Thursday, August 11, 2011

A rainy Friday

The first stop for today, Friday, is The Quilter's Parlour in Jenkins. I'm here a little early, as some of the shops will open earlier that their stated hours. I do need to do some planning for today, decide on the best route. I will have to skip one of the shops on the way north if I am to stay with the schedule. I think that the shop in Floodwood will have to wait for tomorrow.

The Quilter's Parlour is just off the highway and very easy to find. This shop has a shop designed tote that has been made up in the gray script and dark gray 'woven' fabrics and is quite stunning. Needless to say, this shop is out of both fabrics! It is being shown as a grocery tote, but I think that it would be a great bag for work, as it is very sophisticated. I get the pattern, as this could be a great gift idea. Forget to get a picture, I'm so distracted.

Off to Brainerd, where the are 2 shops. Country Fabrics and Quilting in Brainerd, Minnesota is about as far from country as you can get. Most of the fabric in the store are by contemporary designers or batiks. The store also sells sewing machines. The store has a lot of sample garments made up, especially for children. There is a special section of prints that would be appropriate for juvenile clothing on just before you go upstairs. There are also adult garment samples.

This story is the first in the Central North section. This section is requiring a five dollar purchase at each of the shops in order to qualify for the prize at the end of the shop hop, which is a sampling of Cherrywood fabrics coordinated with the Minnesota shop hop fabrics.

The second shop in town in town is Colorz for Quilts. This shop is smaller that Country Fabrics. They have a nice sample quilt on display and snacks for the hoppers. The have mostly contemporary fabrics. Parking is in the back of the store, as it is on a very busy main street.

The next stop is in Aitkins at Aitkins Quilts and Fabrics. This is a new shop to the hop this year. Smaller shop with wide selection of fabrics. They also have a "Man Cave" set up in the back of the store for all the males who are being 'dragged' along on the hop. This shop is on a very busy street, so be aware.

On to Timeless Treasures in McGregor, MN. This little log cabin is again not on the GPS and it doesn't even recognize the roadway as having an island. This is a great shop, wide range of fabrics, lots of patterns and tools. Shop like this, that are further away from large metro areas really are treasures!

The next shops will be back in the N Central section of the hop. There are several shops clustered close to and Grand Rapids, so hopefully this will go pretty quick. I am starting to realize that I probably should have called the shop in Warroad to see if they would have waited for me to get there on Wednesday, I could use that extra 1 1/2 to 2 hours of time that the drive from Warroad to International Falls cost me the next day.

The next shop is ABC's of Quilting in Grand Rapids. This shop in an old school building in the center of town with several other shops. Grand Rapids is also the birthplace of Judy Garland and as you can see, there is a Yellow Brick Road leading from the sign in the picture up to the school. This shop is smaller, but has a nice range of fabrics, including flannels, They also have a long-arm in the shop. Quite a few of the shops in Minnesota also do long arm quilting.

The picture at the school does not really show it, but it is starting to get cloudy and it looks like it could rain. The next shop is in Deer River is Heart to Hands Quilt Shop. This shop is in an old church. The area where the altar would be has been made into a display area for a number of sample quilts. The shop is roomy and the fabrics are nicely displayed.

You can see in this picture that it is clouding up and it started to sprinkle as I was walking to my van. The GPS wants to take me back through Grand Rapids to get to Nashwauk. I ask for an alternative route, as I want to avoid the traffic. On my way, I get caught in a horrible rain storm. The rain is blowing across the road in sheets of water and you can hardly see the road at times. I keep driving, even though other vehicles have pulled over and are waiting for the storm to subside. I do drive out of the rain before I get to Nashwauk.

I make a quick stop at the Quilting Patch. This little shop is in an older home. They have a classroom area and some cute ideas using Minkee. Sorry I couldn't stay longer, but I want to try to keep head of the storm.

This picture doesn't really show how bad the clouds looked at the time. I hear on the radio that a flash flood warning has been issued for the area I just drove through. I can believe it, it was really raining hard.

The next stop is Quilts Around the Corner in Hibbing. This shop really is around the corner, you nearly have to make a U-turn to get to the store. This shop always has some great samples made up and this stop does not disappoint. I am seeing a wider range of the MN fabrics in some of the recent shop. Prior to this, some shops were running out of some of the colors. I am now back in the NE section.

It is getting late in the day and I need to make a decision on where I go from here. I decide to stop at Terri's Treasures in Iron, MN. This shop is in a mobile home. The storm catches up with me on the way to Iron. I get into the shop without getting to wet, in a break in the rainstorm. Smaller shop, obviously, but very friendly.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 6 - Another one (section) bites the dust

The first stop on the trip today is Northern Exposure quilt shop in Warroad. This smaller shop was on the hop for the first time last year. The are also keeping longer hours (8-8) for the hop. They have a nice mix of fabrics, including flannels. Very helpful staff.

The first shop in the NE section of the state is in International Falls. This shop in a shopping mall on the main downtown street. They have quite a few patterns on sale. wide selection of fabrics and quite a few kits for sale.

Anderson Fabrics is in Blackduck, Minnesota. They are on the main treet, and are a shop that has both custom upholstery items as well as a quilt shop. The shop has a wide range of fabrics. They have a very nice display in the last room of the shop that includes the Minnesota shop hop fabrics. Two of the display items are made from patterns designed by Shelly Robson of Pieced Tree Patterns. Both of these include panel centers. This room also has a number of other display quilts, that would be great inspiration for using the Minnesota shop hop fabrics. The shop has a wide range of fabrics including jelly rolls and layer cakes.

The shop in Bemidji has changed hands since the last quilt shop hop, and is now Ann's Quilt Cottage. The shop he has a large selection of reproduction fabrics and the Civil War patterns. They have a small room devoted to children's fabric. This shop also has a huge selection of last year's shop hop fabric, so if anyone is looking for fabric to complete a project, this would be the shop to contact. They also have a moderate selection of other fabrics including batiks. And, once again, another bus! I just can't seem to avoid them on this trip.

Front Porch Quilts is in Walker, Minnesota. This shop actually does have a rather nice front porch, is you can see in the photo. Most of the items on the front porch are for are on sale. The shop carries a wide range of fabrics and has an extensive line of flannels. They also have quite a few wool fabrics. As you can also see from the photo, they carry numerous baskets as well.

Piecemakers Quilt Shop in Hackensack is the last shop in the NW section. The gift in this section for completing all of the shops is a bundle of Moda batiks. I have seen some great sample quilts made with these fabrics in several of the shop along the way. This shop is smaller (lucky, no bus) with a nice mix of fabrics. Most of the shops that I have been to so far are carrying the Civil War repros. No picture this time.

Mother Original Quilt Shop in Pequot Lakes has moved from its location last year. It is now on the main highway (Highway 371) on the east side of the road. This shop has a small but nice selection of fabrics. They have quite a few Northwoods fabrics. They also carry a nearly complete line of Tiny Ones patterns. They also have a quilting machine in the shop. I finally ran into a couple of other 'all staters". I don't think I have ever met another person on the shop hop who has done the entire state before.

I didn't get as many shops done today as I would have liked, but given the distances that I was driving between shops, I think that I did well.

Day 5 - Roseau, here I come

I spent the night in the Holiday Inn in Alexandria. In my bathroom, on top of some towels, I found this little fellow.

I, of course, decided that he should travel with me on this trip. It would have been rude to just leave him sitting there while I went out and had some fun!

First stop for today is Dawn's Quilt Shop in Alexandria. This shop is using their block in a display quilt. Shopping in the early morning is less hectic, as there are usually many fewer shoppers. I am alone in the shop this morning. I do find a very modernistic looking quilt sample near the cash register, which I think would make a great quilt for a contemporary household.

The next shop is Common Threads Quilt Shop and design studio in Garfield, Minnesota. This shop is offering a discount if you check in with Foursquare. I have been doing a check in regularly on this shop hop whenever I have been able to contact Foursquare. I've had some difficulties getting my check in to registered at times. The shop has a very nice little display near the the fireplace made with the Minnesota shop hop fabrics. This shop also has a small separate room devoted to Civil War reproduction fabrics.

The quilt shop in Fergus Falls is another dual shop, i.e. a shop with two purposes. Quilting in the Cottage or Quilters Cottage is located in the same building as an appliance sales firm. You can walk through the bolts of fabric and head straight to buy a refrigerator or freezer. This is actually a good size quilt shop. They carry a lot of Crabapple Hill and Bareroots patterns. They also have a wide selection of fabrics including quite a few flannels. Didn't see any batiks, however.

The day has been excellent, sunny and warm but not too hot. This is a much better than the 110 heat index that was in Nebraska on Monday.

I am sure that everyone is getting tired of me mentioning batiks. I am looking for several batiks to finish a couple of projects and so they are on my mind. Sorry.

Bay Window Quilt Shop in Perham, Minnesota is actually quite a large shop. They are on two levels, the basement containing wool, flannels and minkee. They also have quite a few outdoorsy type fabrics here is well. They carry a wide range of fabrics and quite a few quilting notions as well . They also have a large sale area of fabrics and patterns that are on sale for 50% off. There is also a separate room devoted to large-scale prints and juvenile fabrics. They also have a long arm at the shop.

Back Porch Quilts in Fergus Falls is another shop that is not on the GPS. This shop is in a log cabin with a rather large front porch rather than back porch. They have a shop-designed quilt on display as you walk into the shop. The shop has been rearranged since my last visit, one year ago. The shop however still has a large selection of notions, batiks, and juvenile prints. A display is devoted completely to Civil War reproduction prints and patterns.

Moorehead, Minnesota is the home of The Quilted Ladybug. This smaller shop has a classroom that is nearly the size of the shop itself. Quilters here have commented that they are finding the shops are out of the border fabric. One of the display quilts in this shop is made using the border fabric. This shop has a wide array of various fabrics, including a large sale fabric area. Their classroom is filled with numerous shop samples, full of great ideas.

After a long drive (about 2 hours) I arrive in East Grand Forks at Quilters Eden. This shop is just across the street from Cabela's. There is quite a bit of traffic, and no light on the end of the block by the quit shop, so please be careful. This is a smaller shop, with a classroom upstairs. The shop has a good, varied selection of fabrics. Numerous samples are on display.

I apologize if all of the posts are starting to sound the same, there is only so much you can say about a shop and then it all starts to sound the same.

The shop in Crookston in new this year, This is Sew Broadway. The shop is on Broadway St., hence the name. They have a very nice display in the front window of items made from the hop fabrics. This shop is also selling handmade pottery, as does The Thimble Box in New Ulm. Very helpful staff!

Again the 2 hour drive. Starting to think how Gilligan and the bunch felt about the 3 hour tour! The shop in Roseau is open from 8-8 every day of the shop. They are so far out from most of the shops that they make it easy for you to get to the shop, even after driving the 2 hours! This shop also sells Janome sewing machines. They have a very nice sample quilt made using the Moda batiks that are this section's prize for visiting all of the shops. What a great idea. Very nice little shop!

I you are spending the night in Roseau, be sure to mention that you are one the Minnesota shop hop and you can get a discount. I did make it to Roseau! Now for a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 4 - Back on the road again

Well it's Tuesday morning, and I am back on the shop hop. My first stop is Fabric Plus in Marshall, Minnesota. This shop is on the main street of town. And once again, I ran into a bus. However, this turns out to be a good thing, as the shop is open before the posted time of 9:30 AM. This shop has a very cute little outdoorsy display of the Minnesota shop hop fabrics. They also have they also have an extensive display of juvenile and baby fabrics and sample quilts. This shop also sold sewing machines in the past, but they appeared to be no longer doing so. The shop also has a rather extensive collection of holiday fabrics, mostly Christmas.

The second shop today is Gathering Friends in Bird Island, Minnesota. This shop is been in operation since 1998. They also publish a line of patterns and booklets under the Gathering Friends name. They have a very extensive selection of samples made up using both their patterns, and patterns from other designers in the upstairs room. Quilt kits are also available there, as well as the sales fabrics. The sample quilt made up using the Minnesota shop hop fabric is from their booklet Serenity. It is quite a spectacular quilt. They also have a large selection of juvenile fabrics. The shop also contains a gift shop area with candles at flowers, plaques and other gift items.

The last shop in the southwest section is Shades of the Past in Clara City. This shop carries mostly reproduction fabrics, although they do have other fabrics available. They have made up a very nice sample quilt using the block from their shop. The shop also has patterns for embroidery. Shop hoppers are encouraged to sign an apron at the cash register. As you can see from the photos, quilts from past Minnesota shop hop fabrics are displayed outdoors.

DeAnne's Country Village Shoppe in Litchfield is actually more of a gift shop than a quilt shop. If anyone is looking for fabric from last year's shop hop in order to finish a quilt they are working on, this is the place to contact. They have quite a bit of last year's fabric left, including the white background fabric. This shop also has a number of nice country themed gifts and home decorations.

Gone to Pieces Quilt Shop in Kimball is in the back of a printing office. A smaller shop, they still manage to have a good selection of fabrics and a long arm in the back of the shop. Lots of patterns as well.

The Sweetwater Cotton Shoppe in Painesville is my first shop in the Central West section. This is a small shop. They design and print their own quilt patterns. They have a very nice display area with a bed on which there are decorated pillowcases. The display includes a wallhanging. The shop is offering a booklet with instruction for all of the items in the display.

I am not seeing as many coordinated displays this year, as I did last. The fabric company used last year sponsored a contest, so I saw more coordinated displays. Most of the fabrics in this shop are lighter colored and more feminine.

The Flying goose Quilt Shop in New London is in a building that has several smaller rooms where special displays have been set up. One entire small room is devoted to juvenile and baby fabrics. This shop has also designed a unique pattern using the Minnesota shop hop fabric, which is for sale in the shop. Be sure to check out the sales items in the basement.

Sunday, Aug 1 (Day 3)

Today will be a short one. I need to be in Nebraska to take my mother to a doctor's appointment tomorrow. Thus, I will only be able to hit the shops along Interstate 90 on my way west. I will be finishing the SE section today. The hop this year is basically backwards from my usual trip. I try to get to the shops that are the farthest away first and save the ones closest to home for the last. This year the ones around the city will be the last ones.

The Calico Hutch Quilt Shop in Hayward is the closest MN shop to were I start out today. This is a nice little shop, sells sewing machines and has a long arm on site. In other words, they do it all! Eclectic range of fabrics and they have some very nice samples made from the MN fabric, including a quilt by a shop designer.

The shop in Sherburn is in an old bowling alley, therefore the name Old Alley Quilt Shop. Again a garden and flowers. The folks here are very friendly and helpful. I really love it when old buildings can be re-purposed and given new life.

The next location on the list in Prairie Quilting in Windom. This shop is attached to a feed store! You can pick up fresh farm eggs and meat on the way out of the building. How's that for county ingenuity? The last couple of years this shop has been selling bag kits with the MN fabrics. They are very nice, with pockets for small items like phones and a strap to hold a water bottle upright. Shop is small and crowded, but the idea of the quilt shop/feed store is just to good!

Last shop today is Crafty Corner Quilt and Sewing Shoppe in Worthington. This shop sells sewing machines as well as quilting supplies and fabric. They has tons of fabric and it is stacked a piled everywhere. The have some older basic fabrics, so if you need just a little bit more for a project, this would be the shop to call! They always have a great sale area, so be sure to check that out as well.

Off to Nebraska I go. Will catch up with the hop again on Tuesday.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Saturday, or can I finish the Southeast section today?

I decide to stay in the cities instead of traveling to New Ulm tonight. I will need to be there by 9 AM, in order to make the best use of my time today. I should be able to get to about 4 shops in the SW section and nearly all of the shops in the SE section.

The day is bright and sunny and a great day for driving and shopping. I arrive in New Ulm and there is another bus! Luckily there are 2 shops here, so the crowd is spread out a little. The first shop I visit is Spinning Spools on the north 'side'. Eclectic shop with a little bit of everything. Very friendly.

On the south 'side' of town in The Thimble Box. The shop has their own little secret garden. Must be something about the creative mind that wants to work with nature as well. The shop is pretty small and is quite crowded. They have some cute samples made of the MN fabric. I have a tote that I made from a pattern from this shop that I use all of the time.

The bus is traveling to Mankato next. I need to get there before it does! The Firefly Quilt Shop is the first of the two shops in town that I visit. This shop has a great classroom with lots of samples. The have a nice MN display, again no pictures. Guess that I will have to get used to that. Sorry folks, I guess that I would be able to show you the good stuff.

River City Quilts is over by the mall. Again, great samples and a good sized shop with a wide range of fabrics. There is an article from the Mankato Free Press about the hop is on display I think that this is the first news article that I have seen about the shop hop. I really enjoy seeing all of the different things that people are doing with the MN fabric.

The rest of the shops today will be in the South East section of the state. The state has been divided up into 8 sections this year. It was 5 sections on the original hop 5 years ago.

Quilter's Dream in Montgomery is the next stop on today's trip. The 5 inch square of fabric that all of the shops are giving customers, in this shop, are wrapped like pieces of candy. This is a smaller shop, but has a very nice classroom area. The also have a long arm quilting machine on site.

Quilting by the Hearth in Lonsdale has a very good selection of batiks. The sale fabric is in the classroom area and includes batiks. I really need to watch the amount fabric I purchase, I already have too much, given the amount of time that I have to spend quilting.

Cannon Falls has a very nice shop called Fourth and Main Fabrics. They carry mostly contemporary fabrics and batiks and have some clothing patterns, esp. for children. They carry heavier weight fabrics for bags, totes, etc. All of the fabrics and samples are artfully displayed and the shop is not crowded, a big plus during a time like this when there are a lot of people in the shop.

I program the GPS to get me to Lake City without routing me through Red Wing. The traffic is likely to be murder on the weekend. I end up driving on county roads, which in Minnesota, are quite good. The shop in Lake City has moved to larger digs on the main drag through town and looks great! Rather Bee Quilting is nicely laid out and very roomy. Nice selection of fabrics. I am really seeing a lot of traffic in the stores today, even without any buses.

Rochester's store is just off Broadway in a little shopping center. The Quilting Cupboard is a smaller, crowded shop. The have a nice selection of fabrics, including a wide array of wide fabric for quilt backs. I have been seeing more of the shops carrying these fabrics. Speaking from personal experience, it is really nice not to have to go to all of the trouble of piecing a back!

All in Stitches is the shop in Stewartville. Parked out front is a big red, you guessed it, BUS.

I have been on bus shop hops myself and they are very nice. No driving, lots of gossip, er, talking, and you can even do some hand sewing if you don't get motion sickness. But from the other end, they can really slow you down, with all of the waiting in lines, etc. This shop has lots of batiks and contemporary fabrics. The staff separate the non-bus shoppers and we get to jump the line (Thank you very much!).

The shop in Racine is called Pine Needles. The original Pine Needles started in Iowa. This is a large spacious shop, with a nice classroom for display of sample quilts. The also sell sewing machines. Wide array of fabrics from contemporary to reproductions

Quilter's Quarters in Spring Valley is the last stop of the day. Nice sized shop, sitting area for the guys on the trip. Lots of sale fabrics. Many very nice samples to get you thinking about the next project that you will make when you get home. I will backtrack through Rochester and catch up with my sister and her family before heading home. Sorry, forgot the picture again.

And the answer to the original question is no, I can't get to all of the shops today. I will finish this section tomorrow.