The Free Motion Quilting Project: Busy Day at Quilt Market

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Busy Day at Quilt Market

It's been an amazing, informative day at quilt market! Today is a day of Schoolhouse classes, which are short, 30 minute classes focusing on a specific topic for quilting business owners. It started with a nice presentation from Cotton + Steel in this huge ballroom. You can get a sense of how many quilters are here at this big event:

Now you might wonder why I'm insisting on blogging about every detail of this event, but the fact is, I can't even remember it all and it JUST happened! This is my way of reviewing the day, organizing all the cool swag, and consolidating the information so I can return to it again later.

Also I should add that I'm now on Instagram and Twitter! I haven't done much with either of these two platforms before now, but this event is definitely changing that. Find me on Instagram as LeahDayQuilting and on Twitter as LeahDay.

On to Schoolhouse...

I picked a handful of classes to start the day and headed off for a presentation about making kits from fat quarters taught by Stephanie Prescott of A Quilter's Dream.

I really love this new quilt she's designed called Eye of the Storm:

Best of all, she gave us all 2 free quilt patterns for Half Baked Quilt and Metropolis Tote Bag. I know I'm definitely going to be making that tote as it looks simple and fun, and it only takes 6 fat quarters to make!

Next I listened to a great presentation from Laurie Harsh from Fab Shop about creating an employee handbook so that all employees understand the policies, goals, requirements, and benefits of the business.

Josh and I are actually getting ready to hire our very first employee so it was wonderful to get this information right now.

My last class of the morning was with Debra Gabel, the high energy creative genius behind Zebra Patterns. I've seen these patterns already in my local quilt shop and absolutely love the Holiday Houses collection of blocks.

She also has this new Sea Life collection of stamp designed blocks which are super bright and cheerful:

The main lesson for this class was the benefit of Block of the Month Patterns, though I already know from the Building Blocks Quilt Along that this is a terrific way to have fun with loads of quilters!

I took a break from the Schoolhouse classes at this point to meet up with Josh and our helper Mary to set up our booth #2349:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

We first put together this huge curvy frame, which really was a three person job! The sign is basically a big pillowcase which slipped over the top and zipped up at the bottom making for a terrific backdrop to the booth:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

Also on display, for the first time ever, is 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs, the quilt of all the squares from the beginning of this blog project! I'm so thrilled to see it finished and hanging at last!

free motion quilting | Leah Day

The quilt is here because we're officially launching our new 2nd Edition of 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs - a spiral bound, beautifully edited and arranged book available right now in our quilt shop. Click here to check it out.

free motion quilting | Leah Day

We also set up our Sneak Peek shelf with a copy of the book and some Quilt Me! fabric. Since we're on the bottom shelf, Josh had the brilliant idea to include a battery powered light which really highlights the book.

free motion quilting | Leah Day

I admit, halfway through this long busy day I was feeling down because the "comparing monster" had started to infiltrate my mind. What is the comparing monster? Basically it's the line of thinking that forces you to only see what everyone else has, and judge yourself harshly for what you forgot to bring or don't have.

I'm walking past gorgeous booth after gorgeous booth with these HUGE crazy set ups and hundreds of quilts and fabric and thread and books and kits and I don't have ANY of these things!

Deep breath. Yeah, that comparing monster is a real beast.
So to help come down off that cliff, I headed back to Schoolhouse where I met the amazing, awesome Jake Finch and Melissa Maher from Generation Q magazine.

I absolutely LOVE Gen Q and really, really enjoyed Jake's presentation about building a stitching community. In so many ways I feel that we've done already done exactly this, but on an international scale through the hundreds of free YouTube videos we've posted since 2009.

It was the perfect thing to remind me what my purpose is - to inspire and educate quilters online.

I may not have an award-winning, spectacularly overflowing booth, but I do work daily to fulfill the goal of reaching and teaching quilters no matter where you live or what language you speak, and expand the world of quilting one stitch at a time.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. Great post and BAN the "comparing monster" from the building!!
    Hope you have a fun time at your first Market.

  2. Enjoyed your observations. Enjoy yourself

  3. Thanks for the great recap. I'm glad you stopped the monster in its tracks!!!

  4. While I am not able to attend this event, just looking at your pictures and particularly the massive curvy frame, I don't think you got anything to worry about. Looks spectacular...and the event sounds like a lot of fun.

  5. I agree with Karin - the beauty of that backdrop might be diminished with more clutter in the booth. From your pictures, it looks spectacular!

  6. I bet your booth is awesome! Don't let the negativity win.

  7. Leah, you alone are responsible for me learning to FMQ and quilting all my quilts with lots of designs. Your book and videos got me started and I refer back to them constantly. I learned about Isacord from you and the gloves. Don't compare. I don't care about award winning quilts. I care about making quilts. Your influence and instruction are of great consequence to the humble quilters like me. Thank you. Learn from others, but don't compare.

  8. "Don't let comparison spoil your joy." Your backdrop and quilt look amazing! Best wishes for a fun and successful Market!

  9. I can only see the pictures, but with your beautiful backdrop, I'll bet your booth looks pretty fab.

  10. Oh Leah! Don't ever doubt yourself! Ever! You have done so much for me personally in my quilting life...from DAY 1! (Get it? "Day" 1?lol!) from great advice and tutorials to the tools I needed. Not to mention the confidence and forgiveness to keep trying and forget perfection! You were so kind to accommodate my shipping requests and I have watched your business and career grow so much in just a couple years. Your personal posts make me feel like I know you and I appreciate your honesty. Your booth sign looks gorgeous (which I thought to myself when I saw it before reading your post). Enjoy your full experience there, good luck, and be your beautiful wonderful self as always!

  11. OMG, I am So impressed with your booth; it would stop me dead in my tracks. Yeah, totally stop the comparison thing! What you have accomplished with your quilts and your teaching is amazing -- and that's totally aside from the crazy fact that you're not even 30 years old yet!!!! And YES, you already have a whole huge amazing quilting community, so you can shrug and say 'been there, done that.' You're a professional, Leah, face it. You rock. Just relax and enjoy!!!

  12. Great display! Great observations! I totally agree with the sentiments already expressed! We, your followers, may not be able to bestow tangible awards to you for your creativity and inspiration but never doubt that you have positively impacted all aspects of our craft and our lives!

  13. Leah you are such a breath of fresh air. Monsters are horrible and best put back in their dens. We all have been confronted by them at some time. Wonderful you blog about it. Love the booth backdrop.

  14. Not to be redundant but like the other commenters, you have inspired my FMQ journey like no other. Never, ever underestimate the power of the teacher. Your backdrop is fantastic. I have attended many shows and I do not enter cluttered or crowded booths. Overwhelmed by too many elements that confuse and conflict I will head for the booth that looks like yours, every time. Congrats, keep up your enthusiasm and sharing. It is a gift.

  15. Lady, you have what you need! Inspiration and the WANT to teach others. You are my hero and you were the one who got me to go further with my quilting and not think inside the box, but outside. After doing several craft shows with my mom, who has more things and is flashy in her set up only means that you have to put all the flashy things up and then at the end when you are tired, you have to take all those flashy things down and make sure they are safe and packed right! AT the end all I want to do is shove in a box and go.......Comparison Monster be gone!

    Tonja W

  16. Dido to posts. Thank you so much Leah, you are an inspiration and teacher to me. Be strong.


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