Tu-Na Travels: Day Four, 276 Miles, 9 Shops, Only 35 Shops Remaining

When I walked into the second shop on our fourth day, Fabrics Plus in Marshall, the gal behind the counter cheerfully greeted me, “Hi, Karen!” Oh, my goodness, I thought. She knows her customers by name and I haven’t been back since last year’s hop—now that’s customer service!

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With a smile like that, who wouldn’t feel welcome here? Tracy is explaining what Marshall Moonshine has to do with the Shop hop.

I was floored and flattered to find out that Tracy Veglahn, an owner of the shop, reads and follows my blog and had recognized me from my pictures on it. Fabrics Plus is a fun shop with friendly staff and we spent a fair amount of time there.

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Each year, the Southwest section compiles a cookbook with recipes and a quilt pattern from each store. This year’s theme was “Get Crocked in the Southwest.” This year’s cookbook contains crock-pot recipes and the pattern for this lovely quilt above along with patterns from the 8 other shops in the section.

Tu-Na Helper said we needed to be on our way, so we said our goodbyes, grabbed our purchase, and off we went.

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Heather’s Book Nook & Sew Much More in Granite Falls treated each of us to a dipped pretzel log. How did they know that pretzels are Tu-Na Helper’s favorite snack? Thank you!

Continuing on through the countryside, I begged my husband to stop just outside of Olivia, MN. I guess there still is a bit of farm girl left in me as I wanted to get out of the car to see for myself exactly how tall that crop of corn was.

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I was totally amazed by that corn patch. I am 5″ 4″ and knew my dad wouldn’t believe me unless I had a picture with me standing in it. What do you think of that corn, dad?

We soon came into New Ulm, population 13,342, and saw:

Today’s Top Shop on The Hop

If Day Two’s post read like a love story, this one reads “A Family Affair.”

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The Thimble Box is located at 10 North Minnesota Street, New Ulm, MN.

As I entered The Thimble Box, a pretty, young lady cheerfully greeted me from behind the counter. I made my way through the store and being the curious (although some would call me just plain nosey) type that I am, I ventured into a work room and discovered Brenda Seidl, the owner, doing a bit of work. Hexis were spread all around her and we chatted about them and the class she is teaching (pictured below).

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It was then that I saw THE BOX.

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THE BOX was filled with basted hexi pieces all lined up in color coordinated rows.

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Brenda learned to sew from her mom and now Brenda is sewing for her mom. Brenda lovingly bastes them all and gives them to her mom, Judy Eastman, whom Brenda called the manager of the shop, to sew together into flower shapes.

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There’s even a second box of basted hexis waiting in line for their sewing orders.

Judy loves to sort and organize the hexis and sew them together. She showed us her hexi quilt that she is working on and I asked how long that’s taken her. Brenda asked me, “Do you mean the first time or the second time?” Well, the story goes that Judy had noticed a problem and tried to fix it but the more she fixed it the worse it got. So finally, she just took that lovely hexi quilt top all apart and is now patiently sewing it all back together again. Now, that’s a dedicated quilter!

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Judy, Me, and Brenda holding Judy’s hexi quilt. The countless hours are definitely evident in this beautiful quilt.

If you’re thinking that Judy is making a small quilt, think again. This is going to be queen size.

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Even the back is pretty!

I asked for some tips on making hexis as I’ve wanted to start a project myself. I’ve been collecting 30s fabrics during the last two Quilt MN Shop Hops but have been a bit timid in actually starting. I stopped at just the right shop and asked just the right people for help.

These two are masters of this method and they willingly shared some secrets. Judy recommends leaving the papers around the edges until they’ve been sewn onto the next piece and then they can be removed. Brenda says to use pink silk thread to sew the hexis together paying no attention to the color of the fabric. I checked out Brenda’s class sample and it really does work. I’ll have to add pink silk thread onto my list.

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One more picture of this box with precisely basted hexis waiting for Judy to work her magic.

I’ve been searching for a good, traditional 30’s solid green color of fabric to use for my hexi project and Brenda suggested Kona Old Green. I learned a few tips and tricks from these masters and Brenda sent a couple of little starter packages of hexis with me so I can give them a try. I’ve also been warned that they can be rather addicting causing one to forget about doing housework and making meals. Poor Tu-Na Helper. He may have to go out and buy himself a case of Hamburger Helper or Tuna Helper.

I also asked Brenda if everyone in this small town quilts or exactly how could this small town support not just one but three quilt shops. It didn’t take her long to answer, “We each have a different flavor. I specialize in wildlife, trucks, and dirt.” That took a bit of explanation which was accomplished by showing me the wide variety of hunting and fishing themed prints in addition to other fabrics.

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Here’s two bolts of fabric showing some of the trucks and dirt that you’ll find at The Thimble Box.

I also couldn’t help but notice the number of panels hanging on the walls.

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Brenda admitted that her accumulation and variety of panels started with her buying one. If you’re in the market for a panel or some wildlife, trucks or dirt fabric, this is one shop to stop at.

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Brenda designs and writes many patterns and has them for sale in her shop. Her patterns are great for beginners, or those of us who learn by looking at pictures, as they not only contain clearly worded directions but also many pictures.

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Don’t leave the shop until you buy this potholder kit. Unfortunately, I was distracted and forgot to look for some purple ones. Now I’ll just have to go back again sometime soon. And maybe I’ll have sewn some hexis to show them.

Those potholders above looked like thongs for the hand (I grew up wearing thongs on my feet) and reminded me of the purple thang story I wrote for Day Seven of the 12 Days of Christmas in July post here.

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While we were in the shop, Pat brought in her quilt she made during a class that Brenda has been teaching. They were auditioning borders but I left before she had decided which ones to use.

Brenda tells new quilters, “Don’t give up at your first road block and don’t be afraid to ask for help.” She also says to give yourself 15 minutes each day to do something just for you whether it’s sewing or quilting related or not.

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Brenda’s started a yo-yo project, too.

Brenda’s owned The Thimble Box for 11 years. The previous owner was going to retire and Brenda didn’t want to see the store closed. However, Brenda’s mom gave me the real reason; “Her husband told her she can’t bring anymore fabric home.” To learn more about this shop, like them on Facebook.

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I could tell that this family has a sense of humor. Brenda designed this pattern for this year’s Row by Row and titled it. “Gas It Up.” This year’s theme is “On the Go.”

In addition to Brenda’s mom, Judy, working 2-3 days a week (and doing a very good job at managing, I might add), there are 4 other part-time employees. However, today, Brenda’s husband, Maurice, cut my fabric; her daughter, Chandra (the very same gal who greeted me so cheerfully when I walked in) was the cashier; and son, Tony, reshelved the bolt. This teamwork and dedication is why I call this shop operation a family affair—a family happily working together helping to make this a very interesting shop to visit. Oh, and when you do, say Hi, to Brenda and ask to see her mom’s hexi quilt and THE BOX. And tell them that Tu-Na sent you.

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Maurice, Tony, Brenda, and Chandra. Chandra comes up from Florida for two weeks every summer to help her mom with the shop hop. Tony lives in Rochester and comes to help, too.

We headed back to the car and noticed this sign in a store window.

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I think it’s missing the word “quilt.” After all, with three quilt shops in town, there must be a lot of quilters around.

I was up for a challenge at our next stop, Spinning Spools in New Ulm; just how full could I stuff that quart bag with scraps. I’ve been working on gathering, cutting, and sewing 1.5” squares (and even some 1” squares) for a postage stamp quilt.

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My goal is to use all different fabrics in my postage stamp quilt so that means I need a lot of different little pieces.

This box of scraps was perfect and I accepted and met the challenge.

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The zip lock bag stayed shut just long enough to pay for it and take this picture. I don’t think another piece of thread would have fit in it.

We checked out of the Southwest section at Sewing Seeds, also in New Ulm, and received our incentive prize. It’s been a few days since we’d checked out of any sections so receiving these prizes was very rewarding.

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We each received a 12 pack of fat quarters of Wilmington’s Flannel Essentials for completing the section.


We turned our Prius toward Norwood Young America and headed for the new shop on the hop this year, The Quilting Grounds. My husband and I were a bit confused about the name of the shop until we stepped foot inside the door. Wafts of coffee scent greeted us along with several cheerful HI’s. While I perused the racks and racks of fabric and finally settled on a couple of yards of 30s, my husband ordered us smoothies. By the time I had paid for my purchases and we had filled out the info for checking out of the Southeast section, our smoothies were ready.

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We received six half-yard cuts of bright Modern Solids by In the Beginning Fabrics for each of us. A fantastic reward for completing this section.

Each of the shops in the Southeast section also offered an extra special offer they called the “Two Buck Chunk.”

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These chunks were a half-yard cut of Modern Solids by In the Beginning Fabrics for $2.00 with a $10.00 purchase (limit of 2). Of course, I couldn’t pass them up. After all, who doesn’t need more solids? Choosing was very hard to do. Here’s my pickings. I have 14 of them so one must be hiding in the accumulating stash.

We were just about to close the shop’s door behind us when Barb caught up with us.

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Hi, Barb! It was so nice to meet you, Barb, (a reader and follower of Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats), and know that you’ve been enjoying my adventures and sharing this shop hop journey.

We picked up our smoothies and off we drove to see if we could arrive at the next shop before closing time.

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I had the Peach-Pear-Apricot and my husband had the Four Berry Smoothie (blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry). They were wonderfully cold on this hot day and very delicious. I highly recommend them.

We still had one shop left for the day, Quilt Haven on Main in Hutchison, MN. I featured them last year; click here to read it. Google maps told us we would be arriving at 6:03, 3 minutes past closing time. It’s been pretty accurate predicting our arrivals all along and it was exactly 6:03 when we parked in front of the shop. I quickly opened the car door not even sure if my husband had put it in park yet and hopped out. I checked the door and it was still open so I rushed in. I must have breathed a very loud sigh of relief because when I rounded the corner inside the shop two staff members looked at each other. “Should we tell her or not?”  questioned one of them. “That the store is closed,” I said hanging my head in disappointment. “No, that we’re open until 7 tonight.”

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Now, I had time to leisurely shop on the first floor and visit with a group of quilters on the second floor. I walked up and down the steps feeling like Scarlett O’Hara.

It had been a long day so we found a room at the Days Inn in Hutchinson and ate at the Tokyo Grill. Morning would come early again.

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We started our meal with soup and salad. The shrimp and chicken were delicious. You’ll just have to take my word for it; my camera battery was complaining it needed to be recharged and so did we.

The 2017 Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop continues through August 13th so you still have time to join in on the fun!

Block of the Day

I purchased this block kit from Heather’s Book Nook and Sew Much More in Granite Falls. It is an easy block to sew.

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A perfect 8.5″ square.

The pattern doesn’t include written directions so here’s some if you need them. Make sure you cut the pieces as given  (8) A pieces at 1 5/8″ squares of white and (8) A  pieces at 1 5/8″ squares of green, (4) B pieces at 3 7/8″ x 2 7/8″ of green, and (1) C piece at 3 7/8″ square of the blue background turtle. Sew one B to each side of C. Press your seams toward the dark green fabric. Make the four patches for the corners using the A pieces as shown on the picture on the pattern. Sew a set of them to each side of a B piece. Make two of these strips. Sew one strip to the top of your BCB unit and one to the bottom of it. Trim to 8.5″.

What I Learned Today:

  1. Corn grows very tall in MN. They must have good soil and get a lot of rain or irrigate. The governor of North Dakota has declared 46% of the state in a severe drought.

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    My son sent me a picture of how the corn in our garden is looking today. It should be much taller by now. My grandson is 38″ tall. I’m sad, too, because we may not get any sweet corn this year. I guess if we do, it will be the right height for this little guy to pick.

  2. My husband has now been promoted to Tu-Na Helper CEO (Carry Everything Out) by someone along the route.
  3. Brenda Seidl has a fun and interesting mom, Judy.
  4. Unwashed fresh farm eggs can sit on the counter for days. However, if you wash them, they need to be refrigerated because washing removes the protective covering. I give credit to Judy for educating me on this little fact. Without her help, I might have only learned three things today. Thanks, Judy!

Question: Have you tried English Paper Piecing and if so what shapes? I want to try hexis especially after today. My goal is to make a Grandmother’s Flower Garden. Armed with Brenda’s tips and enthusiasm, I have no doubt I will start soon. And if I run into problems, I know just who to call for help.

I read and appreciate every comment I receive. I’ve either been busy writing posts or shopping so I  haven’t had time to reply. Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement. Eventually, I hope to reply to you.

Thanks for stopping by and do come again.

Karen, Tu-Na Quilts

See my other posts about the 2017 Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop:

Tu-Na Travels: ♪Over Hill. Over Dale. We Will Hit the Dusty Trail. As the Quilt Hop Goes Rolling Along….♪

Tu-Na Travels: Day One, 352 Miles, 11 Shops, Only 55 Shops Remaining

Tu-Na Travels: Day Two, 334 miles, 7 Shops, Only 48 Shops Remaining

Tu-Na Travels: Day Three, 210 Miles, 4 Shops, 44 Shops Remaining

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.

At this time, I have no affiliation with any of the shops, products, or services that I mention here on Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats.

Linking to:

Oh Scrap at Quilting is More Fun than Housework

Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts

Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt

Linky Tuesday at Free Motion by the River

26 thoughts on “Tu-Na Travels: Day Four, 276 Miles, 9 Shops, Only 35 Shops Remaining

  1. karenfae

    once you start a hexie quilt you are hooked – I have one queen size completed and hand quilted working on a second which I intend to be queen size and working on a mini – of course doing all of this while working on other quilts as well. I love her box of organized by color arrangement. Looks like you are still having fun on your quilting vacation and yes that corn is darn tall.


  2. Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting

    Ohhh, so interesting! We just did the South West Region yesterday, so I can relate to everything you wrote. Loved the pretzels. Next year, check out the falls at Granite Falls, too. It was about 1 block up and we saw 30+ pelicans there waiting for some breakfast. You did great on your ziplock bag purchase!!! And I was cheering for you when the Hutch shop told you that you get 2 extra hours of shopping!!!!


  3. rl2b2017

    Hi Karen,
    It sounds like you are having a blast. I love the new promotion for the Helper to CEO. These shops all look like gems and places I sound try to visit sometime. I am enjoying your travels very much. ~smile~ Roseanne


  4. piecefulwendy

    How fun that you ran into some of your followers at the shops and the one called you by name! You visited some great shops. I’m a big fan of the New Ulm stores, I just don’t get there often since it’s a bit of a drive. I have a sample pack of Panama Pyramid EPP. I’m still on the fence as far as deciding whether I like it or not.


  5. Bonnie

    The scrap in a bag story reminds me of when my son was into Legos. At the MOA (Mall of America) Lego Store, they have containers that you put as many Legos in that you can fit for purchase. We practiced every possibility to figure out which way packed in the most 🙂 Dad will enjoy seeing that corn…but would enjoy it more in your garden 😉


  6. Verna

    I never cared much for hexie quilts. After seeing so much about EPP online, I thought I’d try it, and guess what? Once I got the hang of it, I was hooked! I’m really enjoying hearing about your travels. Only made it to two shops this year, but completing the whole state is on my bucket list.


  7. Melva Nolan

    You are certainly making some tracks! How fun – though I think I would be overwhelmed and ready to call it done after two days… what kind of quilter am I?!?


  8. LindsayRF

    Another excellent blog post! I would love to do a hexie quilt. I’ve been hesitant to get started for the same reasons as you. 🙂 Did you end up with true paper pieces, or did you get the plastic templates? My friend swears by the plastic ones.


  9. Andrea H

    I’m really enjoying reading about your adventures on the shop hop. One of these days I’ll make my way around the one here. Happy shopping and hopping! Andrea


  10. Cathy K N

    Love reading your blog! My friend as I were in Park Rapids at Monika’s and Front Porch Quilts in Walker. Today we went to Sadie Rae’s in Wilton near Bemidji. Safe Travels!


  11. Susan

    Karen, I love your stories. I feel like I’m on vacation with you and CEO. I started on a hexie quilt years ago and haven’t touched it for some time. I do mine differently. Now for the sad party of the story first. Yes, it seems that I always have a sad story. My mother hand pieced, not EPP, two Grandmother’s Flower Garden Quilts before she died – one for me and one for my brother. My brother wore his out. I know what I had and didn’t put it on the bed. Mine was stolen along with almost every material thing I inherited from my parents. I just could not bring the fabric and yarn from my mother’s house. I would have to move it 1/2 across the US and I had no room for it I my house. I wasn’t doing much crafting as I was working full time and in graduate school full time, so I just filled a small chest of drawers with some pieces of fabric to add to a scrap quilt some day. That hasn’t happened. Then one day I opened a box of fabric that I had brought home and there were a few hexies that she had sewn together that had not made them into a quilt. So, I started piecing more hexies with a 1/4″ seam. Then, a lady – I can remember her name and I could google her, if you are interested makes stamps. You stamp it on the back of your fabric and it has a cut line and a sew line. I use that. The lady did a workshop. She was very uncomplimentary about my mother’s work. She said my mom meant for the hexie to be size x”. I’m sure Mom was sick when she did those and also there was a reason they were not in the quilts. In the box were fabrics for more hexies. I am making it a plethora of fabrics – traditional, modern, 30’s, etc. She also told me that to be a true traditional GFG, I needed a row of white that I am missing. The lady who owned my LQS said she had one at home like I am making. The lady who did the workshop also told me the green I selected is close but not the correct green color. I guess the quilt police will be at my house. I usually cut hexies and put them in small baggies (smaller than sandwich) and take them on the airplane when I fly to my daughters. I find it easier to do that on a plane and in the airport than knitting – and while I’m at her house. I haven’t been to her house in a long time – well my son drove me in June, but not flying. So, even if I have to redo the ones Mom did I want part of her in my quilt. I am enjoying your travels. I have never been to MN. I recognized Marshall. My first job out of college was with PPG and they had a facility there. Small world. Thanks for a run down on the shop hop and the corn. There used to be a picture of my dad in the field corn. Dad was 6 ft and the corn towered over him. The cattle sure like that corn.


  12. JoanG

    I’ve made a number of hexie quilts and they are indeed addictive. Loving your travels and stories. I’d also like to tell Susan not to let the quilt police get to her. I wouldn’t redo her mothers blocks. I’d either figure a way to put them in her quilt as is or make a separate special piece from them. I’m all for keeping memories intact.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Tu-Na Travels: Day Five, 274 Miles, 8 Shops, Only 27 Shops Remaining | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

  14. Barb

    It was so nice to meet you at the Quilting Grounds in Norwood. I noticed you a couple of times as we crossed paths in the store and thought to myself “I should know that person”. It was so fun to hear you announce that “Tu-na” was here as you opened the door to leave the store. You brightened my day as I stopped at this shop on my way from visiting my aunt who broke her hip after a too friendly black lab knocked her down. Thanks for the photo!


  15. Pingback: Tu-Na Travels: Day Six, 243 Miles, 8 Shops, Only 19 Shops Remaining | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

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  17. thedarlingdogwood

    I’m *finally* quilting my first hexie project TODAY! Sat down to get caught up on some blog reading when I needed a snack. I enjoy reading your adventures, and laughed when I got the the part about the shop being open for another hour after you rushed in. I don’t do hexies all the time but I do like having small hand projects around, and EPP is good for that. I think I might be ready to try a different shape.


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  23. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts: Day Three, 346 Miles, 9 Quilt Shops, 31 Remaining | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

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