I have been home for a week now and have managed to regroup and get sorted. Glenn and Andrew did a great job of keeping everything ticking along beautifully and there are only a couple of outstanding issues I am still working through.
I really enjoyed the trip and can’t wait to do it all again. Staying for Festival was worth every second and participating in classes was a lot of fun, but the best part was catching up with some of my US friends and making new ones. There are a number of great opportunities I will follow up over the next few weeks. Very excited.
Market was as I anticipated, but I went there with different expectations than previous years and found that I looked at a number of different suppliers and products with different, longer term objectives. This year was very much about relationship building and consolidating. Festival was fascinating. As I have already reported I was happy to discover that there was nothing revolutionary or astounding that we were not already doing up to a point. There were a couple of noticable things though. First is obviously the price of the fabric. Fat quarters at or below US$2.00 was astounding but the range was also something to behold. We can never meet that sort of price. I don’t want to start the buy online/buy local debate, because I am very happy to let grown ups make their own decisions, but I know from my own experience the cost of freight is exorbitant. For every $100 I spend on stock, I find I have to add about $50+ for freight and then another $10 for GST at the point of entry. Even though, intelligently we know that the cost of products is so much lower there, to see it first hand was amazing.
Other things I found really interesting was the breadth of options. If you were looking for an ironing system or quilt hanging system, there were heaps of both to choose from. There was also a large number of pain relief / ergonomic support vendors that we don’t see at the average Australian show. Every time I walked past these stands, there were people getting massages, using heat packs and all sorts of thing I would only do in the privacy of my own lounge. They seemed to be enjoying it though. The other really big area of products that surprised me was clothing. Some was beautiful and very classy. A lot, not so much. There were three or four stands showing you how to convert a fleece jumper into a creative masterpiece, but my all time favourite was a stand with hundreds of garments that can best be described as straight of the set of Little House on the Prairie, except BRIGHT. Oh My.
The final thing (that I can think of now) was how amazingly specialised many of the vendors are. Here, we need to be specialised generalists, able to teach, promote and use a range of different products and techniques. At Houston, there were some who made their living specialised down to a type of block. Remarkable. Imagine if I only did, say log cabin quilts. How quickly would we be bored? Gosh, how quickly would I be bored. If you ever get the chance to go to Houston, don’t even hesitate. If not, you can always get the Interweave magazine show casing the event. I have it on the website!
I have a HEAP of new stock on its way. There are three or four deliveries currently at various stages of customs clearance as I type and a number in transit. The first few to arrive should be a range of deColourant discharging products, silk fabrics and kits, and all the new Shiva products from Shelley at Cedar Canyon. The rest will arrive as they do.
As you know, I love discharging colour and have been showing the Jacquard Discharge Paste for some time. The new deColourant comes in two different applications and two different types of product. There is a range of gels which you can paint on, stencil, stamp, screen print, sponge etc. There are also a range of sprays. The sprays give you a very different finish to the pastes. In both application types, there is a discharge equivalent but the really exciting part is the very large range of deColourant Plus. These products discharge the colour your fabric has and then replaces it with new colour. SO COOL. This sample shows Black Homespun with four of the deColourant plus colours plus the straight discharge gel in the middle.
The ease of bleaching and colouring in one go is fabulous. But, can you imagine getting these colours on black with most other products? Love it. Click for the full deColourant Plus colour chart . The kind people at Kandi Corp have done a comparison of their product to other similar ones. Bearing in mind that they obviously like theirs best, the comparison chart is very interesting. I certainly found it easy to use and it does smell like citrus when applied, but a little like egg when heated. It will not discharge from synthetic fabrics or heavily treated fabrics. I will add the products to the website once I physically have them here.
Over the weekend, I made a quick and easy quilt for a grand nephew. He is over one now, so a cot quilt was not an option, so I made a bigger lap quilt from some novelty fabrics I had in the stash. It is amazing what you find in the cupboard when you look, isn’t it? I have put photos on the Unique Stitching Facebook page. It is not my best work, but I am pleased to have made and delivered it. I have five family quilts to make, some very overdue, so if you want to watch the progress the place to be is Facebook. They will be traditional utilitarian quilts, but I hope you will enjoy watching the progress. Please drop buy, like the page and/or leave a message.
I will be shortly having a short sale on colour products on the website, only on stock on hand, so some items will not last long. I will post the details of this later once I have sorted it all out.