My bribe for spending 5 days (and 1400 miles) in the car with my husband on a business road trip was the promise to stop in some quilt shops and to play some golf. We went across northern Iowa and all the way to Madison, Wisconsin on Monday with 1 client stop in north central Iowa. We spent 12 hours on the road that day! A nearly full day in Madison was followed by driving all the way to Iowa City just in time to be in a tornado warning.
Before leaving I explored the Row By Row Experience website to see what shops we would be close to and chose a few that looked interesting. I love the fact that they organize them by state and give you a map, plus a printable list of addresses with pictures of their rows and license plates.
I think my favorite license plate from the 5 shops I visited is Wine & Bind from Cotton Creek Mill in West Branch, Iowa. Their row might be my favorite too - something I'll share another day. And the Herbert Hoover Historical Site is a block away, so we spent a whole morning in that lovely little town.
Our first stop on this road trip was the Old Alley quilt shop in Sherburn, MN - right along I-90. It's a shop I love to stop in whenever I travel that way. It's in an old bowling alley and they have lots of wonderful samples displayed. From there we zig zagged south into Iowa for a client visit.
The Quiltmaker's Shoppe in Manchester, Iowa (just west of Dubuque) was a fun stop late Tuesday afternoon. The Main Street in that little town was full of beautiful old architecture. Wednesday was our day to do whatever so we played some golf and went to the Amana Colonies. Heritage Designs at the Amana Colonies used German on their license plate, which translates as Going & Sewing.
Thursday morning was the West Branch morning, plus my husband spent 3 hours on a conference call while we traveled and I stopped in 2 shops (West Branch and Adel). The tiny little shop in Adel, Iowa was well worth the stop. It's in a small Victorian house on a side street just off Main. She had a lovely pattern named after the very unique local courthouse, and of course I had to buy it. Then we had to go see that courthouse which was built to resemble a French castle.
When I visit quilt shops away from home I try to buy things that I haven't seen locally. This bag of darling clothes pins from Moda was an item that I hadn't seen before. It contains about a dozen and they will be perfect for clipping together sets of block pieces. I picked up 1 set for myself, and 2 more sets as prizes for our guild bus trip.
I bought a little yardage on sale, 3 fat quarters, the courthouse pattern, a "quilt-y" magnet, a laser cut applique, and actually bought 4 of the 5 Row By Row kits that I saw. The Old Alley shop also had a pattern for a small wall hanging using their license plate. I couldn't resist.
Now the worst part of coming home after a trip - unpacking, putting things away, and doing laundry. I started with the stinky golf clothes in the laundry bag. Both times we played were miserable hot and humid days. And since this whole weekend is supposed to be around 100 degrees I may not leave the house other than to buy some groceries - while my crazy husband plays in a 2-day golf tournament. My sewing room beckons.