The schoolhouse sessions at Market are generally something I really look forward to. This is when you learn a quick burst about the new products designers are putting out and how to utilise them. Schoolhouse is aimed at shop-owners and is intended as a way of helping shop-owners sell more of the individual products that designers make.
Anna Maria Horner's schoolhouse is always excellent. She knows her product inside out and how to make the most of what she sells.
Coming soon from her are a series of incredibly high quality woven ribbons by Renaissance and bias bindings (pictures of these to come in the next post - the bindings are available on her website already), LouLouthi in flannels and velveteens (the quilt below is flannel) and incredibly charming sewing boxes that are perfect for stuffing full of treats for me for Christmas (thanks in advance, people). She is also producing some more free downloadable patterns to go alongside the new collection of trims and needlework products that will be available on her site soon.
Lecien have really stepped up their game in the past couple of years with regards to a website that actually works and designers that are cohesive as a group.
One of the latest 'lecien sisters' is Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches. Her line,Woodland is a bright and cheery collection featuring fairies and elves. I believe this quilt will be the free downloadable pattern on the lecien site. (It is - I checked)
Sarah Fielke is modelling a bag made from another new designer to the lecien stable, Emanuelle Carre and her collection la petite mercerie is a sewing themed group of fabrics. Very subtle in colouring and delicate prints. A very cool free quilt pattern is available here.
Rosalie Quinlan wasn't able to come to Quilt Market this time round (she's currently undergoing chemotherapy - consider that when you see this quilt by her. Clearly she's a fighter. I'm rooting for you Rosalie, get better really really soon). Her new line, Folk Heart is sugary sweet. Another fantastic line from her and the lecien stable. A day in dresden is her free downloadable quilt pattern, again, available here.
I'm a little biased, counting Sarah as one of my friends, but St Ives is my favourite new line from lecien. Sarah's quilt pattern is also one of my favourites from the whole of market. She had made this in all 3 colourways of St Ives. I kept changing my mind over which was my favourite. I think I'm settled on the red. For now at least.
that purple is a close contender though...
Next up is Lynette Anderson. Again, there is a free quilt pattern on the lecien site for download. Not this quilt, but one involving lots of applique. Gorgeous.
I'm not usually drawn to these muted shades, but I love what Lynette does. She is a master at very small scale prints and muted colours that don't look brown and dingey. This collection is called secret garden.
The busiest schoolhouse I attended wasn't one of the big hitters like Amy Butler or Anna Maria Horner but brand new guy Thomas Knauer. Andover have been pushing pretty hard with his fabrics. There have been full page ads in a lot of magazines and Thomas is hot on internet promotion. It works. If he wasn't so very proactive on twitter and blogs he probably wouldn't have as many people in his schoolhouse. It also helps that he has a background in academia and is used to talking in lecture style situations. He thrives in those kinds of situations, and as a result his 15 minute schoolhouse was packed full of information and visual stimulants.
New designers take note - push yourself, promote yourself, get others involved in making stuff from your fabrics and shout from the rooftops. It does work. Pear tree is pre-selling really well. Thomas was also previewing his next line, flock, and he's currently working on line number 4 (I think).
Betz White is well known for her felted and knitted work but this market saw her step into the fabric design world with an organic range called Stitch, for Robert Kaufman. There's a free downloadable quilt pattern with a clever play on a zig zag. Betz's booth was really fun (pics coming in the next post) and so very well thought out.
Lotta Jansdotter's name was causing some difficulty with folks on how to pronounce it. I'm pretty sure it's pronounced Yans-dott-a (Jan's daughter basically, if my Scandi knowledge is correct).
I was pretty excited about her schoolhouse but kind of disappointed. Not with the fabrics, those are beautiful and my big prediction for the next year is that we'll be seeing a heck of a lot more of these kinds of print that are single colour prints on natural backgrounds, like Lucie's for example (best thing at market - hands down winner). Lotta's schoolhouse focused on a studio/workshop/store/space she is opening in New York. Whilst it sounded like a wonderful space I was concerned as to how a space like that could make money without the pull of a 'celebrity' such as her. Craft utopia is what we all want to be part of, but in reality sitting around and creating doesn't pay the bills. Still, those fabrics are great and you can buy them already in the UK. Go shop here.
Sarah Fielke's schoolhouse was great (yeh, the biased friend again). Sarah talked about her new book, Quilting from Little Things, (it's been out for a while in the UK and Aus but only just released for the US market) and how to use it for workshops. The book itself is fantastic for any quilter, new or old, beginner or advanced. Split into 10 sections describing a different technique there is a small dolly quilt and a large (mostly very large) quilt for each section. The premise is that you can try out a new technique by making the dolly quilt and if you like it move onto the big quilt after. Nice idea, right? She's a clever sausage. Here she's describing step down piecing which is one of the techniques in the book. The little dolly and the big quilt are both patterns in the book itself. There was an audible gasp from the audience when that green and blue quilt was held up.
Jan got the worst spot of the day. Last thing, right before the Fabric 2.0 party was about to start. She had some technical difficulties which would have probably put most people off. I'd have given up and probably ended up crying my heart out in the nearest bathroom. Not Jan, she's such a pro. Her schoolhouse was a fascinating insight into the GOTS certificate and all about organic fabrics. I really wish she had been earlier in the day and reached a larger audience because I honestly think people would have learned something truly useful. Not that her schoolhouse was empty, but it should have been packed with standing room only. Jan's fabrics are organic. She is passionate about organics, they are not just a passing trend in her household. Her new collection, Tilly is shipping soon!
So that was schoolhouse. Tomorrow I'll show you the booths.
3 hours ago