Are you the kind of person that lines up at 2:00 AM on Black Friday to be first in line for holiday specials? If so, you would probably love Sample Spree at Quilt Market.
Sample Spree is held at Quilt Market, on Friday night at 8:00 PM. At the sample spree last month, 142 companies – a lot of which are fabric manufacturers – sell samples of their goods. The purpose is to allow businesses to purchase samples for their displays and sample quilts. In reality, it is a free-for-all in which people line up for five hours prior to opening, just to get first dibs on the merchandise.
Until I got to Quilt Market, I was not even aware of sample free. I was given advice that ranged from “it’s totally fun” to “I never go near that place” to “make sure you wear closed-toed shoes becomes people will step on your feet.” There was a lot of discussion about how busy the Moda booth would be (and it was). People also share Sample Spree stories in the same way you’d share tales about your family … as in: “Remember the year the guy at the Moda booth wouldn’t reach down and grab the fat quarters I wanted?”
The advice I decided to follow was not to wait in line, but to have a nice dinner and show up around 8:30. This I did and it worked well. The vendors were busy, but the tables were well-staffed and vendors were willing to chat.
One of the busiest booths was Kaufmann. Since I’m making a lot of modern quilts, I couldn’t resist the wholesale prices on solid jelly rolls and fat quarter bundles. However I was very aware that I didn’t have a lot of extra room in my suitcase and that fabric is heavy. These items cease to be a bargain if you’re paying $35 for another bag of luggage or UPS shipping charges.
Overall, Sample Spree was fun. Nobody stepped on my toes and I got a few bargains. This is an experience I will definitely repeat.