Row by Row: Maryland to Illinois

August 26, 2015

At the beginning of August it was time to travel to Illinois to deliver the wedding quilt and visit my parents. I found some shops I had never visited to break up the 700+ mile trip. it’s pretty much get on I-70 and turn right when you get to Illinois. Except that now we’ve got I-68 across western Maryland which connects I-70 (east and west) and I-79 (north and south). I-79 goes north and connects with I-70 just outside Washington, PA. This route eliminates the Pennsylvania turnpike which is a toll road.

My first stop was Four Seasons Stitchery in Grantsville, MD, off I-68. It’s in an old building that looks to me like it could have been a school once upon a time. This store was a combination cross stitch and quilting shop. It looks like the quilting has taken over and pushed the cross stitch into a small corner.

Half-price pumpkins.

Half-price pumpkins.

My next stop was 2 stores in Morgantown, West Virginia, off I-79. First was Sew Special South which was downtown. It is what I call a machine shop. They had one wall of fabric. I found a blue and white stripe for binding.


The second shop, Country Roads Quilt Shop, is one I plan to visit on future trips. It is in an old glass factory, reminds me a lot of Savage Mill near where I live. This shop had a large bay full of 19th century repros, a large bay of batiks, a bay of modern prints. Someone at this shop is obviously a fan of Edyta Sitar which makes me a fan of the shop. I’d had my eye on this tree pattern of hers so picked it up. Their row was a beautiful garden of appliqued flowers. Unfortunately, their pattern is in black and white.


There was nowhere to stop in the short distance I was in Pennsylvania so the next stop was From Past to Present Quilt Shop in St. Clairsville, Ohio. My friend, Polly, collects and lectures on what she calls creepy quilts. I keep an eye out as I surf the web for things that interest her. She also has me noticing fabrics like the print below. This one has spiders on it so i might have to give it to Polly. I don’t know if I could stand to use it. Maybe I could cut around the spiders. Yes, I have a spider phobia. Aren’t the ducks in their row cute?


Next stop between 3:30 and 4 was Creative Fires in Springfield, OH. This was the only shop on my trip where the people weren’t very friendly. I probably won’t go there again. I liked the way they spelled out Ohio on the ship sails in their row. I found this very soft patriotic flannel to use as a back.


When I left, it was just about 4 pm. Could I get to the next store before they closed? When do they close, anyway? I was in luck! Stitching Nook didn’t close until 6 pm. Plenty of time. Another customer was in the store when I got there. She had just come from Springfield, Ohio where she lived and was on her way to Bloomington, IL. Lots of chatting occurred while we shopped. I couldn’t pass up this Aunty Acid print.


That was the last of the Row by Row shops for the trip since it was now 6 pm. The rest of the trip was uneventful until it came time to exit the interstate around 8:30. Many residents of my hometown get off at the first Illinois exit and take the back roads, commonly known as the shortcut. I don’t like to drive the back country roads in the dark after a long day of driving. It’s narrow 2 lane road, lots of curves and hills and wildlife. According to Google maps, the shortcut actually takes a few more minutes than continuing on the interstate to the Greenup exit and taking the highways. I should have taken the shortcut.

Summer, of course, means it is road construction season. The right lane was closed and by the time I got to the exit it was almost full dark. As I got close to where the exit should have been I saw a gap in the barrels and took that to be the exit. It wasn’t. I came upon a row of barrels blocking my way so steered to the right to go around the barrels. Bad move. What I couldn’t see was the trench along the side of the road. It was immediately obvious that I had at least one flat tire. I was just hoping that a flat tire was all I had to deal with. Upon cursory examination in the dark, it looked like one flat tire was the extent of the damage.

The dead tire. Hard to see the big hole that was torn into this one. Notice the wheel damage.

The dead tire. Hard to see the big hole that was torn into this one. Notice the wheel damage

Not flat but missing a chunk of the tire wall. Notice the damage on the wheel.

Not flat but missing a chunk of the tire wall. Notice the damage on the wheel.

While I was getting ready to call AAA for service, a policeman stopped to see what the problem was. He told me someone that morning broke an axle and did a bunch of other damage. While I called AAA, he moved the blocking barrels out of the way so he could leave. While he was there an 18 wheeler cam trundling through the fake exit. His tires were wide enough that he just rolled over the trench. I didn’t feel so bad now that I wasn’t only person who fell for the fake exit. I believe the policeman eventually blocked the fake exit.

Nearly had a bad failure to communicate with AAA. I called the number on my card. For some reason I assumed I was talking to someone familiar with the area (I was tired). I couldn’t understand why she didn’t seem to know where I was or recognize town names. Then she said, “You’re in Maryland, right?” I replied, “Yes”, because I live in Maryland. Then I said, “But not now!”. So once we got our locations sorted out – she was in Delaware – she had to transfer me to someone in Illinois who would know who to call. That took a very long time. Meanwhile, my phone said it was worn out and if I didn’t plug it in, it was going to shut off. I’d had it plugged in most of the day, don’t know why it ran out of juice. I plugged it in and turned the ignition to accessory mode. Then, I got worried about running the car battery down so had to run the car.

Finally got to talk to the Illinois AAA and, more hurry up and wait for the tow truck driver to come. He had trouble jacking up the car to get the spare on because the side of the road was so soft. Sigh. He finally got the car jacked up and got the spare on. By this time it’s 9:45 or so. Get to my hometown around 10:30, haven’t had dinner and everything is closed, of course.

I had an appointment at 8:30 the next morning to get the inside of the car cleaned. After that I had to deliver the wedding quilt to the bride’s parents’ house so they could see it before we gave it to Rachel at the shower that afternoon. Then I stopped at the tire shop to see about getting repairs. The tire guy was impressed when he saw how scraped up the wheels were. Of course, the tires I have were discontinued. Fortunately, he found a compatible pair in stock. While only one tire was flattened, the other had a chunk missing from the wall of the tire. So, 2 tires and an alignment was all I needed. Whew! Dodged a bullet there. I had to wait a while for someone to drive me to where my parents live. Got there in time to have lunch before taking mom to the wedding shower. Got to pick my car up after the shower. What a relief!

Happily Ever After: The Beginning

August 26, 2015

Attention, readers! We interrupt this Row by Row travelogue to bring you a post about actual quilting! Margaret, I hope you think this is interesting, even though you’ve heard a lot of it.

Around the middle of March, while talking to my mother on the phone, she said, “Oh, Becky’s daughter is getting married this summer and she wondered if you had a quilt top she could have quilted for a wedding present.”

Say what? Becky and I met in 7th grade and were BFF’s through junior high and high school. We went our separate ways but have remained friends. She still lives in our home town so every time I go home to see the folks we try to get together. So, why did she ask my mother who knows nothing about what I’m up to in quilting instead of calling me? Mom thinks quilting is boring so I try not to burden her with too much quilting talk.

When I saw Becky at Christmas she told me Rachel had a boyfriend but didn’t say anything about marriage. I called to find out what was up and what she had in mind. Apparently, the kids were going to get married next year but, since they are in their 30s and want to start a family, they decided sooner was better. Becky thought a quilt would be a good wedding present and would mean more to Rachel if someone she knew made it.

I only had one queen size top ready for quilting so sent the picture.

Mystery for the Millenium designed by Judy Hopkins.

Mystery for the Millenium designed by Judy Hopkins. The stars in the corners were my idea to replace simple cornerstones.

This was not acceptable. Becky said it was way too dark and busy. Busy? Bonnie Hunter’s Grand Illusion Mystery is busy. This is just blocks with sashing and cornerstones. Becky was picturing something with white and pastel. And, she mentioned “modern prints like zig-zag”. OK. Becky has a vision and I’d better find a way to tune in to it or she won’t be happy. She is very strong-minded and knows what she wants. Keep in mind that Becky does not do needlework or crafts – that’s just never been her thing – so she doesn’t know about “modern” quilting. But, since she was describing a “modern” quilt, I sent some pictures to see if anything struck her fancy. Her only comment was that the last one was better and might work. “Might work” isn’t good enough so I mocked up the simplest quilt possible in EQ – large print squares with white sashing. I did one straight set and one on-point.

Straight set

Straight set

On-point set

On-point set

These were more what Becky had in mind. Whew! She chose the on-point setting. Did I say Becky has good taste? Of course, that’s a little more complicated than the straight set but it is a nicer look. Now that we had a design, I did a little more work and sent her this very long email:

There’s a lot of info here and I’m sure it will be confusing. I’ve given 3 options for size. Pick a size, then follow that option for the fabric amounts. Print out the picture from the previous email and this email and take them with you to the shop. The people there will be able to help you. You should expect to be overwhelmed in the store. If you have any questions, please call. My cell number is 410-746-7647.
A queen mattress is 60×80. A yard of quilting fabric is about 36″x40″. Quality quilting cotton averages around $11 a yard these days. Jo-Anns is generally not considered to be quilt shop quality which is why I said don’t go there. 
The total amount of fabric for the quilt will run around $250. Maria charges 3.5 cents per square inch for custom quilting and 1.5 cents for completely computerized. Based on what she did for Colette’s quilt, this will end up as semi-custom – somewhere in the middle. Then there’s the batting and thread cost. So, $250-300, maybe. Could be less than $250. Just don’t want you to be surprised at the total cost. 
I plan to get an insurance appraisal which I’ll pay for. An insurance appraisal is what it would cost to pay someone to remake the quilt, not what it could be sold for. Without an appraisal insurance companies consider it a blanket and pay accordingly. Colette’s quilt appraised out at $1500. This one won’t be that high because it is a simpler design but it will be considerably more than a blanket from walmart. 
Size options for the quilt. I would choose 3 or 1:
1. 41 10″ squares will measure about 94.5″ square. This size gives a 17″ drop on the sides and a 14.5″ drop on the end (quilt laid over pillows but not tucked under). 
2. If you want it longer, that adds 2 rows to maintain the symmetry because the last row should have the same number of squares as the first row. In that case, using 10″ squares of color, it would be 94.5×111″ long which gives a 31″ end drop which is twice the drop of the sides. This would allow a pillow tuck but would probably still be longer than the sides. This version needs 50 squares of color.
3. Using 9″ squares of color would be approx. 87 x 103. This would give a side drop of 13.5″ and an end drop of 23 which would allow a pillow tuck. This uses 50 squares of color.
How much fabric for the colored squares:
1/3 yard will yield 4 squares of color.
If you choose 13 fabrics, you need 1/3 yard of each. More than 13 fabrics is great but you still need 1/3 yard of each. Fewer fabrics will work but then some will need more than 4 squares so would need 2/3 of a yard for those. If you find some fabrics you like but not enough, I can fill in here based on what you pick.
How much of the white fabric:
The computation is a little more complicated because of the on-point setting and that it is one fabric so we have to get enough in one fell swoop. The software I used to mock up the quilt overestimates but I’m not sure how much because I’ve never used its estimates before. For example, for option 3, the program says 14.5 yards. My back of the envelope calculation came up with 7 yards. I always round up from my calculations because too much fabric is better than too little. I don’t usually work with an exact finished size in mind, so I get anxious about my calculations for a specific size. Unfortunately, my friend Linda who helps me with the math isn’t available right now. I’ll check with her when she gets back in town.
Here’s what the software said for the white:
Option 1: 15.25 yards
Option 2: 15.75 yards
Option 3: 14.5 yards
Those are absurd numbers. I recommend we split the difference between the software and my rough calc. Go with 10 yards. I think that should be plenty for any of the sizes. Double-check with the shop people. I’ll reimburse you for the extra that isn’t needed for Rachel’s quilt – I can use it for something else. If you don’t find anything you like that is big enough, let me know ASAP and I’ll start looking here.
Fabric for the back:
Regular quilting fabric is about 40″ wide. That will have seams in the back to make a piece big enough. There is fabric made especially for quilt backs that is 108″ or so wide but there aren’t so many choices. That doesn’t require any seams unless the back needs to be wider than 108″. The backing for a quilt has to be about 6″ bigger on each side than the front.

[pictures of batik backings carried by my quilter omitted]

Please choose something for the back that isn’t a directional print. That can require a different set of calculations to keep the print going top to bottom depending on how the fabric is printed and which size option you chose.
Option 1:
40″ wide needs 9 yards.
108″ wide needs 3 yards.
Option 2:
40″ wide needs 10 yards.
108″ wide needs 3.5 yards.
Option 3:
40: wide needs 9 yards
108″ wide needs 3.25 yards.
In the meantime I had to get on my quilter’s calendar in order to get the quilt finished by the end of July. I had trips in April and July and Maria was completely booked up for June and July. So, I had to get the top to Maria by May 1st. That meant I had the last 2 weeks of April to make the top. By this time it is the end of March.
Becky asked if she should go to Jo-Ann (there’s one in town). I said “NO!” and explained about fabric quality. I sent Becky to Stitch & Sew Fabrics in Arthur, Il, the heart of Amish country, because they have a wide variety of fabrics. I debated about sending her to Main Street Quilt Company in Shelbyville, IL, because it is more modern. In hindsight, maybe that would have been the better choice but I think the Arthur store is larger. It all worked out. Becky took a friend with her to help with the shopping. Here’s what she sent me:
Becky chose these fabrics.

Becky chose these 15 fabrics plus the white background.

The fabrics arrived in early April. I called and left a message that they arrived and please call me. She called and asked if they were horrible. I reassured her that she did a great job, I just wanted to hear about the shopping trip. They spent about 2 hours choosing fabrics before she started to get overwhelmed. She understood that I wouldn’t be able to use everything she picked and was fine with that. Her husband thought the quilt was going to look exactly like the mock-up. He can’t visualize the design with different fabrics. Becky said she’s hung enough wall paper to visualize how something is going to look which is good for the quilt collaboration. She didn’t choose a backing and left that up to me since I now had the fabric. Sneaky.

I decided there were some gaps that needed to be filled in and a few fabrics needed to be replaced. I had a class at Patches that Saturday and found a couple of possibles there. The following Monday found us at Bear’s Paw for Mimi’s grad class. I found a great fabric for the back and a lavender polka dot. Becky mentioned lavender a lot and also mentioned polka dots.


The backing fabric. I don’t think the picture does it justice.

I felt we needed more options so I called Patty and we went shopping. We visited Quilters Studio in Fairfax, VA and Capital Quilts in Gaithersburg, MD which are both a more modern focus. When it was all said and done, I had these fabrics to add to the potential selections.

I added these as potential selections.

I added these as potential selections.

Becky’s choices and mine all together:


If we were doing a scrappy quilt with dozens of fabrics, everything would work. But, with a limited number of fabrics with large pieces, the choices have to be more precise.

These 2 fabrics from my stash were eliminated. The colors just weren't quite right.

These 2 fabrics from my stash were eliminated. The blue looked a little dull and not quite the right color next to the other blues. The green seemed to be a little too dark.

I think the problem with the check was the scale, looks too old-fashioned compared to the more modern prints. The one on the far right looks very 30s, which again doesn’t fit with the more modern prints. The middle one was again a style issue. I would have left it and the check in if I hadn’t found good replacements.

Becky sent these. I think the problem with the check was the scale, looks too old-fashioned compared to the more modern prints. The one on the far right looks very 30s, which again doesn’t fit with the more modern prints. The middle one was again a style issue. I would have left it and the check in if I hadn’t found good replacements.


I substituted the more modern check on the right for the gingham on the left.

I substituted the more modern swirl on the left for the one on the right.

I substituted the more modern swirl on the left for the one on the right.


The more modern dot prints on the left were substituted for the 30s looking print on the right.

One of the fabrics Becky sent had 8 different prints across the width of the fabric. While the color and style were right, the amount of each print meant that a square cut from it would look pieced which isn’t what we were going for and wouldn’t look right with the rest of the squares.

The top 2 fabrics substituted for the bottom fabric.

The top 2 fabrics substituted for the bottom fabric.

One of the prints Becky chose was a multi-colored swirl. It had blue in it but there were no blues in what Becky sent. Because this is a wedding quilt and men usually like blue, I felt we needed to add a little blue to “man” it up a little. Rachel is an elementary school teacher and Matt is in construction. Becky wanted words and numbers so this helps with that.


A couple of the fabrics Becky sent had gray in them and the walls of the couple’s bedroom are gray. Patty and I felt some gray was called for. I found a dog paw print which is appropriate because they have a dog. Normally, I wouldn’t choose fabric with a background that is the same color as the sashing but this word fabric was too awesome to pass up.


The dark gray was nixed by Becky and I was ok with that. I only got it as a possible because it was words.

There was a dark multi-color floral print in Becky’s choices. They picked it because Rachel likes Monet and they thought it looks impressionistic. I didn’t use it because it was too dark and just didn’t go with the style.

The final line-up.

The final line-up.

Row by Row: Lancaster County, PA

August 13, 2015

On July 8, Patty, Linda and I went Row by Row shop hopping in Lancaster County, PA. Many of the stores are very close so we were able to do 10 stores in one day. Unbelievable!

Our first stop of the day was Weaver’s Dry Goods. I had been there many years ago. It’s a totally different place now. I remember it as being small and dark with narrow isles and bolts piled high – difficult to browse. Now it is large and brightly lit, with wide isles. The fabrics are grouped by type or style. Every time I turned a corner I found another room. Definitely on my list of places to go when on a hunting trip. I exercised restraint and only got the license plate.


Burkholder Fabrics was the next stop. OMG, where has this store been all my life? This was my first time and it’s another that is going onto the list of places to go when on a hunting expedition. The store doesn’t look so big from the front but, like the engergizer bunny, it just keeps going and going and going.

Linda and I split a fat quarter pack of 30s fabrics. All FQ packs were 50% off!

Linda and I split a fat quarter pack of 30s fabrics. All FQ packs were 50% off!

Our third stop was Sauder’s Fabrics. This store is an old favorite. This is one of the stops on our guild’s fall shopping trip every year.


A couple of farmer’s market fabrics and some great dolphins or whales, plus the license plate.

From there we headed to East Earl, PA to Family Farm Fabrics. I didn’t buy anything here this time. Patty did and maybe Linda did, so I didn’t feel like I had to.

The row pattern.

The row pattern.

After this it was time for lunch at Shady Maple Smorgasbord. Now we were properly fortified for the afternoon’s work.

Cedar Lane Dry Goods was a shop none of us had been to before and probably won’t again. It was a typical Amish general merchandise store with fabric. Again, Patty found something to buy but I didn’t.


Family Farm Quilts (not to be confused with Family Farm Fabrics listed earlier) was 2 minutes away. This is a shop with made stuff to sell to tourists. I gathered that they recently started carrying fabric.

I found this cute elephant key chain.

I found this cute elephant key chain. I’ll probably use it as a zipper pull or purse decoration rather than for keys.

On to Kitchen Kettle Village. Patty and I went to the jam shop where I got some delicious gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Only 6 ingredients: peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. No flour of any kind. With a non-sugar sweetener, these are almost healthy. I also picked up some kettle korn.

Zooks Fabrics is next door to KKV. Uncharateristically, Patty bought again and I didn’t.

Zook's row.

Zook’s row.

The Old Country Store is down the block from KKV. It has stuff for tourists in the front and the quilt shop in the back. I bought the row kit (can’t remember why) and the finishing kit (had a die-cut horse and buggy in it). Also got some of the cut umbrella fabric Patty found.wpid-20150714_103213.jpg

Five minutes down the road is Log Cabin Quilt Shop. It’s another with tourist stuff in the front and the quilt shop in the back. Look what I found here – the die cut horse and buggies. I didn’t need to buy the kit at Old Country Store after all. I got one going in each direction.wpid-20150714_102946.jpg

Another 5 minutes and we’re at The Quilt Shop at Miller’s. This place only has already made stuff for tourists but they had a really cute row pattern. It was a row of fish bowls, really nice proportions.


That makes 10 shops in one day. We chose not to include Brubakers Sewing Center this year. It’s machines only. A good day was had by all but we were ready to head for home.

Total Row by Row shops visited so far: 21.

Row by Row: Maryland Eastern Shore

July 10, 2015

Last week, Patty, Linda and I visited several shops on the eastern shore side of Maryland. Linda has pictures of the insides of the shops on her blog.

I finally got an EZPass for the trip now that Maryland got rid of the ridiculous monthly maintenance fee for people like me who only need to pay a toll occasionally. There’s a toll going east over the Bay Bridge but no toll coming back. Now that I’m retired, I’ll be going up to Chicago to visit my brother after visiting our parents. It’s tolls all the way from Chicago through PA. It will be much easier to not have to stop to pay the tolls plus you get a discount in some places with the EZPass. Illinois has IPass but the two are reciprocal.

Our first stop was Lillies of the Field in Easton, MD.



I didn’t think I’d been here but Patty assures me that we visited this shop years ago when we went to a Mary Ellen Hopkins seminar but you sure couldn’t prove it by me. She’s usually right about that sort of thing. At any rate, the store was in a different location back then so, actually, we’re both right. This was a small, cute, bright shop. The owner has been trying to sell it for several years so I don’t know how long it will remain in business. It’s unlikely that we’ll revisit this shop.

Some fat quarters for my color scheme and purple and orange, because!

Some fat quarters for my color scheme and purple and orange, because!

The second stop was The Quilt Vine in Trappe, MD. This is a new shop that has been in business for 3 years. None of us have been here before. It is in an old house. Although they had a handicapped parking space, I didn’t see any handicapped access into the shop. Fun shop with lots of good stuff. There could well be additional visits here in our future.


Some fat quarters for my grandpa's farm quilt (someday) and some of the Row by Row H2O fabric.

Some fat quarters for my grandpa’s farm quilt (someday), some neutral fabrics with writing and some of the Row by Row blue H2O fabric.

We stopped for lunch at the Cambridge Diner in Cambridge, MD. The lunch specials were a main dish, soup or salad bar, 2 sides, rolls and desert for $10. The applesauce was chunky and I’m guessing homemade. Very good. The baby back ribs needed to cook a while longer to be falling off the bone the way I like them, though. No one left hungry.

Our third shop was a long drive after lunch down to Pocomoke City, MD to The Pincushion. Very discreet signage. We passed it and went twice around the block before spotting the sign.


Very small shop with a nice fabric selection. The row design was an artsy landscape of window views representing the four seasons of the shore. l got the kit because I don’t stash the type of materials needed to do this sort of thing. The question remains as to whether I will ever make the row. I wouldn’t put money on it, but you never know – stranger things have happened.

The row as kitted. However, the kit didn't include the "wall" fabric around the windows.

The row as kitted. However, the kit didn’t include the “wall” fabric around the windows. The following four pictures are closeups.





Other variations of the row:

Individual windows.

Individual windows.

Village scenes.

Village scenes.

Another shore version.

Another shore version.

Pastoral scenes.

Pastoral scenes.

There were many more colors of this nice blender but I limited myself to these four and the row kit because it included embellishments. I don't have that kind of thing hanging around waiting to be used.

There were many more colors of this nice blender print but I limited myself to these four. I got the row kit because it included the embellishments. I don’t keep that kind of thing hanging around waiting to be used.

Unfortunately, the restroom area of the shop turned me off. It was extremely narrow (maybe 2 ft wide from wall to wall), not very nice (reminded me of creepy gas station bathrooms) and the back of the store smelled badly – sewer gas vent problem? We all agreed that we didn’t need to go here again. Even though she had a nice selection, it’s just too far away.

Turning around, we retraced our steps to our fourth shop, The Dusty Attic in Fruitland, MD. This was another shop in an old house. I love the mosaic stars in the walkway to the porch.



The row pattern and kit

The row pattern and kit.

Nothing here that excited me and I don’t expect to go here again. However, we were all impressed with the way they handled the row pattern and kits. The pattern was laminated – no crumpled paper pattern by the time you get it home. They offered two kit options. One was fish fabric for broderie perse type applique. That’s the one I chose. The other was a fun fabric for cutting out fish using the pattern.

Our fifth and last shop for the day was Peggy’s Sewing Center in Centreville, MD. Although many in our guild have been there while on retreat, none of us have been there. We got there 15-20 minutes before closing time and didn’t notice until we were in the car to go home that it was well after closing time when we finished. The woman helping us never said a word about it being closing time and didn’t try to rush us. This is a nice large shop and we all found wonderful things.

A couple of Kaffe Fassett collective fish prints and a very cool cemetery print. I think I'll use that on the back of Buster Cat Does Halloween. Maybe this will be the incentive I need to get back to that project - I've only made one block.

A trio of Kaffe Fassett collective fish prints and a very cool cemetery print. They only had 3.5 yards left which isn’t enough. I think I’ll use ot on the back of Buster Cat Does Halloween. Maybe this will be the incentive I need to get back to that project – I’ve only made one block.

We headed for home during evening rush. Once we got to the bridge, traffic was mostly going the opposite direction. A very successful and enjoyable day was had by all. Next trip:  Lancaster co, PA.

Row by Row: Expedition 1

June 30, 2015

Living here in the mid-Atlantic region, I am fortunate to have access to dozens of quilt shops within a 2 hour drive. The Row by Row Experience started on June 21. I’ve found that shop hops can be overwhelming unless one has a plan of what to look for. I like to buy a little something at every shop to help keep them in business, especially when I’m getting something for free. I’m especially conscious of this since my home away from home quilt shop closed last year. While cutting fabric recently, I ran across this print.


The color scheme struck me as one I’d like to use soon. Although I could probably put together enough fabrics from my stash in these colors, I decided to use this as my fallback and look for fat quarters on the shop hop.

So, last Tuesday, Linda, Patty and I were off! Our first expedition was to shops in the Gettysburg, PA area.

First stop was Itchin’ 2 Stitch in Waynesboro, PA – a new shop that opened in November 2014. None of us had been there before.


They had a license plate but I couldn’t bring myself to buy it because they used an apostrophe in a plural, “Quilt’n Diva’s”. That sort of thing drives me nuts.


The ladies who waited on us at Itchin’ to Stitch.

The fat quarter table. Wouldn't you love to dive into this?

The fat quarter table. Wouldn’t you love to dive into this?

I fell for these lovely tone on tones.

I fell for these lovely tone on tones.

I’ve learned over the years that I prefer tone-on-tones that have multiple values of the color. If I’m remembering correctly, Alex Anderson calls these light givers.

Second stop was The Sew’n Place in Fayetteville, PA. This was also a new shop to all of us. Although the store has been in business for many years, the location was fairly new. She Who Must Be Obeyed (my GPS) wouldn’t offer their street number as a possibility so I had to choose the nearest number she allowed. This huge sign was a big help:


The Sew'n Place building.

The Sew’n Place building.

Pretty flowers hanging outside the store.

Pretty flowers hanging outside the store.

I saw this Halloween fabric with cats and had to get some. Bonus – it was on sale, 40% off.


I didn’t notice the spiders until I was at the cutting table. I don’t do spiders at all. I don’t know how my phobia began but I can’t even stand to see pictures of spiders. I’ve bypassed other fabric just because it had spiders on it. The most recent one had a spider about 2-3 feet long. Shudder. I decided I could live with these. Maybe because it’s so busy, I see the cats, houses and swirls mostly.

The people at this store informed us that the next store on our list, Needle and Thread in Gettysburg, was closed on Tuesdays. Well, pooh!  We headed to Gettysburg anyway because we were going to Springhouse Tavern at Dobbin House for lunch. We used to eat there when Quilt Odyssey was in Gettysburg.

Shop 3 was Simply Stashing Fabric & Quilts in Littlestown, PA. Patty and I had been there once years ago when it was The Quilt Patch. The current owner had been in business for 1 year. I got some fat quarters in my shop hop color scheme.


Our fourth stop in PA was Danner’s Bernina Shoppe in Hanover, PA. This was also a new store to all of us although Patty and I had seen them vending at a quilt show. Their new location is very large but focused on machines. I was surprised at how little fabric they had for such a large store. That said, they were the first store that had any of the Row by Row theme fabrics. Their row sample was the nicest we’ve seen. The woman who made it added borders and turned it into a table runner. I didn’t take a picture. It featured sailboats which goes perfectly with the Row by Row sailboat fabric.

The sailboat fabric is one of the row by row prints. The stripes were just gorgeous. The fat quarter goes with my color scheme.

The sailboat fabric is one of the row by row prints. The stripes were just gorgeous. The fat quarter goes with my color scheme.

We headed for home since that was the last shop on our list. On the way home while passing through Westminster, MD, we remembered that there was a shop there, Jomax Sew and Vac. It’s primarily a machine store and has only a little fabric. I got their license plate.


Since we had plenty of time left in the day, we decided to stop at Patches Quilting & Sewing in Mt. Airy, MD. They had a lot of the Row by Row prints so I picked up several. Somehow Jackie missed putting the pattern in my bag. I’ll have to remember to get it when I go to class in August.


We managed to just beat the horrific thunderstorms home. Tired but a satisfactory day for all. Tomorrow we’re hitting the shops on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Hearts for Colette

May 22, 2015

Around 2009 or so, my brother’s friend Colette spent Christmas with our family. One night she looked at me and said, “I want you to make me a quilt for my bed. It has to be all your own work. I want black, white and pink and hearts. I’ll pay for it.” I was so stunned I neglected to explore the question of how much she thought it might cost. Colette had been working as a real estate agent until the 2008 crash so I knew she didn’t have any money. She’d had to take on a roommate to pay her mortgage. I explained that, despite her insistence that I do it all myself, I wouldn’t do the quilting. I have someone I pay to do that, especially on a big quilt.

She then playfully berated me for not having made my brother a quilt. I looked at him and asked, “Do you want a quilt?” He said, “No.” I looked at Colette and said, “That’s why he doesn’t have one.”

I didn’t really know how serious she was about wanting a quilt – maybe it was just a passing fancy. I thought about it for a while and decided I’d make one but would choose something I liked for myself in case she wasn’t serious. My brother said she might forget about it, but she might not.

As it turned out, she didn’t forget about it. Occasionally she mentioned it to my brother. I don’t remember him saying much to me about it.

Colette is a girly girl type of woman, hence the pink and hearts. I’m not and hearts aren’t one of my favorite things. I found a design I liked in Billie Lauder’s book, Beyond the Rail Fence. I needed light, medium and dark pink, a whitish background and a black fabric. As I recall I found the pinks in my batik stash and got the black and background at my local quilt shop. The black print is an oriental print with small cranes. The background print was a Lonni Rossi design white with gray lines. For borders, I used the background fabric for a small inner border. I didn’t have enough of the black print left and it was no longer available, of course. I found a black scroll print to use. Some of the Sew & Tell folks didn’t like the border fabric but I knew I was planning to have it quilted with pink thread so I figured it was the best I was going to find and it wouldn’t look so stark after it was quilted. What I had a heck of a time finding was the hot pink fabric for the flange between the white and black borders. I only had a tiny piece of the dark pink batik left. The equivalent batiks in the stores then weren’t quite the right color. I bought several fabrics over the next few years that were rejected by the quilt. I finally found a hand dyed fabric at a local quilt show that was just the right color. I was then able to finish the top.

A closeup of the borders.

A closeup of the borders, unquilted.

I took it home with me in 2012 because we were spending Christmas at my brother’s house that year. I showed it to Colette. She loved it, of course. After that, the frequency of inquiries about how her quilt was coming along increased.

Hanging in my guild quilt show in 2014.

Hanging in my guild quilt show in 2014.

Maria O’Haver did the quilting and I finished the quilt in time to hang in my guild’s spring 2014 show. Apparently I neglected to take pictures of the quilting. Darn it! The borders are quilted with a heart design. The large heart is quilted with a feather design. Knowing that Colette couldn’t afford to pay for it and I could and she’s been friends with my brother for a very long time, I decided that it would be a gift. I gave the quilt to Colette in December 2014. She was thrilled with it.

Colette with the quilt.

Colette with the quilt.

While I was taking the picture of Colette with the quilt, this happend —

Smokey joins Colette on the quilt.

Smokey joined Colette on the quilt.

My brother doesn’t own any quilts and I don’t remember Smokey doing this when I was covered with a blanket but he knew exactly what to do when a quilt appeared.

The label.

The label. The wide backing fabric came from Miller’s Dry Goods outside Arcola, IL.

The quilt on Colette's bed.

The quilt on Colette’s bed.

Because most non-quilters don’t have a clue about the value of quilts, I had an insurance appraisal done to give her with the quilt. I told her to check with her agent to see if she needs a fine arts rider to cover it. There are several different types of appraisals. The insurance appraisal is the amount it would cost to pay someone to remake the quilt. Some of the things that the appraiser considers in determing the value are the cost of the fabric, the cost of the pattern, the cost of batting and thread, the amount paid to a quilter if the quilting was hired out, the size and number of blocks, size of the quilt, the label, the number of fabrics in the quilt, whether any quilts you’ve made have been published.

Stash Accounting, Jan 2015

April 24, 2015

Last year I rashly claimed that I was going to track incoming and outgoing fabric. That didn’t work out so well. If I’m going to track it this year, I’d better get started because it’s already the end of April.

I fell off the no-buy wagon very early in the year. On Jan 6, Mimi Dietrich’s grad school class met at Bear’s Paw. Judy came in to tell us the sale fabrics were on clearance.I’m sorry to say that I joined in the feeding frenzy. There was an extra bonus amount off for finishing the bolt which explains some of the yardage numbers.

3.5 yards. What can I say? I've been on a pink kick for a while.

3.5 yards. What can I say? I’ve been on a pink kick for a while.

2.5 yards. Who doesn't like a good oriental?

2.5 yards. Who doesn’t like a good oriental?

1 yard. Patriotic.

1 yard. Patriotic.

4.5 yards. Funky pandas will be a nice back for a boy quilt.

4.5 yards. Funky pandas will be a nice back for a boy quilt.

2 1/8th yards. Just because.

2 1/8th yards. Just because.

3/8 yard gifted from another quilter.

3/8 yard lighthouses gifted from another quilter.

Total stash added in January: 14 yards.

It’s All Patty’s Fault!

April 24, 2015

Patty and I went to the Friendship Star Quilters show at the Montgomery Co, MD fairgrounds. I didn’t take a lot of pictures but here’s a fun Row by Row experience quilt. It’s a two-sided quilt but they hung it so only one side shows. Darn. The other side is 8 different row designs and license plates.

Fun X Fun by Susan Holman. Artist's statement: Each license plate has the name of the shop and city/state where I purchased the kit. . . I machine quilted the rows back to back and attached them to each other with binding. Incredibly FUN to make!

Fun X Fun by Susan Holman.
Artist’s statement: Each license plate has the name of the shop and city/state where I purchased the kit. . . I machine quilted the rows back to back and attached them to each other with binding. Incredibly FUN to make!

Hancock Fabrics is around the corner from the fairgrounds so Patty wanted to go while we were in the area. I don’t usually buy chain store fabrics these days and I had no plans to buy anything because I have way too much. It’s all Patty’s fault! I saw this flannel and had to buy it for the back of a donation quilt that is in progress. I had planned to make a multi-floral pieced back to use up just a little of my pile of floral fabrics but I fell in love with this one.


4 yards

On my screen it’s looking kind of lavender but it is a pink background. Some little girl will love it.

After lunch at Red Lobster, we went to Capital Quilts because they just got in some Oriole’s fabric. I’m not a sports fan but my former co-workers are rabid avid O’s and Raven’s fans. I have some Ravens fabric but needed O’s. I wnat to make them re-useable grocery bags.


The ladies at the shop teased me and said if I bought O’s fabric I also had to buy National’s fabric. I said, “Nope, don’t know any Nat’s fans. Up north, it’s O’s and Ravens!”

Total stash in: 6 yards

I’ll end with one of the show quilts from a challenge that had something to do with endings. I failed to read the details of the challenge.

End of the Show Folks by Marie Quattrociocchi.

End of the Show Folks by Marie Quattrociocchi.

Cancelled, again!

March 2, 2015

I’m very glad that I don’t live in Boston. Our winter hasn’t been so bad, but I’m getting sick and tired of everything being cancelled because of weather. It’s the timing of the storms that has been the problem. Mimi Dietrich‘s grad school class was supposed to meet today but we were cancelled again. This group was also cancelled last month. Baltimore Applique Society was also cancelled in Jan and Feb. My guild has a group that meets every Monday evening and a group that meets every Thursday morning. Now that I’m retired, I go to both. I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve been cancelled this year. Tonight’s meeting is cancelled. I need to do laundry but my dryer vent is buried under snow and ice. Guess I’ll have to go out in the rain on Wed and try to free it.

I feel like I’m trapped in the house. The front of my house faces north and doesn’t get any sunshine so my steps and walk are solid ice. I do have some cleat things for walking on ice that I can strap on my shoes if I want to leave.

What’s the forecast for the rest of the week? Tues – Freezing rain, Wed – rain, Thurs – Snow. What do you want to bet that Thursday’s guild meeting is cancelled? Our daytime temps are supposed to be in the 50s this time of year.

If you haven’t heard, Mimi Dietrich is being inducted into the Quilter’s Hall of Fame this year. She’s having her students make blocks for a quilt to give to the Hall of Fame. They were due today. Mimi provided the background, stems, flower center and fabric for one leaf. The flower color and remaining leaves were our choice but had to be batiks.

I haven’t done hand applique in quite a while – longer than I realized. I’m sorry to say that this block isn’t the best work I’ve ever done. It did turn out better than I feared it was going to. Don’t look too closely, :-)


The stem looks a lot more puckered in the picture than it does in person. Guess I’d better spend more time with the steam iron before I send it off to Mimi.

The Cherokee Rose block was designed by Marie Webster in 1916.

Stash accounting 2014

February 8, 2015

Sometime last year I rashly claimed that I was going to track fabric coming in and going out. That didn’t happen. What did happen was this:

Row by Row + Quilters’ Quest = too much fabric = Stash Overflow.

While I was in Houston with my brother our cousin kidnapped me for a few days while he was in the hospital. She is not a quilter but wanted to provide something quilty for me so took me to Tea Time Quilting. I had to pick up some cowboy toile and barbed wire prints as well as a 30s charm pack and a layer cake of Little Black Dress. Unfortunately it was the day before Row by Row started. If I’d realized they were participating I’d have begged for the pattern early.

Tea Time Quilting

Once my brother improved enough that I didn’t need to be there 24/7, I took a day each of the last 2 weeks I was there and visited some Row by Row shops in the Chicago area. I managed 4 shops each day.

Quilter’s Quest, not to be confused with the Maryland-DC-Virginia shop hop which is Quilters’ Quest.

York 2014 and row by row 112 This was my favorite shop. I almost wish I lived near there except I don’t want to move back to the Chicago area.

York 2014 and row by row 115York 2014 and row by row 116

Gentler Times

York 2014 and row by row 121

York 2014 and row by row 122

Fabrics Etc. This was a huge store.

York 2014 and row by row 134

York 2014 and row by row 133

I seem to be missing pictures of the loot from the other 3 stores in the Chicago area.

In August Patty, Linda and I went to Lancaster County, PA where we visited 8 quilt shops in a single day. Seven of them were Row by Row shops. I had never realized how close all the shops were. This is not the order we visited them.

Log Cabin Quilt Shop. When we first entered, we thought it was just selling completed items. The fabrics and supplies were in the back room. I picked up a Nancy Drew panel.

York 2014 and row by row 124

The Old Country Store. We’re happy to see this store reopened under new management. Linda and I were choosing fabric for a quilt for our hairdresser’s first baby. We found the crayons for the outer border and the gray for the inner border and binding.

York 2014 and row by row 126

Dutchland Quilt Patch

York 2014 and row by row 127

Family Farm Quilt Shop

York 2014 and row by row 128

Piece by Piece Quilt Shop

York 2014 and row by row 129

The Quilt Shop At Miller’s. This one is part of a complex that includes a large buffet restaurant and other shops. This quilt shop doesn’t sell supplies, only completed items. They did have fat quarters of the Amish buggy fabric which they had used in their row pattern.

York 2014 and row by row 130

Sauder’s Fabrics Shop. This is always the first stop on my guild’s annual bus shopping trip. I don’t go on that trip anymore because I have too much fabric. As you can see from this post I need to not put myself into the path of temptation.

York 2014 and row by row 131

Sashing and backing for the baby quilt Linda and I were making.

York 2014 and row by row 132

I’m missing pictures from 2 of the Lancaster shops.

Around Maryland and Virginia, I visited the following shops.

Ellicott City Sew-Vac

York 2014 and row by row 125

Jinny Beyer Studio

York 2014 and row by row 120

Capital Quilts

York 2014 and row by row 119

I’m pretty sure I managed to get to one or two others but I don’t have anything to show for it. I do plan to account for my stash comings and goings in 2015 so I’ll know if it’s going in the right direction. But, I’d better get busy tracking it because I fell off the wagon on Jan 6th. Sigh.


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