Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Road Trip - Day Two - Row by Row

I've done my share of Row by Row over the years that it's existed. Several years ago, I stumbled across a collaborative quilt that involved 8 stores in the northwest part of New York State. We've collected those rows three years in a row. It was great fun to visit them all.

As we were planning this road trip, I again stumbled on another collaborative quilt - this time in the Chicago area. After I showed my traveling companions, they decided it would be a fun thing to add to the trip.

While the theme of the quilt was Chicago, these stores were not necessarily in the City of Chicago. I wouldn't even call them in the suburbs. It started to rain shortly after we left the hotel at 6:30 AM and we didn't arrive at the first store until 8:45. Now, I will say that there was rain, an accident and morning rush hour, but it would have taken us at least 1 1/2 hours to get there if there had been no delays.

Our goal was to arrive at 9 AM when the shop opened. We had NOT had breakfast before we left. With each delay, we saw our window for eating breakfast getting smaller and smaller. And several in the car desperately needed coffee. Our trusty navigator, who was not the same person as the original planner and driver, checked the website of the first store and realized that it opened at 10 AM. Well - we had loads of time for breakfast then!!!

Our first stop was in Woodstock, Illinois. A quaint town with a gorgeous town square and all these little boutique shops around the square. It really is a beautiful town and more than typical small-town America. We ate and then browsed the farmer's market that happened to be set up around the square. The rain had stopped but it was a bit windy. No worries. We picked up some Zestar apples and some granola.

A chat with one of the customers at the market and we found out that a famous movie had been filmed in Woodstock. Groundhog Day. We heard there were others, but I can't find a reference to them. But seriously - this is the cutest little town.

By this time, it was 10 AM and we could visit the first store. As we were visiting and I bought their LAST kit, I saw a sign in the back that would have hung at Quilt Market - Hoop Sisters - Woodstock, Illinois.  Holy - is there where Hoop Sisters is from? Turns out the store owner owns Hoop Sisters and so we got a quick peek in their workshop. Wow - that was an unexpected bonus. For those of you who don't know, Hoop Sisters is big into machine embroidery.

Then we were off to the next shop where I also managed to get a kit for the quilt. This was the LAST day that they could sell kits and pick up the free pattern before Row by Row technically ended for this year. I believe kits and patterns are again available sometime in November. Trust me, it was quite the planning process to get dates and things to do for the four of us and fit it all in which we just couldn't do so there might have to be a future road trip.

Many of the eight stores are also sewing machine dealers and Janome and Bernina have a huge following in this area. I think we saw Babylock at one store.

I managed to get six kits out of eight. I got the patterns for the other two and I got extra background fabric so I can make those last two blocks with the same background as the rest. We saw loads of interesting stuff and we saw loads of embroidery patterns, and kits and software and accessories. It was hard not to go crazy.

However, we all walked around the stores with things in our hands which eventually went back on the shelves. This was after we consulted with our cohorts and we thought long and hard about what was sitting on the shelves back home to be done. I did buy ONE fat quarter of a bicycle fabric and one digital panel of the Chicago skyline (for the backing of my quilt) plus some small yardage of the background fabric to finish those two blocks. I think I bought a pattern or two and a few license plates. OK - the license plates were an indulgence that I didn't need, but what the heck - I'm allowed a few missteps along the way.

We had had a HUGE breakfast so we didn't stop for lunch but had some snacks in the car. And we had to make sure that we arrived at the second to last shop before it closed at 4 PM. None of the shops were too far apart from each other, but even twenty minutes distance between and a few minutes in each shop - it took the greater part of the day to do all eight stores.

All the stores were super friendly and helpful and it was loads of fun. We were curious about the number of kits that they had sold. Initially, they all started with 150 kits which quickly sold out so they reordered. I think some stores ordered another 100 kits and others ordered more. One store (wth the Route 66) on it, sold 400 kits. That's totally crazy!!!!!  One store that was sold out of kits - her customers were buying the kit and making a pillow from it. Darn customers who love baseball!!!

There was a pub near the last store so we ate dinner there. I didn't eat all my dinner and now I'm hungry!!! The portion was fine - I just wasn't that hungry.

Then we all got back in the car. Oh - I should say that Ronda drove for all the quilt shop hopping and I managed to knit almost two dishcloths. While the ball of yarn is starting to look a bit flat, there are still a few dishcloths in there.

Anyway, after dinner, it was my turn to drive. There was a lot of construction on the highways, but with the GPS, it was easy to get ourselves from A to B. We zipped through Illinois and back into Indiana. Then we popped into Ohio - we had switched drivers by then as we needed to fill up the van. Our goal was to get to Dayton Ohio and that's where we currently are. Well, not Dayton specifically, but just outside near the highway.

I think we arrived at the hotel at 11:30 PM - it was a five hour (or almost) drive from the last shop to Dayton. The roads were good (except for that construction, but we didn't really need to slow down for that) and the rain had stopped much earlier in the day.

Of course, when we got our luggage up to the room, the room key wouldn't work. We didn't even get a light - red or green when we tried the key in the door. Back down to the lobby where I got a new set of keys. Same thing. Back down to the lobby. Hey guy - I just want to go to bed!!!!  Then we got a new set of keys to a new room. That key worked!

I think we were in ou PJs and in bed within minutes of getting in the room.

Today is a new day, different states and a HUGE surprise near the end of the day. Well, it's not a surprise for us, but it will be for you.

On that note, we need to get an early start this morning as it's another long, long drive to our next destination. Then the pace will slow down a wee bit.

Have a super day!!!!



  1. There are a group of shops in Washington state that also did collaborative rows. Wouldn't that be a great roadtrip!

  2. Contact me if you are ever coming to Washington and I will meet up with you!