I couldn’t help myself

September 18, 2016

Every Friday, Missouri Star Quilt Company puts a new video on YouTube. I need another project like I need another hole in my head but I couldn’t help myself. As soon as I saw Friday’s video I pictured the quilt in red and brown. I thought it would be a quick weekend project using the strips from the swaps I participated in a couple of years ago. Each block needs 18.5″ of each of the 2 main fabrics. We swapped half width of fabric so the strips should have been long enough. I was dismayed to discover that most of the red strips were only 15-16″ long. I must have cut off a 2.5″ square for another project and not remembered doing it. That meant I had to go through all the strips and check the length – time consuming. I finally found 23 strips that were long enough and read as red. Some of the swap strips were too pink, too purplish, too rusty, etc. The brown strips were fine although some were a little wider than the red strips. I don’t believe I’ll be swapping again. Kind of disappointing.

I finally got to the point where I could make the first blocks. Since I was working with 2.5″ strips and flippy corners, of course I had to sew a second seam to get a bonus triangle square. I didn’t want to waste time drawing lines so I needed to modify the tool I’m using to sew the diagonal seams.


Quilt in a Day’s Sew Straight

According to Bonnie Hunter’s bonus triangle tip, the seams for a 2.5″ square should be 3/8″ apart. I added a piece of colored tape 3/8″ to the left of the center line of the tool. I sewed the first seam from corner to corner lining it up with the center line as instructed. For the second seam, I lined up the first seam with the right edge of the colored tape I added.


That’s how I do the flippy triangles and get the bonus triangles without wasting time drawing lines. This technique is more accurate for me. Your mileage may vary.

So far I’ve made 8 blocks. Once I got the procedure down making the blocks picked up speed, though I’ll never be as fast as Jenny Doan.

I’m handling the bonus triangles as I go, pressing them and cutting off the dog ears. I’d like to sew them up as I go as well so I don’t end up with another bag of parts. I’m having analysis paralysis – can’t decide which configuration to use.

I could do pinwheels or square in a square.


I could do a sort of checkerboard. Ignore the bottom right set – I didn’t notice I laid them out wrong for this photo.


I could do parallelograms.


I could do broken dishes.


I’m sure there are some other layouts that I didn’t think of.

Should I choose one layout and do only that one with all the sets? Or, should I make all the layouts and, throwing caution to the wind, use them all together in a random setting? I’m kind of tending toward the last option. What say you, gentle readers?

I think the reason I’m leaning toward using all of the layouts is a quilt I saw yesterday at the Pennsylvania National Quilt Show that really caught my eye. It was a Japanese scrap quilt of tumbling blocks where each diamond in the set of three contained a different block. I found myself thinking that the elaborate symmetrical quilts in the show were somewhat boring in their perfection. I was shocked to find myself thinking that.

If I counted correctly, I cut 23 block kits. I still need to cut red strips so I can make up the rest of the 36 block kits needed. I’ll probably wait and do that after these are made so I can make sure I have a suitable range of values.

In between bouts of sewing I’m cataloging my patterns and filing them alphabetically so I can actually find them when needed.

Row by Row: Travel Edition

August 30, 2016

I didn’t stop at as many shops on my trip to Illinois this year as I did last year. I only stopped at two shops on my way out to Illinois, both in the Columbus area.

First was Calico Cupboard in Pataskala, OH. This was a reasonably sized shop in an old shopping center. They were having an open sew day in their classroom.


They did horizontal and vertical versions of their row.


I got the kit and a bunch of button packs. The buttons weren’t included in the kit. I chose an assortment that I’m sure will come in handy for other rows as well since there are more buttons than can be used on this row alone.

From there I headed to Columbus to meet Linda at Dabble and Stitch, a fairly new shop, strictly modern except for a couple of William Morris fat quarter towers. Seemed an odd thing for them to have.


Their row is a modern version of the Columbus skyline. Reminded Linda and me of the slice of Baltimore quilt our Sew and Tell group made for Nancy. We wonder what happened to it after Nancy’s death.


I got the kit and one of the William Morris towers. I couldn’t resist it.

I took one day while I was visiting mom and dad to visit a few shops around central Illinois.

The Village Stitchery Quilt Shop and Retreat Center in Oblong, IL was featured in the spring/summer 2016 Quilt Sampler magazine. I really like this shop. It was set up so that each type of fabric was in an alcove-feeling space. For example, patriotic was in one section, pink and brown repros in another, etc. It was worth the one hour plus drive.



Sorry for the blurry picture – guess I was in too much of a hurry. I got the kit, a nursery book print, and some pink and brown repros. I love pink and brown together.

Next stop was The Wooden Spool in Effingham, IL. It’s a nice sized shop for a small town. Odd hours though, closed at noon on Saturday.


This was the row that was published as being their row.


This was another row that they didn’t publish to the Illinois Row by Row site. All the camper collectors would go crazy for this one.


I got some of the first row kits for a couple of people in the row swap group and one of the second row kits for me. Also found the pretty chicken print and bananas and oranges to add to my food print collection. Like I need another food fabric.

The last stop of the day was in Amish country, Stitch and Sew Fabrics in Arthur, IL. They do not have an online presence. They carry a little bit of everything including clothing fabric for the Amish.


A nice farm row. Unfortunately, they ran out of the fabric that the small animals came from so I’ll have to figure out something else to do on my row. Who knows – maybe I have similar fabric.


I only bought the kit. I did go next door to the fudge shop and get some Snickers fudge (delicious) and an Amish made basket to hold toilet paper rolls. Got some cheese at the cheese shop and deli across the street. If you ever find yourself in the Arthur area, go to the visitor’s center first and get info on all the local attractions. My favorite thing is that they have a public restroom.

From my parents’ place I headed north to Chicago to spend a couple of days with my brother before returning to Maryland. Of course, I had to visit some shops on my way. One of the shops I was planning to visit in Savoy closed at the end of July. So sad.

My first stop was A Quilting Bee in Mahomet, IL. This is a great shop.


I really like this row.


I got a kit and plate for me and for a couple of other people.

It was a short hop from there to Sew Sassy in Urbana, IL. This appealing shop is in the Lincoln Square Mall which is damn near dead. It looks like they’re trying to make it into an art/crafts mall. It seemed busier this year than it was last year.


As a University of Illinois alum, I had to get this row with the U of I barns. I didn’t care for the plain grey fabric they used for the barns. They were one of two shops I visited that had maps for people to pin where they were from. Someone else from my area has been there already, unless they’re using a map with last year’s pins still in.


Orange and blue fabrics (U of I colors) and fall fabrics were on sale for back to school. I found a few I couldn’t live without. The brown is for a quilt I’m making for a friend. I like the movement in the print. I got the row pattern.

My next stop was a spur of the moment change of mind. Kathy’s Needle and I is going out of business. I learned that in July and arranged for someone to get the row kit for me, thinking the store would be gone like the Savoy shop. I subsequently learned that the shop wouldn’t be closing until the end of October.


Kathy loves her Scotty dogs. They remind me of my brother’s black mini-Schnauzer.


Everything was 30% off. I picked up some more food fabrics. The chocolates are arranged in hexagons. How could I not get that? I also have a significant collection of cat fabrics. I’m much more selective now but found one to add to the herd. Although I have a ton of neutrals I couldn’t resist the strip pack. Also got some 505 spray (don’t let me buy any more until I use some – I’ve got at least 3 bottles now) and marking pencil remover. I think I’ve got the pencil that the remover is designed for.

My last quilt shop stop was Prairieland Quilts in Cissna Park, IL. Very small town with a great quilt shop.


A studio row.


The winning quilt in their shop. I like how the maker used elements from the rows in the borders. I recognized all the rows except the bottom three. I’ll have to post them in the swap group and see if anyone can identify them.


I got the kit and fabric plate and some patterns on sale. What do you want to be that I already have at least one of the Pacific Rim patterns? I love Lori Smith’s patterns (the one on top).

There were a couple of rows in the Chicago area that I really wanted so I headed out one day to get them.

quiltfabric.com in Westmont, IL has to be one of my all-time favorite shops. I’m so glad I don’t live closer. If you want it, they’ve probably got it. Being in that store just makes me happy.


This is why I went there. I lived in the city of Chicago from 1976-1981.


I got the kit and plate for me and the kit for a member of the swap group.

My other stop, Quilters Quest in Woodridge, IL, always gives me pause because the name of the Maryland/Virginia shop hop is Quilter’s Quest. Makes for more than a little confusion, I’m sure.


Another Chicago skyline. I think this might be Navy Pier. I bought the kit but they were out so they should be mailing it to me as soon as they get new ones made. It’s been a week. I’ll give them another week before asking about it.

That was it for Chicago this year. In past years, I’ve done a full days complement of 6-8 shops. Now that I’ve seen a lot of the stores, I only go if I really want their row.

There were three shops for the trip home to Maryland.

Stone Soup Batiks in Mishawaka, IN was the first stop. Isn’t that a great name? Despite the name it isn’t all batiks. I wasted time going to the wrong address, mislead by She Who Must Be Obeyed. With the new map dvd, more stores show up in the points of interest database. Unfortunately, I failed to compare the GPS address with the actual address. Apparently the store moved at some point.

Narrow, long shop in a large, older shopping center. The batiks were all displayed to make one long wall of color. Other fabrics filled the rest of the shop.

I thought I took a picture of their row in situ but I don’t seem to have one.


I got the kit. She includes a full color glossy print of the row with the kit. You can see how big the print is on the cutting mat – about 5″ x 16″. Who does that? That’s almost half the size of the row.

Lavender Patch Fabric and Quilts in Bristol, IN was a shop I visited for the first time last year.


Their row in a frame.


Their row in a quilt.


The kit is the only thing I got. Patty wanted their fabric plate but it was sold out.

My last stop was Quilts and Kreations in South Amherst, OH, another shop I visited last year.


Isn’t this a fabulous row?


I got kits and fabric plates for me and two friends who requested them.

Patty was hoping I would get to Pittsburgh in time to stop and get the stacked pumpkins row there but it wasn’t to be. I was still in Ohio when that store closed at 5. There were lots of lane closures for construction and heavy traffic that added at least an hour to my trip. I didn’t get home until 10 pm. I was pooped.

I believe that’s the end of 2016 Row by Row travelogues. I won’t be boring you with the rows I’ve gotten through the swap group or pre-orders for November because I don’t want anyone to see how many I end up with. And, I promise, I was being selective.

I do need to go through my row collection and decide which ones to offer for sale on the swap group. There are some I definitely won’t make. Patty had me sell one or two for her since she doesn’t use PayPal.

I think some of us from guild are going to get together for some Row by Row sew-ins.





Row by Row: Central Maryland

August 30, 2016

There were some nearby stores we hadn’t visited yet so off we went.

Our first stop was new to us, Charlotte’s Cottage Quilt Shop in Walkersville, MD, near Frederick. This was a very small shop but I liked it a lot. She carries primarily reproduction fabrics.



I got the kit for the row, mostly because of the bee buttons, last year’s fabric plate and 2 colorways of a patriotic border print. I have ideas about how I might use the border prints.

On to Westminster where there are two shops. Blue House Fabrics is a fairly new shop that specializes in all things modern. It’s in a – wait for it – blue house a mile or two from downtown.



I got the pattern, a copy of Modern Quilts Illustrated, a book on English paper piecing and a Missouri Star Quilt Company template that, as it turns out, I already own. Oh, well, it can be a donation to the guild’s raffle baskets at our next quilt show.

Jomax Sew and Vac is not so much quilting as it is sewing machines and vacuum cleaners.


I think the difference in the two versions of the row is that one uses an embroidery machine for some of the pieces.


This vignette displaying some row by row elements is quite clever.


Look at the detail on the bird and bike, all the cute things in the basket.


I got the fabric plate and row kit with some die-cut pieces that were sold separately.


The owner designed this quilt a couple of years ago to display her collection of fabric plates. She’s been adding them to the borders each year. I neglected to ask if she had a pattern for it.

Our last stop for the day was to another shop that was new to us, Woolstock Knit and Sew in Glyndon, MD. This is primarily a knitting and sewing store with a small selection of quilting fabric. The people were very friendly and helpful. They had a wonderful selection of interesting buttons. Linda – you would like this store.



The main reason for stopping here was to get the fabric plate. I got the kit because of the Old Bay.

I think that’s the end of Patty and Barbara’s Row by Row adventures for 2016.

Row by Row: Culpeper, VA

August 5, 2016

Last Thursday, Patty and I headed down to Virginia for another Row by Row adventure. This was the first trip I planned. Suzzie’s Quilt Shop in Manassas, Va was our first stop. We’ve been to quilt shows in Manassas but never stopped at the quilt shops. There is another quilt shop in town but it is not participating in Row by Row.



A kit for me and one to trade. I got the last fabric plate from last year.

Suzzie’s is the place to go for batiks. I think it’s probably the most I’ve seen in a store that wasn’t exclusively batiks. The shelves for non-batik fabrics were so close together that it was difficult to see them. Although, they didn’t tell us this here, another store later in the day said Suzzie’s is moving to a larger location this month. You’d think they’d have told us that.

The clerks were complaining about having to provide a copy of the row by row pattern with each kit. They felt that only the people who came into the store should get a pattern and only one pattern per person. They didn’t approve of the Facebook swap groups where people get kits for others.

From there we headed to Daffodil Quilts and Fibers in Nokesville, VA, a new to us shop. She had two rows and I loved both of them.




I got both kits and the plate. Two friends also wanted the plate so I picked it up for them as well. Good thing I told Patty who wanted what because I completely forgot about the plate until Patty reminded me – after I checked out.

Patty was a winner at one of our local stores. She shows her quilt at every shop we go to. The owner at this shop got all excited thinking she had a winner. She was so disappointed when Patty told her she’d already won somewhere else. You might still have a chance to win. I expect to visit this shop in the future.

On to Culpeper, VA to That Little Quilt Shop, another new to us shop. Little being the operative word. One side of the store is art stuff and the other half is quilting. Linda might have liked the art side of the store. There was a sign on the counter saying “Store for sale”. I don’t think this store is long for this world. Even if it is, there’s no reason for me to go back.



I started wearing an eye mask at night two years ago when I was helping my brother during and after his surgery. Too many LED’s and other light in the hotel room. I picked up this UK kit for an eye mask using Libery of London lawn fabric.

Culpeper is a nice destination town with cute shops and restaurants. I’d like to go back and wander around the other shops. I did stop at the French chocolatier shop while Patty went to a bakery.

We had lunch at It’s About Thyme in Culpeper. Quite a nice experience. Murals on the walls. I had the Salad Nicoise with grilled tuna steak. I forget what Patty had. I rarely think to take pictures of food.

An old familiar, Kelly Ann’s in Warrenton, VA was next.



The kit was the only thing I bought.

Oh Sew Persnickety Fabrics and Threads was another new to us store. Also a fairly new store, strictly “modern”. The owner said she was told she wouldn’t survive unless she carried civil war repros but, so far, things seem to be going well. It is a beautiful, fresh store. A very welcoming feel. I’m not a big fan of modern but I can see going here again. Linda will love this place.



They had run out of background so I got to choose one for the kit. They had just gotten more of the original background in but I liked what I picked better.

Our next stop was Finch Knitting and Sewing in Leesburg, VA. If you’re desperate for a place to win, try here. You won’t find them on the Row by Row list. I gather that they signed up, then they didn’t finish their row, then did but were removed from the list. The owner seemed a little lackadaisical about getting back on the list. This is probably a nice shop to visit if you’re into yarn. For quilters, not so much. They have a few bolts of fabric but not much.

I liked this display of lace in hoops on the stairway wall.



Their row is very modern. I think the block on the left is a bird’s nest. For the rest, you’re on your own.


I did find this cat print. Who doesn’t like blue and white? And cats?

The rain started as we headed back to the car. Our next stop was another new to us store, Sew Magarbo in Ashburn, VA. Magarbo is a Filipino word meaning graceful or elegant. This is another place you might be able to win if you’re desperate. I’m not sure they have enough fabric to make up a prize of 25 fat quarters. Frankly, I don’t know how this store has been in business for 6 years, 3 at the current location. There primary business is to sell Janome sewing machines. There was some kind of kiddie camp going on in the back room. The young woman working in the store had no idea that someone could bring in a row by row quilt and expect a prize. We told her she better talk to the owner and get up to speed ASAP. There’s really no reason to go to this store as far as I can tell.



I bought the kit because there was nothing else interesting. I figure this can be a silent auction item for my guild’s quilt show or the kit can be donated for the raffle baskets.

From there it was a l-o-n-g trip home in the rainy, DC rush hour. Some very violent storms passed through the area during rush. It was lots of fun. Not! It was a great day until the rain started.



August 5, 2016

I hadn’t been sewing much for a while but since it’s been so long, quite a few blocks have piled up. It’s high time to show them.

Some leader/ender spools. I now have 500 and change. Guess I’d better check the book and see how many makes what size quilt so I can determine how many more I need.

Some Wild and Goosey cuteness. Each of those segments is 3.5″. They make no dent in the scrap bin whatsoever. I wish I could find the ones I made before so I’d know how many I’ve made.

Some blocks for Ts for Two. The yellow is more true in the picture on the right. Originally I was going to present the completed quilt as a surprise. I started to fret that maybe they wouldn’t like so much yellow so I decided to just finish the top and get approval before finishing with a back customized to their interests. I wasn’t intending it to be bed size but it occurred to me that maybe they would like it a different size than I intend. I think I’m going to take the blocks and border fabric, lay them out on my friend’s bed and see what she thinks. If this version doesn’t pass muster, I’ll finish it and have it for future gifting and make another one to suit them.

Double or Dutch 9-patch blocks. I love making these. I’ll be sad when my bin is empty – it’s halfway there now. I haven’t even tried to figure out how many quilts the blocks will make. People often ask me “how big is it going to be?” My standard response is “Ask me when it’s finished.” I don’t even know how I’m going to set these yet but I have some ideas percolating.

Ultimate Sampler Quilt: The 365 Challenge

August 2, 2016

Are you all familiar with this quilt-along that started on Jan 1? This is her Electric Quilt mock-up.

365 Quilt

One block each day is posted to the website and the Facebook page. You can sign up for the email list at the website – that gets you an email every day with the link to the block for that day. She’s going to repeat this in 2017 so you can still join in. It’s free! Don’t start in with the current blocks unless you’re comfortable making small, complicated blocks. This is a skill builder project. The dark band blocks are 3″ finished and the light band blocks are 6″ finished. Center medallion and corners are larger blocks.

I’ve been collecting the blocks since January 1 but hadn’t started making any because I couldn’t settle on a color scheme. First I was going to do it in blues and browns like the example above. Then I was going to do all neutrals. Then orange and brown. I cycled through several other choices. You don’t really need a color scheme because value is what’s important but I wanted a limited color scheme. Finally this weekend I settled on pink and purple with some other colors brought in as accents. Here are the blocks for January 1 through January 15. I seem to either do two fabric quilts or use as many fabrics as possible. This one is the latter, of course. I’m sure I’ll have to repeat fabrics at some point but I’ll be working hard to put that day off as long as possible.

Something that occurred to me today is that when cutting very small pieces, beautiful fabrics lose some of the pretty and unattractive fabrics lose the ugly. Some of my blocks are more appealing than others but it takes the ugly ducklings to make the beauties shine.


This is a real skill building project. It starts with the easiest blocks and progresses to more complicated blocks. While my predominant colors will be purple and pink, value is the leading player in this project. You can throw any colors in as long as the blocks read dark or light. Selecting fabrics for these small blocks can be quite challenging. For example, choosing four fabrics that contrast with each other but still read as a dark block is harder than one might think. I think some of my value differences in the blocks above might be a little too subtle. I’m struggling with deciding how light is too light to fit into the dark blocks. I expect to have the opposite problem when I catch up to the light blocks – how dark can a fabric be to work in the light blocks? It may be that mediums have to sit this one out which is hard because most of us tend to buy more mediums than deep darks and light lights.

Row by Row: Bedford, PA

July 29, 2016

Last week at guild several of us were talking about the Row by Row Experience, Facebook swap groups for rows, rows we wanted, how easy it is to get a little crazy wanting every other row we see and so forth. Mary Beth really wanted a row from one of the three, yes, three, shops in Bedford, PA. When she asked her husband what he thought about her going there by herself, he suggested that she ask some friends to go with her and make a day of it. Isn’t he a keeper! In no time she had a full car organized.

Tuesday morning dawned and off we (Mary Beth, Beth, Patty and I) went. It’s a little over two hours to Bedford, depending on how heavy your foot is. I was on the passenger side in the back seat, a very unaccustomed position for me since I’m usually the driver. It felt odd to have no responsibilities for the day, just going with the flow.

Our first stop was Unique Stitches Quilt Shop. This is an attractive little shop with a contemporary flair. The owner was very pleasant and welcoming.


Top row is 2016, bottom row on the scroll hanger is 2015.

I bought one of the scroll hangers shown above for hanging some of the results of all this row by rowing. I picked up the kit for this years row. We all got the pattern for the 2015 row. Mary Beth said we should all make this for our guild’s President’s “my summer vacation” challenge.

Last Friday at Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA, I saw these little monthly pieces in her booth. I meant to go back after lunch and take a second look but forgot. I made up for it at the shop. I had no idea it was her booth until we saw the samples laying on the table, waiting to be rehung in the store. The thing that really sold me on the kits is that she includes the themed hanger with each kit. I didn’t care for some of the months but two are on order as she sold out of them at the show.

From there we walked a block down the street to Mary’s Quilt Shop. Can you imagine having two quilt shops a block apart? Mary’s is the antithesis of Unique Stitches – strictly traditional style with reproduction fabrics. I’ve been to Mary’s twice before with the Baltimore Applique Society. Mary Koval is a well-known dealer/collector of antique quilts and designs fabric based on those in her antique quilts. Her husband, Joe, did the renovations on the church that is now their home and the building where her shop and retreat center are. I would love to spend a week in the retreat center. The other gals hadn’t seen it so Mary took us on a tour. I believe Mary said they are looking to renovate another building in town to accommodate larger events.

Mary designed a patriotic row that can be made vertically or horizontally. One version has a star in the corner, the other has a log cabin block. The last of the out-of-print eagle print in the border is being used in the row kits. When it’s gone, it’s gone.


I got the rotary cutting templates for Panama Pyramids and the free row pattern.

Mary showed us her upcoming fabric lines and free quilt patterns that use the fabrics. I believe there may be a future trip to Mary’s in my future when the fabrics for the quilt below are available. My picture of the brochure doesn’t do it justice. Who doesn’t love a blue and white quilt?


After our visit with Mary we headed out of town to Sewing Solutions. A few days before your first visit to this shop, go to the website to sign up for a 40% off coupon. You will be signed up for their email newsletter and the coupon will be emailed to you. If you don’t print it off, you can show it to them on your phone. This is an Amish/Mennonite owned store with something for everyone. This is the store with the row that Mary Beth wanted so badly. Can you see the writing in the top border? It says “Home is where our story begins.”



I got the free pattern, fabric plate and lovely collection of raspberry colored strips. Had to use my coupon on something, didn’t I?

We were all surprised that none of the Bedford shops had a Row by Row winner yet when we were there.

At that point we were starving and asked about nearby restaurants. When he said the Jean Bonnet was only a few miles away, that was all I needed to hear. I actively lobbied for lunch there – no one dissented. Ever since I moved to Maryland in 1981, I have seen this place from the interstate on my trips to and from Illinois. It reminds me very much of the Dobbin House Tavern in Gettysburg, PA. Since I wasn’t driving this time, I had a Summer Sunrise, sort of a rum punch drink. I thoroughly enjoyed lunch. They even have a goat paddock next to the parking lot. Next time I’ll have to go say hello to the goats.

The original plan was for us to head back toward home and stop at a couple of shops on the way. While we were waiting for our food, Mary Beth said there were several shops heading north and did we want to check them out instead? We looked at the rows to see if there were any we couldn’t live without. There weren’t, although I did see one I’d like to have but the shop was closed on Tuesdays. We decided to go ahead and visit the new-to-us shops because who knows if we’d ever be that way again.

Zimmerman’s Bernina Sewing (no online presence) in New Enterprise, PA is another Amish/Mennonite owned machine store with a small amount of fabric and supplies. We had trouble parking because there was a full class happening in the classroom and what appeared to be a small class in the fabric alcove. The (presumed) owner spent some time showing us the $10,000 Bernina 20″ long-arm in the sit-down table. The table and its built-in storage seems well designed. If I ever have room for such a thing, I’ll consider it. We appreciated his willingness to show us the machine even though we lived too far away to be customers for one.


They were out of the free patterns so he happily made copies for us. I always try to find something to buy when I visit a shop, especially when I’m getting something for free. I’d never seen the Clover chalk thing in silver so brought one of those home with me.

Mary Beth’s GPS sent us down an obviously incorrect path for Country Beefers Quilt Shop in Roaring Spring, PA. We tried to call but the line was busy or there was no answer. We finally gave up and were on our way to the next one when we saw the shop. The owner told us the GPS problem is probably because her shop is the only one on that road with a Roaring Spring address. The rest are another town that I’ve forgotten. The name makes it sound like it should be a butcher shop, doesn’t it? Beefers came from combining two names, Ferrero and I’ve forgotten the other one, something that starts with Bee. The building the shop is in used to be her grandfather’s barn. It’s a quilt shop and country gift shop. Her row is cuter in person than in the online photo.

country beefers


The only quilty thing I got was the fabric plate. My other finds were a pretty box with note paper, a coaster with a Christmas cat picture and some mint scented soap. I normally can’t do scents because they give me a headache but I thought I might be able to tolerate mint.

The scents in the shop were a little overwhelming for me so I headed outside to wait for the others. My phone was giving up the ghost but I took a chance to see if I could capture the beautiful sunflowers against the blue sky. Please keep in mind that I can’t see a darn thing on my phone when I’m outside in the sun, plus I was shooting toward the sun so I was doubly blinded. I think it came out pretty well, considering.


Our final PA row by row stop was Traditions in Martinsburg, PA. This complex includes a restaurant and bakery, fabric, clothing and gift shop. My phone was dead so I didn’t get a picture of their row. Here’s the online picture.


In addition to the free pattern, I found some shell and tractor buttons to enhance some of my rows. I need to remember to ask Dad what kind of tractor grandpa had on the farm. The schnauzer plaque is for my brother who has mini schnauzers. Do you think the dog in the plaque resemble Smokey (below)? Isn’t he cute in his graduation outfit? He looks very obedient here, doesn’t he? He is, sometimes.

After all that shopping we needed some ice cream before heading home! Richey’s Dairy was not far from Traditions. Two huge dips were less than $4. Amazing. Around here you’re lucky to get one small dip for that price. My choice was chocolate chip and peanut butter ripple.

We hoped that we’d get to Hagerstown, MD in time to stop at Traditions at the White Swan before they closed but that wasn’t possible. After Frederick was in the rear-view mirror we were on the home stretch, relatively speaking. Mary Beth wondered what time Patches in Mt. Airy closed. Beth looked it up and, wouldn’t you know, they were open till 7 p.m. I’m sure you can guess what happened. Of course we stopped at Patches.


Jackie’s designs for Quilter’s Quest and Row by Row are always interesting.


I found a package of die-cut crabs that had six blue and six red. I’m sure to find a use for those. I had to pick up the plate for someone in one of the Facebook swap groups. Patty only got the free pattern and the rest of us had checked out when Patty pointed out the rolls of Soft Fuse on the other side of the register. All four of us got back in line to check out a second time with a roll of fusible. Jackie was unusually affable at our antics and we all had a good laugh as we closed up the shop.

That was the end to a very fun day as we headed to our final destination of home. Very fitting as the Row by Row theme this year is Home Sweet Home.


Row by Row: Suburban Virginia

July 12, 2016

Did you know that there are groups on Facebook for swapping patterns and rows? One is Rowed Warriors Swap Shop 2016; another is Quilter’s 2016 Row Kit-Swap; there are others. I searched for “row by row swap”. Be careful, it is way too easy to get swept away in the frenzy of wanting every row you see. I restrained myself and only ordered two row kits so far. A couple of people will be swapping some patterns with me.

Saturday was Jinny Beyer Club meeting day so I figured I might as well leave early and visit a few shops before club. Patty doesn’t belong to club but decided she wanted to go with me.

Our first stop was the Hollin Hall Variety Shop in Alexandria, VA. This store was new to us and it is their first year in Row by Row. This is like the dime stores of my youth or a general store, they have a little bit of everything. Someone who works there must be a quilter because that’s the only way I can figure that they even knew about the Row by Row Experience. Their row features George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon.



I got a kit for me and a kit and free pattern to swap as well as a squeegee for the shower. As I said, a little bit of everything. Patty found a fabric she liked but decided not to get it. Of course, after we left she regretted not buying it.

Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria is another store that is sort-of new to us. We’d never been to the store but we’ve seen their booth at a local quilt show. If you want Australian prints or Indonesian batik prints, this is the place to go. You might find a few elsewhere but not the selection here. I should have taken a picture of their hand-made batik pieces – I wish I could remember where they’re made. They have quite a large selection. This is also the place to go if you’re into the artsy-fartsy side of quilting with fabric painting, stamping, embellishing, and other exotic techniques. This is the kind of place I would go if I had a specific project that I needed supplies for. Our friend, Linda, would be so excited we might have to call 911 or she might have to rob a bank to pay for her purchases. Good thing she wasn’t with us.


The quilt below shows all the color ways of their 2015 row, using some of the batik pieces I was talking about. Because last year’s theme was water, they chose fish.



I only got the free pattern. I didn’t care for the colors of the fabrics they used in the kits.

We headed to Fairfax, Va for lunch at First Watch which is a few doors down from The Quilters Studio. With the new maps for my GPS, She Who Must Be Obeyed had a different idea of which route was the easy route than I did. Maybe there is something new in the settings that I need to change.

Quilters Studio is the place to go if you want “modern” fabric (don’t get me started on that term). They’ve also got small selections of repros and a good selection of batiks; lots of novelties; a wall of Kaffe Fassett collective.


Their row is appealing but they wanted $29.99 for the kit. Yikes! If the pieces were already cut, it might be worth it but they aren’t. I asked one of the workers why it was so expensive but, either she didn’t hear the question or was ignoring it.


I refused the kit but found a nice book print. The colorful things on the right go around a spool of thread to keep the thread from unwinding. I wanted to try them. I think they’ll be great if they don’t get stretched out after being used on a fat spool.

Our next stop was Jinny Beyer Studio in Great Falls, VA for the club meeting. Jinny is an Olympian in the quilting world. I love all things Jinny and have been her student since 1997. Unfortunately, Jinny was on the west coast so wasn’t there for club this month.


Jinny’s design incorporates the bald eagle and the Pentagon. If I remember correctly, the batik fabric inside the pentagons is one Jinny designed for our local shop hop a couple of years ago. It contains images of various landmarks in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia). She has had it printed in other colors for her shop since the shop hop exclusive ended.


I picked up a kit and license plate for me and one to share and a free pattern to trade. If piecing could bring peace, what a wonderful world it would be.

From here I expected our next stop to be Patty’s house but as we approached the 270-Beltway split, she asked if we could go to Capital Quilts. Although I’d given her their pattern, she’d decided she wanted a kit, probably for the little quilt blocks on the fence. I wrote about the Capital Quilts row here.


I picked up some of the Row by Row license plate print for this year. Also had a chat with Annie about my experience so far with my new Janome 9400.

I have done some sewing in between road trips but don’t have pictures to show.

Yesterday was Mimi’s Grad School class at Bear’s Paw Fabrics in Towson, MD.


Their row is the vertical row on the left. For the quilt on the right, they added a branch and did the row horizontally.


Their kit as everything die cut and ready to fuse. I’ve collected quite a few license plates over the last couple of years so I was happy to see this pattern. They also have another similar pattern from the same company. I need to find my other patterns that use license plates and put them all together.

No road trip this week – just recuperating and sewing.

Row by Row: Maryland and Delaware

July 12, 2016

Before I proceed to the next Row by Row travelogue, I want to recommend this product for the back of plastic templates (home made or commercial) and rotary rulers to reduce slipping.


Nexcare flexible clear tape, available at drug stores in the bandage section. I think I got mine at Walgreens.

Patty and I took another row by row trip this week. This time we headed up I-95 north, over the top of the Chesapeake Bay, down through Delaware, then across the Bay Bridge toward home.

Our first stop was Glory Bee’s Sewing Center in Fallston, MD. This store opened a few years ago but we’ve never been there until now. It’s a good size store with plenty to choose from.


Glory Bee’s 2016 row. The multi-colored letters are cut from the Row by Row house print.


Nothing special in the kit so I got the free pattern and the license plate.

From there we headed further up I-95 to Aberdeen, MD to Hoppin Bobbin, another store we’d never been to before. I really like the feel of this store. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, except for the quilt block mural, but the inside is divided into rooms with a very homey feel.


We actually passed it up and had to turn around in the parking lot next door. What you don’t see on the left is the building that juts out and hides the shop from that direction.


Above is the batik room. Wouldn’t you like to sit down and browse through the magazines on the table? If you look to the right, just behind the bookcase with the blue and white quilt, you can see the edge of a dog dish. You are likely to be enthusiastically greeted by this little charmer, Tootsie.


I had trouble getting a good shot of her because the flash from my first attempt scared her. Apparently, she is quite a wimp, afraid of everything except people.


We weren’t quite sure how a snowman related to the Row by Row theme. They must like snowmen because last year’s row also had snowmen, according to Patty.


Again, I got only the free pattern.

All of the shops in Delaware were new to us. The next stop was Blue Hen Quilt Shop in a Newark, DE strip mall. This shop is very new and quite small, owned by Erin Underwood, who used to be a Baltimore area long-arm quilter. Erin is also a pattern designer. I liked this idea for an ironing table. It’s hard to see the big board on top of the dresser against the white wall behind it. If I had space for a non-moveable ironing station, I’d do this.


Her row on the left. On the right is the display showing what all is in the kit.

I picked up the kit and the license plate. Way more buttons than you need in the kit.

This display in the bathroom an interesting take on the clothesline bowl technique. Just make circles of varying sizes and hang them on the wall.


Lil’ Country Shoppe in Wilmington, DE is out in the country in what looks like a farm house. My GPS didn’t quite have the correct location and wanted us to continue for another half a mile or so. We spotted it as we passed so had to find a place to turn around. It’s not a huge shop but had a nice selection, including a fairly large wool applique section. The picture of their row display is blurry. I forgot to check to make sure I got a good picture.



I got the pattern, license plate and found some food fabrics I couldn’t resist. As if I needed any more – I have a large overflowing bin of food fabrics. I’m afraid to think about how many quilts can be made from that bin. I’ve already used about 40 fat quarters worth for a quilt and the fabrics still won’t all fit in the bin.

We planned to go to two shops in Dover, DE but Shady Lane Selections is closed on Thursdays. I didn’t know that when I suggested to Patty the week before that we go on Wednesday instead. She didn’t want to change the day so I didn’t bring it up again after I found out they would be closed. Then, on the day, she says, “We could have gone yesterday.”Sigh. I really wanted their row because it reminds me of growing up near Illinois Amish country.

We headed on to the Delaware Sewing Center in Dover, DE. This is in a very old looking strip mall. Tired is the only word that comes to mind. The store is quite large, an old-fashioned all encompassing sewing store like the ones we used to have everywhere when I was growing up, rather than the specialty quilt shops we’re accustomed to these days.



I got the kits for this year’s row (on the left) and last year’s row (on the right) as well as this year’s license plate.

Now we had a dilemma. It was about 2:40 or so and the last shop on the list, Village Quilting in Rock Hall, MD was an hour and 10 minutes away. Could we get there before they closed at 4 pm? It was going to be very close. We started out with that intention but with heavy traffic and several miles of stoplights, it became clear that we probably weren’t going to make it. We considered calling and asking if they’d stay open for us but we’re both too shy to do that. We implemented plan B which was to stop at Peggy’s Sewing Center in Centreville, MD where we went for the first time last year. It’s a nice store that our guild members visit while going to retreat but Peggy’s wasn’t on our row by row list this year because their row is not very interesting.


Do you think they’ll sell the 200 kits they made? I didn’t even ask for the pattern. Stopping here did give us the necessary break before heading home.

It was early enough as we approached the Bay Bridge that we decided to stop in Annapolis at Cottonseed Glory. I only go to this shop when I’m in Annapolis for another reason. I don’t care for it for reasons I won’t bore you with here. It’s small but has a lot packed into it. We were happy to see that Robbyn Robinson was working that day. Robbyn used to work with Patty at Seminole Sampler, my home away from home. When it closed, Robbyn began working part time at Cottonseed Glory. I think we were the only customers in the shop so we closed them down. We had a nice visit but Robbyn must have been tired because she didn’t even try to talk me into buying fabric I didn’t need.



I got the pattern and license plate.

At this point it was shortly after 5 pm. I told Patty I thought Tomorrow’s Treasures in Crofton might be open late and did she want to go there on the way home. She did so I checked and discovered that yes, they’re open until 7 pm on Thursdays. I don’t care for this store but I don’t know why. It’s another one that I only go to when I’m in the area for other reasons.



I got the kit and the license plate.

I’m happy to say that after this stop we went home. I dropped Patty off, picked up some dinner and crashed.


Row by Row: Southern Maryland, I-95 Virginia

July 2, 2016

Last Wednesday was a beautiful day for a drive here in the mid-Atlantic. Patty and I took a trip through southern Maryland and up the I-95 corridor in Virginia. Out of seven shops, we’d only been to two of them. The rest were new to us.

Our first stop was Calvert Quilt Shop in Prince Frederick, MD. We planned to get there when the shop opened. We actually beat the owner by a couple of minutes. The GPS in my car took us a little bit longer way than Google said to go but that was a good thing because I-95 was a parking lot. We had no traffic back-ups to deal with the way we went.

The shop is packed with fabric. To the left of the entrance is a model train shop – must be the husband’s shop. It’s possible there were other models, I only noticed the trains. Past that was more quilt shop: the classroom, thread, etc. I think we’d stop again if we were in the neighborhood but not make a special trip.

When we checked out, the owner put our purchases in these tote bags and told us to fill them up on our trip. I had no intention of doing so but it happened anyway.


Shall we see what treasures I found along the way? I foolishly told people at guild that everything I bought was with a specific intention. I might have inadvertently lied.

Calvert Quilt Shop’s Row by Row display:

The houses in their row have barn quilts on each one. They included twice as many as needed so the maker can choose which ones they want.

I got their kit and license plate, a couple of patriotic prints, a patriotic panel and a print with barns with quilts. I’ve had a design of sorts in my head for many years for a patriotic quilt so any patriotic fabric can be acquired with the intention of using it in that quilt. My paternal grandparents had a farm and I’ve got a vague plan for a memory quilt of the farm so any print relating to the farm is allowed, right?

Our second stop took us to Hughesville, MD to Michelle’s Quilts. This shop is quite large with lots of great fabric but there’s junk everywhere. I needed to lay out one piece of fabric to figure out how much I needed but there wasn’t anywhere to put it. The cutting table was behind a sort of pony wall that separated the customers from the checkout area. There was no customer access to the cutting table and, besides, it was covered with crap. Michelle barely had any room to cut fabric for customers.

Michelle’s row was really nice. Maryland flag with crabs.


The hexagon beachy looking fabric is all Patty’s fault! I’m going to use it for a small cheater cloth top. On the top left is a pretty oriental style blender print (stash enhancement, sigh). The cat border print stripe is going to be an experiment. I think it might make an interesting one fabric quilt using this technique. I picked up her kit and the license plates for 2015 and 2016.

Twenty minutes or so later we were in La Plata, MD for lunch at the Apple Spice Deli and Material Girls Quilt Boutique. Material Girls is a shop we’ve been to many times. I had my Bernina fixed here a few years back when the feed dogs quit working. Their row and license plate:


I picked up their kit and last year’s license plate. I couldn’t remember if we’d been there last year for Row by Row. If I already have the plate, I can probably trade it with someone. I didn’t get this year’s license plate because I’m no longer a Bernina girl since I got my new Janome 9400 last week!


We had an hour and change to drive to the next shop in Fredericksburg, VA. The road took us over the Harry Nice bridge. Last time we went this way the Nice bridge wasn’t so nice. There was a vehicle on fire or something at the top of the bridge and we sat in traffic for a couple of hours while that was dealt with. This time we sailed over with no delays. Fredericksburg had two shops on the same road, one new to us and one familiar shop.

The Quilt and Sewing Center was small but cute. It was hard to find. It’s behind some strip malls in an industrial park area, all the way at the end. You’d never just happen onto this shop unless you were very, very lost. This shop had two rows to choose from: a bird nesting on a branch and a door. Their license plates hadn’t arrived yet.


I picked up the kit for this years row and for the 2014 row. We got the door pattern as our free pattern.

I’m really glad I don’t live near The Crazy Cousin because I would get in so much trouble here. The shop has doubled in size since we were there in November! It is a wonderful shop! Their Row by Row display included the rows from 2014 and 2015 as well as this year’s row.



I got the kits for this year’s row and last year’s row as well as this year’s license plate. The butterfly fabric is also Patty’s fault! She loves butterflies. I think I’ll use this to inspire my color palette for Bonnie Hunter’s mystery this year, assuming she offers one this year. The butterfly print will probably serve as the border for the mystery quilt.

From here we headed north on I-95 to Bonny’s Sewing and Fabric in Stafford, VA. This is a small shop. The fabric bolts are neatly displayed, horizontally in racks that make it easy to remove a selected bolt. Not much to attract me here. Their row is uninspired.


What was inspiring was this raffle quilt made by the Stafford guild.



Wouldn’t it be great if I win it?


I got the license plate and  a print of maracas on black background. I couldn’t remember the name of the instrument. How did we survive before Google and Wikipedia? Remember I said earlier that everything I bought was with an intent? Several years ago Patty made a great quilt with print prints on black background and bright colors. I’m collecting to make one like it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Back on I-95, heading north to Occoquan, VA to Attic Treasures and Sew Easy Sewing. Occoquan is a great place to spend a day, lots of interesting little shops and eateries. Be prepared for a lot of walking. We were lucky enough to find parking in the small lot in front of the shop. They have two versions of their row. Unfortunately, the afternoon sun was shining in the window so my pictures are terrible.

The row is pictures of antique sewing machines cut from panels. There were two different panels, so two versions of the kit.


I’m currently working on a quilt for my friend, Becky and her husband. The back will reflect their interests: his is civil war and hers is books. I picked up a couple of civil war prints for that. The one in the middle is a map of the 3 days of battle at Gettysburg. The elegant eagle print on the right is for the patriotic quilt I mentioned earlier.


I couldn’t decided which machine panel I wanted so got both but only one of the embroidered words. Patty picked up this fun black and white print so I had to get a fat quarter for my collection.


They had these Row by Row charms reflecting the theme for each year as well as the car charm holder. The car reminds me of my old PT Cruiser. There were charms for many previous years before the Row by Row expanded across the country. I only got the charms for the last three years when I participated. I’ll probably pin this onto a row quilt when I’m not shop hopping. Of course, I have to make one first.


How did I get a Roswell, New Mexico license plate at a shop in Virginia, you ask? The owner’s daughter lives in Roswell and she or they have a shop there as well as the one in Virginia. I wanted one of these license plates so bad last year but never got around to ordering it. I REALLY wanted the version with the alien on it but they’d sold out of them at the Virginia shop. I settled for this one but I don’t rule out a future order for the alien if it’s still available.

At this point it was around 4:15 or so which means we were headed home during DC area rush hour. Ugh. My GPS had some issues with Occoquan. I should have gone back to the highway the way we came but instead I followed the instructions from She Who Must Be Obeyed. We ended up at a dead-end facing a locked gate at a private marina. She wanted us to turn left in a quarter of a mile. That would have landed us in the drink because there was no road there.

After we turned around, she decided we should go a different way which was smart. Unfortunately, that required us to make a left turn onto the divided highway. The problem with that was that side of the road was bumper to bumper in all lanes. People around here don’t like to let people get in front of them. We turned the opposite way, intending to find somewhere to turn around and join the fray but she told us to keep going straight. Until she told us to turn right into what was now a dead end. We turned around again and she sent us back onto the road she just told us to leave. This time she sent us over to I-66 and then up to the Capital Beltway. We figured “what the heck”, at least we were moving and it might be better than I-95 and would cut off part of the beltway. To make a long story shorter, it was a very long trip home. We finally landed around 6:30 p.m. Wouldn’t you know, the new map DVD for my GPS arrived in the mailbox while we were shop hopping.

Patty showed up at guild the next morning with her completed row from the last shop. She mixed the two kits to make her row. That was her second row so far. Last year she won the prize from our local quilt shop. She’s hoping to be a winner again this year. I don’t aspire to that.