The loons did not call us to arise as they had last year (read that post here) but we awoke before the alarm sounded anyway. We both sighed — for me it meant that my shop hop fun was coming to a close and for Tu-Na Helper it meant that his fun could now begin.
Today, if the car held up from all the added weight of fabric and thread, if we drove fast enough to get there but slow enough not to get stopped, if we didn’t encounter too much construction or road detours, and if I didn’t tarry too long at each shop, then we just might be able to finish this shop hop before closing time.
Before leaving Lax Lake Resort, I planted Joy (that little rock I found on day 4) on the steps leading into the lodge from the lake front. I’d met a couple of young girls in the bathroom this morning and I thought it would be fun if they found it.
We left the resort about 8:30 to make the 3 hour trip to International Falls. As we drove right past a quilt shop that had participated last year but was not participating this year, Tu-Na Helper chimed, “If they’re not on the hop, we don’t stop.”
I didn’t need to say anything as it was Sunday morning and they weren’t open anyway. However, it did evoke memories of another shop we had come close to a few days earlier from which I had planned to purchase more state flower fabrics but couldn’t since they weren’t on the hop this year.
We arrived at Up North Quilt Shop in International Falls about 30 minutes before opening time. A car was already in the parking lot with no driver in sight so Tu-Na Helper tried the front door of the shop. It opened.
“Are you open for business?” I asked meekly.
“I am now. You’re here,” was the cheerful response. Missy wasn’t around but had left the shop in capable hands to open early if a shop hopper was coming (I featured this shop last year- read it here). We had not called in advance but were grateful to be invited in as it allowed us more time to look around and make a purchase and also more time to visit with those hoppers who had been following us yesterday and seem to be trailing us again today.
Deb and Sue had arrived at this shop shortly after us. They had just come from The Coffee Landing Café downtown and were raving about the good food. After I paid for my purchase and said my goodbyes, Tu-Na Helper and I headed for the Café as we desperately needed some morning coffee. There would be no time to sit down and eat if we wanted to finish the hop today so we ordered a couple of Raspberry-White Chocolate Scones and our coffees to-go and settled into our car for the hour and a half drive to Blackduck.
We arrived at Anderson Fabrics and Tu-Na Helper whispered, “You have 10 minutes.” This is one of the first times while on the shop hop that he’d put a time limit on my browsing and shopping. He quickly helped me shop by pointing out several fabrics that I might be interested in and showed me the way to the clearance area.
After getting our passports stamped and paying for my purchase, we got back into the car and drove to Sadie Rae’s in Bemidji. I was excited to see this shop as it had moved to a new location. Although, it would not be as handy to get to anymore. Sadie was waiting to greet me when I arrived.
We had one shop left to visit. After a two hour drive, we parked beside Quilter’s Eden in East Grand Forks just 20 minutes before closing time. I guess we really didn’t have a lot of time to dawdle today. We checked out of this section (Northwest Region) receiving our incentive prize.
Since this was our last region to complete, we also turned in our passports to be included with all the other state finishers for the grand prize drawing of a trip for two to Alaska.
A Statewide Finish
We are State Finishers of the 2018 Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop!
7 Days, 2,393 Miles*, 59 Shops and Credit Card Debt**
from a Car Full of Fabrics, Notions, and Patterns
*Total mileage from our first shop, Bluffview Quilt Shop in Winona, to our last shop, Quilter’s Eden in East Grand Forks. We still needed to drive an additional 287 miles to get home in ND. I also did not count my mileage to MN to begin the hop as we were returning from another trip and passing through.
**Good thing that our credit is good!
Tu-Na Helper and I found my last bit of Quilt MN fabrics that I figured I couldn’t live without as well as a couple of other items including something special that Tu-Na Helper couldn’t resist buying for our daughter that wasn’t on her list. While paying for my purchase, I talked with the cheerful gal who willingly accepted my credit card and discovered that she was the owner of this shop with a story to share. It was then that I realized I’d found..
Today’s Top Shop on the Hop
Mary Johnson, owner of Quilter’s Eden in East Grand Forks, bought the shop in 2004 from her boss who had owned it less than a year. This shop is located directly across the street from Cabela’s (an outdoor sporting goods store) which is just one of the reasons this quilt shop is thriving. “The men go to Cabela’s and the women come to shop at the quilt shop,” Mary informed me. Once again, proving that location is everything.
I inquired as to the meaning of the shop’s name to which Mary replied, “The name should tell what the store is or what’s in there. The Eden part is a happy, wonderful, magical, new feeling.”
Mary says her shop specializes in having great employees who give good customer service. “I have the best staff ever. They are amazing.” Mary’s staff is also knowledgeable. “If any of our customers has a question, we encourage them to bring in their project for help.”
In fact, Mary couldn’t do what she does if she didn’t have the trustworthy and dependable staff that she has. Since 2008, Mary’s been living in Virginia letting her capable manager operate the store without her in attendance. However, Mary keeps involved in her shop by attending Quilt Market and helping with the shop hop each summer. “My employees don’t need me but they do let me come and play store during the hop.”
The shop offers a wide variety of fabrics and patterns in their 1500 sq. feet of space. Classroom space as well as a longarm machine is located upstairs. Customers can drop off their quilts to be quilted by their expert longarm quilter.
Many shop samples hang from the balcony railing. They change their shop samples several times a year to keep it fresh and to provide their customers with inspiration. What do they do with all those samples? They sell them, of course.
Mary suggests that new quilters take a beginning class and learn about their machine. She also states, “You have to know the rules (in quilt making) so that you can break the rules.”
Check out the Quilter’s Eden website here for more info about their longarm services as well as their shop. When you’re in the East Grand Forks area, plan to stop in at Quilter’s Eden to see why Mary refers to it as “The sweetest quilt store on the planet.” I’m sure you’ll be tempted by the numerous shop samples, the large selection of fabrics, and the clearance area displayed right under the stairs. Oh, and tell them that Tu-Na sent you.
Tu-Na Helper’s Top Sights of the Day
The Road Home
I’ve got unpacking to do. But first, I think I’ll rest a bit.
Don’t Miss This Year’s Shop Hop Posts
It’s All Out of the Bag
A Look at This Years Loot
The Traveling Hexi Bin (A peak at my English Paper Piecing hexi project that kept me busy for thousands of miles.)
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What I Learned Today:
- One can find out interesting things in a public bathroom (referring to the two young girls and their tales of adventures including hiking to several waterfalls in the Beaver Bay area).
- I thought the Beaver Bay area was only about fishing.
- Paying with a credit card is so easy. Tu-Na Helper pays it completely every month for those of you, like my sister, who are worried about my budget.
- It’s nice and also reassuring that some things don’t change.
- Minnesota is a very big state!
- It feels good to be home!!
- I think I’d like to open a quilt shop. Now just to find the right location.
- “Go.” That’s the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
- Maybe I should go away more often (or maybe I should do more shop hops) as I sure learned a lot today.
Question: Where is home to you? As you know, Tu-Na Helper and I live in two states—North Dakota to enjoy the summer sun and Arizona to enjoy the winter sun—but ND will always hold a special place in my heart.
Thanks for stopping by and do come again.
Karen, Tu-Na Quilts
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Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
WIPS at Silly Mama Quilts