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Modern, maritime, and masculine

Trending on the spring Market show floor

--by Rhianna Griffin

Whether you attended spring Quilt Market in Kansas City, or simply experienced it courtesy of blogs and social media, you know that there was much to report in the way of noteworthy new products and trends.

After spending the last few weeks sorting through business cards, product handouts, and pages of notes, we’ve finally put pen to paper (or, well, keyboard to computer screen?), and are offering you our very thorough analysis of the new goods and trends that caught our attention most at spring Market.

Big basics

If Modern quilting made a ripple in the water at fall Market, it created waves this spring. Designers like Denyse Schmidt, Carolyn Friedlander, Julie Herman (Jaybird Quilts), Brigitte Heitland (Zen Chic), and Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr (Modern Quilt Studio) offered up patterns that are thoroughly “Modern” in design.

Modern quilts are also a popular subject in the world of quilting publications, both books and magazines. In addition to Ringle and Kerr’s Modern Quilts Illustrated (first introduced at fall Market), Modern quilting magazines such as Modern Quilts Unlimited, Quilty Magazine, and—as featured in the last edition of eInsider—Generation Q have all recently hit the market. 

Robert Kaufman's Kona Cotton Solids are well loved and utilized among members of the Modern Quilt movement, something they celebrated with the vibrant Modern quilt display (which including Stash Books’ new We Love Color: 16 Iconic Quilt Designers Create with Kona Solids) at the front of their Market booth. The company has also recently added 28 new colors to the Kona Solids lineup.

Simply Color collection by Vanessa Christenson for Moda

Moda has added a new collection of vibrant “basics” with the Simply Color collection from designer Vanessa Christenson of V & Co., and author of the new book, Make It Sew Modern: Gather, Twist, Pleat, Texture. The collection—Christenson’s first—includes saturated solids, simple coordinating prints (many of which, she says, were inspired by her love of vintage fabric), and—the best part—ombres!

 “The line was inspired, obviously, by color, but also my love of the look of clean, fresh, and monochromatic,” Christenson explains. “Ombre was definitely the first idea, and I wanted my line to go well with the idea of different shades of the same color. It’s perfect for clothing, quilts, décor, and handbags. I’ve used it for all of the above!”

Among the prints included in Simply Color is the classic chevron stripe, a design motif that made a number of appearances across fabric collections seen at spring Market. And, really, what’s not to love about chevron?

Sarah Jane's To the Sea collection for Michael Miller

It offers a playful spin on the standard stripe. Other examples appeared in Michael Miller’s vivid Stripes collection, Riley Blake’s Chevron, and—although not technically a “chevron” in the truest sense—the ZigZag print seen in Cloud9 Fabrics’ new GeoCentric Canvas collection definitely has a certain chevron-esque quality.

Somewhere Beyond the Sea

Solids and stripes may have shined brightly this spring, but it was nautical prints that really stole the show. From Michael Miller’s Ahoy Matey to Birch Fabrics’ Set Sail to Alice Kennedy’s Ship Shape for Timeless Treasures, ships, sails, anchors, and whales (in classic reds and blues) were all over the Market floor.

In addition to classic maritime imagery, for her new Out to Sea collection for Michael Miller, designer Sarah Jane also incorporated whimsical elements such as pirate boys and girls, mermaids, and narwhals (yes—a real animal!) in her prints. And Alexander Henry Fabrics went the straight pirate route with their new Captain Redbeard and Pirate Island fabrics.

Crazy Old Ladies' Shore Thing collection for Michael Miller
Blend's Crabtastic collection

Back on shore, Blend Fabrics (a new licensing division of Anna Griffin), introduced its Crabtastic collection, a fun mix of summer-picnic-inspired prints including crabs, lobsters, condiments, shell crackers, and classic checkered tablecloth prints.

For her Shore Thing collection for Michael Miller Fabrics—a follow-up to her Going Coastal—designer Emily Herrick of Crazy Old Ladies says she wanted to capture the tropical vibe of a Palm Beach/Key West vacation.

“I knew from early on that this collection would include flamingos,” Herrick says. “Since Going Coastal featured crabs, it was natural for Shore Thing to include lobsters. I realize that they speak more to the New England area, but that’s the beauty of this collection. It doesn’t matter what coast you’re on, or where you vacation, it will speak to you.”

Herrick has also included an updated version of a travel poster print, as well as colorful sailboat and lifesaver prints. “And, of course, the preppy madras plaid that can go anywhere from Bermuda shorts to bandanas, and beach umbrellas to purses and bags,” she adds. “Each of the prints has a distinct personality, and, altogether as a collection, tells a fun story.”

Masculine and Miscellaneous

Vanilla House Designs' You're the Man tie pattern

In addition to her new fabric collection, Herrick was also at Market promoting a new book entitled Geared for Guys, which is packed full of ideas and patterns (eight of them to be exact) for creating quilts for the men in our lives, including one designed by “Quilt Dad” John Q. Adams. “The book seemed to generate quite a buzz, and was especially popular because of the modern design of the patterns,” Herrick concludes.

Other patterns we came across at Market were created with the younger guy in mind. New exhibitor Fishsticks Designs has recently introduced several boy-appropriate patterns, including The Oh, Boy! Boxers, The Everyday Campshirt, and The Which Way Out Jacket. And spotted at Vanilla House Designs were patterns for their adorable Dude Babies bibs, Monster Babies bibs, and pint-sized You're the Man ties.

New Exhibitor Empty Bobbin Sewing Studio offered a number of unique patterns, including the Seeing Squares Quilt, Card Table Playhouse, and Banner Day, a beginner-friendly pattern for creating fun, customizable bunting (an idea we spotted at several booths across the Market show floor).

Empty Bobbin's Banner Day pattern

“Banner Day is super fast and easy pattern for a beginner,” Empty Bobbin owner/designer Shea Henderson says. “I had it tested by some friends who were just learning to sew, so it is very user friendly. It also includes a full-sized alphabet template sheet, with the letter already reversed. A lot of stores use it for kids’ classes, and I’ve heard of school teachers using it to make banners in classrooms for reading areas, centers, etc.”

On the subject of classes, Henderson’s company also offers something that many shop owners can get behind—the complete class outline for teaching four of her patterns: Sleigh Bells Stockings, Cover Up Sewing Machine Cover, Crosshatch Quilt, and Home Sweet Home Pillow. These free lesson plans, she says, were a huge hit with shop owners at Market.

“My background is as a middle school math teacher, so I naturally approach things with a lesson plan view,” she explains. “Store owners are extremely busy and it would be difficult for them to know each and every pattern they sell and what skills each would teach, what add-on sales would be, etc. So, I created the totally free outlines for stores to use! And based on how popular they were at Market, I am working on more.”

So, there you have it—a complete breakdown the new products, trends, and ideas that called out to us at Market, and made us want to learn more.


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