Row by Row: Maryland to Illinois

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!



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