Day three on the 2017 Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop was a short day for us. We said goodbye to our daughter and her husband and headed onward with our journey.
When we arrived at Michele’s Quilting & Sewing Center in Blue Earth, we were cheerfully greeted by Michele, her helpful staff, and several volunteers who were sporting red aprons. They were waiting for a bus to arrive but gave us a tour of her classroom with a new design wall.
Our next stop was Old Alley Quilt Shop in Sherburn, which I had featured last year. They needed a package delivered to Windom so we eagerly accepted the challenge and decided to make a speedy delivery there next. But first we needed to fill the gas tank. We get great gas mileage with the Prius but one can sometimes forget to check the gauge. Having seen the advertising sign outside of Old Alley, my husband eagerly handed the local Kum & Go attendant his quilting passport to receive 5¢ off each gallon of gas. Anyone who knows my husband knows that he likes a good deal. That meant that we saved enough to pay for part of the tax on the fabric I had just bought.
We drove past more corn fields and finally into the small town of Windom. And then I saw:
Today’s Top Shop on the Hop
The history of this shop reads like a love story.
Twenty-two years ago, Kay suggested to her husband that she would like to open a quilt shop. So he moved his papers out of his office in his feed store and let her fill it with bolts and bolts of fabric. They’ve since added on a lean-to which holds even more.
So when Kay and her husband go to work each day, they kiss goodbye, wish each other a good day, and then head into their own separate spaces in the same building. They can work side by side, just steps apart, doing what they both enjoy doing.
When I walked into this quilt shop, I saw for myself how well stocked it is. Kay carries a variety of fabrics as she wants to appeal to many interests. She has a whole wall of flannels and many batiks too.
While Kay doesn’t have space to offer classes, she encourages her customers to make an appointment and she’ll work one on one with them offering them her assistance and advice.
Kay had never sewn a quilt top until she opened her shop. One of the reasons she wanted to have her own shop was so that she could learn to piece quilt tops. She sends her finished quilt tops to a professional longarmer for the quilting. Her advice is to “find one (longarmer) you are happy with.”
Kay advises new quilters to start small so they can finish the project. “Don’t start with a queen size quilt,” she cautions. “Don’t be afraid of color,” added another customer, who evidently has shopped here many times before. Linda (who lives in Janesville, MN but is originally from Windom) continued, “I’m still afraid of color but I’m getting better.” Kay agreed proudly as she’s watched Linda progress in her quilting skills. “Linda is becoming more comfortable with making her quilts look scrappy and now I’m starting to go the other way.”
Having only one part-time employee, Kay does most of the work of running the shop herself. She enjoys being part of the Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop and says that the hop gives her shop lots of exposure which makes all the work involved worth it. She also enjoys seeing people return to her shop each year on the hop. Check out her website here to find out more about this shop.
Some of the tasks she needed to do before being overrun with eager shoppers was to design the block and the pattern, print it, cut the 5 inch charm squares, and stuff them into page protectors. She likes to present them this way to her shoppers. She stuffed enough for 800 hoppers and I’m sure if more shop hoppers come, she’d be ready to make more.
Kay concluded, “I am happy I can get up in the morning and go to a place I love to work at.” I don’t doubt that for a minute. After all, she’s working right next to her sweetheart. Put Prairie Quilting on your list of shops to visit and when you do, say hi to Kay and wave to her husband. Oh, and tell her Tu-Na sent you.
Block for the Day
What I Learned Today:
- Three and a half hours of driving between 4 shops only leaves one and a half hours for shopping before closing time.
- My husband has a good memory. He remembered to give Kay at Prairie Quilting the package from Old Alley. Without him, it may still be in the back seat now covered with yards and yards of fabric.
- Taking time to listen to other people’s stories is so rewarding.
- Shop hopping is exhausting but loads of fun. It may not be as much fun next month when the credit card statement arrives.
- It is definitely much quieter in the car today since our daughter is not in the back seat.
- I do miss her and wish that next year she and I could shop the statewide hop together.
- About the only way all these block kits will be sewn on this trip is if I figure out how to plug the machine into the car or sew in my sleep. I guess I should be thankful I got this one done.
- I’ve learned a lot today.
Question: Do you buy kits containing all the fabric you need or do you prefer to pick out the colors yourself and buy from the bolt? I am buying many of the block kits for this hop but usually I prefer to pick my own colors and buy the yardage.
Thanks for stopping by and do come again.
Karen, Tu-Na Quilts
See my other posts about the 2017 Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop:
All the links to my posts for last year’s Quilt MN Shop Hop can be found at the top of this blog under the Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats title. Click on the Shop Hop tab; in the drop down menu, click on 2016 Quilt MN Shop Hop Posts.
I have no affiliation with any of the shops or products that I mention here on Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats.
Giveaway Winners Notice:
The winners of the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway of Tula Pink Fabrics from Free Spirit fabrics are now listed here and below. Congratulations!
The winners of a Holiday Homies jelly roll are:
Julie in GA
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict