Archive for August, 2016

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. 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.