Anatomy of Sample Spree

For those of you who have been coming to or following along with Market updates for years, this is old hat and old news to you. But for those of you who are just a bit newer to this phenomenon known as Quilt Market, Sample Spree is THE place to be the night before Market opens if you are a fabric store. Hundreds of store owners and fabric buyers line up outside the ballroom conference center, the line goes outside and around the building. This time around, the line wove out toward the river….

Everyone is trying to get into the limited ticketed availability of Sample Spree where fabric companies and others set up tables to sell exclusive bundles and precuts of their fabrics and other patterns. 

It goes something like this.

1. Fabric manufacturers setting up all of there sneak peek packs of precuts and bundles of fabric. Here the infamous MODA tables are being stocked with all the newest collections of its designers [including yours truly]. Please don't ask what my darling husband is doing in the middle of the MODA tables on a chair, waving his arms…. lets just say that is for another post, after I learn how to upload a video…


2. All is calm and the MODA reps set up and wait to help deal with what is to come the second it is 8:00 and the doors are opened. Notice the doors are closed.


3. Doors open at 8:00 on the dot. And people walk, jog, run and wheel their way to the tables… people spread out all over the place, but admittedly the largest majority head straight for the MODA ensemble and only the fittest survive :-)!! 

For us it is a countdown to see how quickly it becomes total and complete insanity. I have to say that as someone who is just there as a spectator, it is a bit entertaining, especially since it is all in order to be the first to buy our advanced fabrics….


4.   More folks stream in….


5.  And within about 2-3 minutes this is what the previously empty MODA tables look like.


6. At least 3-5 customers deep, the insanity continues until all the fabric bundles are done. the tables are completely empty and everyone goes home exhausted. Happy if they were one of the ones lucky enough to get the collections they were waiting for.


the rest of us go home, happy that set up is done & that another Sample Spree was a wonderful success 🙂
And then we all come back the next day to the real business of Quilt Market.

Hope that informative &/or fun to see.

Talk to you soon.

About The Author



  1. sherri | 16th May 09

    This was really fun to see! How disappointing it must be for those who get to the Moda table only to find that their favorite fabrics are all gone! But how exciting if you do find what you’re looking for!!!

  2. Angel | 16th May 09

    Great post! Thanks for summing it up for newbs like me. I’m excited to hear everything else about Quilt Market and the pictures! Been following everyone on Twitter. Sounds like it was a great time.

  3. rachel | 17th May 09

    pure madness.
    but it looks like a good time.

  4. Stephanie | 17th May 09

    Oh dear I’d be camping at the door to make sure I got the coveted samples! What fun.

  5. karen | 17th May 09

    Thank you for explaining this… Another curiousity is all the work that goes into your booths (congrats, I heard you won an award)… I saw several photos on the Jolly Jabers flickr photos… some have custom pipe & drape, some plain white, some have cement floors, some cement floors, etc. Do you as a vendor have to bring all the extras… furniture, flooring, etc.? The booths look so delicious but there has to be so much work!

  6. Jocelyn | 17th May 09

    Wow great post! Thanks for explaining the process. Is there usually enough samples to go around?? What fun!

  7. Sue | 17th May 09

    Enjoying the photos of quilt market. Looks like pure madness. Is that your husband in a couple of photos with his back to us? He looks like he is standing on something. Looking forward to your new patterns and fabric.

  8. Kristine | 17th May 09

    Thank you for the explanation of Sample Spree. I’d always heard it was worth the wait, but never really understood what it really was. Thank you!

    It sounds like you are having a good time. You have created a wonderful business and I’m sure you’re getting the attention you so rightly deserve this year at market!

  9. Mary on Lake Pulaski | 17th May 09

    Yes, informative and fun to see. After seeing many photos on other peoples blogs, I vote you as having the best booth!

  10. Magnolia Bay Quilts | 17th May 09

    I’m standing by for the post about why your husband is on the chair! Is he looking for someone? Changing a lightbulb?

    Thanks for the pictures of Sample Spree. What a zoo!

  11. Mary Lynn Parson | 17th May 09

    I am in your last picture! The sample spree is the most fun one can have this side of heaven! It was sometimes 5 people deep, but I somehow managed to score your collection! Yay! Your schoolhouse and your display at the market were wonderful! Keep up the superb job!

  12. Kimberly | 17th May 09

    I can’t believe I’ve stumbled onto your blog today of all days… I just started my first ever pinwheel quilt using 2 Fig & Plum layer cakes… CRAZY! I love your fabric line… so beautiful… check it out here:

  13. Joanna | 17th May 09

    You are too sweet. Thank you so much!

  14. Gina Halladay | 17th May 09

    feel like I was there! we will have to catch up soon.!
    Kisses to you and all the figs.

  15. Liz A. | 20th May 09

    I’m interested in learning more about the quilt behind your husband. Is this one of your patterns? If not, do you know what it is?

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