Thursday, March 27, 2008

Shop hopping

Today, the boy and I embarked on the first ever Tri-Country Quilt Shoppe Festival. We visited four quilt shops today. I'm hoping we can visit three more tomorrow, and then try and get to the rest on Saturday.

I love shop hops not only because it's a fun excuse for getting out and seeing some of the area (yay, road trip!), but also because it offers the opportunity to check out a bunch of different quilt stores with the added incentive of free stuff. This particular hop is offering a block pattern at each shop, which can be combined together to make a beautiful quilt. Mostly though, I enjoy visiting each shop and learning how each is special and unique—the fabrics (though there is a lot of overlap here), the styles, the displays, and the miscellaneous offerings (local artists, crafted items, services, etc.). It never ceases to amaze me how many ways people find to differentiate their stores. I also find it pretty inspiring, as I someday dream of opening my own quilt shop.

After lunch, the boy and I drove to Anacortes. (This was good, because it was a nice long drive and the napless wonder finally took a rest.) Our first stop was The Quilt Shop. As soon as we walked through the door, who should I see standing at the front counter but a friend I haven't seen in more than four years... crazy!!! I enjoyed browsing through their wonderful array of batiks and bright contemporary prints. My friend and I spent a little time catching up at the back of the store before heading out together to the next shop. A couple blocks away was Fabrics Plus. It's a small store, but they pack a lot in there! The boy was entranced by the rick-rack display at the back of the store. I really wish I had taken a picture.

With fond farewells to my friend, the boy and I had a snack and then headed off to Mount Vernon and Calico Creations. They had a nice array of reproduction prints and current fabric collections. The shop is also in a very nice space with lots of room between the displays (good for a little boy to move about in without causing too much trouble).

Back to the car, and then a drive through the snow(?!!) to the last stop today: Cotton Pickins' in Stanwood. This store really seems to focus on traditional styles. There were lots of reproduction prints, Thimbleberries, and feedsack-style prints—an interesting dichotomy there because the shop just moved into a brand new building with very modern architecture. But I could kind of tell they just moved-- the walls were probably filled in the previous space, but this one is huge, so it looked a little bare. It will be interesting to see how they grow into and use the space in the future.

Of course, I did not leave the shops empty-handed:

Tri-County shop hop haul day 1
Hmmm... which one doesn't really belong? It's the one that the boy picked up and started chewing on. :P

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