I’ve just returned from Houston, Texas, where I attended the 29th International Quilt Market this past weekend. And what a whirlwind weekend it was! I flew to Houston last Thursday and spent Friday morning and afternoon at the Galleria mall for some shopping and dining out in preparation for the highly anticipated opening event on Friday evening — Sample Spree. I had never attended Sample Spree in the past, and because I was so jet-lagged, I almost didn’t attend. But I’m very glad I did! It was a wild event — there were hundreds of shoppers and conference attendees in line who stampeded through the doors promptly at 8pm with a “divide and conquer” attitude for the multitude of goodies being sold by the vendors inside. I hadn’t planned to buy much but ended up picking out some wonderful goodies and surprises en route as I made my way up and down the aisles.
On Saturday, one of my first stops of the day included the Simplicity Group — which is now the parent company of EZ Wrights (the company who manufactures and distributes my line of rulers, including the Easy Star and Geese Ruler, the Easy Hearts Cut Tool, and now, the new Easy Pineapple Log Cabin Ruler!) I’m very happy to report my newest ruler, the Easy Pineapple Log Cabin Ruler, will be available for sale on my website by early next week! It was picked up by several major distributors and will be available at retail outlets internationally very soon.
I sat down with representatives from several fabric manufacturers to view their future lines of fabrics. Oh my goodness, let me tell you — the fabrics which will be introduced in local quilt shops within the next six months to a year from now are simply gorgeous!
I was invited by Robert Kaufman Fabrics to attend their annual reception which was held on Saturday evening at the Hilton Americas Hotel after the exhibit hall closed for the day. This was the third year in a row I have been included on their guest list, and it is always an honor to be invited to this prestigious and classy reception. And this year was no exception! I saw so many familiar faces I’ve come to know in the industry, and spent time chatting with them and meeting new people throughout the evening. One of the highlights for me was meeting Beth Hayes, editor in chief of McCall’s Quilting and Quick Quilts Magazine, who I have worked with for several years via e-mail, but never had the pleasure and privilege of meeting in person unitl now! Nadine and I also spent a half hour or so talking (more like laughing hysterically!) with Mark Lipinski, editor of Quilter’s Home Magazine. He is just as rowdy and hilarious in person as he seems in the pages of Quilter’s Home.
The next morning I was back in the exhibit hall to see the remainder of the booths and visit with a few more companies and reps. I was invited by Sue Hausmann to join her for lunch and we enjoyed a lovely time together over yummy taco salads, and it was great fun catching up with her and all she’s been up to these past several months. She is one busy lady! I can’t believe how much she travels throughout the year, but she takes it all in stride and does it with style and flare.
It has taken me four years, but I finally have learned how to manage my time and see and do everything I need to do within two days time. In the beginning, I used to be completely overwhelmed by the hundreds of vendors and all the wonderful and exciting new products; but experience has taught me how to make the most of all the amazing opportunities of Quilt Market!
I enjoyed every minute and I accomplished so much. This is the one event during the year where I make many fantastic contacts and connections within the quilting industry. I wouldn’t dream of missing it for the world and am already looking forward to next year!
Here are several photos from my trip. I think you’ll recognize a familiar face or two. Enjoy!
I’ve got a few more things to share from Quilt Market in my next post, so be sure to check back with this blog soon!