Eastern PA Quilt Shop Hop 2011

December 6, 2011 at 10:32 pm 1 comment

Ronan tape measure

"Fabric stores are fun!"

Ronan, my mom, and I did the Eastern Pennsylvania Quilt Shop Hop during the first half of November. I had skipped last year due to being hugely pregnant; although I worked right up till my due date, the OB didn’t want me to be more than an hour’s drive from the hospital during those last four weeks, and while it would have been very appropriate for my child to be born in a quilt shop, I don’t imagine anyone else would have been too happy about it. There were twelve participating shops again this year, a number which has held fairly steady over the last several years, although there have been some changes and substitutions as shops have opened and closed. The absolute peak was 2007, when there were 18 shops, a number I’ve been very familiar with as I have finally finished the top from that year’s sampler blocks. However, that’s news for another post.

This year’s shops, and the order in which we visited them, were:

Saturday, November 5:

Endless Mountains Quiltworks, Tunkhannock

118 Fabrics and More, Sweet Valley

J&B Fabrics, Nescopeck

Sunday, November 6:

The Country Quilterie, Effort

Pocono Sew & Vac, East Stroudsburg

American Ribbon Outlet, East Stroudsburg

The Quilted Crow, Lehighton

Thursday, November 10:

At Piece Quiltery, Easton

Allentown Sew & Vac, Allentown

Happy Sewing Room, Hamburg

Ladyfingers Sewing Studio, Oley

Saturday, November 12:

Wooden Bridge Drygoods, Kutztown

Considering he spent so much time in the car, Ronan did really well. Quilt shops are pretty much his natural habitat: brightly colored fabrics, smiling ladies to meet, and (frequently, during the shop hop) cookies to eat! Spending lots of time with Grandma was an added bonus. If we do it again next year, I think I’m having shop hop team t-shirts made for us.

shop hop purchasesI feel pretty good about my spending and acquisition habits for this shop hop. Although I certainly did buy fabric, I didn’t buy a single piece at full-price, and not for lack of desire. There are too many gorgeous fabrics out there that seem designed just to catch my eye and get my imagination working overtime. But with little time to quilt and many many projects either unfinished or in the queue, I was able to stifle those expensive flights of fancy and repeat my Bonnie K. Hunter-inspired mantra: “I trust that when and if I need it, there will be an equally gorgeous fabric available. The fabric can live at the store until then.”

shop hop panelsI bought several printed panels, again all at a discount. Not only do these form a nice foundation for quick and easy gifts, as well as excellent practice pieces for machine quilting, but I’m also considering working up instructions for my lattice window process that I came up with for Window on Whimsy as either a class or a magazine article (you know, in all my free time) and I would need some additional samples for that. I will NOT be piecing lattice strips on the bias into the animal map panel at the bottom of the photo, as that one is flannel. It is a testament to how much I liked that design (and how deeply discounted it was) that I bought it, despite its being flannel. I absolutely despise piecing with flannel. I love how it looks, love how it feels, HATE working with it for anything that requires precision. So I just don’t.

My favorite purchase of the shop hop has to be my ConeFlower thread holder, pictured above to the left of the fabric. I’ve had the standard functional one from Superior Threads for a few years now, and definitely appreciate how its use allows me to not only buy my thread in bulk cones, but also to tame some otherwise difficult threads. I had seen the ConeFlower in a magazine some time ago, then saw it in person at the Happy Sewing Room’s booth at Quilt Odyssey. I told myself then, that if they still had them at the shop hop, and if I’d been keeping my spending in check, that I would give myself permission to buy one. Not only was I staying within my budget, but I was able to buy the last one they had in stock. I’ve been using it ever since and have been very happy with it. Pretty, functional, and made in the U.S.A.:  how could I go wrong? I’ve long been inspired by William Morris’ statement, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Ideally, I’ve been seeking out objects and furnishings that unify both, and the ConeFlower certainly fits the bill. It makes me happy whenever my eyes rest on it, and in an ideal world I would react that way to every functional object in my home. Someday, perhaps.

I did also buy the kits for this year’s sampler blocks. I struggled with the decision, as I still have unmade block kits from 2008 and 2009, but 1) they used Quilts of Valor fabrics this year, which are gorgeous, forward a great cause, and address an underrepresented area of my stash; and 2) buying the block kits means that I don’t feel pressured to buy something I don’t want or need at any given shop. Certainly there is no minimum purchase to participate in the shop hop, but I would feel awkward getting my passport stamped without buying anything, and even making the drive to a shop causes me to feel I should have something to show for my efforts. I had given myself a mental budget of $15 per shop, subject to review in the face of unprecedented bargains and/or fabulosity, and a few $4.95 block-kit-only purchases helped offset the bigger-ticket stops.

I don’t know when I might assemble the blocks, or how I might set them when I do, but I certainly got some great ideas on setting sampler blocks from viewing the shop hop quilts on display at each shop. In fact, seeing a different quilt made from the same blocks at each shop is one of the annual high points of the shop hop for me; even if I don’t follow any given pattern for my own eventual quilt, the photos end up being a textbook of setting ideas for any collection of blocks. Click any image to enlarge. Enjoy!

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Entry filed under: Fabric Shopping, Travel. Tags: , , , .

Finished! Halloween Buzz Saw Finished! Ronan’s Quilt

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Almost There… « Sarah Loves Fabric  |  June 6, 2012 at 9:00 am

    […] the “finished!” post that I’ll hopefully be publishing soon. Just as I did during this year’s shop hop, in 2007 I took a picture of the quilt at each shop: #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 […]

    Reply

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