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Figures, fads, and fabrics…

Get your post-Market wrap-up here!

by Rhianna White

It’s been over a month since the close of fall Quilt Market in Houston, but the positive energy of this year’s show persists in the form of positive buzz—seen all over the internet and heard from attendees and exhibitors still working to fill all of those orders. In case you need concrete proof that this Market was a success, the numbers speak volumes.

At this year’s show, there were 572 exhibitors (a 7% increase from last fall) in more than 1,140 booths (up 9% from last year), of which 52 were entirely new to the show. In addition, 3,531 people registered to attend Market, a notable 13% increase over the 2009 figures.

Still, we know it’s not all about the numbers. As we like to say, the show sells creativity as much as it does product, and there was no shortage of new and creative designs and products to be seen on the show floor.

Many of the trends we noted after spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis (and several previous editions of Market) remain “in vogue.” Birds—and specifically, owls—continue to pop up in pattern and fabric designs. Wool and wool felt projects remain popular items, as do patterns for purses, tote bags, clothing, and home décor. There were, however, plenty of new trends to be seen at the most recent edition of Market—mainly in the form of fabric.

In neutral territory

Over the past few years, browns, beiges, and creams have been the go-to neutral for many fabric designers, and rightfully so—they rarely steal the show, and work as a great filler or backdrop against which other colors truly pop. But at fall Market, eInsider couldn’t help but notice that grey seemed to be the color of the day. As more browns begin to take center stage, grey provides a nice alternative as a new neutral.

Samples from the Shades of Grey collection by Daisy Janie.

“To me, grey is like a pair of jeans, because it can be paired with just about anything—and can even be dressed up or dressed down!” says Jan DiCintio, owner/designer of the organic fabrics company, Daisy Janie, a first-time exhibitor (and Best Booth award winner) at fall Market (

Daisy Janie introduced two new collections at Market, one of which—Shades of Grey—is composed entirely of subtle, geometric patterns in all greys and whites.

“As I was designing this collection, I was truly envisioning these greys in projects with solids or small prints that run the gamut from jewel tones to pastels—piping on a pillow, sashing in a quilt, a gathered pocket on a handbag, a banding detail on a tablerunner. So many ideas!” DiCintio says. “I’ve had a lot of e-mails from quilters and hobby sewers who have thanked me for introducing an all-grey collection, which certainly makes me think that others share the ‘neutrality of grey’ mindset.”

Still, it isn’t all “shades of grey” at Daisy Janie. JaCintio also introduced her new “Geo Grand” collection, which features retro-inspired geometric prints in bold tones of brown, turquoise, and a take on chartreuse green.

“I am positively fascinated by life of the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s, particularly my grandmother’s,” she says. “I consistently return to the décor style of these eras, as well as images from her home for inspiration, because the stirring nostalgia I feel is powerful. I try to capture that ‘enamored’ feeling in my re-imagined designs and fabrics.”

Prints, in two colorways, from Patty Young’s Sanctuary collection.

For Sanctuary, her new collection for Michael Miller Fabrics, popular designer Patty Young ( wanted to capture the serene and blissful feeling of a day at the spa. “For our 10th wedding anniversary, my husband, Jon, and I went on a spa retreat, and it was one of the most wonderful and memorable vacations we’ve ever taken,” she explains.

“While I should have been relaxing, I found myself observing my surroundings and taking note of the modern décor, the calming sounds, the sweet aromas,” she continues. “I’ve always enjoyed the styling and ambiance you feel immersed in at a spa. I wanted to capture that modern tranquility in Sanctuary, so that concept drove the imagery that I ended up developing.”

The stars of the collection are “Dahlia Lama,” a floral print with colorful blooms and neutral shadows, and “Aromatherapy,” a looser, almost geometric floral design. Coordinating prints feature everything from Young’s take on “Glass Tiles” (a cheerful block pattern) to a “Seaweed Wrap” (flowing, organic lines) to her “Orchid Feng Shui,” an Asian-inspired botanical pattern.

In a slight departure from the vivid, saturated colors of Young’s previous collections, Sanctuary features colors that—while still vibrant—come together, with the help of cool greys and warm browns, to form a calm and composed aesthetic. “Just as important [in designing the collection] was the choice of colors,” she says. “The greys and deep browns really anchor the brighter colors in the collection with an undertone of class that really speaks to me of the spa experience.”

Equally soothing are the soft shades of FreeSpirit’s new Wild World fabric collection from artist and designer Jenean Morrison, another first-time exhibitor at fall Market ( A combination of dense florals and modern, yet natural forms, the collection incorporates warm, natural grey tones—blended into both the foreground and background—into several of its prints.

For her new collection for Anthology Fabrics, up-and-coming designer Khristian A. Howell ( says she aimed to “use color in a fresh new way.” Bryant Park is an energetic, eye-catching collection of large-scale florals and Howell’s thoroughly modern interpretation of damask and tile-inspired patterns. Her bold color palette is balanced by her use of grey, which pairs well with the turquoises and yellows of her Yacht colorway and the corals and greens of her Terre colorway.

Pardon our French

The romance and splendor of the French culture has long been a source of inspiration for artists and designers, and—as evidenced by the number of French-inspired prints available at Market—remains so today.

Among the new fabrics introduced by designer (and now, fabric manufacturer) Anna Griffin ( at fall Market was The Willow Collection, an assortment of formal, monochromatic prints in three colorways—blue, black, and red. A blend of 17th-century French toile and antique Chinese porcelain designs, the collection includes fairly traditional representations of damask, ikat, and medallion prints.

Prints from Tula Pink’s
Parisville collection.

Other designers—including first-time exhibitor Tula Pink (—offered a more modern interpretation of the classic toile, damask, and French-inspired patterns. For her new Parisville collection for FreeSpirit, the designer wanted to create something that would “breath new life into something we thought we already knew.” And her designs, while inspired by some traditional motifs, are wholly original, eccentric, and glamorous.

“Parisville is about decadence, defiance, fashion, hair, and most importantly, it’s about telling a story,” she explains. “This story is loosely inspired by the Marie Antoinette saga. I took a lot of liberties in making the story my own. I love the extreme visual indulgence of the 18th century and the very flat graphic style of the 21st century. I think I live somewhere between those two worlds, as does this collection.”

Art Gallery Fabrics’ Dreaming in
French collection from Pat Bravo.
The same could be said of two new collections from Art Gallery Fabrics (—Dreaming in French and Paradise by designer/owner Pat Bravo. Both are an eclectic mix of French-inspired floral and abstract prints, rooted in traditional and vintage imagery and yet, altogether contemporary.

“The inspiration behind Dreaming in French was my trip to Paris last year. As I was discovering the city, street by street, an explosion of beauty, style, and color unfolded before my eyes!” Bravo explains. “The collection plays homage to the décor of many boutiques in the city of lights. The designs are romantic, feminine, and saturated with color.”

The Parisian-themed Dreaming in French collection is available in two cleverly named colorways—the St. Germain Palette, featuring vivid shades of purple, fuschias, and deep browns, and the St. Honore Palette, composed of brighter shades of purple, pink, and green.

If Dreaming in French is like a walk through the streets of Paris, Bravo’s Paradise collection might be a stroll through the French countryside. “Paradise speaks more about colorful gardens of a French chateau or palace,” she says. “The complexity and beauty of those gardens made me go for a very fresh and lively palette of colors on the Sunrise colorway and a more subdued and mysterious palette for the Sunset colorway.”

Of course, we can’t discuss the French-themed fabric trend without a mention of Paige Stanley Miller’s Bon Vivant for Windham Fabrics ( In contrast to the aforementioned collections, Stanley’s designs offer a more lighthearted, almost cartoon-like depiction of the city of Paris, complete with playful poodles, pastries, street maps, and fashion accessories.

Other new and noteworthy fabrics

A print from “Geeks Gone Wild,” part Kyla May’s Smirk collection for Timeless Treasures.
Another fun novelty collection that made its debut at fall Market was Australian-based designer Kyla May’s Smirk line for Timeless Treasures ( This humorous collection of fabrics—which shares its name and aesthetic with May’s popular Smirk greeting card collection—features a cast of playfully positioned stick-figure characters in groups like “Girly Girls,” “Best Dad Ever,” and “Geeks Gone Wild.” The latter also features several vintage-video-game-inspired prints that really appeal to eInsider’s inner geek.

While most companies rely on the talent of current, contemporary designers, there were a couple of notable exceptions at Market this year. First, Michael Miller Fabrics ( introduced its Tammis Keefe Tribute collection, based on the work of the somewhat obscure mid-20th-century textile designer who, since her death, has acquired a bit of a cult following. Best known for her handkerchief designs, Keefe’s motifs often reflected her love of nature and, specifically, animals, the latter of which is the focus of the Michael Miller collection. 

Through a licensing agreement with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, David Textiles ( developed a collection of fabrics based on select works represented at V&A, the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design. Among them are a number of reproduction prints featuring the ornate botanical artwork of famed 19th-century textile designer William Morris, who was at the forefront of the English Arts and Crafts Movement. Though true to the integrity of Morris’ original designs, the prints were refreshed with a more modern color palette for the collection.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, really—there was no shortage of fabulous new fabrics introduced at fall Market. But it’s a good primer on what you can expect to see hitting the shelves of fabric and quilt shops over the next few months. So, if you haven’t already, time to start stocking yours!

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