2008 Houston International Quilt Market and Festival

Julie Yonge © 2009

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This year Houston hosted another amazing installment of the largest annual quilt show, sale and quilt-making academy in the world. Although there was a slight drop, attendance was excellent, especially since hurricane Ike had paid Houston a visit only a short time before, and the economic news for our country was not upbeat to say the least. Visitors from forty-nine states and thirty-two countries attended this year’s Festival and were treated to another outstanding event.

Although the emphasis for our magazine is crazy quilting and all its peripheral interests, all exhibits at the Houston International Festival provide grand inspiration. This year one of the really special exhibits was “The Daughters of the American Revolution Museum Collection: Quilts from a Young Country,” sponsored by the Texas Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Since crazy quilters really have an interest in the Victorian era and all things vintage, I especially enjoyed this exhibit. These quilts (more than twenty) had never traveled outside of the Society’s Washington, DC headquarters before. To see the workmanship and artistry of quilters dating back to the 1750's was really a thrill. Here are some pictures to give you an idea of how extraordinary these quilts are.

The first picture is the Francis Scott Key Family Quilt. This is a quilt by Mary Tayloe Lloyd Key, the wife of Francis Scott Key, who penned The Star Spangled Banner. It has almost 3,000 triangles!

Francis Scott Key Family Quilt
From the special exhibit “The DAR Museum Collection: Quilts of a Young Country.”

The second picture is one entitled Maze Quilt. I found it truly a-maze-ing!

Maze Quilt, c. 1850 by Margaret Cabell McClelland. From the special exhibit "The DAR Museum Collection: Quilts of a Young Country."

The third picture is Mosaic Quilt. Different shapes appear to you the longer you look at it; diamonds, boxes, etc.

Mosaic Quilt, c. 1840 by Hannah Wallis. From the special exhibit, The DAR Museum Collection: Quilts of a Young Country

The mission statement of the Daughters of the American Republic is to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism, so to me it is not that surprising that they would kindly share these wonderful quilts with us and it was indeed a treat. However, I can just imagine the extreme effort and dedication it takes for those who care to show us such natural treasures. As we know, early on, quilt making was purely practical for the most part, but we now see these quilts as beautiful works of art, items of outstanding workmanship, and wonderful examples of our rich history.

Other special features of the Houston International Quilt Festival include Make It University!™, Embellishment™, and A Victorian Romance™.  Make It University!™ is a special area that focuses on “new creative arts” – featuring vendors, special exhibits, artists, “Open Studios”, free demonstrations, and hands-on “mini classes” that attendees sign up for right on the show floor. It is coordinated by Patricia Bolton, editor of Cloth, Paper, Scissors and Quilting Arts Magazines, and is a show favorite. It is a great way to experience something new and innovative and get your creative juices flowing. Embellishment® is an area on the Festival floor that showcases bead art, jewelry, buttons, ribbons, and lots of other unique embellishments. A Victorian Romance™ is another special area on the Festival floor that showcases laces, linens, and more. You can see that the Houston International Quilt Festival is a wonderful resource for “crazy quilters” as well as those we lovingly term, “sane quilters”. There is something for everyone, even those who just want to look and take it all in.

Over the next few issues of CQMagOnline, I will be sharing lots of information with you on new vendors, authors, books, tools and techniques I was fortunate enough to experience at the 2008 Houston International Quilt Market and Festival – from silks and threads to amazing new ironing board covers. It is always such a pleasure to attend the Market and Festival each year and an honor to share with our readers the wonderful things I glean from doing so. I attend the Market portion of the HIQF (which is a professional trade show open only to credentialed attendees) specifically as press for CQMagOnline. I then continue on to Festival (the public portion of the event) on my own. Although I feel privileged to attend the Market portion of the Show, it is always such a thrill to go to Festival. I am totally on my own to wander and explore every booth (and there are hundreds!). Because the Festival floor is so large, there are chairs placed here and there for people to rest and while you are doing so, you meet the nicest people. Haven’t we all said that “quilters are the nicest people”? It is so true. It is a pleasure to sit and chat and learn all about where they came from, what kind of quilting they do, etc. Many times, they share with you the “best” thing they have just seen and where to find it. So the minute you are rested, up you go, searching for that particular booth to see for yourself. There are so many treasures to find! The first time you attend the Festival it can actually overwhelm the senses – there is so much to see. You definitely want to go several days so you can easily and enjoyably take in all the Festival has to offer. When you check in at Festival, you receive a wonderful catalog, which lists all the vendors on the Festival floor. The booths are numbered and a map provided to help guide you along. It also gives you information on the quilts that are in the Exhibit area and the Show’s main events. The catalogs themselves are priceless! I keep mine long after the Show since they have website information and ads for so many great products and merchants.

One of my VERY favorite parts of the Houston International Quilt Festival (outside of the great shopping) is the classes. The Festival provides a wonderful and diverse array of classes from beginning quilter to mixed media arts, felting, and embellishment of every conceivable kind. The classes actually begin a few days prior to the opening of the Festival. Many of the teachers at Festival are well-known artists and perhaps have authored your favorite inspirational books, and it is beyond fun to take classes from them. Teachers such as Judith Baker Montano, Victoria Adams Brown, Nancy Eha, Lesley Riley, Helen Gibb, Patricia Bolton and many, many more are there. There are usually more than 100 classes offered at Festival each year, and I am working my way through as many of them as I can!

Another fun thing about attending the Houston International Quilt Market and Festival is that it is always full of surprises. I have been perusing vendor booths and bumped into friends I haven’t seen in years, and even some from other states that have come in for the Show. This year, I happened upon Marie Osmond! Well, I didn’t get to have a one-on-one conversation with her, but I did get up close, and was able to listen to her interview with a local TV celebrity, Debra Duncan. Before the interview started, Marie candidly talked with Debra and quilt attendees about her experiences in quilting, and what it means to her. She even mentioned that she plans to do a crazy quilt or memory quilt of some nature in the near future to honor her mother, and has a necklace given to her mother from her father that she wants to add to the piece. Now, how neat is that! I can also personally report that she really does have one of the most beautiful smiles in the world!

Well I do hope I have enticed you a bit to come to the next Houston International Quilt Festival in 2009 and see for yourself all the wonderful things it has to offer. The 2009 Festival will be held October 15-18, with classes beginning October 12th (don’t forget those wonderful classes!) Remember, Houston also has many other things to offer its visitors; great food, theaters, museums, parks, shopping, etc. It is a very diverse and exciting city. For those who can not attend the Quilts, Inc. show in Houston, check out the Quilts, Inc. website (http://www.quilts.com) for other venues around the country, i.e. Pennsylvania, California, Illinois – I am sure there is one close to you. Classes which will be held during the 2009 Festival will be posted on this website around July and there is lots of other great information about all the Shows there as well, including sponsored hotels close to the George R. Brown, which is the venue for the HIQF.

An overview of just a portion of Festival’s vendor hall. Photo provided by Quilts,Inc.

Below are some photos of mine taken as I walked the Market and Festival Floor; you will be hearing more about many of the items I saw, and other new products and opportunities:

The Japanese company, Sunfelt, was showing their new line of wool felt ribbons, shapes and appliqués. Can you believe these cakes and fruits are not real or edible? They are composed of wool felt.

In one of my classes with Lesley Riley, she introduced us to her great new product TAP (Transfer Artist Paper). TAP transfers images to almost anything. Taking classes with Lesley is just awesome; she is an internationally known teacher, author, quilter and mixed-media artist and a contributing editor of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. http://www.transferartist.com/

In a silk felting class, the teacher requires us to stop, relax and shake our arms and hands before continuing on.

Isn’t this a lovely display to show off their fabrics?

Would you believe this quilt is made entirely from silk? DellaQ has a remarkable line of silks, silk taffetas, etc. that can be used for quilts and garments, as you can see in the second photo. http://shop.shiisaquilts.com/store/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=117

Here is a snapshot of Judith Baker Montano introducing her new Crazy Quilt Stitch Tool. See the product review by Barbara Blankenship in this issue.

Thought I was exaggerating didn’t you? But, everyone has a great time! Here are some attendees enjoying time in the StoneCreek Creations booth trying out their Komfycush…everyone got little piggy tails to wear. Check out my product review in this issue. http://www.stonecreekcreations.com/


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