Fall Quilt Market 2014

By Mary Covey

Fall is full of wonderful things to look forward to and enjoy. The change of season brings beautiful color changes in foliage, cool crisp breezes and who doesn’t love a Harvest moon. Fall also brings the International Quilt Market to Houston, Texas every year. As a designer,quilter, and author, it is the place to find all the up to the minute fabrics, books, notions, patterns, etc. This year, due to a prior commitment, I was unable to attend fall market.  But that did not stop me from searching the web for information from vendors, designers, and authors. I am reposting a blog from Amy Smart that shares her impressions of what is new for the coming year. Those of you that follow me on Pinterest know how much I love red and white quilts, so take notice of the opening photograph.

Quilt Market, Houston 2014

Last week I had the chance to attend the International Quilt Market in Houston. This is a trade show for the fabric and sewing industry where companies show off their latest wares. Two books just came out that I contributed to (one being Quilting the New Classics as well as another one called Scraps, Inc. that will be out next month. More on that to come) so I got to participate in some publicity, signings, etc for those.
I’ve been to Spring Market a few times in the past, but never to Houston. It was a quick trip – I was only really there for 2 days – but it was SO nice to get away, see friends who I love and who inspire me, and to just recharge my creativity a little. Because I was only there such a short time, it was a bit of a blur. But I did take a few pictures to share of some of the upcoming releases that caught my eye. Here they are:

I have found that I am getting more and more inspired by deep, saturated color palettes, so hence, I love Alison Glass’s work. One of the few purchases I made was a bundle of her new collection of batiks, Handcrafted. I am in love with the palette. I’m also itching to do something with those gorgeous wools.

I’ve never been much of a batik user, so I’m excited to add something entirely new to my stash. Handcrafted comes out soon. If you are looking for some Alison Glass prints, check Westwood Acres. They should have Handcrafted bundles soon too.

 More saturated color from Anna Maria Horner and her collection, Honor Roll.
I didn’t get a good close-up look at the new Cotton + Steel collections coming out this winter, but they will continue to coordinate with their current collections and basics. Love these palettes too.

I think saturated color with more of a sour, burnt feel are definitely the new trend. These prints are from Birch Fabrics. Their booth always has great details.

Walking through the Cloud 9 booth these awesome retro-mod prints totally caught my eye. This collection by Jessica Jones called Time Warp is all printed on organic cotton barkcloth – it’s more of a home-dec weight fabric with texture. So cool – and check out that coat! So cute.
One more collection along this same color trend and one that I’m really looking forward to is Maureen Cracknell’s debut collection Wild and Free for Art Gallery Fabrics. I am so excited for Maureen – she is such a gifted artist. This collection releases next month.
Also with a first-time collection for Art Gallery Fabrics is the always quiet and reserved (don’t let this picture fool you), Katy Jones (aka I’m a Ginger Monkey) with Priory Square. Who is also my new BFF for bringing me my favorite British treat, Jelly Babies.
Carolyn Friedlander is a quilting genius, I think. She has her own personal style that is so uniquely hers. (Check out that Kona solids quilt on the far left. There’s a free quilt pattern here. Totally on my list now.)

She has a new fabric collection coming out called Doe that is sure to be very popular with modern quilters. Also check out this couch. Seriously.

Kona Solids are celebrating their 30th anniversary. To celebrate there were 30 quilts made from Kona solids. You can find the pattern links here (some of which are free like the Carolyn Friedlander one).

Here is Darlene Zimmerman with her Kona Solid’s pattern, Joseph’s Coat (free pattern is here.) Darlene also has EZ Quilting templates for this project. She was demo-ing her curved piecing technique and I even had the courage to try. I think I want to make this one too.

The Dear Stella booth had some beautiful samples and I love their new France-inspired collection. It even had a mini macaroon print!
Some new collections from Riley Blake include Lori Holt’s Flower Patch and Derby Days by Melissa Mortenson. I have been so excited by this one! Melissa has been a real-life friend for a while now and I am so excited for her to launch her first fabric collection! And it’s so ‘her’ too. Both the colors and theme, seeing as she lives in Louisville, Kentucky, home of the Kentucky Derby.
 Some of the upcoming Moda collections: Daysail by Bonnie and Camille
Paradiso by Kate Spain. This was the first time I ever met Kate in person. She was SO lovely and friendly. (Of course, so many people in this industry are.)
 Aloha Girl by Fig Tree quilts.
Vanessa Christenson and her new collection Color Theory. Another great group of good color basics prints.

It was especially fun to see Jen Kingwell since having taught with her this summer at the Fat Quarterly retreat. Jen is a true gem. So gracious and fun.

Just seeing all of her projects inspires me. I love this hexagon quilt. It’s her use of colors that I really love (and envy.) She has the gift to pull together such an eclectic range of colors and fabrics and create magic.

Which is why I think it is so exciting that she has a new collection of fabrics herself coming out this spring with Moda called Gardenvale. I feel extremely lucky to have got my hands on a bundle at Sample Spree. Usually I have a hard time breaking into bundles, but this one I wanted to tear into right away and get a look at her prints. I also love that these prints will add some depth to my stash – especially in the purples department to help me make it more interesting.

A few more people who inspire me: Cristy Fincher. Check out her amazing work. Cristy is the one who shared all of the mind-blowing Glue-basting tricks and tips this summer.

Another one of my favorites Lee Chappell and her pattern co. named after her great grandmother, May Chappell. Does the bag on the bottom right look familiar? That’s the one that inspired my own version a couple of weeks ago.
Here are Lee and I visiting our blocks in the official Olfa 35 commemorative quilt.

And then we threw down in the Kona IQ challenge where we had to match the name with the right shade. You’d think my hard core game face would have totally helped me out here. But you might be wrong.

And so (if you’re still reading by this point) that’s a wrap of Quilt Market 2014.


6 Tips and Tricks Every Quilter Should Know

6 Tips & Tricks Every Quilter Should Know

By Mary Covey

I recently read the following post by Sherri McConnell titled “Tips and Tidbits” from her blog.  Sherri offers 6 tips and tricks every new (or seasoned) quilter should know. I really enjoyed her pictures and her very useful tips her grandmother shared with her many years ago.

Whether you are a beginning quilter or a seasoned one, you will enjoy this practical advice.

Enjoy reading and have fun with your latest project!




Quilting Tips and Tidbits

It’s actually been many years ago now that I received my first lessons in quilting from my grandmother, and many of the tips she shared with me on that sunny afternoon are bits of information I use daily in my quilting…twenty some years later. Here is a round-up of my favorite tips and tidbits to share with new quilters: these are review for seasoned quilters but are simple steps that can make a big difference for new quilters just joining in and learning all about this amazing past time.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

This was the first thing I learned from my grandmother and one of the tips that helps me most in my daily quilting. It’s a simple rule, but it really does work. A good start…including accurate cutting and measuring…is essential to a good finish.


Know Your Seam Allowance

Know Your Seam Allowance

My grandmother also told me to use a 1/4″ seam allowance for all of my quilting (unless directed otherwise by a pattern), but it was a few years later while taking a class at a local quilt shop that I learned what this really meant. A wonderful teacher showed me that my seam allowance was actually a thread or two bigger than 1/4″ which resulted in some of my piecing being just a bit off (those 1/16″ inch variations can really add up in a big quilt)! So measure your seam allowance periodically to make sure you’re on track. You can adjust your needle to the right or left if necessary, obtain a 1/4″ seam guide, or use painters tape to mark the true 1/4″ line on your machine.


Pin and Mark

Keep it Together: Pin and Mark

Somewhere along the line pins seem to have received a bad reputation. While it does take a little longer to pin…the results can be wonderfully surprising. Although it isn’t necessary to always use pins, if you’re having trouble with matching seams or getting a lot of different points to match up, pins might be the best solution. While I don’t always use pins for simple chain-piecing, I always use them if there is something that needs to be lined up.

Properly marking is important, too. Use a pencil to mark on the wrong side of light fabrics or chalk for darker fabrics to mark lines for half square triangles and corner square (“flip and sew”) corners. While it often looks like it’s going to be just fine if you “eyeball” it, marking can also improve accuracy by leaps and bounds.


Fabric Preparation

Fabric Prep

Fabric preparation is another step some quilters like to skip: after all, most quilters love fabric so much they just want to jump right in and sew. But your fabric may need pressing before cutting, and this can be especially important when using pieces from fat eighth and fat quarter bundles. Just think of it as a little extra time you get to spend with the fabric!

Some quilters like to use steam when pressing their fabric for the first time. This can cut down on shrinkage later on–an important step especially when working with lots of pieces or smaller pieces. An additional step many quilters use is to both starch and press their fabrics before beginning any project. Whether or not to pre-wash your fabrics is another decision to make before beginning. Although I pre-wash only when I’m going to use fabric for garment construction, there are many others who pre-wash all of their quilting cottons.


Quilted Pillow

Handle with Care

Fabric can be stretched, and if your fabric is stretched enough your blocks might end up distorted. Use care when handling bias edges: don’t fear working with triangles for half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles, and flying geese … just handle with care to prevent stretching.

2014-08-20 10.48.01

Handle with Care

I do have one final tip, and it’s my favorite one to share. Enjoy yourself while you are sewing and quilting. Your projects are yours, and they should bring you great joy while you’re working…quilting is the best hobby!

What is your favorite advice for new quilters…?

#Tipsandtricks #quilting #sewing


Quest for Fabric

DSC_7051DSC_7051DSC_7051DSC_7051By Mary Covey

Fabric Row

Fabric swatches designed by Mary Covey – www.marycoveydesigns.com

These small strips of fabric represent two different lines of fabric that I designed for P&B textiles. The pastels in the center where called Watercolor Etchings. I designed the line because I felt there was a need in the market for soft soothing colors to act as neutrals with things like Aunt Gracie’s and batiks. I have seen them used with both types of fabrics very effectively.

The prints on both ends represent a few of the fabrics from my second line called All About Me. The line was a tribute to my three year old grand daughter. Being the first and only grand child on either side of the family – trust me everything was all about her. There were several more color ways in the line -yellow, tans, greens, and browns. It also came with two pre-printed panels pictured below.

Fabric Panel

All About Me Fabric Designed by Mary Covey – www.marycoveydesigns.com

This line could stand alone or be incorporated into many quilts that used other fabric lines as well. Again I thought there was a need in the market for some bright colored prints for babies/children.  Something other than traditional pink and blue.

When I designed each line I thought there was a void in the market place that needed to be filled.  I am now on a quest for the newest void in the quilt/home decorating market. What is there that I cannot find to complete my quilt or home decorating project? I am asking you for your help. What are you looking for that you cannot find? Is it a certain style of fabric? Is it a certain color or colors? Let me know what you think is missing. You can leave a comment or email me at mmcovey @aol.com. I can’t wait to hear from you!

#fabric #quilting #kidsquilt


Feet First

By Mary Covey

Quilt Design

Feet First – www.marycoveydesigns.com

It is amazing to me how quilts can instantly get the attention of anyone, especially a small child. Everyone has a memory of someone in their family that made quilts or of a favorite quilt that they had as a child. I have meet teenagers who still use a tread bare quilt because it was made for them by their grand mother. I have even meet a young married lady in her twenty’s who kept the tattered corner of an old quilt in her pillow case to sleep with every night. Her mother made the quilt before she was born and had passed away while she was young. Her tangible connection to her mother was that tattered piece of quilt.

I needed to take some photos of a few quilts for a project. My grand daughter was busy riding the go cart so I thought I would take the pictures outside. The minute the quilts came out, the go cart stopped and she came running with offers to help. “You know what a great helper I am,” she exclaimed. Who could refuse an offer like that!! After taking several pictures she decided that this was her favorite quilt. I asked her why she loved it so much. Was it the beautiful fabric? Could it be the lovely diamond shapes? Maybe the amazing quilting? No, none of those. “Why do you love it so much?” I asked. “Nan” she replied. “Can’t you see the colors in the quilt match my toenails!”

So, the next time a quilt gets your attention, I hope you appreciate its beauty, piecing and quilting design even if it doesn’t match your toenails.

#quilting #sewing #fabric