Our daughter, also a quilter, joined us for day 2.
The day began early as we left her house around 8. After a quick stop for coffee, we headed down the road. Making our way along I-90, so close to the Iowa border we could almost see it, we stopped at Old Alley Quilt Shop in Sherburn. You can find more photos and info on their website.
The two owners had been school teachers and friends and shared a love of antiquing. Sharon was the quilter with Becky having no interest in it. During those antique-hunting trips, Sharon would drag Becky through some quilt stores and somehow, neither can quite remember how it happened, a quilt shop business idea was born. The big question was where. Sharon had lived in Sherburn for many years and had never thought that the old bowling alley would make a good business. Goodness, it had been abandoned for five years. After a quick inspection at 4:30 pm on Halloween night of 2003, they discovered this “diamond in the rough” complete with bowling balls, pins, and even cases of beer. Using a flashlight, brave Becky inspected the building walking through to the back while Sharon stayed and guarded the front door.
Becky’s husband, Joel, counseled them, “Don’t let a hole in the roof stop you.” So with that advice, they bid a $1.00 and scored the building for $125.00 after additional fees.
Renovations took a full year, even with the help of family and friends, and finally on October 30, 2004, they opened their door for business. By now they’d moved the front door to the side of the building and added windows.
Extra original flooring was used as a cutting counter.
When you visit Old Ally Quilt Shop (it is worth traveling out of your way for), be sure to look on top of the shelves as you will find more antique sewing machines.
Sharon has her mother’s and her grandmother’s machines on display and says that people are now bringing their old machines to them.
The inside of the shop was furnished by dumpster diving and curb shopping. They held a rummage sale selling off the items found in that old building.
So where was Becky today? She’s gone fishing. According to Sharon, “Becky has come a long way (she now quilts and runs the longarm). I don’t fish.”
If you get the chance, and it’s worth going out of your way to find it, do stop in at Old Alley Quilt Shop to look around, talk to the gals, look at their scrapbook of before and after pictures, and of course, shop. Tell the gals that Tu-Na sent you.
During our drive we enjoyed watching a storm build.
There’s much more to tell when I get home and have better internet connections. In the meantime, here’s the three of us at the end of the day.
We each earned a 12 fat quarter bundle of Ariel by Robbin Rawling from Quilting Treasures.
What I Learned Today:
- There’s beauty even in storm clouds.
- Quilters and quilt shop owners are some of the friendliest people I’ve met.
- A bowling alley makes a great quilt shop.