Sunday, June 7, 2009

News & Photos from the Rapid City Quilt Show

Good morning.

This edition of the newsletter comes to you from Rapid City, SD.

Wesley, Barb, Laurie-Ann, and I have been busy at our vendor's booth since Friday morning. The show is open from 10-4 today, and if you live in the region, please stop in. You'll be amazed by the variety of breathtaking show quilts, beautiful raffle and silent auction items, and useful demonstrations. A great variety of vendors offer sewing machines and cabinets, long-arm quilting machines, embellishments, cutting mats, and scissor sharpening. Some, like us, focus on quilt kits, patterns, cut goods, and yardage.

As visitors to the show walk through the main doors, they are greeted by the sight of Marilyn Hoelscher's "Birds & Blooms" quilt (top photo), professionally long-arm quilted by JoAnn Hoffman. This quilt was awarded "First Place in the Viewer's Choice", and was also awarded "Best of Show".

The photo on the left shows our booth at the show, with quilts hung high above our display. Wesley made us all a little nervous as he perched on a ladder during set-up to hang the five large quilts. But, the effect is certainly eye-catching, and can be seen from across the room.

This quilt show has a special place in our hearts, as we attended the show as spectators before we were quilters or quilt shop owners. I will never forget the way I felt when I walked through my first show. I looked with amazement at the miniature quilts and the challenge quilts. I saw beautifully preserved antique quilts, carefully displayed, their tags telling the story of their history. I saw evidence of the guild's charitable work, including their "Project Warmth" quilts, and the silent auction items for the Rapid City Hospice. I was inspired by the artistry of the show quilts, and tempted by the vendor booth.

As I wandered from place to place, my heart began to sing. By the time I left, "I was hooked!"

Never did I imagine that one day we would be standing in a vendor booth, greeting newcomers and friends. Or, giving a demonstration in the "demo room", answering questions, and explaining our favorite products. (This weekend we did two demos: "Great Grommets" and "Beautiful Bags".)

But, life has a funny way of coming full circle when you follow your heart. Many years ago, the Rapid City quilt show captivated me, introducing me to the world of quilting. And now, we play a small part in doing the same for others.

Stop by. You'll be so glad that you did. Or, if you don't live in our region, please visit a show, join a guild, attend a retreat, or take a class. Open your mind to everything the quilting world has to share.

At dinner last night, Wesley and I tried to "pin down the hot item" at our booth. It was a hard decision. But, I think the Dritz grommets and the "Grids and Grommets" bag pattern by Indygo Junction have created the most excitement. Click here to check them out. I think this is the first time that many people have seen the grommets, and they love our display of handbags. Plus, many plan to use the grommets for their intended purpose (curtains or shower curtains), and love the simplicity of the design (no tools, just trace a circle from the little template, cut it out, and snap the grommet in place.)

Quilters are also captivated by the Bigfork Bay quilts and patterns. Click here to view our full selection of Bigfork Bay product. The company generously sent us a trunk show, and the eye-catching beauty of the quilts draws people in. Once we explain the carefully organized kits, the great instructions, and the fusible raw edge applique technique, many quilters are interested in making an art quilt. They tend to buy kits rather than patterns, as they love the idea of having the perfect batiks pre-packaged for convenience.

The most popular quilt kit at the booth has been "Winter Memories" by Acorn Quilt & Gift Company. Click here for more details. Shoppers are enchanted by the beautiful applique, combined with pretty embroidery. Some love the striking combination of ice blue with chocolate brown, and purchase the kit because of the great fabric. Others plan to reinterpret the design using their own color choices, so they purchase the pattern alone.

We have devoted one area of the booth to our auto-ship programs, including the DCQ Wool Pincushion of the Month. We've had a surprising number of shoppers sign up, and a number of other customers loved the patterns by Cottage Creek Quilts. I finished seven of the twelve pincushions before the show, and shoppers love to feel the softness of the wool, and measure the nice weight of the pincushions in their hands. They can't believe I stuffed them with crushed walnut shells (bird litter, found at a pet store), but they do like the finished result.

Have a great week. We've got a busy day ahead of us, but it should be fun! ~ Laura, Wesley & the Staff at Dakota Cabin Quilts