Have you heard about the Row by Row Experience? I hadn’t until last year. It is a major, country-wide (and Canada) shop hop. You visit participating quilt shops and collect their rows and license plates. You purchase the license plates and most shops have fabric kits available for their rows. The bonus is the prizes offered. If you visit 8 shops and make a finished quilt (which means, pieced, quilted and labelled), and turn in into one of the shops, you get a prize of 25 fat quarters. You can imagine my excitement on learning of this contest. Last year a small group of my quilting friends went to a lot of the shops in the Virginia row by row. I even picked up a couple out of state plates after the event at quilt shows. I have a nice collection of plates and patterns from last year. This year the event started June 21st and I made it my mission to win the prize at my local quilt shop, Cottonwood in Charlottesville, VA. This year’s row by row theme is Water. Here’s the website if you’d like more information or a list of shops in your area. The event goes through September 8th, so there is still plenty of time to get our there and shop hop.
I visited my hope shop, Cottonwood first and bought their kit. I had so much fun making this one. “Hooked on Fabric”
The 2nd row I completed was from my hometown, Wytheville, VA – Batiks Etc. Love this shop when I’m visiting my parents. “Waterwheel” I ended up making this block one of the outside borders, so I had to turn it sideways, but it worked.
My daughter, who attends James Madison University was feeling like a trip to Harrisonburg, so she went with me to the three shops on the Row by Row there. We also hit Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint for lunch which was amazing, and I made my first visit to the Virginia Quilt Museum. Definitely a great trip. Our first stop was at Ragtime Fabrics, and I completed their row next called “A Day in the Valley”.
Then we went to a shop in Harrisonburg that I’d never been to called Sew Classic Fabrics. It was inside a farmer’s market off Rt. 11 in Harrisonburg, so there was an additional perk to visiting it. This one is called “Seven Bends of the Shenandoah River”.
Last, but definitely not the least in this area was Patchwork Plus in Dayton, VA which has always been one of my favorite shops. Their take on water was quite unique. Here’s “Southern Water”. To top it off they had samples of their southern water, some really wonderful sweet tea. I had to break out my hand sewing/embroidery techniques to hand stitch the lettering on the jars.
Next came the beautiful row by Quilter’s Corner in Midlothian, VA. I absolutely fell in love with these beautiful batik turtles and had to purchase the kit. If I hadn’t, I would still be cutting out the little turtle pieces and fusing them to the row. The colors in this row are awesome. Photo doesn’t do it justice.
Last stop on the trip before visiting 8 shops was a trip to Culpeper and Fredericksburg VA. First stop was 145 Design Studio – That Little Quilt Shop in Culpeper. Downtown Culpeper is so charming and it is always a pleasure to visit this shop. They have cute little beach umbrellas for this row called “Summer Fun”. I also found some cute little buttons to embellish it with.
Last row came from The Crazy Cousin in Fredericksburg, plus a trip to Texas Roadhouse for steak made the day just perfect. Their row is absolutely adorable with these cute little duckies in their row-boat. This row is called “Ducks in a Row”.
After all 8 rows were done, it was back to Cottonwood to pick out the fabric to finish this big quilt. When I picked out my fabric, I heard the ladies in the shop discussing that several people had called the shop to see if they had a winner yet. Yikes, I was going to lose out if I didn’t kick my sewing into high gear. I knew my group was going on a Row by Row trip to Northern Virginia on Thursday and this was Tuesday. I didn’t have much time. I went home and had two days of marathon sewing. I took my finished quilt to Cottonwood on Wednesday afternoon about an hour before closing. I’m so happy to report I won the prize for that shop. I got to pick out 25 fat quarters of my choosing. That was so fun. I was so exhausted and tired of looking at fabric, I decided to go back on Friday and pick out my prize. I don’t think I’d ever do this again. I kept seeing on Facebook each of the quilt shops that I had sewn rows for get winners. I saw my chances dwindling. It was very stressful.
Without further delay, here’s the finished quilt top and label. I used the license plates for corner block fillers and designed a label that listed all the shops and locations of each row.
I’ve asked my quilting friends to stop me if I try to do this again next year. It was fun, but very stressful. There are some very fast quilters out there and they all want to win a prize. It has been fun seeing all the finished quilts and rows from around the state. I’m hoping to get some from out of the area this time, we’ll see. We’re planning another Row by Row trip to the Richmond area in a couple of weeks. There are 4 new shops I’ve never been to. Can’t wait for that trip.
Until next time, Happy Sewing & Quilting,