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