Have you ever done a Quilt Shop Hop? Have you wondered what one is like? I have done a few, and really enjoy so many aspects of the adventure. The latest one I did was with a friend I finally convinced to learn to quilt a few weeks ago. Deb and I did part of the Eastern Pennsylvania Quilt Shop Hop last year, and she enjoyed it so much, she wanted to do the whole thing this year. I completed last years, mostly alone, and really enjoyed going with her to the last 5 stores. So we planned 3 days to cover the 12 stores in this year's hop.
We had picked up our passports from Pocono Sew & Vac a few months ago. The $5.00 passport includes a quilt block kit (This year's fabric was from Gail Kessler's Charisma fabrics by Andover.) This shop gives you two weeks to visit all the stores. When your passport is full of stamps, you will be entered into a drawing for some great Grand Prizes. This year is a $2400 Brother sewing machine, or a hand quilted Queen quilt, and gift certificates. We met last Friday in Tannersville, at the outlets. Her son dropped her off, and we ran some errands there, then proceeded to Effort, about 20 minutes west, through some really pretty 2 lane highways, and past Sunnybrook Farm.
The little shop there was fun and interesting, and we enjoyed the view, too. We then went to Stroudsburg, to the Ribbon Factory Outlet and Pocono Sew & Vac, 2 of my favorite stores. I live north of here, and Deb is south, so this plan worked. I drove her back to At Piece Quiltery in Easton, and dropped her home. Of course I had to grab a few bargains along the way! Deb invested in a 1/4 quilting foot with the edge guide for her machine, and is planning a few table runners for Christmas gifts.
This Wednesday, we met in Mt. Pocono, close to my home, and drove to the northern-most store, in beautiful Tunkhannock. Endless Mountains is a great store. It is in a small strip mall, so you wouldn't think it would be so well designed inside, but it is so pretty, and the displays are wonderful. Again, I found a few bargains. We headed down to 118 Fabrics in Sweet Valley, again a really cute shop, and then went to find the big chicken in Nescopeck. We drove through some beautiful scenery, too. I love the little church by the creek, and we stopped to take some pictures. J&B Fabrics is another great store. More bargains and they gave us discount cards to the local Pizzaria, so we stopped to eat. Great deal and great food. We were hoping to get to Hegins and Quilting in the Valley, but were afraid it would be closed by the time we got there. So, off through more beautiful mountains and little towns and across rivers to bring Deb home to Easton again.
Thursday I met Deb in Bethlehem, and we went to Hamburg's Happy Sewing Room. It is a tiny shop in the front of a pretty stone house. After that, we went to Hegins, and again found a delightful shop, and bargains. Each store had its own version of a quilt made from the blocks, too. It was so interesting to see how the fabric looked different with the different settings and quilting accents. Each store's block is different, too, although all use a medalion center. From Hegins, we drove through some more pretty towns and past other beautiful churches, on the way to Oley, and Ladyfingers. The building is an old 3 floor rooming house built about 200 years ago, with the stone ruins of outbuildings behind it. From there we took more back roads on the way back north to Kutztown, a wonderful store called Wooden Bridge Drygoods, run by the sweetest Mennonite women. This store is packed, and so much fun to explore. Again, more wonderful bargains were discovered. We then headed to Allentown Sewing Center, and finished the hop. By the time I returned home, I had put over 640 miles on my car! It was fun, especially with a friend.
My suggestions if you choose to do a shop hop! Wear comfy clothes, especially if you will be in and out of a car. Bring snacks and water, and maybe pack a lunch. Budget a certain amount for each store. Many will be having "hop" specials, and all carry a little something different. If you are looking for a particular fabric for a project, bring a notebook or swatch book, so you can match your purchase, and yardage requirements. Bring a camera, so you can take pictures of the quilts. Bring a friend, so you have someone to explore and laugh with. Bring a map, too! Each shop also had door prize entries, so some name/address labels are handy. Plan for traffic, and make sure your car is ready for this type of travel. When do you plan to hop?