> ~ Insights by SewCalGal ~

Sunday, January 30, 2011

CHA Winter Trade Show 2011

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the CHA Winter Conference & Trade Show 2011 in Los Angeles, Ca..  This show is packed with excellent conferences appropriate for anyone in the craft & hobby business, including quilting, sewing and embroidery businesses.  The Trade Show that is held along with the conference is also a fantastic trade show, with vendors and attendees coming from around the world, representing a large variety of craft & hobby businesses (e.g. quilting, sewing, embroidery,fibre-artists,  jewelry, scrapbooking, etc.).  It is fun to see so many talented people and amazing businesses come together under one roof and share their insights to inspire creativity and business health.
I'm excited to have an opportunity to share with you some of the items that new products at this show, which I think will make a difference in our world of quilting, sewing and embroidery, as well as related items that you may be interested in for yourself, or for gifts. 

Many of these items I hope to be able to research and share more insights with you in the future, but for now I wanted to provide you a summary of what I found at the CHA Winter Trade Show:

Cutting Tools:
Making Memories' new Slice Fabrique is a lightweight cordless cutting tool that can really make it easy to create quilts with applique designs and fonts.  While the Slice Elite is designed to cut paper and capable of cutting fabric, the new Slice Fabrique also cuts both, but has some features that make this new product better for those that will primarily be using it for cutting fabric.  There are many new dies memory cards designed specifically for quilters that compliment the Fabrique model, but are also compatible with the Slice. While typical Slice memory cuts max out at a 4" cut, these new designs enable an applique design using multiple pieces that can result in a large than 4" applique design.  Each design can also be created with a shadow feature, as well as mirroring image.  The new Fabrique also has a special holder that essentially weights down the cutting device to make it a hands free device, unlike the earlier Slice.  And, the new Fabrique can also cut items popularly cut by the Slice (e.g. paper).  I'm excited about the new memory cards, with designs by popular designers, that will soon be on the market.  And, I hope to be sharing more insights on these new products with you very soon.

Creatopia by Xyron is a new cutting system that will cut fabric, but is primarily a paper cutting & embossing tool.  It can use any AccuQuilt GO! die that works with the GO! Baby (e.g. up to 6 1/2" wide)  and what I found really cool is that it uses 3 normal rotary blades that you can align to cut fabric strips of any width!  This is a big plus for those that primarily want to cut strips and don't want to buy or store a die for each size of strip that they want to cut, up to any strip combination of 12" wide.

eCraft by craftwell has several electronic cutting systems to cut & emboss paper, and cut fabric without the use of a mat.  The rep giving the demo did not appear to be that familiar with how quilters use cutters, as many answers to my questions did not make sense.  Still, this looks like a cutter that is worthy of consideration for those looking for an electronic cutting system. It can also cut adhesive vinyl.  And it comes with software that allows you to create your own designs. I'm definitely wanting to investigate this tool further and plan to share insights with you.

silhouette is a versatile product that comes bundled with software where you can create your own designs to cut designs on paper, vinyl, and fabric.  They have recently introduced a printable heat transfer product that comes in two forms:  Clean cut and sewable.  This is a fun and versatile cutting product that is great for home decorations, scrapbooking and I believe will become very popular with sewing, quilting and embroidery enthusiasts in the near future. 

AccuCut was at the show, promoting their cutting system to cut paper.  The AccuQuilt side of their business, focused on cutters for fabric, sadly, was not represented at this show. 

It was fun to see Tim Holtz demonstrate his new Vagabond cutter, which is an electronic cutter primarily targeted at scrapbookers.  There seems to be some potential for cutting fabric, but the demonstrations and informations that I've obtained to-date from Tim and/or Sizzix have not been able to answer all my questions, thus I'm holding off on forming an opinion on this product at this time.  While I have previously seen demonstrations of the Sizzix Big Shot and Big Shot Pro, I liked to see more emphasis by Sizzix on what these products can also do for quilters.  While I've not been able to use one, the versatility of these products to use a variety of manufacturer's dies is a big plus.    Still, I'm holding off to forming an official opinion until I have more hands on time with this Big Shot Pro as I've heard a variety of opinions from fellow quilters and Sizzix appears to have their focus on scrapbookers vs quilters.  But, like some of the other cutters, both of the Big Shots are able to use dies from other manufacturers (e.g. AccuQuilt GO! and Studio dies).
Simplicity has a fun booth packed with their products.  While their Rotary Cutting Machine has been on the market for awhile, I wanted to include it in this group.  I was able to see it demonstrated cutting fabric strips from 3/8" to 2 3/4", of any length.  I also saw a demonstration of using craft blades to cut and/or mark metal tape for use in fibre-arts and liked this application very much.  The price for this product is very reasonable, making this a good product for someone primarily interested in cutting strips.

Fiskars introduced many new products, including some very cool new Titanium Comfort Loop Rotary Cutters (45mm and 60mm) with a new updated handle to reduce hand fatigue.  And the blade has new titanium coating for improved durability and lasting sharpness. 

CT Publishing had a nice collection of the STASH books.  I also caught a demo of their new TAP media which I found to be an exciting way to transfer images to ATCs, t-shirts and other medias.  I'm definitely looking forward to trying out this media and will certainly share more insights when I do.  

Random House was introducing many new books at this show.  "Modern Log Cabin Quilt", by Susan Beal will be on sale in March, along with other new books that I'm not able to share insights with you at this time.  And do be sure to check out "Dare to be Square Quilting" by Boo Davis.  I had a chance to check out this book at this show, and it really has some fun designs and excellent tips.

Leisure Arts
There were some wonderful new books introduced at this show.  So new, in fact, I can't share much info with you at this time.  But keep an eye out for a new release from Leisure Arts called "3 Times a Charm".  And I hope to share more  insights on this new book, as well as others, as soon as they are officially release. 

Storage & Organization:
ArtBin is celebrating their 35th Anniversary this year with some wonderful new product introductions.  New color collection solutions boxes can are available in purple, rasberry and teal, along with a translucent clear.  They also have a cute new Magnetic Slime line case that is perfect for those that like to keep needles, scissors, bobbins and/or pins in a small case.  Their Tote Express originally targeted for scrapbookers, now has a version to carry small sewing machines.  I am a big fan of ArtBin Super Satchel Series,  and was drooling over their Super Satchel Cubes to help organize your sewing room.  They also have a new Super Satchel Thread box and an option to help store 20mm, 32mm and 45mm spools in a large Satchel.

DBest Products has a  Smart Cart that is lightweight, yet durable,  cart that collapses to take up minimal storage space.  While originally designed to help scrapbookers, I think this cart will also be of interest to many quilting, sewing and embroidery enthusiasts.  It comes in black, blue or navy and holds 12"x12" paper (or small sewing machines and other sewing items that do not exceed this width.  The wholesale price is $12.50, with a retail at $25.  I also understand they have a wider version, but it was not exhibited at this show. This is certainly a cart that has caught my attention. When I can get some hands on time with these carts, I'll certainly share more insights.  I the meantime, I hope you'll get to check out DBest Products' Smart Cart.  And, I also think this could be a great product for quilting & sewing stores to consider as a product for their customers. After all, we all like great storage that also helps us take our projects and tools to classes and retreats.

Fabric Manufacturers/Designers
Adornit is a new manufacturer of beautiful 100% cotton fabrics and pattern books.  With their business background firmly established in the world of scrapbooking, they've used their creative talents to expand out into the world of quilting.  They launched fabric line at Spring Quilt Market 2010 and they continue to expand their product offering.  This is definitely a brand name that will soon be familiar with every quilter.  Beautiful fabrics, lovely pattern books (aka quilt books and more).  I look forward to sharing more insights with  you on Adornit in the near future.

Eco-Fi, a product of Foss Manufacturing Company, LLC, produces engineered, non-woven fabrics and specialty synthetic fibers.  These fibres are all high-quality polyester fiber made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, completely made in the US.   An ecotote fabric that also looked excellent to machine embroider on or embellish to make beautiful totes and an ecofleece fabric that looked wonderful to make stuffed toys, pillows and other fun sewn items from.  I definitely am planning on doing more research on their products as I'd like to find more ways to go green, in the future, with my love of sewing.

Oil Cloth By The Yard  is the largest oil cloth company in the country.  They offer beautiful oil cloth by the yard, as well in a number of kits (to make lunch bags, pennants, tote bags, market bags, pouches and more) Freckled Sage is the side of their business with pre-made products (e.g. totes, aprons, placemats, bibs, tablecloths, etc.).  They also take custom orders.  The oil cloth was of excellent quality with a large range of spectacular designs.

Notions & Accessories
Prym Consumer USA (Dritz Sewling Notions) introduced many new products.  Their new OmniAngle 6"x14" Wedge Ruler (RA624) allows you to create fans, circles, wedges and spirals making it a handy to make table runners, wall hangings and tree skirts.

DMC introduced several new products: ready-to-stitch plushed stuff animals (Monkey, Duck & Pig),10 new beautiful Color Infusions Memory threads which looked like they'd be fun to use in a variety of fibre-arts and 3D quilts.  They also had fun kits to learn to crossstitch in half the time. I also liked their project books for tweens to help them learn the art of sewing.

The Knit Kit is a handy new accessory that is a great product for knitters on the go, of all levels.  In a cute little case it includes a stitch counter, measuring tape, thread cutter, scissors, darning needle and more.   They also have a new Quilt Kit for quilters that includes a seam ripper, measuring tape, pins, sewing needles, bobbin, thimble and scissors.  Great price @ $22-25, making these also good gift ideas.   Both portable kits are  also TSA approved and are reasonably priced.

Offray always has beautiful ribbons and had many new ones introduced at the show.  Of course, I really enjoyed seeing Cat In The Hat  showing off his favorite ribbons.

Embroidery Items
Quick Stitch Products, from Neil Enterprises, Inc. has a beautiful collection of embroidery papers and gifty blanks that any machine embroidery person could have fun making beautiful items for their home and gifts with.  All reasonably priced.  I also think their papers and blanks would be wonderful products for any store that has machine embroidery customers, but anyone can also order directly from their online store too.  I am certainly looking forward to doing some ME products with their products and blanks.

Knitting items
The Art of Knitting had a variety of kits and videos to help teach people to knit. I was very impressed with their collection for kids, including their dvd "The Art of Knitting for kids" that helps teach kids ages 5+ how to knit.  All reasonably priced and would also make great gifts for those looking for a crafty gift idea for kids.

Other Items
Frank A. Edmunds Co. had beautiful quilting frames and hoops that looked to be high quality and reasonably priced.  I liked their full size quilt frame fashioned after frames from the past.  Perfect for the single quilter or a group.  These frames can easily adjust from a baby quilt up to a full size or King quilt.  They also offer a large selection of round, oval and half boarder hoops.  These would be excellent hoops for any hand quilter.

Michaela Laurie (I Love Paper Quilting), from Australia, was vending her line of "Made by You" which are beautiful quilts made from paper.  This talented designer has created an interesting style of quilt art that I hope you will take time to view more on her site, and consider making on your own.  She also teaches and is willing to travel to teach or give presentations.  I anticipate seeing her work at Quilt Shows and in Quilt Museums in the very near future.  Absolutely beautiful!

Halcraft USA had several booths, some filled with beautiful glass beads perfect for jewelry and fibre artists.  I was drawn to their booth that was full of quilts, fibre-arts, and other sewn items.  While there I was able to learn of some new stablizers that have been manufactured by Halcraft and will hopefully be picked up soon by a large retailer (e.g. JoAnns, Hancocks, etc.  I really liked what I saw and plan to follow this product and hope to share more insights as it is introduced in the retail market.  Definitely a product that is going to be popular with applique quilters, machine embroiders, fibre-artists and more. 
As I have enjoyed creating fabric thru the use of sewing fibers and using stablizers, I was very excited to see the new products by Halcroft also included stablizers to support such projects.  And it was fun to see that they also utilized AccuCut products to cut such sewn fabrics for applique'.  Again, I look forward to sharing more insights with you on their products, as I research more. 

I hope you are able to check out these new products in your local sewing & quilting stores soon.  And if you don't find them, let the respective owner (or buyer) know that you are interested. 

You may also want to attend the CHA Craft Super Show, as I think you'll have a lot of fun checking out new products and participating in a variety of make-n-takes too.  It will be held July 21-24, 2011 in
Rosemont (Chicago), Il



wackywoman said...

Thanks for the preview. When was this show? Where was this show?

Jo said...

HI there
This is really excellent information. I wonder given your knowledge about all the die cutting machines if you know if the Baby Go! dies fit through a Big Shot machine?
jowestfoot at hotmail.com

Barb said...

Oh my goodness...how did you remember all of that....and what a mind boggling post...all those wonderful tools out there. It is simply amazing what a person can do...thanks so much for this fabulous post.

Joanne Lendaro said...

Fantastic post!! I would love to go to CHA! The mfgs. are still focusing on the scrapbooking industry, hopefully they will come around and see the quilting market side. Thanks for all the work it took to put this together, great info!

Mommarock said...

I tried to click on the link for the Silouette, but it took me to some eyeglass site.. do you have another link? I thought it would be super cool if somehow they worked with EQ and the EQ software worked with the silouette software, so whatever you created in EQ could be cut out in the silouette.. tadaa.. magic!

IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

You are hired!!! I love the way your post got to the point and did not go on and on and on....like mine do. I need to learn to stick to the facts....strictly the facts..:)



Stormy Days said...

Great post. I think I need to move to California, you have a lot going on out there. This one sounds like lots of fun with lots of different crafts. Could be dangerous, you could find a new passion to take up your time.

Stray Stitches said...

Thank you for the reviews of all those new products. So many things to check out and keep a watch out for.

bluebonnet said...

Thank you for this review of what was at the show. It was certainly very informative and I look forward to watching for some of these items in the near future.
Marilyn in San Antonio, TX

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Wow how do manufacturers come up with so many new products every year? Amazing!

WoolenSails said...

That would be a great show to go to, would love to see all the options for quilting in one place. I like the new vagabond too, but also found that they do not answer questions or talk enough about the quilting side.


Hillbilly Handiworks said...

Got my package today...so excited!!! Thanks so much and will let you know when I blog about it. The first time will be showing the products and then the next time it will be a finished quilt :)

Kim Jamieson-Hirst said...

Wow, thanks for all the information. Looks like lots of other companies are following in Accuquilt's footsteps in designing cutters for fabric now. It's quite interesting to see that some cutters are able to use other company's dies - expands the possibilties.
How long did you spend at the show to get all this info? :)

Madame Samm said...

Ohhh my goodness..you could have broken this into a months of posts lol...wow...ok, love the satchel for the sewing machine..that I need...love all the new embroidery stuff...Ok, if I had gone I would be filling my bus...or truck....great reviews Darlene....really amazing...
thank you...now to visit them all again....

Barbara said...

I decided to hold out for an electronic cutter like Cricut for scrapbookers and cake bakers instead of the current ones that take a die for each shape you want to cut. If they can do one that cuts fondant, why can't we have one for fabric? Any idea when we might see something like that for quilters?

Apex said...

Show looks fun thanks for the reviews. I love to go one year.

SewLindaAnn said...

Thanks for all the info. I bought Dare to be Square, it's fabulous! I'm really, really happy to see so many mfg. getting into the fabric cutting arena and I'm really excited about the TAP.

a.niza said...

awesome review and well written to be shared.

Patsy Thompson said...

Hi Darlene!

Thanks so much for this review. I am loving how much work is going into developing all kinds of fabric cutting instruments/machines. If you learn more about any of these products, please keep us posted! I had not heard of that slice fabrique thingy-do and can't wait to hear more about it!

sewmeow said...

Thanks sew much. You're always on top of things, and sharing the latest with all of us. u r the bestest!

Inch Worm Fabrics said...

Nice show, looks like you got to see a lot of good stuff. Makes a person want to shop, shop, shop.

Quiltingranny said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing so much, now I can look forward to some great new ideas! You are amazing!

Corrie said...

What an excellent review of so many exciting products. Thanks! What was your favorite?