Plans are underway for my husband and I to travel the entire state of Minnesota in a few days. The MN Quilt Shop Hop is beginning! Read more about it here. For the third year in a row, we will visit over 70 shops, get our “passports” stamped, enter to win prizes, earn some incentives for completing each section, and buy some unique quilting fabric—ok, probably buy a lot of quilting fabric.
Last year we spent 11 days traveling 4343 miles visiting 70 shops resulting in a fabric bill that was larger than our gas, food, and lodging combined! In my defense, we stayed at the homes of several friends and family members along the way, carried a cooler in the car for lunches, and drove a Prius which averaged in the mid 50s mpg.
So how does one prepare for this event? My husband has entered all 73 shop addresses into a computer program and it’s been churning to give us the best route. The problem is that I closed his computer last night and he had to restart it all over this morning.
I’ve located the cooler. Why do we carry a cooler for lunches? Even with extended shop hours during the day, there isn’t much time to find a restaurant to grab a bite for lunch and still be able to get to many shops before they lock their doors for the night. In the evenings, we enjoy finding a local restaurant and eating a delicious meal but during the day, we snack out of the cooler and from the snack bag: cheese, yogurt, peanut butter, trail mix, and some fresh fruits and vegetables.
I have my cell phone and charger in case I need to check with a store regarding their closing time. Several times in the past two years that we’ve done the hop, I’ve called ahead as the GPS says we’ll arrive a few minutes after closing and they’ve been nice enough to stay open for us until we arrive. Of course, I do reward their extended time by doing a bit of extra shopping. Yes, we use a GPS and my husband’s I-phone and, sometimes, we even have to resort to a paper map. We’ve been directed to dead ends, found ourselves miles off-course, and been re-routed by detours. Last year was the year the entire state seemed to be under road construction as even our detours were detoured. Eventually, we found our way to the shops often joking about having arrived by way of “the scenic route.”
I’m bringing my running shoes. This year’s goal is to complete the hop in 8 days or less. This will require me to do a bit of running and fast shopping. I’ve got my list (and my mom’s list): Aurifil thread, more 1930 repro fabrics, solids for a Minecraft quilt for my oldest grandson, and, of course, some of this cute Minnesota fabrics.
The fabrics pictured here are just some of the special fabrics printed just for the hop. See the rest of them here. Which ones will I find and which will I let get away?
All that’s left to do is load the car and drive…a lot!
What I learned today:
- I left my favorite rolling suitcase at my winter house.
- My husband says, “You need to have a plan for the fabric you will buy.”
- I plan to like all that I buy.
Question: Have you ever gone on a shop hop? Tell me about your shop hop experience.
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