Last year, I helped my aunt out in Arizona with collecting some local row by row kits from Florida. She also had collected some from across the country when she visited my mom in Nebraska. So she had quite the collection. Last year’s theme was H2O, so the ones from Florida were especially appropriate.
This year, even more shops are participating and the row by row experience has grown exponentially! We happened to be on our return trip home during the start of it this year. That meant I got to pick up some throughout the midwest and south for her on my way home.
If you are not familiar with the Row by Row experience, I highly recommend checking out the official website. The basic idea is each quilt shop provides their own row, made custom for their shop, as well as collectible license plates. You can buy the kits for the rows (complete with pre-cut fabrics). These typically run between fifteen and twenty dollars each. You also have the option of picking up just the row pattern for free. There are rules, however, that make this a bit of a challenge. You must visit the shop in person (so there are a lot of trades, etc for rows people may want across the country), which encourages you to adventure out and check out new quilt shops. You are limited to one per person, and can only purchase them during a specific time frame. Unfortunately my aunt will be driving here after the “season” is over. I do have nine more quilt shops in a two hour radius from my home to collect them from over the next couple months.
This year I am not participating in the row by row for a few reasons:
- I do not have the time. I can’t believe my aunt has already put together five of the rows!
- I have not done any applique as of yet and most of the rows do require it.
- I’m not a big fan of the theme this year. Home Sweet Home is the theme and many of the rows are more traditional quilting styles. I’m not a huge fan of the typical colors or the patterns this year. I wish I had participated last year, but I would not have had the time then either.
- It is expensive! The patterns are free, so if you want to spend the time to cut out all of the pieces you can make them more customized but it is much more time consuming and you still will need to purchase fabrics for it. I’m not sure I’ve saved any money by not participating since I have been visiting new shops and purchasing “souvenirs.” I believe next year I will either try to participate on a small scale or at least collect license plates. This year I have only purchased one row kit for myself to use as a wall hanging and one pin.
Coming along with me, though missing a shop here and there since he is still a bit camera shy, is my Bobbin the robin. I am not a fan of the color red, so he is a blue robin instead. Bobbin (the red robin) is featured in the official logos and fabrics for the Row by Row experience. Somehow, many of the participating quilt shops and quilters do not know about him! I hope they advertise him more next year, because it is such a fun idea. We have already gone to eight quilt shops since June 21st together, but he forgot to take as selfie at a couple of them. We visited these six on our road trip home:
Quilts & Quilts The Fabric Shoppe, Branson, MO
We spent our first night on our trip home in Branson, so this was our first quilt shop on the trip (we could not do any on the 20th since the row by row event hadn’t started yet). This was the most overwhelming and large quilt shop I have ever been in. They had rooms and rooms of fabrics, it was like a maze of quilting supplies. I was so excited that they had an entire section of baby soft book panels. They are SO hard to find and I want to make a bunch of them. Too bad I was on a budget! I picked up two of them, and avoided the ones I have seen as board or regular books (like Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle). I also purchased one of their row kits for myself to create a wall hanging since I love it so much. They had two versions, which is how I got away with purchasing two. You can order their collection of license plates online, but you must visit the store for the row itself. They do have their 2014 and 2015 kits available online (you can purchase them after the contest is over each year – but many shops run out well before then because they stop making them).
The Stitchin Post, Little Rock, AR
Their row is so much fun! Apparently this home is actually based on a real one. I picked up a couple fabrics at this shop, then hit the road. ____________________________________________________________________
Sew Much More, Sherwood, AR
We stopped at Sew Much More before dinner on our second leg of the trip. Unfortunately their kit was not ready and I had to place an order for it. I can’t wait to get it in the mail! I’m glad they didn’t charge me shipping since I went in to buy it.
Bobbin decided he was too camera shy to pose for me at Sew Much More. He was probably too focused on getting some dinner.
The Cotton Blossom Fabric Shoppe, Madison, MS
I found a wonderful flamingo fabric here. I’m only slightly obsessed and only have slightly too many flamingo fabrics already. I did love their row with the cotton field!
Bernina Sewing Etc, Ridgeland, MS
This was a large, popular shop with a full parking lot! They must have had some classes going on. I saw their classrooms when I went in, it looked like a great place. Unfortunately we were in a hurry due to the amount of stops on our last leg of the trip combined with our desire to get home. So, I didn’t buy much or spend time looking around.
The Stitchin Post LLC, Hattiesburg, MS
This shop was very difficult to find, if you are looking for it look at the google satellite image. The direction we came on the road prevented us from seeing the banner for the store behind some trees and we spent quite a bit of time looking for it. They do not have a large sign or marking on the building indicating the shop is even there. Again, I was in a hurry but they did have an entire section on row by row. I even picked up an “official” Bobbin the robin pattern. I’ll be making a new one for next year! I loved their unique row featuring chicken coops!
Bobbin the Robin’s adventures are to be continued in another blog after I collect some rows in my local area!