3/23/10

MN quilt shop 2010

It's done. The whirlwind is over and now I'm in my hotel room drinking a cup of coffee and getting ready to have dinner with the gang I'm here to meet. I'm exhausted, of course after my trip. Five shops, five hours, and an unknown number of miles as I zig-zagged my way from Minneapolis to St Cloud.

So, here was the plan. Start at the first shop, where they produce their own patterns. I wanted to get one of their patterns and then get all the fabrics to make it. First mistake: I picked a pattern that took 37 pieces of fabric, 24 dark and 12 neutral and 1 solid that I forgot to buy.

Here's the pattern from Glad Creations and the fabrics I picked up there. Of course, I picked civil war reproductions, which I don't have any of in my stash. I'm enchanted by these fabrics and could not resist. And, Glad Creations had the largest selection I'd ever seen. The ladies in Glad were delightful and made me feel very welcome and pointed me to the half price room upstairs as they were checking me out, so of course, we had to put all that on hold and I had to shop some more.

Then, there was Calla Lily Quilt shop in Blaine, MN. Another delightful lady and I was the only customer in the store, so I got lots of attention. She about talked my ear off, but she was fun and we talked a lot about Glad Creations. She sells their patterns and kits up quilts. She says they're almost all 24 dark 3/8 pieces and 12 light 5/8 pieces. She had some beautiful kits, but all in all, what I bought was cheaper than her kits and none of hers was the reproductions. But, the kits she'd made meant she was just about out of the light background fabrics.



Next was Fat Quarter Quilting in Coon Rapids. Nice shop, but not quite as helpful as I would have expected since I was the only customer in the store and the salesperson wasn't doing anything but standing. But, I found what I needed and then stopped for lunch (yummy sandwich that I ate while I drove).
After that, it was Quilted Treasures of Rogers. Busy store, lots of customers, classes going on, and no one spoke to me until I was ready to have my fabric cut. Not one employee, not one customer. In fact, the other customers seemed to be avoiding me. There was one other man in the shop, but he was definitely holding bolts for a wife that was spending a lot of money.

Last stop was Gruber's. Okay, if you're ever within an hours drive of St Cloud, get yourself into Gruber's. Thousands of bolts of fabric and a very friendly staff. They checked on me often and I wandered, and then, I started over and wandered again, and then I started piling bolts on a cutting table and made another round of the store, then went back a fourth time and picked up a couple of things I'd seen and passed. They had it all, from reproductions to baby, moda, even Gee's Bend fabrics that have to be specially laundered before you can use them. I was bowled over. Oh, and a tiny pair of blunt tip scissors that will be perfect for my sewing kit.
Okay, so here's all my fabric together. And, you can see that I only made one mistake. That gold in the backgrounds. But, I'll figure out a way to make that work out. Even if I have to sneak something in to replace it. Nobody will ever know if it all came from MN or not and I'll still call it my MN quilt shop quilt. Now how am I going to get all this in my luggage. Good thing Rob talked me into the larger bag. But, will it be big enough???
Okay, I know some of you counted them and there aren't 24 darks. But, to get the half price fabrics, I had to buy a yard minimum, so those count twice.
Sounds like a ton of fun, but there is a downside for me to these little shop hops I plan. They're not as fun in reality as I always think they'll be and they're expensive. I've done two for myself and what they end up being is a lot of driving in unfamiliar places while reading maps and trying to put together a quilt on the fly from little swatches I've cut from the corners. And, of course, there's never enough time to really enjoy the shopping experience. I'm always worried about what's coming up at the next stop or what I'll face trying to get there. Top that off with the fact that I should be working the whole time I'm traveling and I get a little anxiety that follows me like a headache. And, this hop started worse than most. Within 5 minutes of leaving the airport, I had managed to get lost, despite my perfect Google maps and directions, and while I was trying to get where I was going, I was pulled over for speeding by the absolute most polite police officer, who only gave me a warning, probably because I looked to stupid to give a ticket to. Boy, wouldn't a speeding ticket have made this shop hop expensive???
I had planned to take pictures all day. You know, long arm shots of me smiling in the airport, or going into a quilt shop, or pics of the shop owners or the ladies cutting my fabric. But, I never remember the camera. This was the first time I even remembered to pack it and I couldn't ever remember to take it out of my luggage until I got to the hotel.
So. what happened to 8 shops? One shop I tried to hit I couldn't find. Two were so out of the way I had to cut them off my list.
Next up, figure out a way to pay off the charge card that was at a zero balance this morning without having to pay any interest. And, hope this coffee will hurry and kick in.
Take care and have a great day. I'm off to dinner with more strangers. I miss you Rob and Sydney. Lane

15 comments:

Coloradolady said...

How fantastic....Lane, I so envy you and your ability to pick fabrics that go wonderfully together...I have a now growing STASH of random fabrics, and I don't really have a clue how to do a thing with them....you really need to give me a few lessons Oh, Wise One!!!! have a great trip, you really made this shop hop sound like a lot of fun...wish I had been there too!!

lw said...

I love the fabrics you chose and how they work with your pattern. I also have fallen in love with the Civil War reproductions. I have a very simple quilt top (squares within squares) pieced and basted and ready for the machine. Now if only I had some inspiration for the machine quilting...

Not to add to the expenses, but you may want to put a GPS on your Christmas or birthday list this year. It's made my business trips and side trips (usually to museums and quilt stores, and in Virginia a museum with quilts!) a lot easier to negotiate. The "b*tch in the box" tells me exactly where to go and where to turn (though sometimes she doesn't understand one way streets or roads with gaps where she asks me to turn into a field. If you don't turn the way she asks she gets huffy and says "Recalculating" in an angry tone.) Despite that, she's saved me hours and a lot of stress finding places I've never been before. Just a thought.

Hope the rest of your trip goes well, including the packing. I had to borrow an extra suitcase coming back from Australia due to fabric and wine purchases.

DeAnna S. said...

Glad you did not get the speeding ticket! I was worried about that with all the traveling between shops at the Atlanta Shop Hop...which is a planned event between shops and is soooo much fun, but can be expensive. I just love the fabrics you bought. They are excellent together and I can't wait to see them in a quilt. Have a great week and good for you that you took time off to shop and do something that you enjoy.

Coloradolady said...

Lane, I just went and visited the website where you purchased your pattern, I am going to call them tomorrow about a pattern on their site. I need to know how advanced it is...they have a kit with all the fabrics ready to go...what are you thoughts about a kit? Do you suggest doing that?? Thanks...I know you are busy....I should not be asking so many questions!

Shirleymac said...

A GPS was my thought too. I got one for Christmas. They aren't too expensive any more and they take you the easiest route so you can save money on gas. Mine is small.. the size of a men's wallet and you can wall charge it or plug it into one of the ports newer cars have these days now that they don't have cigarette lighters.

None the less your day sounded exciting anyway. I could never figure out why I always made more in sales than some of the other salesclerks. It was because I always greeted the customers and we talked (if they wanted to) while they were there. Some of the other clerks just would continue working on whatever it was they were doing and ignored the customers until they were ready to check out. So a lot of times it's just plain customer service that makes a difference in a shop.

Quiltluver said...

Love the fabrics. The first time I took a business trip to Atlanta, I took our new GPS and it was worth every penny! I flew in late at night and had a 45 minute drive to my destination and hotel, arriving abouto midnight. It gave me the directions and lane changes the entire way. I would have been lost without it. I highly recommend it.

Piece by Piece said...

Your day sounded exciting, and you picked up some beautiful fabrics for your next project, can't wait to see it finished. Glad that you only got a warning from the police officier.
We have a GPS and "Jason" (thats the name of the voice who gives the directions) gets us to our destination every time.
Patricia

Becky said...

What a nice pattern! I am a CW reproduction fabric nut, so I love all of the ones you selected. It will be beautiful when you're done

Elizabeth said...

That is a nice color palette! Your quilt will be beautiful! Don't stress too much and enjoy yourself!

Carol E. said...

Sorry you got lost and missed some of the shops. I think as a man you have a whole different experience in a quilt shop. They probably think you're a husband and not the real fabric shopper, so they ignore you. I must say I have never been impressed with the customer service at Gruber's. Glad you enjoyed it. Maybe they have improved since I've been there. My favorite MN shop is Aunt Annie's in Avon. Did you manage to visit that one?

Quilting in My Pyjamas said...

I know what you mean. Shopping for fabic is so much more awesome when you arent on a time schedule.

I am a wanderer. I could spend hours in shops caressing the fabric and just dreaming.

I also get very stressed when I dont know where I am. I cannot wait to see how your quilt from your new stash turns out.

Reagan Fox said...

I was going to chime in with the GPS chorus also! I got one for Christmas this past year, and I am totally hooked on it! I too used to do the Google map directions, but this new technology is really a time AND money saver for me!

Love the fabrics that you picked. I know its going to be an amazing quilt!

Sunshine said...

What a successful treasure hunt and what a treat to have that many stores to get to!

That should keep you and the shop busy this year!

Cheers,
Christine

oldbatt said...

Lane, loved hearing about your shop hop. I have to say that I have had the same experience in Rogers and I have been there a dozen times and only once was someone nice to me and it turned out to be the owner. Too bad she hasn't hired a better staff. I have heard great things about Glad Creations too but haven't been there. I like Gruber's too - so much to check out and I love their back room sales a lot! Glad to hear it was fun and you had good weather (I was thinking about you while I was sitting in my office looking out) and even though you bought a lot you won't be disappointed! Lisa

Vesuviusmama said...

Thanks for taking us on the shop hop with you. And you know, those shop owners/employees should really think about how they greet (or don't greet) their customers. There are quite a few places where I go where I'm not greeted either (I try to convince myself that it isn't because I am Black, and that they would ignore anyone who walked in the door), and it just doesn't make me want to go back. I don't want someone following me, but I would appreciate a "hello" and a name of someone I can turn to for help if needed.