To buy a fat pig! Wait. That’s not right. More like, to see lots of beautiful fabric, right? This past weekend was the International Quilt Market in Houston, TX, and while I wasn’t there myself, I was sort of there in spirit. Backup to a couple of years ago when I lucked into sewing projects for a fabric company, Camelot Fabrics, which is based in Montreal. I’d heard of Camelot, I even have a lot of their fabric, but I had no idea they were in Montreal. It was a pleasant surprise and the stars must have aligned because here we are, two years later and I’m still getting to work on some cool projects.
What I do is actually really fun. Most people who sew, like sewing no matter what they’re working on. But how many things can you really make for yourself? Or to give away? Sewing is expensive and it’s hard to justify giving everything you make away, no matter how much it’s appreciated. That’s why working as a contractor for a fabric company is so great! They provide me with the fabric and the pattern, I make the item, and then I get paid for it! It’s nice because most of the materials are supplied for me, and I don’t have to figure out what to do with everything I make once I’m done. Plus it’s a great way to try patterns from designers that are new to me.
One of the difficult things though, is that since most of the fabrics haven’t been introduced to the public yet, it means that I can’t share anything before they’ve debuted at the quilt market. This is especially important, because Camelot is the only fabric company that is licensed to work with certain companies, including Disney, Lucasfilm (which is now Disney), Marvel Comics, and DC Comics (owned by Warner Bros.). That means that they are very secretive about what is coming down the pipes, and I’ve even had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. But it’s also cool because I get to see fabric featuring Star Wars, Mickey Mouse, and Winnie the Pooh before anyone else. Well, before most people, anyway!
There’s usually a tight turnaround for completing the projects, so that can be a wrench at times. This is out of almost everyone’s control though, since often we’re waiting for the fabric to be shipped overseas from Asia. A lot of times I only get a strike-off to work with, which is just a yard or two. That leaves very little room for error, meaning, none at all! Other times we wait and wait and then start to panic about where the fabric is. Ideally, I’d have a couple of months to work on all my projects, but in reality it’s often about a month or so. This past May I made 29 projects in about a month and a half! There’s an ebb and flow to this kind of work, a slow season and then a very busy season, but it has actually helped me streamline my processes, plan out my sewing tasks better, and become a faster sewer.
I usually get a few shots of all the projects I make each season, but this fall was quite busy and then we had a week or so of rain, so I didn’t manage to get many. Here’s what I was able to snap:
I made about 10 other projects that will hopefully surface somewhere on the internet so that I can eventually share them here. While I do miss Houston at times, mostly my friends there and real Mexican food, at least my work was able to represent me at the show. I’ve been to the market twice before, so it’s not totally unrealistic that I’ll attend again in the future. Fingers crossed!