Drowning in Fabric

Forever cleaning, organizing and creating

My Favorite Store!

Oh, I have been waiting a looong time for this. I am about to tell you about what I consider the best kept secret in my state. Sadly, I didn’t know about this place for a long time. Then, I drove by it a million times before one day I finally decided to stop in. Knowing what I know now, I know that if I hadn’t gone in at just the “right” time, I probably never would have stepped foot in there again.

Start digging!

Start digging!

As it was, what I found were tables and tables piled sky high with fabric. For next to nothing. The best I can figure, they buy up damaged, cancelled orders, overstock, end of bolt, etc, and resell it in a less than aesthetic manner for cheap. I frequently find fabrics tagged with fabric.com or other shop cutting labels.

Now, two years ago when I started going there, I wasn’t so much a quilter and I had a very fledgling knowledge of fabric quality and designers. Unfortunately, I bought a lot of fleece and flannel back then because that’s what I thought I would be using. I’ve barely touched that stuff. 😦 Over the months, I went maybe once a week and left with a bag of fabric each time. I paid anywhere from $3 a yard down to 25 cents a remnant once they finally started clearancing out. I began to focus on the quilting cottons and started watching for certain designs and designers. But still, I was mostly buying then for my Ispy swaps and not so much for general quilting. By last August, I had started more quilting and refining my fabric knowledge. I had a better idea what I was looking for. And I was taking it for granted that this would be a constant supply for me.

And then the supply stopped. They changed over their inventory. For a long time it was apparel fabrics. Then upholstery. Then bolts and bolts of just crappy blah cotton fabric. Really bad stuff. Fleece. Then back to upholstery. I was really losing hope that I would ever see my remnants again. I’d had to buy more and more fabric at retail and had gotten into more and more swaps that I was shelling out for – not to mention running my own swap now as well, which carried a monthly obligation. I lamented how I misused the opportunity when I had it. (hear the violins?) I missed my weekly outing.

I would still run in once a week at first… then once every couple weeks… checking.. I was out nearby last week and almost didn’t stop in. I really expected the same ‘ol. But there it was! My wonderful cotton remnants again! I was so excited! And took full advantage. Now, this whole thing is an experience… You have to DIG. And the fabric is heavy. There are all kinds of different weights mixed in. My arms usually hurt the next day. But if you are willing to work for it, you can find the good stuff. It is also a good idea to come back. Things churn and they put more out. That’s why I’d go weekly… but even in the course of my one or two hours searching, by the time I get to the back, the landscape at the front seems completely different. I pull whatever I like, then go through and throw stuff back before I check out. If I leave it, I will never find it again. I spend most of my time there sneezing and sniffling. Everything is different sizes. You can find fat quarters all the way up to several yards ( I got three yards of Joel Dewberry last year for $1 a yard. That was my best find until recently). Some of it has cuts, rips, or writing on it, but most of it is beautiful. I still buy the damaged pieces (sold as-is) if I think I can cut around the damage or it isn’t too bad.

Making decisions

Making decisions

Check out this lady's awesome find! (I got to chatting with her and got a picture.)

Check out this lady’s awesome find! (I got to chatting with her and got a picture.)

 

I usually go in with a plan, but since you never know what you will find, it has to be general. My plan today – I have an animal and a food swap coming up; I have a quilt to make for my aunt that I haven’t even started on, which I am looking for travel motifs for; and I always have an eye out for certain designers like Tula Pink or Lizzy House. I also have to cull through my cart and make sure I am buying both what I want and what I need… not stuff I already have tons of or stuff I think I should get because other people like it. Both can be hard.

Today's Haul

Today’s Haul

Last week's haul

Last week’s haul

 

I’ve come away with some good Tula. I didn’t know about her last year, so I can only imagine what I’ve missed in the past, but I’ve been finding a lot this time around. There’s about a half yard of the pink frog price, a yard of the stripe, and two of the turtles. A whopping 3.75 of the blue frog prince! Plus I got a couple yards of the laminate as well. Lizzy has been really slim this year, which makes me sad. I got a lot of her stuff (mostly 1001 and some Pilgrim) last year. But I did find a couple of pearl bracelets today and some guising last week. Other notable collections: Wrenly, which I love, and am actually having to leave a lot behind because I am hoarding so much of it. Les Amis and Comma, both of which I have wanted and haven’t any of. Some Denise Schmidt, Riley Blake, and Sarah Jane. One lonely Simply Color. Lots of good options for my swaps and aunt’s quilt. But oh, if I could only show what I left behind. 😉

This becomes like a drug. After a few days I find myself itching to go back. Wondering what’s there. What I might have missed. What they might be putting out RIGHT NOW. Thinking of all the people buying MY fabric. There’s no harm in taking a peek. But – I think I need to take a break. Money’s tight these days, and as much as I justify this by being pennies on the dollar…. well, eventually the pennies run out. LOL.

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Back on the wagon.

So, I had my machine unpacked just long enough to get my (rather tardy) mystery border block put together (Another one I really like how it came out) and then had to pack it up again for my class day today!

It’s fun to get out of the house and spend the day sewing somewhere else without interruption or “help” or distraction.  Especially after how busy, upsetting and exhausting my short time back has been (no time for sewing either!).

So I was up bright and early today to head to my LQS for my BOTM class. I have missed the last two (shame!). April because I was at Stash Bash and May because I was in FL. So, out of 6 months, I have a stellar record of finishing three of my blocks. This month we were piecing curves.

I hate templates!

I hate templates!

I don’t know why this was so stressful for me. I mean, I did a lot of clothing sewing long before I ever started quilting. I got spoiled with rotary cutting, strip piecing, HSTs from squares and the like. If I have to bother with a template or pattern or anything, really, that can’t be mass produced from rectangles or squares, I don’t want to mess with it anymore. I am really lazy I guess!

Here's my finished block.

Here’s my finished block.

I love the yellow. A couple of my seams are off, but overall a pretty decent looking block.

Then I took a little lunch break over at the mall, where I completely disregarded my (slow going) diet and ate at Wendy’s. But I got some sort of roasted flatbread sandwich instead of the whole breaded and bunned chicken, and I resisted the frosty! Then I wandered around Ross, Marshall’s, and Macy’s (when did they get so expensive?!?) looking in vain for cheap, summery maxi dresses that short fat chicks with huge boobies can wear for our upcoming trip.

Then it was back for my second class, which I have so been looking forward to. Free Motion Quilting! Now, I haven’t gotten to mess with FMQ since Stash Bash where the likes of Elizabeth and Becky told me I did a great job! Wait til you see today’s efforts. LOL. I need a lot of practice. The teacher was an absolute riot. But, like, without trying to be. Just the way she would say things was hysterical.

First we started practicing some basic lines:

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Ok. Here’s the deal with this. My thread kept jamming and breaking and stuff. So, after a stern lecture about the kind of thread I was using (oops!) I switched the pink for the brown. I was also messing with my tension a lot and stuff too. I still had problems, including running through two bobbins (!) but it went better. I couldn’t get straight lines to save my life. And those waves are supposed to be spirals.

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After passing that by the skin of my teeth, I moved on to the second assignment. This is such a mess, but I do believe you can see progress from the top to the bottom. Oh, and that’s a big loose thread on the top there that I should have removed before I took the photo. Anyway, for this we traced patterns with markers then had to FMQ on top of it. The lessons here were 1. Following a path throughout the pattern without breaking or going over thread. 2. “I am making you do marking so you realize how much you hate it and never do it again.” LOL. It has its place, I think.

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Here is the third assignment, which was really assignments 3-6. In the top two I failed miserably at doing it all in one pass. I had to go back and fill in parts I missed. Other than that, I don’t think the loop one is too bad. The bottom two I did better both in controlling, meeting at intersections, and doing it in one pass. The fourth, if you ignore the border, actually isn’t that bad.

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And this was the last assignment. She wanted us to try doing stars, daisies, fireworks and suns in a meandering sort of thing. I got into a little improv toward the end there. She told me not to go so much in rows, but I was trying to maximize space. After that I started on a stippling project (which I was really sucking at) but my bobbin ran out, then it was time to go.

I did a little shopping (bad me!). While the clearance section was seriously reduced (I missed the hot Memorial Day sale 😦  ) there were a couple new things down there I needed to get. I was bummed I missed on some clearances I had wanted, so I snapped them up. Additionally, they had this darling Storybook Lane panel all assembled, and I decided I had to have them. But there are no directions. So I am not sure what to do. Boo.

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Linking to…

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Shop Hop, part 3

I sat in the car a few minutes trying to decide how to tackle the rest of the shops. Should I bail and go home? Should I start at the furthest or the closest? The three remaining shops were all in the same city, so I hoped that meant they were all relatively close together, cutting down on travel time. I made a choice and told Siri where to go, and she provided me with a route I didn’t know about. I thought I was going to have to drive east all the way back to the highway then head nw from there, but the shop was pretty much due north of the shop I was at, and an easy about 25 minutes on a couple streets straight there. I found it easily with minimal traffic.

Their theme was batty/halloween

Their theme was batty/halloween

This was a nice sized shop too. Lots of batik and reproduction. Mostly arranged by color. Not a lot of yellow. 😦 My yellow search continues… but that’s a story for another post.

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Shop quilt

Shop quilt

This time I found something I was looking for:

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They teach classes AND rent time. They lady spoke with me for some time about it and I took a flyer. I am SO super excited. I am really interested in learning to long arm and want to do my own quilts. Classes are one on one and there is always someone available to help/oversee when working. They are all non-computerized machines. She did scare me a little about how long it takes to do, and how steep the learning curve is. But this year is all about facing my fears head on, right? And, of course, you book ahead of time, not based on time used, so you may over or under book and it all adds up, so I am not sure it is any cheaper than sending out. But it’s mine. This can all get so expensive. Anyway, as soon as I have a small quilt and some free time, I am totally going to schedule a class.

I picked up a few fat quarters for my jar swap because the price was good, but ended up putting them back. So I had now been in and out of 8 stores without buying anything! Unheard of. Their gift bag had candy, thread, a nail file, coupon and pattern.

They had printed directions to the next shop, which was maybe ten minutes away. YAY!

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Shop quilt

Shop quilt

This was another smallish shop. They had a room with contemporary, novelty and sale. The front room had blender and repro. Their baggie had the pattern, candy, coupon, some english paper piecing precuts (people say these are addicting, but it so doesn’t appeal to me at all) and a fat quarter. I did pick some things up here. I actually didn’t hit the minimum dollar amount to get my strips, and had to go back and pick out a few more things. I wish I had gotten one of those charms though. I thought those were darling.

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They had one bolt of Tula Pink on the sale shelf. It was the main reason I bought here. I almost didn’t, but wanted the pattern too and was scared I would regret it if I didn’t. It was 40% off the marked down price, so I kinda wish I had gotten more. The pattern is for a notions bag with a vinyl window. One of the ladies in my BOTM class made one and I have been wanting to, too. I am using a wetbag right now, but am always worried my sharp tools with punch holes in the PUL. Several of the fat quarters are for my I spy swap. The tomatoes, candy, bugs and buttons are for the jar swap. And there are the fabric strips I got for my purchase.

One stop left! Again, not too far to go, and by now I was onto them. I knew to ask for directions.

IMG_0618 How cute is this one? Definitely something to make for the baby.

Shop quilt (I think)

Shop quilt (I think)

I made it! With a little time to spare. I spent some time here, since I was finally able to relax a little. I turned in my passport and got a big coupon to all the stores as the prize. The bag for this shop included the pattern, coupon, a fabric label, and another nail file (seriously – is there some use for these in sewing I don’t know about?!? It was certainly a popular gift bag choice). This was a nice sized shop. The main room had batiks and various designer fabrics and a notion section. There was a large room with novelty and flannel. I saw lots of cute stuff.

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I knew I was going to get the shop fabric here, so I started picking out some other things to get. They had some nice moda that I hadn’t seen before that would work great with my citrus theme. I took it to the cutting table to be cut and asked for the shop hop theme fabric. I asked for two yards, which should have been plenty to get me to the minimum purchase for the strips, but they only had less than a yard and a half. I took what they had and got a 15% end of bolt discount! LOL. I was way under what I needed to get the strips. So I decided to look around for some more fabric. I picked out a few more for the jar swap, the two at the top of the last column (not sure the second one will go with my citrus theme, but we will see) and the cute crabbies that were just calling to me. Plenty of orange and lime, but no lemon still.

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So, I headed home and got stuck for some time in even more construction traffic. I can only imagine if I had done this during the week….

Reflections….

I am glad I did it. At first I wasn’t going to at all, then I was just going to check out a few, and then I had to catch them all. I found lots of shops I didn’t know about. However, there are a couple I do that weren’t a part of it.  I wonder how it is determined who joins. But there are certainly some I will be going back to again, which I would never have known about otherwise. I will Definitely be learning long arm this year! I will also be going back to the first shop I visited yesterday that was huge and had all the designer stuff. Some of the ones over on my side of town, while still far, are good to know about if I get a day out and need to find something. Over all, I still think the shop I go to is the best in the bunch… well, except maybe for the huge shop… maybe it is loyalty or familiarity or maybe it is that they are more my style (though I did like the fabrics in this last shop too). All in all, a worthwhile and fun thing to do.

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Shop hop, part 2

Today I set out after putting the baby down for a nap, around 11:30 or 12. I started with the most southern shop. As I asked Siri how to get there, her answer was “I found a place that matches. It is a long way from you.” So even she realizes how crazy it is to go to these places! A long way to Siri is, apparently, 45 minutes. I probably would have gotten there in a little less time, as I was cruising nicely at 70 or 75…. til I hit my first bout of construction traffic, about 5 miles from the exit. Then we were creeping along at 20 miles or so. I was stressing that this was not the way to start the day. I had a long day with a lot of travel ahead. The return traffic was completely stopped and not moving at all. Suddenly, just before the exit, everyone started moving again (on my side, not the opposite). I saw no construction or other reason for the traffic to have stopped. How annoying.

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A billboard on the highway promised this was the largest quilt shop in the state! That was exciting. I was eager to see it.

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This whole building was the shop.

This place was amazing. And overwhelming. I spent almost an hour just looking around and talking to the workers. I could have spent a fortune here, but managed to escape without buying anything. But I have filed away a lot of the stuff they have here for if I should need it later.

The shop quilt

The shop quilt

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Lookie what I found:

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Unfortunately, they only had Salt Water and Prince Charming. But there are a few prints there I may go back for. I spent some time trying to decide if I should get them, but they were full priced and not cheap. The goody bag for this shop included a tape measure, coupons, and the pattern,

My other fascination in this shop were their long arms:

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Unfortunately, they do not give classes or rent time. When I inquired, I was told that they give a class to everyone who buys a machine. Well… I’d kind of like to know how to use it and if I like it before I go spending tens of thousands and devoting a lot of space to a machine, y’know? But they do provide longarm servixe, which is really good to know. It seems in line with, or cheaper than, other places I have priced, but without the expense and risk of shipping. Their turn around is 7-10 days. All good to know. If I could just get past my hangup with having other people do my quilting for me… but good to know about in a bind and I am sure I will use their services at some point.

I asked for a non-traffic-highway way to get to the next shop and discovered they had printed directions and everything! I still double checked with Siri (I like to see where I am on the route) and headed out to the next place. It was after two by this point. The drive was getting hot and the sun was beating down on me. And even though I was trying to avoid the highway, I was still in a lot of traffic for about half the way. Then, suddenly, everything opened up and the rest of the drive was a breeze.

This next shop was kind of in the last place I would expect to find a quilt shop. That’s all I am going to say about that. It was in a little strip mall. I actually drove by it and had to turn around. Inside, it was cute. Small. Lots of novelty and batik.

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Their theme was pirate and they did a cute job with it. The also had water and gold coins available for free, and other goodies for purchase. I was excited to get the water after several hours in the hot car already.

Some of the pirate theme

Some of the pirate theme

Shop quilt

Shop quilt

They also had a long arm. They also do not do classes or rent. Their turn around is closer to 6 weeks. Nuff said.

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I also took pictures of their jar quilt since we have a jar swap coming up. It kept falling while I was trying to take the picture. I also didn’t purchase anything here (go me!) even though I need some stuff for the jar swap and they had some good options. The bag for this shop was the pattern and coupons.

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The next shop was the furthest away and really in the middle of nowhere. Traffic wasn’t as bad, but it was far and the directions were not good. They told me to turn onto a road that didn’t exist. And Siri had no idea what I was trying to find. So I finally pulled over and called the shop. They gave me convoluted directions that were at least good enough to get me the rest of the way there. This one was also in a strip mall.

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This was a nice shop, but I didn’t spend a ton of time here. I was really stressing as now it was 4:00, I’d been at it for over four hours, and I still intended to get to three shops. They closed at 7. So I tried to get in and out of this one quickly, especially as it is the furthest and most difficult to get to, I figured I would not be a frequent shopper here.  I did win a door prize here, a goodie bag with an applique book and a pattern. Other than that, they handed out their pattern for their quilt block, which I did not get a picture of. At this point, my phone was full and I had to spend some time deleting pictures, and I guess didn’t realize it didn’t take a picture of the block because it was full. It is a log cabin.

DUN DUN DUN…

Will she complete her quest??? Will she buy the shop hop fabric?  Find out in part three, coming soon!!

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Shop Hop, Part 1

This weekend is Shop Hop. Ten quilt shops around the city band together to bring people out of their comfort zone and visit the shops all around the city. And boy, are they spread far and wide. Ten shops, 4 days, door prizes at each shop, and some great grand prizes if you make it to each of the shops. Each shop hands out little gift bags, has a theme and a shop quilt showcased. They also are offering kits, and fabric strips for purchase to complete the shop quilts. (But I didn’t know all that til later)

Yesterday after naptime, I strapped the kidlet in the car and make the hour + treck to our first set of shops. I was absolutely convinced when I arrived at the first shop that I was in the wrong place. It didn’t help that all over the literature it said not to trust the GPS because it takes you to the wrong place. And of course, what did I do? I printed out directions on google maps and asked Siri how to get there. I found myself at, what looked from the outside to be a yard nursery or somesuch. I wasn’t sure if I should even get the baby out of the car, but I went ahead and strapped him into my Ergo (which I haven’t used in a year) and went inside. What I found was a real, old fashioned like dry goods store. They had beans and hunks of meat and candy and fabric. I was wrestling the baby for the phone, so I didn’t get all the pictures I wanted to.

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They had quilts hanging all over the shop. The selection wasn’t large, and quite honestly, not really my style. Lots of what I call “country” colors… muted, lots of calicos (which I like in the right colors), a good batik section. Nothing really modern or designer.  The top quilt in the second picture is the shop hop quilt pattern they gave (though I didn’t know that at the time, I just liked the quilts) and the fabric pattern in the bottom quilt is the exclusive shop hop fabric for the year. I will pick some up at one of the shops eventually.

I got my program stamped, and filled out my entry for the drawing. They gave me a goodie bag. It had the quilt pattern, seeds, a coupon and some candy in it. Then we headed back in the car to go about ten miles to the next shop.

Ok. This time I really did get a little lost. This shop was in a renovated home in a cute little historical district. Siri didn’t really tell me the right spot. I was on the correct road, but wrong location. I don’t know if I drove by it or didn’t go far enough or what, but I eventually looked at addresses and figured it out. It is easy to miss if you don’t know what you are looking for.

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This shop was a little more my style, though still not a Lizzy House or Tula Pink in sight. Excuse the first picture, I took it blind because of the sun. The theme for this shop was black, white and red. They had a whole room just with fabrics of those colors.

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I like the tumbler. I am about to start cutting tumblers for my nephews, but I love the monochromatic. I love the one next to it, too. Here are some other quilts they had displayed:

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This last one is their shop hop quilt pattern. I really like it. The woman at the table in this shop did try to explain about the quilt and the fabric strips, but I didn’t understand that each shop had its own different quilt… I thought I was supposed to collect fabrics from all shops for the same quilt. I got a goodie bag with more candy, some fabric cuts – I think to make a mug rug, and a cute nail file that says something about nail care for crafty hands. We headed back home for the day after that.

This morning I managed to get out during naptime without the baby. I had a list of places to go, including the store and post office, so I didn’t have a hope to make it back before he was up, but took advantage of the opportunity. It is so much easier without him. After a stop at the PO I went out the the shop closest to my home, where I usually go and take classes. I didn’t get a front pic of this shop, since I was rushing and didn’t think of it because it is so familiar.

I went straight to the stamp table (I am very familiar with their stock) and on the way met the sewing machine repair guy. I talked to him a bit (he was real sweet) and told him about some of my issues and got an idea of his schedule. Then I got stamped, filled out my entry and took my goodie bag. This one had the quilt pattern, some table runner patterns, a coupon and a fat quarter.

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Shop Hop quilt

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This is the quilt for the quilt of the month class I am taking

Then I drove about 45 minutes north to the next shop. Their theme was “under construction” and they went all out. They did a cute job.

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Don’t you love the “barn quilt” on the front? There was one on the side too. Renovated homes seem to be a popular place for quilt shops. They had a lot of nice stuff, but still not what I am on the lookout for. Lots of cute novelty, batiks, a 30’s room, and various other stuff. They had a bunch of fabric panels that make up into books. I really spent time going through them and trying to decide if I should get some to make for the baby.

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In the end, I decided I had overstayed my time out and still had a long drive home and needed to get going. I got my goodie bag and headed out.

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This was their shop hop quilt, but I didn’t get the pattern in my goodie bag (which had a candy and a fat quarter)!! I didn’t realize it til I was already on the road. At least it looks like an easy one, but now, after four of these I know what to look out for.

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I thought this was real cool too. I think it is a quilt with little working purses on it. I may have to grab that pattern if I ever go back for the fabric books someday.

I debated whether or not I should even stop at the grocery store and ended up pulling into a smaller store on the way home. Just as I was getting out of the car, my husband called to tell me the baby had just woken up! I couldn’t believe he had slept so long. I was sure he would have been up for some time, and my husband would be waiting for me to get home so he could get back to work.

Well, four down, six to go. So far, I haven’t bought anything! I have done all the shops that can even remotely be called close to my house. The other 6 are spread out all around the west, northwest and south, clear across the city. Places I wouldn’t even think of going on a weekday when I could run into traffic. I really don’t want to have to go both tomorrow and Sunday but it seems like a lot of driving to do in one day. We’ll have to see what happens, but my husband is already on notice that it’s going to be a boy’s day tomorrow.

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Visit your local quilt shop day

Today was visit your local quilt shop day. I snuck out during nap time (daddy was home with kidlet) and raced out to my local quilt shop this morning. Any excuse. heehee. I wanted to see some of the demos for some classes they have coming up, but kidlet and the hubs were not having a good morning, and I wanted to get back before he woke up, and I still had to get to the PO to mail out my swap squares. They seemed to be running behind, so I did get to see the examples, but didn’t stay for the demos.

They were having some specials so I got a fat quarter pack of Lemon Grove, which I have been drooling over for a while. I have been waiting for it to go downstairs (the clearance room) but it just keeps hanging out there taunting me. Now I at least have some of it til I can get yardage. I also picked up a couple turquoise fq to make my modern mini square, which needs to go out soon. I got a yard of Kona white too. I pulled out my white yesterday to cut squares for my ribbon quilt I am going to work on next, and I had very little left. My 3×6 group used up a lot of it. Strangely, even though both are supposed to be RK Kona white, they are different shades. *shrug*

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(I forgot to take a picture of the white, but white fabric isn’t that exciting anyway, right?)

On the left is my modern BOM pack for the class I missed this month. I picked it up as long as I was there. They gave me the fabric for the block, but not the book or the background fabric. Oh well. Guess I won’t be getting that homework done. Oh, I also got a bag o’ scraps, but I had already dumped them into my scrap box before I took the picture.

They also had a lovely food spread (with yummy homemade pimento cheese). I restrained myself nicely in the clearance room. I am interested in more of their classes and looking forward to the class I am in. Now back to my mystery block, which I believe will be done tomorrow. Wish I could get it out before rates go up.

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