Saturday, March 29, 2008


Yesterday and today I continued on the Tri-Country Quilt Shoppe Festival—and I managed to make it to all 13 shops on the hop! I'm so glad I was able to do it. I got to visit a bunch of great shops and I now have all the block patterns, so I can create my own wonderful "Garden Stroll" quilt. Each shop featured the same 13 blocks in a quilt and it was very inspiring getting to see how each quilt was different, not only in the fabrics used, but in the settings, the embellishments, and finishing. Of course, I failed to take any pictures, but you can check out one version on Fabric-Etc's Blog.

And, there was much purchasing of stuffs:

Tri-Country Shop Hop haul days 2 and 3

Our first stop yesterday was at The Needle & I in Everett. I've visited this shop pretty frequently as it's conveniently just down the street from where the boy has his Kindermusik classes every week. I like how bright and open it is. They have a nice selection of current fabric collections, and always seem to have a wonderful array of samples. After lunch, the boy and I headed to Arlington and the Quiltmaker's Shoppe. The samples there were just amazing, and it looks like the classes they offer are pretty cool and truly cater to quilters of all levels (and it's the first store I've been to that actually offers a Baltimore Album quilt class)(I wish I lived closer!). Our last stop of the day was Aunt Mary's Quilt Shop in Smokey Point It is located in a pretty non-descript strip mall, but stepping inside is like entering another world. Bright, warm, full of vibrant colors, contemporary fabrics, and super-fun samples hanging throughout.

Today was a solo adventure, as Keith and the boy decided to spend some quality time together at home. So I made my way north to the final six shops. My first stop was at Tangled Threads in Lynden. I have to say that this was the most welcoming shop I visited in this hop. As I walked through the door, I was immediately greeted with a big smile and hello and a brief introduction to the store (they had shop hop specials and games going on). Everyone there was really excited to be participating in the hop and had such enthusiasm and fun energy. Just what I needed after a long drive. The next shop was just a few blocks away, Calico Country. Their focus seemed to be on traditional fabrics and styles. The last Lynden stop was Folktales. This was the first shop I've been to in the area that is really focused on traditional and folk designs. It was a very different experience than any of the other shops. But the samples were gorgeous—lots of stitchery, wool, and handwork. They also featured my favorite rendition of the shop hop quilt.

The Bellingham shops were next. At Lynda's Quilting and Needle Art I found a friendly staff and a nice array of fabrics. They actually sort their fabrics all by color, as opposed to grouping by collection. Sometimes I find it hard to visualize outside of a collection when everything is grouped together (because they just all go so perfectly together!), so it was just a nice change to have such an integrated experience. Next up was Fabrics-Etc. They carry both quilting and fashion fabrics, and I love that their store samples reflected that. Since I'm both a quilter and a sewer, it was extra fun getting to see the garments along with the quilts. The final shop on the hop was Fourth Corner Quilts. This might have been my favorite stop on the hop. The store focuses primarily on the contemporary and modern styles and collections. But mainly what I loved about it was how the fabrics were displayed. Coordinating bolts were staked and draped down the sides of the bookcase displays in a waterfall effect that was both beautiful and a great showcase for the designs. They also had round displays where the fabrics were actually draped from the bolt—again really showcasing the wonderful prints in a way that just being wrapped on a bolt can't compare to. They had a section dedicated to Amy Butler, another to Kaffe Fassett, another dedicated to Asian prints, and many more. And every section featured a number of samples and patterns. Lots of juicy inspiration to be had. It's probably a good thing that it's so far away.

I enjoyed this hop. But overall, it felt as if the shop hop was an afterthought for most of the shops as opposed to a main event. I miss the Bluebonnet Patchwork Trail Shop Hop that I used to do in central Texas every year. Maybe it's a Southern hospitality thing, but on that hop, the shops really seemed to get involved and excited (offering specials, demonstrations, trunk shows, and drawings, in addition to a shop hop quilt), and every single one offered refreshment and treats. Still, I got to visit a bunch of shops I'd never been to before, and I had a good time. I look forward to next year and seeing how it develops.

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