Row by Row Experience

Rowing Across Southeastern Indiana with the Cutest Daughter in the World

As you already know, my Row by Row adventure started with my friend Alice. We had a grand time on that first trip despite the slight hitch in our transportation when Mo (her car) decided he didn't want to row, row, row. What I didn’t tell you is, what started as a simple day-trip to visit a few quilt shops quickly blossomed into a dream: a dream of collecting the Row by Row patterns and license plates from all the participating shops in Indiana. I must have looked at Alice for a moment after she made that suggestion, while I tried to estimate just how many shops that might be. Was it fifty? Sixty? A hundred? But as I thought about it, it seemed pretty doable no matter the number because we had months to visit all the shops. And what fun we'd have rowing from shop to shop! So Alice and I decided to divide and conquer, and a week later my daughter Katerina (the cutest daughter in the world) and I set out on a southeastern Indiana trip.

Our first stop was Nancy’s Fancy Sewing Corner in Richmond, Indiana. This is one of those shops that basically sells sewing machines, so they were probably surprised when a couple of crazy quilters showed up precisely at opening time on a slow Wednesday. But when a quilter is on the hunt for a free pattern or a pretty license plate, there’s no stopping her! Although this shop doesn’t have tons to offer in terms of patterns and fabric, it was bright and cheerful and so was the staff. And isn’t their row the cutest?

The next stop, the Stitching Nook, close by so we didn't have to wait long to touch lots of beautiful fabric. Before we even entered the shop we were greeted by a cute quilt that told us they were ready for us to row, row, row.

One of my favorite things was seeing how each shop presented their Row by Row, and boy did the Stitching Nook have a cute display! Don't cha just love the teddy bear in his little car?

The Stitching Nook had lots of beautiful fabric and patterns for us to look at so we took our time browsing the shop.

Now when I say we took our time, you have to understand how I operate. Alice, as you know, is a finisher and I’m a process person. I’m also a planner. So for each of our Row by Row trips, I would meticulously plan our route and the time it would take to get from place to place. I would then allow about a half hour in each shop for looking around and making our purchases. So when I say browse, I actually mean we shopped with an intense focus, like a sweepstakes winner getting 15 minutes in a grocery store to fill her cart.

Our next stop was Pohlar Fabrics in Liberty, Indiana. It’s out in the country so it took a while to get there, but was it well worth the trip. The shop is filled to the rafters with fabric, patterns, tools, and sewing machines. The employees actually apologized because on the day we visited, some of their merchandise was in Evansville for the One Stop Shop Hop and wasn't there for us to look at. I swear, I couldn’t find anything missing anywhere so I have no idea what they might have meant. What it meant for me was a delightful half hour spent exploring their vast collection of beautiful quilting fabrics. If you are ever on the hunt for a specific fabric, this is the place to get it! Better yet, the shop is filled with helpful employees who can find anything you’re looking for in just a few minutes—believe me, I know because I was hunting for some very specific things and I left there right on schedule. <wink>

We didn’t spend much time at our next stop--Weekend Quilts in Brookville--because we were running behind. So we hurried along to the Quilters Garden in Lawrenceburg. My mother was born in Lawrenceburg so I know it well. But what a change they’ve made to their downtown area. The shops are quaint, and the convention center is clean and modern. Our visit to the Quilter’s Garden did not disappoint. I loved everything about this shop—especially the selection of wonderful batiks, modern fabrics and conversational prints. The staff was very friendly and I had a wonderful chat with the owner while she rung up my purchases. I love their row—so imaginative!

Our next stop was The Quilter’s Nook in Versailles. I must have been focused on my mission to pick up Row by Row patterns because I apparently only took photos of the outside which featured a cute quilt block. Inside is bright and spacious, with awesome fabrics and a very friendly staff. I was real happy to visit, and I love their cute row!

After visiting Sharynn's Quilt Box in North Vernon, we were off to our last stop of the day--Tree City Stitches in Greensburg.

Tree City Stitches is located on the square, across from the courthouse and its famous tree. Since it was our last stop, we had plenty of time to browse the cute displays and shop the wide selection of fabrics. What a perfect way to end our day! As we were leaving the shop with smiles on our faces, we spotted a car with a huge collection of solar-powered bobbleheads in the back window. Katerina and I spent a few minutes just watching their little heads bopping up and down. I swear, you never know what you’re going to see on the Row by Row Experience!

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What a Row by Row Experience!

Are you participating in the Row by Row Experience? I am!

Alice and me at the start of our adventure...little did we know what an adventure it would turn out to be!

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.

Quilt Expressions--Fishers, Indiana

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.

Poor Mo wasn't feeling very well that day

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!

Thanks to Sparks Computerized Car Care and Enterprise Rental Car in Muncie for the quick rescue!

Thanks to Sparks Computerized Car Care and Enterprise Rental Car in Muncie for the quick rescue!

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.

Alice and I were so glad to reach the next shop!

Meet Robin the Bobbin!

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.

Heaven on Earth--Wabash, Indiana

Lowery Sewing Center--Warsaw, Indiana

Nancy's Fabrics--Wabash, Indiana

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?

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