Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Insider Scoop On International Quilt Market in Pittsburgh

The Kona Bay troops and I spent the past weekend at the semi-annual International Quilt Market. Held in Pittsburgh this time, it was a fun time to be had by all! If you’ve never attended, Quilt Market is the big daddy trade show of the quilting industry.

We always look forward to seeing customers, colleagues and old friends. In addition to our US customers and Representatives, our distributors from around the globe make the trek to see what’s new. Thank you mates for making the trip and for your business.

Once again, the Kona Bay tradition continued. We distributed the famous and sought after chocolate covered macadamia nuts hand carried by yours truly from the tropical paradise known as Hawaii. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think people flocked to the booth for the chocolates instead of me! Hmmm, chocolates or Doug…I won’t ask.

Issue #16 of Asian Fabric Magazine had come out just before Market. We had a beautiful display of quilts by Georgie Gerl, our quilt designer, on display in the booth. Customers were snapping up the fabric used in her stunning designs. Be sure to pick up a copy at your local quilt store. Be sure, also, to fill out the questionnaire and send it in for a chance to win fabric from Kona Bay!

My heart was going pitter patter seeing all the Kona Bay fabric used in projects and new books as I cruised the aisles. We’ll introduce you to two of new books from and FW Media in upcoming posts (make sure you subscribe—in the column to the right, so you don’t miss ‘em—it's free!)

Our group stayed at the Omni William Penn Hotel just a few blocks from the Convention Center and Market. Wow! The ultimate in luxury since 1916, the William Penn has been restored to its original grandeur and continues to live up to it’s long-standing reputation. It’s like stepping back in time to the gilded era.

I can hear all the foodies (and yes, I’m a member) singing in unison—Ah, yes, but what about the eats? First of all, we all took a vote and the room service pizza at the Omni was top rate. We also visited a Pittsburgh institution that had been featured on several TV shows we foodies dine vicariously on a regular basis. The Primanti Brothers serve up a whopping sandwich complete with French fries and coleslaw tucked between the bread walls. We visited the “original” restaurant. It was fun to indulge in more Pittsburgh history.

The Quilts, Inc folks always put on great show. They also orchestrate two very popular consumer shows—Chicago in the spring and Long Beach in the summer. They’re a must do for quilting enthusiasts and you can order tickets online for the Long Beach show, July 24-26.

Houston Quilt Market is early this year—October 10-12. That’s just around the corner in the fabric world. We’ll see you there!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Story of Butterfly Symbolism in Asia

Issue #16 of Asian Fabric magazine is at the printer. As I promised in a previous post, I wanted to give you some information on the symbolic meanings of the butterfly in Asia.

You’ll find instructions for the Chocho Quilt (pictured here) beginning on page 24 of Issue #16. It's always more fun if you have a story to tell with your quilt.

In Japanese culture, butterflies carry a great number of meanings. Their most apparent symbolism is that of metamorphosis or transformation; they are specifically representative of those who have died as they are thought to carry the recently departed spirits.

Butterflies also symbolize spring, and both the Chinese and Japanese generally view them as symbols of happiness and joy. They are a very popular motif in Japan, and a great number of traditional family crests (Kamon) utilize the butterfly in their designs. They’re also one of the most popular motifs in Kona Bay fabric designs.

Often associated with traditional Shinto weddings, butterflies are seen adorning the sake flasks and containers that play such a prominent role in the ceremony and are thought to symbolize happiness within marriage as well as womanhood. There is even an old Japanese custom of sending two large paper butterflies as a wedding gift.

One Japanese superstition says that if a butterfly enters your guestroom and perches behind a bamboo screen, the person whom you most love is coming to see you. Butterflies are also often seen as messengers, and in following them one will be lead to a mystery’s end.

Watch for issue #16 of Asian Fabric at your local quilt shop. Be sure to fill out the survey on page 11 and 12, too! Send in your completed survey and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win several prizes of Kona Bay fabrics. And, remember, I love seeing photos when our readers have made projects out of the magazine, even when you prepare the recipes! It's a fun issue—don't miss it!