I recently found myself with an unexpected day off – because the Fourth of July fell on a Thursday this year, the school where I work decided to make Friday a holiday too. What better time to round up a couple of friends and make a field trip to one of our affiliate member shops? Thus it was that on the Fifth of July we piled into the car, took ourselves out for a decadent breakfast, and then headed for Quilt ’N’ Things Fiber Arts in Altadena.
I’m introverted to an extreme and usually shop alone, so I had almost forgotten how much fun it was to visit a quilt store with friends. They helped me match fabrics for a new project (I’ve taken tons of color theory classes, but still sometimes have a hard time translating that into practice), and we chatted with a visiting quilter from Michigan and took part in some impromptu fabric selection discussions with a couple of other people in the shop. I am often reminded that in the quilting world, there’s no such thing as strangers – just friends you haven’t met yet! It was a fun day, and I’m glad we decided to make this field trip.
Summer can be a great time for quilt shop travels, whether organized or off-the-cuff, to one shop or many. Coming up this month is the Southern California Quilter’s Run – Manny Caldera brought some brochures to the last guild meeting, but if you missed those, you can get the details at quiltersrun.com. This year the theme is “Main Street” and each of the participating shops (including some of our affiliates) will represent a different type of small-town store (Cotton & Chocolate Quilt Co. is the “candy store” – how appropriate is that?!). When I first moved here, I took part in the Quilters Run as a way to get to know the area – it was a terrific excuse to travel to places I might not otherwise have visited.
Lots of shops are also participating in the “Row by Row Experience” (rowbyrowexperience.com) which started in late June and continues through the summer. This year the theme is “Taste the Experience,” and is all about food! Visit participating shops to get a free pattern, or to buy a kit – and since Row by Row is now an international project, you can find a participating shop or two while you’re on vacation, too, which is a great way to pick up some unusual souvenirs. (And since some of the shops on the Run are also doing Row by Row, nothing says you can’t double-dip…)
If you don’t want to take part in someone else’s organized shop hop, you can always create your own. How many of you (other than Manny) have visited all of our affiliates? (I haven’t – yet.) Touring those might be a fun adventure (and will take a few days – there are a lot of them!) Or maybe pick a day-trip destination you’ve always wanted to visit, and stop at a few quilt shops along the way – the Quilters’ Travel Companion (quilterstravelcompanion.com) can help you map a route.
Whatever summer quilting adventure you decide on – have fun, stay cool, and be safe!
See you at the meeting,