Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Shop Hop Epilogue

I received a call yesterday from Gruber's Quilt Shop and I won one of the $100 prizes to spend at any shop in the southeastern region! I received the package in the mail today with a mug from Gruber's and a shop hop pin. Thanks to the folks from Gruber's and to all of the shops in the hop, it was great fun. Now, what to buy with the money....

Final day

Day 12

This is the final day of the hop. I have the last 5 shops to 'hop' and then I will have completed the entire hop.

The first shop of the day is the Firefly Quilt Shop in Mankato. This shop was closed by the time I arrived on Thursday. This shop has a nice selection of oriental fabrics. They have a sample tote made with the Shop hop fabrics that I really like, but are out of the kits and the book with the patterns, so will need to look for that at the next shops. I am able to get a nice kit with oriental fabrics on sale. This shop has more of a 'arty' feel and lots of nice samples.

The next shop is the Thimble Box in New Ulm. This is a cute little shop with a side entrance that faces a lot with a garden. This must really be nice when the weather is better. It was raining all day. The shop has a nice mix of fabrics and has a nice selection of samples of items made with the shop hop fabrics. Lots of great ideas. I am able to find the pattern book that I was looking for.

Montgomery and The Quilter's Dream is the next shop on the hop. This shop is in a refurbished older building in the downtown area. This is a new shop, but has a good start with a selection of fabrics. The interior of the store is nicely done.

Quilting by the Hearth in Lonsdale is next. I have been at this shop in the past. They have a nice selection of fabrics and I find some more blue and yellow 30's fabric. This shop has a nice classroom in the back of the store. They have several samples hanging from a clothesline in the classroom.

The last shop of the hop (yeah!) is The Cotton Patch in Owattonna. The shop has a very nice selection of kits. It has a kit for a cover for your iron, so it can be packed for travel even if warm. Nice mix of fabrics in the shop.

It has been fun doing the shop hop. I'm not sure that I would do the whole thing again, but it was fun this one time. Minnesota has quite a few really nice shops.
I wish that I had thought to order the GPS for my laptop a little sooner and had some time to work with it before I left for the trip. I didn't get a chance to figure out all of the helpful features before I left and I think that the trip would have been quicker it I had more time with the program.

Saturday (Day 11)

Day 11

I want to apologize in advance for the pictures. The next couple of days of pictures are not a good as the previous ones due to weather conditions. The Kodak camera that I was using did not seem to work quite as well in the lower light of a rainy day

The first stop on the next to the last day of the shop hop is Calico Hutch in Hayward. This shop is very close to where I live in Iowa, so I do visit it quite a bit. The staff and owner are very friendly and helpful. The shop recently added on a new classroom and the shop is quite roomy. They have a good selection of fabrics and lots of nice kits. They also have a lot of samples to get you thinking and planning your next project.

Next to Spring Valley and the Quilter's Quarters. This is a new shop to me. They had a lot of fabrics on sale and have a nice selection of fabrics. They have developed an innovative way of displaying their books to make use of a small space to display quite a number of the books. Quilters are such inventive people! This store is certainly worth the trip.

Stewartville has a new shop, All in Stitches, that opened in July. This shop has more of an artistic feel. Lots of nice batiks and brights. Nice selection of juvenile fabrics. Very nice samples.

Just a Little Something is one of the shops in Rochester. This shop has more of a county feel, with quilting fabric on the main level of a older home south of the downtown area and lots of yarns and patterns upstairs. They have lots of samples displayed, even on the stairs. I have been at this shop several times before and the staff has always been helpful.

The Quilting Cupboard is a shop in a little shopping center North of the Silver Lake area. This is an eclectic shop with many different fabrics. They even have some of the elusive bowling themed fabric that I have been looking for. They also have a nice selection of plaques for decorating your quilting studio.

The last shop of the day is about an hour down the road in Winona. Thanks for waiting an extra few minutes to the folks at The Quilter's Friend! I was able to find a great fabric for an upcoming Guild challenge on the sale rack and bought the rest of the bolt.

Back to the Rochester area for a quick bite and then back home. The last of the shops are waiting for tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thursday (Day 10)

Day 10
Thursday is my afternoon off, so what better way to spend it than to work on completing the Minnesota shop hop. Mankato will be the target town today.

The first stop on the list is the Old Alley Quilt Shop in Sherburn. This shop is in an old bowling alley, hence the name. This is a cute little shop with quite a nice garden out front. Things are a little dry, so some of the flowers are less than perfect. Everyone is friendly and helpful, nice selection of fabrics and some very nice samples.

Next on the list is Crafty Corner Quilt and Sewing Shop in Worthington. This shop has sewing machines, fabrics and lots of patterns in a small shop. A large lot of sale fabrics. The shop has so much fabric that a lot of it has to sit stacked on the floor, which makes it difficult to see. Did find a bag pattern that I was looking for.

Luverne has a shop called the Sewing Basket. The shop also has machine and is a small shop. Find a nice piece of flannel which should come in handy as I would like to make a couple of jackets and the flannel is nice to using instead of batting. Very friendly staff. People are starting to notice that I am trying to make it to all of the shops and are commenting on this.

I backtrack toward Worthington to head toward Prairie Quilting in Windom. This little shop is attached to a feed store! Tight quarters, but a nice selection of fabrics and the staff is very helpful. The Southwest section special hop bookmark is completed and I am finished with my fourth section! (Another camera problem, I think that the batteries are getting low)

I thought that I could make it to New Ulm, but I did not get started as quickly as I should have. Two of the shops in Mankato are open latter today, so I will head in that direction instead. The first stop is in North Mankato at River City Quilts. This is a smallish store, but has a lot of nice samples. A meeting is being held in the classroom and they are having some show and tell. The shop has a lot batiks.

Final stop of the day is at The Quilter's Mercantile in Mankato. This shop has moved since I was last up this way, which has been a while. The shop is in a cute older building and has several rooms of fabrics, samples and patterns. Nice selection of sale items. A cute store.

That is it for today. Only 11 more shops to go!

Day 9

Day 9

Today is a really short day, 5 hours. I have 10 shops to see today, so I need to get cracking.

First shop is Calla Lily Quilt Shop and Gifts. This shop has some great samples. A sample block of the month quilt makes me sorry that I do not live closer to the cities. Nice selection of fabrics and patterns. (Due to operator error, I do not have a picture of the shop, but I have a nice photo of the parking lot)

Next is Four Seasons Quilts in Plymouth. This shop has a very nice selection of Christmas fabrics. Good sized shop with a nice mix of fabrics. This shop has a large selection of fabrics for blending. Many nice samples.

The Snugglebug, A Quilt Shop in Plymouth is next. This shop has a large selection of batiks and a very nice sale area. This shop always has a good selection of fat quarters. This shop also has a person at the door to stamp passports and answer questions. Lots of brights and a nice selection of patterns.

If you need an oriental fabric, the Blue Bamboo is your shop. They also have a large selection of batiks. This shop is in a very confined space and is set up for mail order sales, so don't expect a lot of room to lay out fabrics to try color combination. Some brights, but mostly any kind of oriental fabric that you can think of. Some kits and fat quarter bundles. Not many sample quilts to look at.

The next stop is Heavenly Patchwork Quilt Shop in Waconia. This is a nice drive past the University of Minnesota Arboretum and orchard. This shop is part of a fall shop hop and stopping at the apple house on the way back to the cities is a real treat. This is a smaller shop. A nice selection of books and patterns and a good mix of fabrics. Many nice samples for inspiration. This shop was kind of quiet when I was there.

Back toward the metro area and to the next stop, The Sampler in Chanhassen. This shop has lots of brights and batiks. They have a large quilt made using the shop hop fabrics, along with a few other fabrics, that is a map of Minnesota! It is something to see. My hat is off to the maker of this quilt! This shop also has a good pattern and book selection. They carry the Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

Next on the list is Eagle Creek Quilt Shop. This shop in an old train station. Lots of reproduction fabrics and country colors. This shop has a lot of nice samples and has numerous special events during the year. Look for the shop cat, she has her own little four poster bed.

Before U Quilt in Savage is the next shop on my list. I have seen the same couple in the last 2 shops, I bet that they think that I am following them. This is a shop that is new to me. It is a smaller shop, but a nice selection of fabrics. I find a Christmas panel that I like. This shop has dogs, what fun. I will have to stop again.

Fabric Town is in Apple Valley. This shop has a well rounded selection of fabrics. I find a couple of blue and yellow reproduction fabrics that I don't have yet. This shop was out of charms, but will send me mine when they reorder. The charms that the Metro area shops have been giving out are very nice. They will make a nice momento of the trip. This shop completes the metro section of the hop. Only two more to go.

The final stop of the day is at Quilters Haven in Rosemont. I have been at this shop several times in the past. The owners are very friendly and helpful. The shop is in an older house next door to an antique shop. They have quite a few purse and tote samples. The stairs are steep, so be careful. Nice selection of juvenile fabrics.

Well, that ends the day. The rest of the shop will have to wait for Thursday afternoon and for the weekend. I will need to plan the most efficient routes to be able to get to all of the shops before the end of the hop!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Day 8

Today is Saturday and the hop is an hour shorter than the weekdays, only 10 AM to 5PM. The day will start in Brainerd and head back to St Cloud and to the Cities

First shop is Country Fabrics, Quilts and Collectibles. This shop is open at 9:30 on Saturday, so I get an early start. Parking is in the back and fabrics are on the main floor. Antiques and collectibles are upstairs. This shop also sells sewing machines. I know that I have been to many other shops on the hop that sell machines, and never made mention of that fact. I am not looking for a machine at the moment, and certainly not on a shop hop, so I have not been paying much attention. This shop has a nice mix of fabrics and lots of batiks.

The 2nd shop in Brainerd is Colorz for Quilts. This is a smaller shop with a more artsy feel, Many nice kits and lots of patterns for non-traditional quilts. Parking around the back here, too. Brights, batiks and interesting samples. That finishes the Northwestern section.

On the road to Country Caboose in Wahkon. This is a small shop, quite crowded, with the fabric and patterns and a quilting machine. I find a charm pack of batiks, the shop cuts their own, Nice idea, given the number of charm packs and the numerous pattern available for charms. Nice number of sales fabrics. This shop has a range of fabrics, but not a lot of room to view them. This shop complete my second section, the Northeastern one.

The next shop is Cole's Country Treasures Quilt Shop in Princeton. This shop is on the lower level of a store. A nice selection of fabrics and is shop #3 in the hop that has fabric with a bowling theme. I had no idea that this fabric would be so hard to find. Lots of samples, especially small items, and kits available.

Next is Quilts on Broadway in Foley. This is a tiny shop, but has a great selection of Jenny Beyer fabrics. Nice samples on display. They had ice cream, what a great idea for a hot day! The lime sherbet hit the spot.

On to a shop in the county, Bound in Stitches Quilt Village in Sauk Rapids. Unfortunately, I arrived at this very small shop the same time as several other hoppers, so not much room. I thought that the owner was rather rude. The shop had some very nice small sample quilts up. The selection of fabrics is limited by the size of the shop.

Monticello and Little Mountain Quilt Shop is next on the trip. This is a cute little shop. Has quite a variety of Quilt in a Box small quilts. These are patterns and fabric in a box about the size of a small Chinese take-out box. Cute idea.

Quilt N Stitch in Buffalo is another small shop. Had some interesting fabrics that I have not seen elsewhere. Found a couple of batik fat quarters to add to the stash. Shop is crowded because of small size.

Quilted Treasures of Rogers is a little hard to find, my GPS had me on the wrong side of the road at first. This is a very nice shop with some spectacular sample quilts. Lots of batiks, this seems to be a very popular type of fabrics in all of the shops. I think that I would like to take some pictures in the stores if I every do this again.

Elk River is the next stop, Cottage Quilts and Fabrics. This is a larger shop, with a nice classroom. Large selection of fabrics, lots of great sample quilts for inspiration. Plenty of room and fabrics are displayed well.

The last stop of the day is Bardella Fabric Arts, Inc, in Anoka. This is a very nice shop with more of an arty style. Lots of nice samples. I think that this might be a great place to go to get some ideas when you feel like you are in a rut and need something new and different. My son and fiancée live close by so it wouldn't be much of a trip.

Well, a full day. I plan to attempt to finish the rest of the Metro section tomorrow. It will be a push, to get to 10 shops in 5 hours. I have been at all of the shops with the exception of 2 in the past, so know the store layouts better.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Day 7

Day 7

Spent last night in Willmar, doing laundry (what a drag) and setting up a game plan for today. How to make it to the most shops in the least amount of time. Still find myself in the situation that I have a lot of driving between stops. So the plan is to go south to Marshall to start the day and work my way back.

First stop of the day is Fabrics Plus in Marshall. Again, road construction. This time the entire main street is torn up and blocked off, so the picture that you see is the back door. I would like to say sorry to the folks as Fabrics Plus. This is a very nice shop, lots of fabrics, nice arrangement and very friendly. Had cold treats for shop hoppers. Wide range of fabrics.

Next stop is The Purple Cupboard in Madison. There really is a purple cupboard. The shop is well arranged, nicely decorated. Numerous samples are available, quite a few kits as well. Suitcases contain 'orphan' fat quarters for a reduced price. Cute shop.

Shades of the Past in Clara City is next. This shop has lots of wool and fabrics in darker country colors. Nice shop, well laid out and lots of samples. Owner is able to give directions to the next shop and keep me out of construction. Thank you very much!!

US 212 is under construction, so getting to the shop in Bird Island was a real experience. Gather Friends is on the main street in the downtown area. Lots of fabrics, sale fabrics are upstairs. When I was there on Aug. 10, they still had some of the shop hop fabric with words on it. I hear that is now the hardest to find. This shop has a wide array of fabrics and some gift items. Nice store, to bad about the construction.

Next stop is Main Street Cotton Shop in Hutchinson. Lots of Thimbleberry fabrics and patterns, obviously, as this is the home town of Lynette Jensen. Scavenger hunt in the store for 5 quilts and you win a prize. Lynette's books and patterns are being given out by the shops on the hop as well, thanks Lynette! Lots and lots of sample quilts, not all Thimbleberries patterns either. Shop is being decorated for the fall season. Nice selection of sale fabrics at the front of the store. Staff is very helpful!

Litchfield and Deann's Country Village Shop is next. This shop has gift items, fabric; a mix of things. Limited fabric selection, but I am able to find a decorated star that I like.

Gone to Pieces Quilt Shop in Kimball is the next stop. The shop you see in the picture is the current abode of this shop, but not for long. A sign in the window announces that the shop is moving over the Labor Day weekend. A small shop, but well stocked with a range of fabrics and tools.

Gruber's Quilt Shop in Waite Park is another American Patchwork and Quilting (Better Homes and Gardens publication) shop. This is a very large shop with loads of fabrics and patterns and samples. Almost too much to talk about. Plan on spending some time here.

The last stop of the day is Avon at Aunt Annie's Quilts and Silks. This shop has lots of interesting fabrics that I have not seen elsewhere, not just cotton for quilting. Again, I find a nice rayon that would be useful for a top. Nice samples are available. Great shop for a new and unusual idea.

Call it a day. I will spend the night in St. Cloud and plan the trip for tomorrow, Should be able to complete the northwest and northeast sections tomorrow and hope to hit some of the metro shops.

Day 6

Day 6

Today I need to try to stick to the plan of 8 shops a day or I am going to get into trouble with completing all 91 shops before the end of the hop.

First shop is Quilted Ladybug. First for all of you using GPS, try using US-10 instead of highway 10 in the address you put in the system. It works, don't ask me why. This shop has many batiks, brights and some really nice samples in the classroom area. Numerous Kits and a lot of the Pieced Tree patterns. All of the shops on this trip have been carrying the Holly Taylor Northwoods designs. Off to a great start, forgot to get a picture!

Next shop is Pelican Rapids, The Fabric Stash Quilt Shop. The town has numerous decorated pelicans and is holding a quilt show in the shops in town, Try to stop to see a few. Find an openback thimble (sorry, the next to last one). A small shop, limits on selection. You can get your machines looked at here as well as shop for fabric.

I make an unscheduled detour here. My son and fiancée and her family are vacationing at Star Lake and so I stop for a rest. I t was nice to meet everyone and stand up for a while. Sounded like everyone was having a lot of fun! Looked like a nice little resort that they were staying at.

On to Bay Window Quilt Shop in Perham. It is easy to see why this shop was picked by Better Homes and Gardens, it is a very nice shop. Lots of selection of fabrics, patterns, classes. There a lot of great sample quilts and quilted items and the shop is really organized. This shop has some of everything, batiks, Orientals, reproductions, various designers, brights, baby: you name it and it is probably in Perham. Lower level here, too. Bad news, road construction again.

Quilter's Cottage in Fergus Falls is next on the list. This shop has an interesting arrangement, it is one of several shops in a larger building. Good selection, nice sale area. Lots of samples and staff is very helpful. A little hard to find.

Alexandria has 2 shops. The first one I go to is the Common Threads Quilt Shop. Parking is in the rear of the shop. The shop is on the small size, but has a good selection. Staff commented to another shopper that a shop hopper has just coming in, getting her passport stamped and leaving. Come on now folks, how rude is that! At least take the time to look at the shop, even if you don't buy anything. The next time that I do something like this (if ever!), I am going to use a hand held dictation recorder to record my thoughts and some of the fabric that I see. Quicker than writing notes.

The second shop is Stichin' Post. As you can see from the sign, it also had dolls. This shop has a more limited inventory, but still a lot of nice fabric. Staff is friendly and helpful.

Next to last stop is Sweetwater Cotton shop in Paynesville. This shop is very small, but still has a number of nice sample and a limited selection of fabrics. Did find a reproduction fabric in blue that I purchased. For the 2nd time today, I forget the picture. Another senior moment, I guess

Last shop of the day is Flying Goose Quilt Shop in New London. This shop stays open later on Thursday evenings. I would like to suggest this as an idea for the shop hop next time. Most of the hops that I have been on in the past have one evening during the hop (usually Thursday) when the shops stay open late. This would allow more people who work during the day to have a chance to make it to some of the shops. This shop is very deceiving, it looks small from the outside, but is quite large on the inside. Lots of selection, well organized, good samples. An enjoyable place to shop.

Well, I made the 8 for the day. Thanks for the folks at Flying Goose for being open late! Need to plan for the day tomorrow. Decide on the best use of time to hit the most shops!

Sorry about the delay in posting to the blog. I had a lot of trouble with the wireless internet in the hotels not working properly.