Morning came early and we headed toward Randall to visit The Old Creamery Quilt Shop (I featured them in 2016 here). We both groaned when we pulled into the parking lot as it was filled with cars AND a bus!
Indeed, the shop was hopping with excitement and who should appear but a happy follower of mine who recognized us and asked for a picture.
Jennifer quilts with her mom, too, who just might be convinced to tag along with Jennifer next year on the hop. Tu-Na Helper talked a bit with Jennifer’s husband, Paul, whose hobby is fishing. I think it’s great that he is accompanying Jennifer on part of her journey through the state but I should have asked him if she accompanies him on his fishing trips.
We were planning to purchase our morning coffee at the coffee shop located inside The Old Creamery Quilt Shop and were excited to find that it was open.
We turned our trusty little car towards Sauk Centre. The Family Fabric Shop had moved to a new location and I was excited to see it. This is our fifth year completing the whole state so visiting new shops that are participating in the hop or finding shops that have rearranged their space is exciting.
As we entered the fabric shop, we were informed that we were just minutes ahead of a bus. We got our passports stamped, purchased some teal wood grain MN fabric for me, briefly looked around, and then headed out the door just in time as hoppers poured out of the bus.
We were making good time driving through lake country visiting and shopping at 5 more shops before we checked our schedule for shop closing times and planned the remainder of the day. If we didn’t tarry too long, we could complete two more shops before quittin’ time.
We pulled up to Monika’s Quilt and Yarn Shop in Park Rapids as rain began to fall softly and discovered Jennifer and Paul inside. She wanted another picture as she forgot to ask to have one taken of us with her camera earlier in the day . It’s so much fun to run into people who read my blog. I consider them friends and enjoy meeting them even twice in one day!
I featured Monika last year and wrote the story about Grandma Sue (read that post here). I was hoping to run into Grandma Sue or Johnny in the shop again but that was not to be today.
Another hopper informed us that the quilt shop in Walker was open a half-hour later than we thought so we quickly paid for our purchase, said our goodbyes, got our hug from Monika, popped into our Prius, and headed toward Walker.
When we drove up to the quilt shop in Walker, the porch looked so inviting that I knew I had found…
Today’s Top Shop on the Hop
Jeff and Jana Weise opened Front Porch Quilts 13 years ago. The building was initially built by Jana’s parents to house her mom’s gift shop. In 2001, Jeff and Jana bought the building. They converted half of the building into a hair salon for Jana and the other half was kept for her mom’s gift shop. Jana was a hairdresser and “a crafter with a glue gun” before she started sewing and eventually opened this quilt shop. “I was a quick learner,” she said and has now gone on to design quilt patterns.
This little shop specializes in wool. Jeff hand dyes the wool. They cut and prepare wool kits and also offer it for sale wholesale as well as through their online shop here.
The shop may be small in square footage but it is packed with inspiration and a good variety of quilting fabric. Jana says, “We’re small and need to keep it fresh.” Which is why she turns over their inventory every year. She says they like being small and aren’t looking to expand but if she could have a wish granted it would be to open a retreat center for classes. But until or if that happens she encourages their customers to bring in their projects or ideas for individual help.
Jana advises new quilters to “start small. Start with something you can accomplish.”
Jana and Jeff also run Quilt MN which is responsible for all the coordination of Quilt MN fabrics, shops, and all things necessary to offer the Quilt MN Shop Hop. Jeff says they’ve had increasing participants in the shop hop with about 100 people finishing the whole state each year. They’ve been running this business for 4 years.
Jeff said, “We appreciate the work the shops do. We couldn’t do it without them.” They’ve had less shops participate this year due to retirements and closings.
Being the sleuthful investigator that I am (not), I asked if they had any new plans for the Shop Hop next year. “We’re trying to do more with social media and thinking of new ideas to make the hop an enjoyable experience for the shop owners and (hop) participants,” Jana offered.
One new idea they’ve started this year is the traveling quilt which contains all of the participating shop blocks. “It used to always be at Gruber’s (Sue, the owner of Gruber’s, had started Quilt MN-I featured her here last year) and this year we moved it to Country Loft Quilt & Designs in Forest Lake.” They’re also offering a giveaway containing all 59 fabric kits of those blocks. If you haven’t already done so, print the entry form found on the Quilt MN site here and drop it by Country Loft Quilt & Designs when you view the quilt. You have until shops close on Sunday, August 12th.
Tu-Na Helper and I would like to thank Jeff and Jana for all the hard work they’ve done. We’ve had fun each of the five years that we’ve participated on the Quilt MN Shop Hop not only visiting the shops and buying lots of fabric but also driving around the state looking at the countryside. We just never know what festival or fun we’ll find around the next bend in the road.
Check out the Front Porch Quilt’s website here for more info about this shop and their online offerings (they offer free shipping in the U.S.) and the Quilt MN website here to learn more about how the hop works. They are already planning for next year’s hop. Plan a trip to Walker to check out Front Porch Quilts and when you do take a minute to look at those pretty chairs. Oh, and tell them that Tu-Na sent you.
We said our goodbyes, tucked my purchase into the car and headed on down the road. We finished the day of hopping and were able to check out of this section (North Central Region) at Hometown Crafts and Fabrics in Wadena.
It was late, just a few minutes before the closing time of 8 pm, when we entered the store but we were invited to look around. After paying for my purchase, I just had to ask about those shopping carts that I had seen when I entered the shop.
No Room at the Inn
After leaving Hometown Crafts and Fabrics in Wadena, we decided to drive about an hour to get to Brainerd in order to be close to the shop that opens at 9 in the morning.
We arrived in Brainerd a bit after 9 pm and then Tu-Na Helper started calling around for a hotel room. After many failed attempts, we were told that there were no rooms to be had within 200 miles of the area due to rain in the area sending tent campers indoors, several local county fairs and festivals, and lots of summer tourists because this is lake country after all.
I was afraid my fear of homelessness would be realized and I’d find myself parked for the night at the local Wal-Mart. However, Tu-Na Helper continued to call and finally secured a room on the outskirts of Brainerd because of a cancellation due to a bad credit card. Luckily for us, our credit is good. Luckily for him, I’m not fussy.
There would be no fancy food tonight as it was late so we ate what was remaining in the cooler and climbed into bed exhausted. We travel with a cooler and stock it with yogurt, string cheese, fruit, carrots, etc. to grab for lunches and a few evening meals when we either can’t find a restaurant or it’s too late to be served. We also have trail mix, crackers, and pretzels to snack on. Several times during the trip, after the quilt shops are closed, we restock at a local grocery store. I’d love to take time and eat lunch at a local café. However, we’d have to plan to spend a full two weeks on this trip. Maybe next year.
Tu-Na Helper’s Top Sights of the Day
Don’t Miss This Year’s Shop Hop Posts
Tu-Na Travels: On Minnesota Roads Again
Tu-Na Travels: Day One, 352 Miles, 10 Quilt Shops, Only 49 Remaining
Tu-Na Travels: Day Two, 339 Miles, 9 Shops, 40 Remaining
Tu-Na Quilts: Day Three, 346 Miles, 9 Quilt Shops, 31 Remaining
Tu-Na Travels: Day Four, 251 Miles, 8 Quilt Shops, 23 Remaining
What I Learned Today:
- Persistence pays.
- While I dream of fabric, Tu-Na Helper must dream of fishing.
- A good cup of coffee is a good way to start the day.
- I think I’m not fussy. Tu-Na Helper disagrees.
- I might have potential as a Private Eye after all. I discovered why Jana never seems to have a bad hair day.
Question: Have you traveled by bus and where? During one summer many years ago, I waited tables at the Rough Rider Hotel and Dining Room in Medora, ND. I took a bus to get there and then months later to get back home again. More recently, Tu-Na Helper and I were bus chaperones from Fargo to Chicago for the foreign exchange kids returning to their home countries. It was very bumpy!
Thanks for stopping by and do come again.
Karen, Tu-Na Quilts
At this time I am not affiliated with nor receive compensation for any products, services, companies, or shops that I mention here on Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats. I just happen to really like them.
Wow! I am really enjoying following your travels. My husband says your husband must be a saint. 🙂
Very interesting, my next question is, “When do I get an invite to go along and enjoy the fun”?
You sure are packing a lot of adventure in 1 day…love the front porch theme for a quilt shop!
sounds like a great time – glad you were able to find a motel in that area of Brainerd – we camped in the area in June – it was pretty – but it rained – luckily we have a motorhome so didn’t get wet – the people across the way from us had a tent and we saw them throwing things in the car about 10PM one night – I’m sure they were going to search for a motel 🙂 we saw others drive out a short while later – it was coming down hard.
How I loved your post today! The pics of all the wall art are amazing! I love y’all’s adventures every day and soooo glad you found a hotel room! Whew!!! One time, my husband and I did a big road trip (before kids) and went to the Grand Canyon. Not sure what we were thinking, but we decided to get a hotel room since it looked like rain and we didn’t want to camp outside. Note to self, you don’t show up at one of the US’s most popular place without a reservation- hotel or at the campground!!! Lucky for us, the hotel said someone had just cancelled and we got the room! Thank goodness!!!! Looking forward to the rest of your journey!!!
I love reading these posts, Karen! By the way, I bring you greetings from the ladies at the Old Alley Quilt Shop. I made my first visit there yesterday, along with Calico Hutch in Hayward. I told them you sent me 🙂
Trying to find a place that has a vacancy is scary!!! So glad you had a room for the night. Those murals, and the fish. wow!!!
Fun to meet your readers and fellow bloggers isn’t it? I took a bus – kind of – a few years ago when I went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. At first, I wasn’t sure I’d like being told what to do, but then I got to enjoy having not to make any decisions and just go with the flow!
Wow, another wonderful day! So many quilt shops you report on that I would adore seeing myself. I’m so glad you finally found the last available room in town. This is one of the things I loved about having our fifth wheel – always my own bed to sleep in!
All of these shops sound very interesting, Karen! We don’t have that many shops here, but it would be fun to have a shop hop! I have a wonderful hubby, like Tu-Na Helper who would drive me around as much as I wanted!! Fun times! Looking forward to the last few shops!
It looks like you are having a blast! Thanks for showing us all of the fabric and different shops!
I haven’t been to any of these shops, so it’s really fun to be able to visit them vicariously. You covered an awful lot of territory today. I guess the shops are further apart in the less densely populated areas. I took one bus ride as a young mother from Appleton, WI to Madison. I had my infant daughter with me, so it wasn’t a lot of fun. The last 10 or more years I’ve been taking the bus for the metro area shop hop. I like not having to deal with the driving and parking, but it is not the most comfortable ride. Hopefully, the weather will hold for your last stops on the hop.
Sounds like you’re having a blast with the shop hop! I’m reading your posts and thinking that there are lots of military forces that could use your tactical mind, that your husband must also enjoy the thrill of the chase, and that Minnesota is worth visiting. Thanks for sharing your adventures!
Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts: Day Six, 288 Miles, 9 Quilt Shops, 4 Remaining | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
I really enjoy following you! This day was in my neck of the woods. I might say that the Forest Haven Retreat is a really great place. Reasonably priced, well equipped, and lots of room. Check it out and tell Vicki that Donna sent you!!
Pingback: Tu-Na Travels: Day Seven, 398 Miles, 4 Quilt Shops, 0 Remaining! | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Two of the Quilt MN Shop Hop, 9 Shops, 528 Miles, Only 44 Shops Remaining | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats