2013 Shop Hop

February 12, 2014 at 11:48 pm Leave a comment

Shop hopping is exhausting!

Shop hopping is exhausting!

Three months later, I’m finally writing about this past November’s Eastern PA Shop Hop. I’ve been quilting, organizing, and planning; after all, there’s a guild show coming up in (horrors!) four short months now, and I hope to have more posts up soon! But this one has been hanging over my head, so I thought I’d better just get it out of the way.

This year, Ronan got a pass on Shop Hopping and got to stay home with Dan, where they did fun things like going to the movies and to a truck zoo. While I’m certainly not trying to set up expectations that Finley will be a quilter or that Ronan won’t be, I did feel very proud that we had three matrilineal generations in the car this year. Therefore:  team t-shirts!

Team T-shirts

Customink.com did a great job for me

There were 11 shops again this year, following some additional shuffling. The Happy Sewing Room closed on short notice last summer when the owner moved to the midwest for her husband’s new job, and J&B Fabrics was inexplicably (at least to us) off the roster this year. However, two new shops were added:  In Stitches in Womelsdorf and Rose of Sharin‘ in Danville.

As with other recent years, I really tried to keep my purchasing in check. The decision to buy the block kits was pretty much made for me by the fact that they used Northcott’s Starry Night Stonehenge collection. I fell in love with the Stonehenge fabrics when they first came out, but I’ve managed to restrain myself from buying any so far because I didn’t have a specific use in mind. This gave me a handy excuse to finally get some. I wasn’t sure if some shop hoppers might be put off by the idea of a Christmas quilt, but I think I have enough quilts in regular use now that I can justify making some specifically seasonal ones. Also, once again, I should be able to cut most of the shapes for the blocks with my Accuquilt Go! cutter.

I was a little let down by some of the shop quilts this year; I’ve been spoiled, I suppose, by some of the absolutely virtuoso efforts of previous years, so the fact that so many seemed to default to just a straight-set, lowest common denominator, let’s get this finished basic quilt was somewhat disappointing. But there were still some showstoppers in the mix, and who knows? Perhaps some beginning quilters get intimidated by the more ambitious quilts and can more easily envision themselves completing a simpler one. Just my perspective, which is what this blog is for.

We started with one of the new shops, In Stitches. It’s a little off the beaten path for the geography of the shop hop, but not ridiculously, and appears to be a good, solid, local shop. They carry a lovely variety of fabric as well as notions, batting, patterns, and silly fun stuff like quilting-related car decals. They do in-house longarm quilting and I was intrigued to learn that they also run a longarm quilting guild. I bought some wool batting for my challenge quilt (more on that coming soon.)

Outside Rose of Sharin

This is how I managed to shop in less stroller-friendly places.

A week later we had worked our way to the other new shop, Rose of Sharin’. It’s a densely-packed shop that leads shoppers on a circuitous path from a well stocked front window display area back past books and notions to a discount back room. I greatly enjoyed the shop models, the friendly staff, and the quirky items available such as the “It’s all fun and games until the bobbin runs out” sign that I couldn’t help but purchase. Another definite reason to visit this shop is its location right across the street from the Old Forge Brewing Company, which boasts a tasty menu featuring their homemade soft pretzel appetizer.

My shop hop haul

My shop hop haul

Returning to the other familiar shops is always pleasant. I did end up buying (as usual!) more fabric than I had intended, but it was nearly all deeply discounted. I picked up some panels, including the vintage Mickey Mouse from The Country Quilterie and the Christmas teddy bear from At Piece Quiltery. Ladyfingers had charm packs from several of the Andover lines for very low prices, and The Quilted Crow granted me the opportunity to buy the purple Gypsy chain-piecing cutter I needed to replace my dear, departed, discontinued Fons & Porter standing seam ripper that Ronan broke. There I also bought a bag pattern, another category I’d vowed to stay away from until I had actually made some of the many bags I own patterns for, but the Flying Geese Tote Bag has such exhaustively detailed instructions, and the shop models were so very cute, that I couldn’t resist. Someday…

Finley at ASMO

Allentown Sewing Machine Outlet had a great open area for Finley to scoot around.

We had a great time driving around in the mostly beautiful fall weather, with lots to look at and talk about; I got some fun stuff that will help finish some existing projects as well as starting new ones; and my mom won a huge door prize basket from Pocono Sew & Vac. I was equivocal about going on the shop hop this year; after all, I don’t actually need anything new and I don’t have much time to quilt at this point in my life anyway. However, it’s always an inspiring experience that gets the creative centers of my brain humming and my fingers itching to get some quilting in. And hopefully, I’ll have at least one more completed shop hop quilt to show off before the next one comes around!

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

2013 Challenge Quilt — Solids!

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