Monday, August 27, 2012

Minnesota Shop Hop: Part Three

Here it is, finally, part three of my Minnesota Shop Hop two day bus trip report! When we last left off I was on day two of the trip and had been in Anoka.

Our next stop was Fat Quarter Quilting. When this shop began it had been located in Anoka but eventually expanded and moved to a bigger and easier to find location in Coon Rapids. The new location is in a strip mall that also boasts a bead shop and yarn shop. Over the years they slowly discontinued the prints that I like and started to carry fabrics geared toward the younger, hipper quilter. Think Amy Butler. All that said, the shop is no longer open! They closed at the end of the shop hop sending an email that they will now be an online shop. They are still in the process of reorganizing their business and you can keep up on their progress on their website.

(While we were there I made a quick stop at the yarn shop a couple of doors down and bought a pattern for a wrap and absolutely gorgeous yarn in pretty autumn colors.)

Soon we were back on the bus and on our way to Calla Lily. This shop has been around for a few years. It is not too far from me but I very rarely get there. It is located in a small strip mall that is precariously placed on an odd corner that is somewhat difficult to reach. You have to drive past it and either make a U turn or drive through a maze of other small parking lots to reach it.

The shop has a small wall of patterns and notions, fabrics that include Japanese Taupes, as well as the usual assortment of prints and novelties. There is also a small section at the front of the store that contains a variety of gifts.

By this point we were all pretty tired but we had one last shop to visit: Blue Bamboo. I had been to this shop only once before and that was on the very first Minnesota Shop Hop. It is located in a somewhat unusual place- a business park. This shop focuses mostly on batiks and interesting novelty prints. They carry a large number of Judy Niemeyer patterns. I found an aisle that was full of clearance fabric and bought a jelly roll of Christmas fabric for half price! I don't usually buy jelly rolls but with 50% off and my $10 coupon I couldn't resist!

more fabric stash
So, two days, eleven shops and I'm not sure how much added to the stash! Now, to find the time to make all of my new projects!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Minnesota Shop Hop Part Two

I had intended to post this last week but I’ve been busy solving computer issues. I now have a new laptop and am in the (very) long process of getting things loaded, updated, backed up, etc.

But, back to the shop hop!

We left off in the afternoon of Day One of the MinnesotaState Shop Hop. We were all tired but very willing to see what the last two shops of the day had to offer. I had not been to either one of them before so was anxious to see them.

First was Quilt Cove in Eagan. This was a nice shop with lots of bolts in novelties, 30s prints, Civil War type prints, children’s prints and so on. Basically, lots to choose from! They had a large wall of all sorts of interesting notions, and we all need notions, as well as a large wall of kits. Many of these were smaller kits for things like hot pads, wall hangings and the like. The ladies in the shop were very helpful and pleasant. I will definitely make this a stop when I’m in that area of the Twin Cities. 

The last stop of the day was Glad Creations. You may be familiar with this name as they publish wonderful traditional style quilt patterns. They are known for their Mystery Quilts. The shop is in a house in a neighborhood in Minneapolis so the parking can be a little interesting which, frankly, is part of the reason why I never made my way there. Now that I’ve seen the shop I will absolutely make the trip again! The entire house has been crafted into a delightful quilting treasure trove.

Upstairs they had a couple of classrooms and a small area with lots of clearance books, patterns and notions. The classroom spaces had several demos set up for various piecing techniques. Downstairs was an area for their pattern line, lots of fabric, especially the more traditional prints, as well as a lot of fun prints and batiks. They had a number of kits and models for projects. I succumbed and purchased a kit for a darling child’s owl apron. Okay, I admit it. I purchased more here than I did at any of the other shops! I love this place!

Soon it was time to get back on the bus and head back to Elk River. We were up again bright and early on Saturday morning for Day Two.

Our first stop of the day was Country Caboose in Wahkon. (The website isn't working at the time of this posting.) This shop is owned by our bus mom’s mom. It’s a very cute shop but very small. She had lots of bolts of fabric and had them arranged in stacks that were three high, so she made really good use of her space. They have plans to extend their shop. It was a little difficult to see everything as the aisles were small and we had 32 people in such a tiny area, but I did manage to buy several things here. The owner and her son were both very helpful and made sure everyone felt welcome. It is definitely worth another visit but I would not go with a bus group again just because of the space issue.

Next was Millie P’s in Anoka. This shop is just minutes from my home so I’ve been here many times, but not since they expanded the shop. It is very bright and airy. They have a lot of non-quilting projects on display, things like aprons, children’s items, bags and so on. They carry a selection of Minkie, oilcloth and a variety of other specialty items including embroidery designs and Cosmo thread. 

Anoka is a nice place to spend the day and if you are traveling here you will want to check out the occasional sale shops. These shops offer a unique set of items and are usually only open on weekends and sometimes only one weekend a month. Check out the shops here. While in town you will want to visit the yarn shop that is just around the corner and Truffles andTortes just across the street and right next to the Garden of Beads. Truffles has absolutely sinful desserts as well as a nice little menu of quiches, sandwiches and soups. 

Here are a couple of photos of additions to my stash. You can see the cute owl apron kit, some fun patterns and a product called Vintage Linen Soak. I'll tell you more about that product in a future post.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Minnesota State Shop Hop: Part One

As I mentioned in my last post I was on a two day bus trip visiting eleven Minnesota quilt shops. It is the 6th annual Minnesota State Shop Hop and my friend, Bev, and I once again hit the road! 

Day One started early. The bus left Elk River and made its first stop in Stillwater at Charlotte’s Web. I’ve only been in this shop one other time and it was also on a bus shop hop with Bev. It’s located in a small strip mall and is pretty easy to find. The shop is small but has a variety of novelty prints, children’s prints, Christmas designs and the usual fabric fare you find at most shops. They also carry a number of embroidery designs which are scattered throughout the shop. The ladies were all very nice and if you are in the area it is worth a stop.

The next shop was Fabric, Fashions & More in Rush City. This shop has an extensive selection of notions and features Thimbleberries fabrics and patterns. They also have a variety of traditional prints and novelty prints. The shop is small but was well staffed and very accommodating. I have shopped here several times. It’s a nice little afternoon drive from my side of the Twin Cities.

After a quick stop for lunch we were off to Bear Patch Quilting in White Bear Lake. I haven’t been to this one in ages! They have a Bernina dealership attached to the quilt shop so that is very convenient. The shop is full of samples. Be sure to look up! The shop carries batiks, Civil War prints, novelty prints, children’s prints, 30s prints and a variety of other prints and solids. They have a selection of embroidery and wool projects as well. We were all made to feel very welcome. The owner had a large bowl of small bottles of water, coffee, and trays of treats for all on the shop hop. They took the time to stop and answer our questions and to help us find what we were looking for. A shop well worth a visit. Plus, while you are in town take a walk around and visit the other shops and restaurants. It would be a lovely way to spend the day with friends.

Soon we were off to the next shop which was, unfortunately, in sharp contrast to Bear Patch. The shop is Twin Cities Quilting in Roseville. This is one of the newest shops around and is geared to the more contemporary style quilter. The shop is small and is full of batiks. The ladies working in the shop were very pleasant. The same can’t be said for the owner who was working the cash register. She has to be one of the rudest people I have ever come across. I had my purchase shoved across the counter to me with no offer of a bag or even a thank you. I was lucky. Others had very rude comments directed toward them. One woman tried to use a check card to pay for a small purchase and was nastily told she would need to use cash because she wasn’t going to pay the check card fee for that small amount. Another woman, also making a small purchase, was rudely asked, “What? Are you on a budget?” I could go on, but I won’t. The bottom line is this owner has a lot to learn about customer service. Every one of the 32 people on that bus were so offended by her that they won’t be back. And, like me, they’ll be spreading the word. 

But on to more pleasant subjects! There are more shops to tell you about, but I’ll stop here for now. I did make a few purchases while on the hop. As part of the statewide shop hop a fabric line is designed and printed that features a Minnesota theme. At each shop we received a 5 inch square of one of the fabrics and a pattern for a block. In addition to those pieces of the line, I purchased a charm pack and a few fat quarters. 

The shops are all divided into sections and each section has a little “prize” for those who spend a minimum amount at each shop and/or who visit each shop in that section. For this section the gift that came with a $10 purchase was a laminated card featuring quilting tips. If you spent $10 in each shop and collected all eleven cards, you were given a little plastic zipper pouch to hold them all. 

I think it’s time for me to zip up this post! More next time!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Books and stitching...

Have you read any of the books in the Cobbled Court series? I just finished the third book and so far have enjoyed them. The series is by Marie Bostwick. I believe she is up to number five in the series. The series focuses on a woman who must begin anew after her husband of many years leaves her for a younger woman. The stories take place in a quilt shop in a small community. The first book dealt with breast cancer and the second book with spousal abuse, both pretty heavy topics. The third book focused on marriage and a woman’s choices in life. In spite of their more serious nature, they are a pretty quick read.

In addition to reading, I’ve been making up a couple of things for my little three year old granddaughter. She is currently smitten with the Berenstain Bears so I bought some fabric featuring them and made a pillowcase she can use while she is “reading” their stories. I used the instructions from American Patchwork & Quilting which can be found here. I liked their method because you end up with seams that won’t fray.

My last post showed our EGA chapter teaching teens embroidery while making a jean pocket purse. I made one for my granddaughter using the colors she chose. It worked up very quickly and is a fun project to do.

I also continued work on my sampler. The outside border is complete!

This weekend I will be on a two day bus shop hop trip. It is the annual Minnesota Statewide Quilt Shop Hop. My friend and I will visit eleven shops in two days, but more on that later!