Now that the dust has settled and regular routine is back in order, I thought I had better get on with posting my quickie run-down of my FIRST.EVER. Quilt Market attendance!
First, let’s start with this little note I left on the dining table the night before my flight…
After my lovely family dropped me off at the airport, earlier than any of them should have been out of bed, I found myself officially on my way. And traveling sans-kidlets for the.first.time.ever. Fah-reeeee-dom!!!!!!!! ;)
Listen, that was glee-inducing enough, let alone the idea that I was headed to see lots of people I know and meet a bunch of new ones. Exciting and overwhelming all in one go!
I decided to spend my leisurely airport layover time sketching out some ideas and sipping on a nice coffee. Oh, and people-watching. Can’t not people-watch.
Arriving in Houston, I made my way to the hotel, dropped off my bags, made some sad attempt at looking refreshed after hours of travel, and booked it over to THIS place….
AhhhhhhHHHHHHHaaaaa!!!!!!! (<—angelic sing-song chorus sound)
This is the place where the magic of All Things Quilt Market happens!
Running on fumes, yet still surprisingly energized, I found my way to the third floor check-in booth and got all my street cred bits and bobs…
It was a little after 5:00pm on Friday and I got to scope out the floor while industry folks intensely put finishing touches on their booths.
I love a good behind-the-scenes peek at things!
Monolithic crates and cases dutifully waited to be emptied of their fantastic fabric-related contents, you know, like my “Thumbprint Cats,” ”Thumbprint Owls,” and “When Pigs Fly" designs, all brand-spanking new from Timeless Treasures!
As the booths magically beautified themselves around me, I spent some nice, quiet solitary time going up and down the many aisles before the crowds came the next day.
Alexander Henry’s skellies were decked out and all ready to go in their finest garb…
Scrumptious Aurifil thread twinkled under the show lights…
Fun puzzle balls in a Timeless Treasures display spun slowly around in their evening mood lighting…
Ummm, then there were a few other things I stumbled across that seemed to be evidence of frantic scramble. That’s just my guess. This sight did make me wonder what the suitcase owner’s house might currently look like. I can only imagine.
After getting my fill and a good lay of the convention hall land, I made my way upstairs to attempt to unravel another event that happens every Quilt Market: the Sample Spree.
I had heard it was like a Filene’s Basement sale, to which I instinctually blurted out, “NOTHANKYOU!” with a similar vehemence as The Bub when he’s up for a shot at the doctor’s office.
But still, because I’m a contrary beast, I just wanted to *see* this stuff in action. From a safe place of course, like a pillar or something I could just poke my head out from every so often to survey the madness around me. Not too close, but close enough to get my rubber-necking practice.
So I made my way upstairs to where I had heard all this was gonna go down. And I arrived to see this…
Upon first glance I thought, oh, they’re all just sitting and leisurely eating some super-early dinner or late lunches (it was 5:30-5:45pm at this point). No big deal. Then I came to the realization that all these demure, quiet ladies were staking out their Sample Spree spots and were determinedly set on getting their fabric freak on the nanosecond the sales doors swang open.
This made zero sense to me. This wasn’t an Apple iPhone release. This wasn’t an elusive concert ticket sale. I needed to find out more.
Before bewilderedly searching out someone — anyone — that I could get the REAL scoop from, I turned to see this sign:
My first thought was how much better this sign could have looked if I had gotten ahold of it, because to begin with I’d have never used that red font, but WHATEVER. (Oh, you think that’s bad, you should see me go over a restaurant menu with a fine-tooth comb and tsk-tsk-tsk aloud as I mentally note all the copy errors and poor formatting of the text. Yup, that’s me and I go there e-v-e-r-y t-i-m-e).
So after getting a feeling I was in a distant, faraway land of Peculiar, I walked around to see if I could find someone who could give me further insight.
Another line slowly began to form just off to the right of the seated bunch of people. All these folk were standing with carts of things and I found one of them to talk the ear of off. Turns out, this line was for vendors who sell at the Sample Spree and they were all waiting to come set up their booths with merchandise. It was now about 6:00pm.
I asked my new friend what time the sale started, figuring maybe I could see this all go down before I ran off to dinner. “The doors open at 8:00pm, she said.” “What?,” I said. “Yup”, she said, “they’ll be sitting here two more hours before they can come in.”
I probed further to see what the big attraction was inside. Could you get things super cheap? Were there things that were for sale here that you couldn’t get anywhere else? Was there some sort of special appearance by some industry celeb? Nope, nope and nope were the answers I got. This was all basically about being the first to get stuff (and therefore very much like an iPhone release after all).
I was still baffled and it showed on my face. I mean, people had been waiting HOURS. “Yup, I know” she said. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me either. I’ve been helping a friend sell here for years and it’s like this every time. And the worst part is when the doors actually open. Have you see YouTube videos of Sample Spree? You should watch some. Because people are crazy in the first minutes of getting in. The biggest thing to watch out for is the people on the scooters, because they are ruthless and they’ll mow you down.”
Wow, it couldn’t have sounded any more unappealing to me. I thanked my new vendor BFF and let her get back to waiting to set up her merch. I’d search some YouTube videos later, but for now I was off to dinner with my lovely Timeless Treasures folks.
Now this was a much preferred way to spend my time! For a few brief moments I did think again about all the ladies who were STILL surely seated where I had left them at the conventional hall, because it was only just 7:00pm, I was enjoying a nice margarita, and they were still waiting to bum-rush that room. Clearly I was still perplexed.
Dinner was nothing short of divine. Yummy, yummy food and wonderful conversations. I was blissfully enjoying this intensive adulthood experience (remember those, mama, you used to have those before kids, ‘member? ‘member?) and really reveled in all the light-hearted ping-pong chatter going back and forth around the table.
Then, like splash of cold water out of nowhere, my phone buzzed and I looked down to see this…
(god knows what’s going on with The Bub in this photo exactly and what it is in his mouth that’s adding to this vision in yellow, but we’ll move on to a broader picture, shall we?) …Oh, riiiiiiiight, yessssss. THOSE people. My kids! I sure hope they’re all okay. Hope they all go to sleep easily and cooperate with Papa. Hope nobody barfed on anyone else. Hope nobody’s headed to the ER and the house is not filled with mad fits of rage over boots not fitting or the *right* dinosaur not being at the ready. And I’m just talking about his little brother.
A world of yang to balance out the sophisticated dinner and wonderfully calm company that was currently my yin.
I finished my margarita, ate probably more than my share of dessert (and don’t care) and went back to the hotel to sleep, sleep, sleep before the long day ahead.
I even laid out diagonally across the king-sized bed, simply because I COULD. Without the little feet or knees of midnight visitors kicking into me. Yay! (Note to self: remember, don’t brag to much to The Hubster when you get home. Undersell it, be sure to undersell the peaceful hotel stay).
The next day was nothing short of a whirlwind. A perfect whirlwind.
I met people, I exchanged business cards, I chatted, I took photos, I chatted some more, I found more people I knew virtually but finally met IRL, I forgot to take pictures, I always remembered the cards, I forgot to look enough at actual fabric, I drilled the brains of Denyse Schmidt and Tula Pink, I unabashedly ogled Carolyn Friedlander’s handiwork and talked a little shop with her before bolting like a jack-rabbit from her booth over to another meeting halfway across the showroom floor (thank you, practical shoes), I saw a guy walk by in a kilt and completely missed the opportunity to announce to my designer friends that he’d clearly misheard that this was in fact “Q-U-I-L-T” Market.
I had AN.ABSOLUTE.BLAST.
Here are some pictures of what I did remember to capture:
Beautiful color swatches and quilted scallops…
My new Timeless friend Julia, who made a sweet jacket with my Hidden Ladybugs design and paired it with some feisty zebra stripes…
To me, Ann Kelle’s sofa looked like a giant happy creature with big pink eyes…
A GROUP OF MEN!
(The following text MUST be read in your best robotic voice. Don’t fail me.):
"A-l-e-r-t! A-l-e-r-t! Men have been spotted congregating in a group of four! Highly unusual scene! Danger Will Robinson! N-e-v-e-r m-i-n-d. They’re q-u-i-l-t-i-n-g!"
Delectable detail work from Carolyn Friedlander…
These photos (Denyse Schmidt, Moi, Moi, Tula Pink) are entitled, “Photos of Designers Taken by People Who MIght As Well Be on Stilts or in Small Hovercrafts”:
I will gladly fall asleep here, Echino and Kokka people. Gladly…
I’d also be willing to ingest these bags, you know, for the good of the people. They were that scrumptious.
I briefly considered stealing these…
Or even this. Pathetic, sure, but so what.
Some of the fun buzz from this year revolves around the inception of Cotton + Steel. I’m sure you’ve read about it elsewhere; I won’t go into it here, but the concept of having a booth and having almost nothing to show in it (intentionally) is just hilarious to me.
I had a blast meeting Melody MIller, finally talking with Rashida Coleman-Hale in person and hanging out with Kim Kight. Shoot, Kim and I even decided to spring ourselves from the convention hall and have lunch together. Now that was a fun time. And spending time with these ladies as they launch their new venture was also a treat.
Speaking of treats, they had some of the best candies, and I’m guessing people focused on those because there was really little else for them to examine in the C+S booth. Watching people be perplexed was half of the fun, truly. Am I weird? Probably. Next Question.
It was a fun, fun day!
On my final morning, after a night of wonderful let-your-hair-down partying with industry folk, my phone buzzed and I got this second reminder of my *other* life:
Riiiight, yes. The Bub! My babies! And yes, I’ll get crackin’ on those Halloween costumes the moment I get back. But until then I have a few more hours to squeeze out of this here Quilt Market thingie…
And so I did.
Reunited with the lovely Lotta at her booth, where we had a really great talk…
Chatted with wonderful Emily and was lucky enough to be there right when the Quilt Market organizers came over to present Timeless Treasures with the Most Creative Booth Award for 2013…..WOOHOO! CONGRATS HOME TEAM!!!
I mean, there were the awesome sharks, but there were also some other really wonderful focal points to their booth this year…
And right when I was getting into a solid groove of hobnobbing again, I looked at my watch and realized I needed to get my arsenic and old lace to the airport PRONTO for my flight home.
I DID NOT want to leave but the good thing is QM is annual (technically bi-annual, including Spring Market) and I can’t wait to go to the next one!
I got my bags from the hotel, ran to a drug store to pick up the ever-so-crucial “I traveled and brought you back something” toy for my kids, missed my stupid Super Shuttle (you’re not so super after all, are you, Super Shuttle?), got a new one to catapult me to the airport, did all my check-in business which somehow involved chugging a bottle of Odwalla at the bag check because I couldn’t bring it in but hadn’t had my lunch yet. So the security lady was nice enough to let me leave the line, guzzle it down like I was in my very own Nathan’s Hotdog-Eating Contest, and come back around like everything was perfectly fine and I wasn’t possibly going to feel queazy from what I had just ingested at lightning speed.
Best part, which I almost forgot until I was sitting at my gate…
First class for this piggie, alllll the waaaay home!! That’s a pretty perfect way to end a great weekend!
(Um, we’ll not mention the guy who wouldn’t stop talking to me in First Class on the second leg home or that reality came crashing back for me in the form of a sick Mister Baby Pants who was wailing his head off in the car when it drove up to receive me at the airport. No, no, we’ll not mention any of that).
Now back to regularly scheduled programming… :)