was a game going on right there! It was so fun, the atmosphere was electric. Fans filled about half of the lower deck. I was suprised at how intimate the stadium was, you were never that far from the field. The last time I saw the Astros live they were in the Astrodome! What a fun evening that was, so unexpected.
The whole town went crazy for the Astros:
And then there were the people. Oh I could name drop! I forgot to take photos of the people that help make all this happen: the amazing Education staff that cares for us teachers like we were their children and the BERNINA people that kept my classroom stocked and loaded with fabulous machines. Here’s what I did get:
Dinner Sunday night was at Rodeo Goat, NOT approved by the American Heart Association! There was absolutely nothing healthy there and it was so gooooood! I ordered a Sugar Burger with candied bacon, grilled peaches, caramelized onions, arugula and jalapeno jam. See what I mean? Hey, sugar, fat and salt in every dog gone bite – yuuumm!
Heidi Proffety and I met while filming The Quilt Show at the same time. Heidi is incredibly talented and a delightful person to know.
Pinch me, I’m all Fan Girl with two quilters I greatly admire: Kathy Stuart and Cristina Arcenegui. Kathy does stunning work in a variety of styles, the most recent noteable was Viewer’s Choice at AQS Charleston – what a beauty!
I needed help with my Friday Sampler and put out a call on Facebook. Cristina answered and I about fell on the floor. She is an award-winning, talented quilter from Spain. Here is one of her most recent quilts, Dangerous Laisons. Cristina was so helpful to me and just a delight. I couldn’t believe she came to help me!
I also met Iris White from Taiwan. Iris does many things for the Taiwanese quilt industry including training teachers, and designing and manufacturing innovative new products. She is so generous and talented and seems to know everyone.
She gifted me with a set of her well-designed rulers and some couching feet that she also designed! I had to ship them back in a separate box and I am excited to share them with you once I get to play with them. We have some plans that I can’t wait to tell you about – those will have to wait. I was flattered and surprised that she sought me out. It was a very Special Moment for me.
There was also an opportunity to take mini-classes during Market on various subjects. I took a Kraft-Tex class to make a mini-dop kit:
How sad mine was – lumpy and off-kilter because I did not follow the directions well. It was a super simple project too. I am the hapless student.
And I think this is a fitting scene to round the corner between Market and Festival:
This is a sea of irons, waiting for the Festival Education students to hit the ground running. What a task for Education to keep all of us supplied, happy and at the right place!
Well next week it is on to the the quilts! I’ll post on Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Frida, so look for all the good links there.
Betty Jo Tatum says
What a wonderful review of the Market! Thank you.
You’re welcome Betty Jo! Maybe I’ll see you in HOuston next year?
Betty Jo Tatum says
Brenda Perry says
I don’t usually comment on your blog posts unless I have something specific to say, but I just wanted to be sure you know how much I enjoy reading your posts! They are always informative and fun, and so much more! Keep ’em coming!
Awww, thank you Brenda! It is good to know because sometimes I wonder if anyone actually reads it!
Donna Brennan says
Thank you for the ride-along, to see Houston “Jenny-style”! Looking forward to new goodies in your Shop.
Now I just need to get my act together, try those products and get the useful ones in my shop!
Carla B. says
Love all the information. I’m going to do some research on the Quilters Select products and the Odif. I love using 505 spray. Once started never turned back! Now about Weeks and Ringle, when or where do Joe Cunningham and Gwen Marsden fit in to the early modern quilt movement?
Interesting point Carla. Gwen was doing it before Weeks and Ringle but I don’t think she called herself or thought of herself as a “Modern”. I am not the authoritative historian here but I think Weeks and Ringle were at least among the first to self-identify and call themselves “Modern”. I am going to snoop around a bit and see what I can find.
Mrs. Plum says
Though I realize you worked hard teaching while you were in Houston, it does sound like quilting heaven!
It is both, in spades Mrs. Plum!
Thank you Jenny for taking me to Houston, enjoyed it very much.
So glad you enjoyed it!
Beth Gardner says
I was at Houston last week for the show and vendors and am still telling my friends about it until their eyes glaze over. I see a series of blue and white quilts in my future…
They can’t understand until they’ve visited the Mother Ship themselves! I feel for ya.
I was there for two full (but exhausting) weeks, from setup to takedown (I stay with my daughter who lives nearby). Enjoyed your demo, and went home with a new Janome 6700! Now, to read the manual a bit more, watch the DVD, and make myself 24 little quilt sandwiches to use with your book!
Oh wow, score for you! You’ll love that 6700. I know, it is exhausting!
Diane Mitchell says
Jenny, I love living the Quilt Life at Houston through you. I didn’t get to go to Festival this year, will probably never go to Market, so thanks for sharing! So happy to know you…
Oh Diane, back at ya! Glad you enjoyed the post.
bobbie rumler says
Of course, when I saw your email I really enjoy and it was so informative…things I didn’t know thank you bobbie
Glad that you enjoyed it Bobbie!
Linda Mullaney says
Awesome post! So many things to explore further.
Thank you Linda, glad you enjoyed it!