This year I went to Quiltmarket in Houston for the first time ever. Wow, what an amazing event - there are so many designers, manufacturers, exciting stalls and new fabrics.. it was hard to know where to begin.
Quiltmarket is an event for shop owners, designers and people in the business of quilting. It goes on for three days (plus a day of 'schoolhouses' at the beginning), and then the whole area is cleared out to make way for Quilt Festival, which everyone can attend.
I was just in seventh heaven, going to presentations by designers I have become familiar with over the years of running the shop, seeing all the new designs and meeting lovely people.
One of the main reasons for attending this year was to meet Kim Moos, founder and CEO of Cotton Cuts. Kim and I have been talking for a while about taking my Mystery Quilt programme to the USA, and it was so much fun to meet up with her in person. Kim is doing a great job, working with a disabled workshop in St Louis to cut the fabrics for the 2017 Mystery Quilt. So now, you can buy the precut Mystery in the USA as well as from Quilters' Lane in New Zealand!
We visited lots of stands Tula Pink's (see photo above) was amazingly bright and colourful, and then we went to see Jennifer Sampou, who designed the fabrics for three of last year's Mystery quilts.
I love Jennifer's style and her use of natural colourings and motifs in her fabrics.
We also got to visit some other fabric designers, some of these may be appearing in future Mysteries!
Jackie McFee of Camelot
I was so happy to get to know Kim, and I am really looking forward to working with her and Cotton Cuts to bring the fun of the Mystery Quilt to the USA!
I've been quilting since I was 13 years old. It was a formative year - not only was I able to learn how to use a rotary cutter (life changing), but it was the same year I obtained my first hunting license. There were some basic tenets of my mom's teaching - no scrap left behind, no need to backstitch, press early and often, cut as few times as possible, always use 1/4", only use pins if you have to. I made my first quilt for a friend in high school. It was a quillow (remember those quilts that used to fold up into pockets to make a pillow?) I love to make baby quilts because they are quick to sew and can be done in a weekend - perfect for my busy go-go life.
I started Cotton Cuts earlier this year because I was looking for a new source of inspiration for my own quilting. I was stuck in a rut with the baby blankets – I could only do the same thing for so long. With many of the local quilt stores near me closing, I went online and found site after site of fabric stores but felt overwhelmed by all of the options. Wouldn't it be great if someone could help me navigate all of those options and provide me fabric that I might not buy for myself but would actually love? Cotton Cuts was born!
I recruited some friends to be fabric enthusiasts and to help with all things member care, while I focused on operations. I knew that I wanted to outsource all of our cutting and folding, but it was important to me to invest in my local community and keep all the work close to home. I discovered a workshop for disabled individuals that was willing to take on our project and knew I had found the perfect partner. I had used workshops for other projects and knew the capabilities of these very talented folks. Every Cotton Cuts purchase contributes towards supporting local jobs.
A few months ago, Sheila reached out to me about her Puzzle Mystery Quilt. I was taken from the first introduction - I am a sucker for quick, fun and new projects. This wasn't another block of the month and it wasn't a heavy lift for the quilters involved. It keeps you guessing for 10 months, we do all the cutting AND you get your choice of colors? It fits so well with the vision and mission of Cotton Cuts, I had to say "Yes!"
It has been my vision that every Cotton Cuts (boxes and Mystery Quilt) delights your inner quilter and challenges you to step out of your comfort zone to try something new. I hope that we deliver on that vision every month!