Are you participating in the Row by Row Experience? I am!
In case you don’t know, the Row by Row Experience is an organized nationwide+Canada shophop in which participants visit shops to pick up free row patterns that they can use to create a quilt. If you’re the first one to bring a finished quilt with at least 8 different rows to a participating shop, you win a prize! Some shops offer additional ways to win, while others offer chocolate for weary shophoppers. Either way, rowing is a whole lot of fun!
My Row by Row Experience started with a phone call from my friend Alice, asking me if I’d ever heard of the Row by Row Experience and if I would like to drive up to Muncie, Indiana with her and visit some nearby quilt shops. Was she kidding? An afternoon in the country visiting one new quilt shop after another? Heck, yeah I was on board.
Our first two stops were in town: Quilt Expressions in Fishers where we chatted with Lynn Hodge and Always in Stitches in Noblesville where we visited with Capi Saxton. Quilt Expressions caters to the modern artistic quilter, and it’s a dream! If you love fresh modern fabrics and the quilts they inspire, you really must visit this shop.
Our next stop was only a few minutes away—Always in Stitches. Always in Stitches has so many lovely fabrics it’s impossible to leave the shop empty-handed. They also carry lots of beautiful yarn if you’re into knitting or crocheting--I’m not because I find it hard enough to get my quilts done. <grin> After these two stops we were off to Muncie and nearby quilt shops.
Our Row by Row Experience had barely begun when it almost ended. We arrived at the Cotton Candy Quilt Shoppe in Muncie quickly enough and were met with a happy problem. The shop was very crowded because they were celebrating their anniversary. They had prizes and cake!!! and such wonderful customers that we enjoyed our wait in line. It was after we left that our real Row by Row “Experience” began.
It all started innocently enough. Mo, Alice’s car, didn’t appear to be feeling too well. Mo wasn’t accelerating properly, but luckily that wasn’t a problem on the country road we were on. But then came the smoke and we suddenly realized that our idyllic surroundings were just a bit too isolated. We turned back towards Muncie and only got halfway there before we had to stop to let Mo rest.
This is where I need to explain Alice. She’s my best friend and a terrific quilter. But she is not a lover of technology so she does not use cell phones, watch television, or own a tablet computer. Luckily, I embrace technology fully, so I used my cell phone to quickly locate a repair shop and a car rental place just minutes before they closed. The angels were definitely on our side that day!
Another thing about Alice: she’s a finisher. I dabble and design and enjoy the quilting process while Alice finishes one beautiful quilt after another. So Alice was certainly not going to let a little thing like Mo breaking down stop us from completing our Row by Row Mission. After arranging for Mo’s rehabilitation and renting a car, we were once again on our way.
Our next stop: Sew Biz, a lovely quilt shop in Marion, Indiana. The staff was friendly, the shop was bright, and they were all -n for the Row by Row Experience, designing not only a lovely Row by Row display, but crafting several Bobbin’ Robins—the RBRE’s mascot.
As part of the Row by Row Experience, shoppers can purchase a Robin the Bobbin pattern and make a mascot themselves. In some shops, you can even win a prize for making one!
Sew Biz also had a large map we got to pin to indicate where we were from. It was fun spending a few minutes studying the map and noting just how many out-of-state visitors they’d already had.
Because of the delay earlier, we had to hurry if we were going to get to the other shops on our planned route before they closed. We headed off to Wabash and Warsaw, Indiana and the Heaven on Earth, Lowery Sewing Center, and Nancy’s Fabrics quilt shops.
One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about my Row by Row Experience is the variety of rows! Aren’t these lovely?
I especially enjoyed the little towns we drove through as we went from shop to shop. This old Marsh sign caught my eye. And check out this mural! I saw this kind of thing in a lot of small towns, and I simply love to look at them.
I also love to look at old barns, and often tried to capture a photo of the more interesting ones as we drove by. The endless corn and soybean fields were lovely as well, and especially comforting for some reason.
For me, it’s never the end result--finishing a new quilt--or in this case, acquiring Row by Row patterns. Instead, it’s the process I love--dreaming and designing new quilts--or in this case, seeing unusual sights, exploring new quilt shops, and visiting with other quilters).
What about you? Why did you choose to row? What did you enjoy most about your Row by Row Experience?