So my little town of Cincinnati finally did something right! Somehow, Cincy bagged the International Quilt Festival, held this past weekend at the Duke Energy Convention Center. When I heard about this last year, I circled the weekend on my calendar, and had visions of spending the entire weekend downtown. But as it turned out, between a sick kid, work, and two birthday parties, I only had a few hours on Saturday to go. So I tried to pack in as much as I could. I wasn’t disappointed.
I’ve never been to any of the Quilts, Inc. quilt shows or quilt market events, so I didn’t know what to expect. The shopping side of the Festival is aimed at consumers (versus to the Trade, like Quilt Market), and the quilts themselves on display are amazing works of art. I’m going to do a series of posts, starting with the vendor-side and what struck me the most. Here are a few snapshots from the walkway that overlooks the convention floor. There was a couple standing next to me when I took this shot, and the guy turned to his wife and said, “See honey, there’s not one single man down there.”
I saw women of all ages (including a Girl Scout troop), but I’d say the average age was about 55, which is similar to the CHA SuperShow I went to last year. I feel like an event like this skews slightly older, and many of the vendor booths seemed to support that demographic. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t variety or that it felt “old” or out of touch with what’s going on. In fact, it felt vibrant and exciting, and there was truly something for every taste. It was focused on pretty traditional quilting (versus clothing or tons of accessories), but no sewer would walk away uninspired. There were a lot of machine exhibitors and demonstrations, along with gobs of fabric, mixed media stuff, felt and other specialty stuff, accessories (like buttons), and then gobs more fabric.
As it turns out, my favorite booth was the second one I visited: Things Past & Present (no web site, since they focus on selling at markets. Too bad, b/c now I wish I had bought more from them!). I chatted with co-owner Tom Orr (his wife Cheryl is his business partner). Their display of vintage buttons called to me. It screamed at me, truthfully. I mean, look at this gorgeousness.
I wound up buying some 1940s plastic buttons, along with a lovely French button from the 1950s, and one of the cameo buttons. Tom and Cheryl have spotters all over the country looking for stuff for them. They get feedsacks like this one from the Midwest (they had a nice selection, but they were pricier than I pay for feedsacks), and lots of antique quilt squares from New England. They also buy from Brimfield (I MUST go at some point). I also loved the 19th century French fabric they had; Tom told me that designers usually snatch this stuff up because it’s so old that it’s not copyrighted anymore, so modern fabric designers can re-do it. There was plenty of love everywhere for Kaffe Fassett. Fat quarter, half-yard, and one-yard cuts were on sale everywhere. Love fests of color everywhere!
Kaffe Fassett from The Sampler (www.the-sampler.com)
Great hand-dyed fabric
rows of orderly color!
The Vogue Fabrics was hopping. I could get seriously lost in this stack of batiks
But the piece of fabric I absolutely could not walk away from was this Melody Miller print, which I bought at the Artistic Artifacts booth (where everything was eye candy, like the great vintage trims and mixed media vignettes). (They sell it at their web site too, right here.) The stuff at Hmong Pan Dau Needlework booth blew me away. I fell in love with these tiny purses, crafted in such exquisite detail.
I was trying to find a reason to get one of these little quilt squares. I almost bought one, but instead, it was the mermaids I couldn’t walk away from. I actually did walk away, and then I had to come back five minutes later to buy one. I have no idea why. I’ve never had a mermaid fascination before. But I HAD to have one of these little creatures.
More later! I still have more booths to report on, and of course--the many, many amazing quilts. Stay tuned . . .