Tu-Na Travels: Day Two on the MN Quilt Shop Hop: 507 Miles, 10 Shops, Made a New Budget

Our daughter, also a quilter, joined us for day 2.

day 2e

We are enjoying some mother-daughter time sitting on the front porch waiting for opening time.

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.


Come along with me and I’ll show you why this shop scores a perfect 300! Located at 115 N. Main St. in Sherburn, MN.

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.


I think only these two could have seen the potential!

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.


They spared no expensive, putting on a new roof first. No more hole in the roof now! The inside was completely gutted.


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.




The outside sports antique sewing machines and flowers. Becky is the nature lover and keeps those flower beds tidy.




They kept the original bowling lane flooring.




Close-up of the floor.


Extra original flooring was used as a cutting counter.



This was the back of the bowling alley as you can see the places to set the pins.


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.

OA17 (2).JPG

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.


Sharon is showing the thread cupboard that they purchased for $3.00.

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.”


Thanks, Sharon, for telling me about your fabulous shop!


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.

day 2d

One more store to visit and we will finish the southeast section and earn a 12 fat-quarter bundle.

 We each earned a 12 fat quarter bundle of Ariel by Robbin Rawling from Quilting Treasures.


What I Learned Today:

  1. There’s beauty even in storm clouds.
  2. Quilters and quilt shop owners are some of the friendliest people I’ve met.
  3. A bowling alley makes a great quilt shop.







25 thoughts on “Tu-Na Travels: Day Two on the MN Quilt Shop Hop: 507 Miles, 10 Shops, Made a New Budget

  1. Sharon Huse

    Karen, THANK YOU for such kind words. Your post today was wonderful. We are honored and proud to be featured as a top shop today. How are you doing on your quest for the complete state? I am looking forward to your blog each day.



  2. dezertsuz

    What an amazing story! Thank you for sharing this one. You are filling up the car already, and it’s only been two days! How fun that your husband likes to quilt, too. My DH used to have his own list of longarm customers for doing pantographs, ’cause I didn’t like doing them. It’s great to share an interest!


  3. Heide

    Sounds like a fun trip! We just got back from Missouri and KY, I got to go to a few different shops and it was super fun. Hubby has not seen bill yet….and he keeps finding more quilts shops asking me do you want to stop?


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