Since Christmas is just right around the corner, there’s really not time to go into a quilting lesson. I’m taking the month of December off from blogging. But I shall return in January to give you new insights on the subject of quilts.
Let’s take a trip. We quilters are known to go anywhere there might be a quilt/fabric shop. Guilds and other quilter’s groups are well known for their road trips. This time with LaRueSews, I’ll take you with me as I remember some of my most memorable journeys.
Some of my favorite memories are those when my husband and I went on extended vacations with our long time friends who now live in South Dakota. We have known these folks since we lived in Virginia in the 1970's. My friend Cathy and I have gone on many short trips together and long vacations with our husbands in our motor homes. The main objective for the two of us, when we are together is shopping. We have shopped all the way from southern Spain (yes, the Spain in Europe) to the wilds of the Canadian Rockies. As we traveled, our friendship grew, along with our love of fabrics and all things fabric and quilting. While our husbands spent untold hours telling each other of the trials and travails of Navy life. (In other words, telling Lies and Sea Stories).
While I tell you about some of the favorite shops in some of my favorite places in this country, please understand that the lack of specifics is partly because I don’t remember all of the names of these places.
Another reason is because quilt shops often come and go with the economy, and the health and interests of the owners. There are loads of reasons that quilt shops don’t stay forever. But the best shops seem to outlast the difficulties of the times. The really good ones are successful because the owners and the staff love what they are doing and love the people they serve. I have found that some of the shops that fail are in the hands of people who care more about making money than serving the people they serve. The more the shop owner cares about the quilting craft and the people who make the quilts, the more successful they are. I have yet to meet a successful shop owner who is not a people person, with a smile and a hug whenever you enter their door.
In the mid 70's, Cathy and I flew from Virginia to southern Spain on a charter flight for Navy wives to visit our husbands for two weeks. At that time neither of us had gotten into quilting very much, but we both sewed, so instead of fabrics, we searched out a yarn shop and we both bought yarn for sweaters. Don’t remember if we saw any fabrics. But we had a great time touring the beautiful cities and villages there.
While we lived close together, the four of us and my two girls went on many camping trips together, enjoying the bonds of lasting friendship. At one time, Cathy’s husband, even “adopted” our oldest daughter as a joke in a Navy newspaper. Time went on, and both of our husband’s retired from the Navy, and we all moved to permanent homes in the far reaches of our beautiful country, we in Chattanooga, Tn. and they in S. Dakota. Since both of our husbands have the wanderlust from being in the Navy more than fifty years collectively, the guys decided to plan extended vacations together. The first one happened in Kentucky, where we met them for a two-week sojourn. No shopping that time.
One trip that DH and I made to Idaho was highlighted with a short stay in S. Dakota with our friends. There was a great little quilt shop in Cathy’s hometown. We went there together and picked out the fabrics for the first quilt I made after joining the quilt guild.
This quilt appeared in an earlier blog post.
Sometime later, the wanderlust engaged again, and the guys planned a trip to New England, in the spring, before the summer heat. We met in Michigan and traveled across southern Canada to Maine. We toured the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York. While in New Hampshire, Cathy and I were called to the fabric wonderland of Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, New Hampshire. Wow, what a treat! Keepsake is one of the most well known places for all things quilting in the U.S. We got to go there together. It was wonderful! I hadn’t been in many good quilt shops before then, and there we were in one of the greatest. I would go there again in a minute. They have the most efficient method of measuring and cutting fabrics I’ve ever seen. With the volume of customers that they serve, it’s important to do it right and they certainly do.
We shared a wonderful trip when we met Cathy and Dave in Denver, Co. and traveled north, through, Yellowstone Park, Glacier National Park and into British Columbia, and Alberta, Canada. We spent some wonderful days gazing and the spectacular mountains, lakes and glaciers in the Canadian Rockies. Of course, Cathy and I shopped in every last gift shop in all of the beautiful National Parks there. However, there are but few fabric shops in the Canadian Rockies. We had to go on to Calgary, Alberta, Canada to find a sweet little quilt shop that has grown and become one of the great shops that appear in QUILT SAMPLER Magazine, by Better Homes and Gardens. Too bad I don’t remember the name. You can see ictures of Moran Lake (below) and Berg Lake (above) in this post. Images taken from Google, Canadian Rockies, images.
One of our favorite trips came along when gas risen near $1.80 per gallon, about eight years ago, I think. We all knew that since the price of gas was so high, it would cost a bundle to travel for two to four weeks in the motor homes. So we decided to meet in the middle, between S. Dakota and Chattanooga. That turned out to be in the area of Kansas, City, and Independence, Missouri. We found a State Park, near the great little town of Weston, Missouri. The state park was one of the nicest we’ve ever stayed in, and Weston, Missouri is a rustic little town with loads of little shops to browse through and lots of shopping for a little town. Cathy and I always check the “Quilter’s Travel Companion” for quilt shops wherever we go. This time we found several great ones. One was in Leavenworth, Kansas, across the river from our campground. Quilter’s Quarters was in a vintage building, restored to house a really fun place for quilters to admire and purchase all their quilting needs. http://www.quiltersqtrs.com/ Another was in a small town north of Kansas City. Funny how my memory fails me in the area of shop names and towns, but I remember in detail the shops and all their finery, along with the friendly faces of the shop owners and workers.
Another major trip was two or three years later, when we met Cathy and Dave in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The trip plan included touring the National Parks around the Four Corners area of the great South West. We saw so many beautiful areas around the north rim of the Grand Canyon. There’s not a lot of quilt shops there, but as our trip was drawing to a close, we visited several places in Mid Colorado. There were two in a tiny little mining town, high in the mountains, and then as we traveled toward Denver, we stayed several nights in Golden Colorado, where we visited the Rock Mountain Quilt Museum, while the guys had to visit the Coors Brewery.
Last but not least on this saga of the travels of Cathy and LaRue, we recall the time, right here in Alabama when Cathy and Dave came to visit us. Cathy and I made a one day road trip, taking in quilt shops in western Georgia, Sew Much Fun in Columbus, and another in Newnan, GA. Sew Much Fun is great fun to visit. It is near lots of other shopping in Columbus, and the shop keepers and friendly and helpful. It has a vast selection of fabrics and has become one of my favorites.
I really must include in this tale of the travels of LaRue the shops that were my favorites while I lived in Chattanooga. Lavender Lime Quilts, is in Chattanooga. It is right off I-24, easy to find and access. This was my favorite shop before I moved and still recommend it highly. The proprietor, Kathy Skomp is knowledgeable and friendly and the staff is also there to help. The shop carries everything a quilter needs.
Another favorite is Sew Bee It in Ringgold, GA., also easily accessed right off I-75, just south of Chattanooga. If you are in or near Atlanta, Marietta to be exact, check out my favorite there, Tiny Stitches, a little harder to find, but well worth the search. Also, in Marietta, is Little Quilts. They specialize in reproduction fabrics, and they have lots country gifty things.
It is surprising, the places you find quilt shops. Cathy and I once found one shop in Kentucky, off the beaten path, at the end of a dirt road. It was in a log cabin, and turned out to be one of the best I’ve seen, though it wasn’t quite as easy to access as others. Another surprising find was on our trip to the Canadian Rockies. I had read an article about Indigo* fabrics in a quilt magazine and was very interested in finding this place.
It is called Reproduction Fabrics. It was a fascinating place. At the time it was in the country, and rather a challenge to find. I think it has moved closer to Bozeman, MT since we were there. It carries a variety of vintage reproduction fabrics as well as many indigo fabrics. I loved the place even though it was small at the time. I would love to go there again, but there’s probably not much chance. I have just spent more time than I have to spend, browsing the web site. Check out their web page, it’s interesting. http://www.reproductionfabrics.com
This is a quilt made from fabrics I purchased at Reproduction Fabrics. There are a couple of color changes in the quilt because of the difference in dye lots in the fabrics. This is only the middle portion of the quilt.
As I said, in the beginning, I am taking a little vacation from blogging until January. I need more time to get some ME done for the grand children. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas.
So long until I return,
Stitches to you,
Definition taken from: www.apparelsearch.com
Indigo dye is an important dyestuff with a distinctive blue color (see indigo). The natural dye comes from several species of plant, but nearly all indigo produced today is synthetic. Among other uses, it is used in the production of denim cloth for blue jeans. From indigo came the term “blue collar” for workers who work the indigo blue fabrics.