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!
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.
Tu-Na Helper said we needed to be on our way, so we said our goodbyes, grabbed our purchase, and off we went.
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.
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.”
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).
It was then that I saw THE BOX.
THE BOX was filled with basted hexi pieces all lined up in color coordinated rows.
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.
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!
If you’re thinking that Judy is making a small quilt, think again. This is going to be queen size.
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.
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.
I also couldn’t help but notice the number of panels hanging on the walls.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We headed back to the car and noticed this sign in a store window.
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.
This box of scraps was perfect and I accepted and met the challenge.
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.
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.
Each of the shops in the Southeast section also offered an extra special offer they called the “Two Buck Chunk.”
We were just about to close the shop’s door behind us when Barb caught up with us.
We picked up our smoothies and off we drove to see if we could arrive at the next shop before closing time.
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.”
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- My husband has now been promoted to Tu-Na Helper CEO (Carry Everything Out) by someone along the route.
- Brenda Seidl has a fun and interesting mom, Judy.
- 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:
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.
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