Whoever said road trips are fun was lying! OK - who am I kidding - they're fun, but they're exhausting. Yesterday was a LONG, LONG day, but we survived and mission accomplished.
I was up early so I could walk the dogs and by 6:21, when I was picked up, I had already done close to 5,000 steps. As I'm walking down the street towards the house, I see my cohorts drive up. Good grief - they're 10 minutes early! I rushed into the house to make my breakfast and ran out with my bowl of hot cereal and we were off at 6:20 AM - the exact time we were scheduled to leave.
My cohurts? That would be Ronda - the driver and Laura - the navigator. Laura had done her research. We had a route, we had a schedule and we had a GPS. It didn't take long to get to the border. We had 20 minutes scheduled to cross, but the line-ups were long. However it wasn't long before they opened up extra lanes and we were through. No hiccups - the answers were brief - just like they're supposed to be!
We arrived at the first store right on time. Our route may not have been the most efficient as we had to account for the early closure (3 PM for three or four shops, 4 PM for one more and the remainder were 5 PM), so we did zig zag back and forth across the upper part of New York rather than make a big circle.
The big decision at the first store - buy a kit or just get the pattern. I opted to just get the patterns this year, as did Ronda and Laura went for the kit.
This is the same trip (more or less) that we did last year when we collected an amazing quilt that had been collaborated by 8 quilt shops. Two of the shops opted out this year with two new ones replacing them. The same designer designed both quilts.
Next time we're going to have to plan a trip to the grocery store. We had ZERO time to stop for something to eat and you're very restricted in what you can take across the border - no nuts (oops - let's not tell anyone I have a wee stash of almonds in my bag), no fruit, no dairy. So all the good snacks that I would've taken, I couldn't. We did have water but didn't want to drink too much as there wasn't time for bathroom breaks unless you could use the shop's washroom. Oh yes - my travel companions are TOUGH. BUT we were on a mission.
Every minute counted and we had to stop at a toll booth (six times in total - three to pick up the ticket, and three to pay). But only one stop was congested, the rest was pretty easy. One shop didn't open right at 10 AM - they opened at 10:05. ACK - 5 minutes less to shop in that store. Fortunately, the traffic was no problem or we wouldn't have made it.
Let's not forget to gas up the car. At one point, we had to put gas in the car. Ronda went in to pay and 5 minutes later came out - her credit card wouldn't work. Oh GOD - and she had to prepay. I ran in with my credit card. Wouldn't work. Are you kidding me?? Finally, the two young boys suggested that we use another payment terminal. Worked like a charm, but we lost time at that necessary stop.
We had discussed hitting a drive-thru of any kind for some food (we all had snacks - I had almonds, yogurt covered cranberries, a chocolate bar, and a muffin I bought at Tim's - not a good day on the sugar count) but we didn't find one that was on the same side of the road as we were so we plowed on.
We were supposed to arrive at the last shop at 4:30. We were there at 4:45. Not bad considering all the small things that happened. We had 20 minutes in each store so it wasn't like we just ran in and ran out. We actually had a chance to check out each store.
So what did we buy? Well, we each had a list - yes Laura wrote my list for me on the way down. And none of us went crazy - we spent HALF of what we spent last year on the same trip. Very responsible quilters we were. But here's the thing. It's certainly NOT cheaper to buy fabrics in the US. Batiks were 13.99 a yard. Translate that into meters and the price becomes $15.15 a meter. Translate that into CDN dollars and that price per meter becomes $20 a meter. You pay tax on it in the US with the possibility of paying HST on that same fabric when you get to the border. Factor in your gas and your time and it's way more expensive to buy fabrics in the US than in Canada. Regular fabrics were in the $10 a meter range so a very similiar situation. Patterns - $10 - 12 - same price as in Canada so why would we buy???
The only advantage is they may have bigger selections. But not really. You look at the fabrics available in both countries - you can get by with what's available in our local quilt shops. Patterns? Often a local shop can bring them in. So why did we go there? It was because of this collaborative quilt and we do it once a year.
What did we get??? Here's what I ended up getting. Ronda and I both wanted to make our flannel plaid quilts larger. I managed to find a jelly roll with the flannel strips. With the exchange rate, it was the SAME price as I would have paid in Canada. At least I now had it as I wasn't guaranteed that the shop would still have any.
|Flannel jelly roll|
|Enough to make the quilt bigger|
Found two bicycle fabrics. Didn't need those, but got them anyway.
|Two bicycle fabrics|
Got one pattern, three small bags of buttons and some fabric for a wallet that is supposed to protect your credit cards from those scanners. That pattern was $5 - that was a rare pattern. Most were $10-12 and up.
|A few extra things|
|Information about needles|
|A few Row by Row collectibles|
But this is what we went for. The eight patterns for the 2018 Row by Row Experience.
|Patterns for Row by Row|
This is the quilt that those patterns make. It's a collaborative pattern designed by Susan Rooney. She's an amazing designer. While I'm not a big bird person, I love the quilt.
|Birdsong Sing-A-Long quilt|
And on the flip side of the card are the names of the shops where you can get the patterns.
|The shops that participated in this Row by Row|
I love when the shops do this kind of collaborative quilt. It makes it exciting and you definitely have a goal. There is a group of shops (Len's Mills) in Ontario that did the same thing. Hmm - I could take a day and go and do those. Why not? I supported the US shops, I need to support the Canadian ones. There are a number of rows in Ontario that I'd like to collect and make one quilt - 8 rows - one quilt. Hmm - there are a few people, I could get a row from. I'll do bit of research and send them on a mission.
|Len's Mills collaborative Row by Row quilt|
Now when is the trip to Raleigh, NC where they did another collaborative quilt? I think I'll wait and buy that one when it's published as a single pattern later this year. It'll be way less expensive. That one was designed by Sandy Fitzpatrick.
|Collaborative quilted designed by Sandy Fitzpatrick|
I saw some comments that people don't like these particular styles because there is no creativity involved. Yep - that's right. But that's the beauty - you can do it or you don't have to. Totally up to you!!!
And here's the large customer quilt that I quilted the other day. I just need to get it trimmed this morning so it can be picked up later today. It's HUGE. This is the Kaleidoscope that we did in last year's class at The Hobby Horse.
|Customer quilt - DONE|
I'll try to get some of the upcoming classes that I'm teaching posted so you can check them out. I know people are already signing up! Lots of exciting things for the fall. Can't wait - oh yes - I can!!!! Let's not rush the summer.
BTW - in case you're wondering if I got left in the car yesterday? Nope - but that was only after I figured out how to open the van door from the inside. I don't have van experience and I failed at getting out until I had a lesson!!!
On that note, it's time to get to work.
Have a super day!!!!