Shoulder to the Wheel

Day Two is actually Day One of the event. Bright eyed and bushy-tailed, Gina meets us at our hotel room for a quick huddle to get us prepared for the crowd and a strategy for vending and buying. You see, I have to buy fabric for my shop while still helping my mom sell her patterns to different retailers and distributors. I know, like I have said before, I'm insane.

We had a corner booth towards the back of the show, in the 1100 aisle, so it took a while for guests to trickle in from either end of the show. This was perfect, since I am always running behind. I had an opportunity to polish up the booth a bit. We're simple folks, so our booth reflected mom's awesome quilting and our delicious fabric bundles. (I finally convinced Mom next season to spring for a really sweet, stylized booth. No more bundles! No more sharing booths!) So Mike and I took turns dipping in and out of the booth, scouring the shop for sweet new patterns and collections.

This is my husband's first Market, and I am so unbelievably proud of his fabric finesse. I taught him 10 years worth of product knowledge, quilting and sewing information, and networking in about two months and I can truly say he's an apt pupil. He loves to throw around his fabric knowledge. ("Oh, is that Garden Wall?" he'll say with a sly smile. It's great.) I thought he would have a good time buying fabric with me.

I'll be honest with you, this day is kind of a blur for me. I was like a Tasmanian devil, all over the place at every which second. An hour in the booth, an hour on the floor, a couple hours in the booth, a couple hours on the floor.

At one point, all I was trying to do was get in the Kokka booth. As Gina proudly declares herself, I am a certified Kokka-head. It doesn't help that Melody Miller's booth was extremely cute. How could you not buy every single thing you see after stepping foot inside of it? As I made my way towards the Kokka booth, people kept saying hi and I kept running into fabric and pattern designers I like. Like our sisters from Country Fabric and Quilts in Brainerd, Minnesota. Steffani Burton and her mom Deb are my mom and my best quilting friends and we love seeing them every year at Market!

 Finally, I was able to step into the booth. Nope, Jane Sassaman was right behind me. Turns out she has a new book out. I was flattered to be asked to be a part of her 24-day blog tour in June! I'll tell you all about that in a following blog.

Back to fabric buying. It's extremely liberating and terrifying at the same time. I'm literally spending thousands and thousands of dollars on fabric. I thought I would have a heart attack. Now I know why Mama P was stressed out about when she was running her business. I now have all these responsibilities myself. Absolutely terrifying.

The first line I bought was Bella by Lotta Jansdotter. This is a casually elegant line. I've always been a fan of Scandinavian design because of its simplicity. I feel like this collection is perfection for home decor, simple modern quilts, etc. I see shower curtains, notebook covers. So much potential.

Of course, no show would be complete without seeing the unsinkable Tula Pink. It's been one of the most amazing things discovering her fabrics. It's great seeing likeminded people in your industry. Her quirk, sense of color and design, and subtly snarky humor is infectious. What I love about Tula also is that she doesn't hoard her knowledge. She is comfortable enough in her craft to know that she is unique and that teaching others her craft won't teach them her style and sensibilities. She is funny as hell. I am proud of her continued growth and expansion and expect even more amazing things from her.

I fell in love with a sweet line from Liberty Fabrics. They're a UK brand that is fairly new to the states. I see a lot of potential for clothes with these tiny flower prints. We have plans to make a beautiful flower basket pattern quilt with these prints! They were nice enough to give us a swatch set that you can view at our Post Market Soiree, along with some great totes that you can win!

I brake for all things cute. When I saw Penguin and Fish's new embroidery kits, I couldn't help but buy a couple to stock. Her booth was adorable! There's an opportunity for you to win a kit in the raffle at our party June 16th!!

After an exhausting first day, we heard that there was going to be a little shindig at Gordon Biersch that evening. Something about karaoke with Tula Pink, Amy Butler and Anna Maria Horner. So we changed clothes and headed back over the bridge. We had a delicious meal and a sweet cocktail. But no designers, no huzzah. Or so we thought. After we left the restaurant, turns out they WERE there karaoking and carrying on! The next morning Tula's tweets confirmed the sad news. At least we had a great dinner. There are always more opportunities to party!

The coolest part about Kansas City was there sweet art walk on the weekends. Downtown Kansas City's streets are shut down and hundreds of vendors carrying various mediums host a small outdoor booth where guests can admire their handwork. This city has a lot of soul.

A lot of you know that before I ran my own modern quilt shop, I managed a top-performing national skateboard chain in Austin. Being from California, skateboarding is in our culture. Turns out Kansas City has a huge skate culture. One of my favorite skateboarders Sean Malto is actually from there. He was in town along with numerous other famous skaters for an even in Kansas City the following week after Quilt Market. It sucked that we couldn't stay to watch the pros! I was hoping to see Stevie Williams walking down the street but no luck.

Instagram allowed us to keep in touch with our quilter friends and provided my friends and family with loads of entertainment during Market. If you have an iPhone or an Android, I recommend you download this photo-sharing app and follow me! My handle is @jessicaksloan. I post a lot of photos of plants, nature scenes, of course fabric, my silly son Tegan, Mike and me, and various quilty things. It's fun to share. I also like to show off the newest fabric collections when we receive them!

Anyway, we called it a nite after dinner and prepared for the next day- more buying, more selling, more quilt craziness.

I promised I would tell y'all a little more about our upcoming Post Market Soiree. The event is June 16 and it's here in Austin at our awesome modern quilt shop. From 7-10 guests can munch on Rudy's barbecue while viewing our various mementos from Market and playing games to earn raffle tickets that they can redeem for prizes! Prizes include pattern packs, a beautiful Anna Griffin tote bag, precuts from the latest fabric collections, autographed books from the latest quilt visionaries, and much more! There is truly something for everyone in this raffle. We'll also be having a HUGE sample spree where you can purchased finished quilts for a very reasonable price. Tickets are $5 in advance or $10 at the door and they are officially ready to purchase!

Tomorrow we'll talk about Day Three and all the fun we had at the Modern Quilt Guild meet up!