Morning came early on opening day which would not have been so bad if I had made it to sleep at a reasonable hour the night before. If you remember from my last post, I only had two days to prepare for this trip and I needed every minute I could find to finish getting ready.
Tu-Na Helper and I arose and scurried to prepare for the day and load the car. I checked the clock on the dashboard as we backed out of the garage—5:52 AM—only 22 minutes behind schedule. Not too bad if you know us—but we had a long 3 hour and 39 minute drive ahead.
We were only a mile outside of Bismarck before we ran into road construction. We joked about there being only three seasons in North Dakota: Winter, Flood, and Road Construction. I guess it was a sign of things to come as we would be running into a LOT of road construction on this trip. In fact, we’d only driven 60 miles and already had driven through 4 separate areas with those orange cones and candles, 45 MPH instead of 75, men working, and one lane traffic. That’s a whole lot of slowing down that we had not factored into the time equation.
On the drive, Tu-Na Helper asked about my list. I was ready but had to explain that I had forgotten it at home. “No problem, I assured him. “There are only 5 things on it,” and I recited THE LIST from my memory: A few Quilt MN Shop Hop fabrics, florals, masculine pinks, flesh tone, and beard fur.
When I got to the masculine pink, he inquired, “Isn’t that an oxymoron? How can a pink be masculine?” I guess that’s the thrill of the hunt. As I told him the remaining items on the list, I remembered that I also needed to buy 9 yards of good quality but inexpensive black and white backing fabric for a king size auction quilt that I was having my Arizona quilting group help make. Now I had 6 things to look for.
A soft rain started to fall just outside of Fargo, another sign of things to come. Our new routing App worked well but we were a bit behind schedule (I needed a restroom break which we had not factored into the time equation). So we drove up to our first shop (which we thought was Hometown Crafts and Fabrics in Detroit Lakes) about 40 minutes after their opening time. I grabbed the shop’s door handle and pulled hard but it didn’t give. We both looked at each other.
Tu-Na Helper: “Is this the right day?”
Me: “Of course it is. I’d never get Shop Hop opening day wrong.”
Tu-Na Helper: “I think we’re at the wrong shop.”
Yup, he was right. There were two shops in Detroit Lakes only a block apart and we had gone to the wrong one. We were about to walk away when we saw movement inside as someone scurried to open the door. The shop opening time for this shop wasn’t for another 20 minutes but a cheerful voice said, “Come on in. We’re ready for you!” “I’m sorry. We thought we were at the other shop that opened at 9 so we can come back when you’re open,” I apologized. “We’re open now so come on in.” So we did and started the hop at Red Pine Quilt Shop in Detroit Lakes.
We picked up our passports, got stamped, received the shop’s free 8″ pattern and 5″ square of this year’s specially designed Quilt MN Shop Hop fabric. Tu-Na Helper asked for some help in finding a masculine pink. Amy, one of the gals on staff, asked if I’d looked at the grunge fabrics. Perfect, I thought since it had never occurred to me before. We located a grunge and another fabric to pair it with and Amy cut a 1/2 yard of each. I think Amy deserves a raise! But that means 58 shops to go and only 5 more things to look for. I might have to add to my list.
While Amy was cutting the fabric, I meandered through the shop and then I saw them—the blueberry and lady slipper fabrics. Now which one should I choose. I grabbed one of the bolts and took it to the cutting table and asked for 2 yards leaving the other fabric to find at another shop. It was a good thing I chose correctly as this would be the last time we’d see a bolt of blueberry fabric. It was a sell-out within a few hours of opening at many of the shops. Some stores sold out with pre-orders. According to the Quilt MN Shop Hop Facebook page, those wanting some can now place an order with some shops for an October delivery date. This usually doesn’t happen as once it’s gone…it’s gone…for good. But there was a snafu with shop orders so another printing was arranged.
On our way out of the door, Nathan tried to convince Tu-Na Helper that he needed a Ruler Safe. Tu-Na Helper didn’t think he did and it wasn’t on my list.
I grabbed my goods and we walked to Hometown Crafts and Fabrics to see the quilt made from all the free patterns that we’d be getting on the hop and entered to win a kit of each of the blocks.
Our next stop would be a new shop on the hop. I really like to see new shops so I’ve decided to feature each of the new shops this year rather than pick my favorite shop of the day.
The New Shop on the Hop —Oklee Quilting Supply:
As we drove into Oklee — population 435 (according to the sign on the edge of town), I couldn’t help but wonder how a quilt shop could survive with such a small population unless, maybe, they were all quilters.
Toni and LeAnn bought the shop from their parents in 2008 who started it 50 years ago as Oklee Manufacturing making snowsuits, jackets, and upholstery. The store evolved through the years into the present quilt shop.
They have a big mail order business and ship to all 50 states. They carry a variety of fabrics including Moda and Henry Glass; an extensive array of wide (108″) cotton and flannel backings; and of course, several batting options. “The batting is an important part of our business,” said Toni. They ship to many churches who use the batting in their charity quilts. A 60 yard roll of 60″ wide Econo Batting (100% Polyester Bonded Batting) is only $89.40 plus shipping.
Oklee Quilting Supply is housed in the old grocery store and their batting storage room is in the attached building in what used to be the old hardware store. We were given the royal tour and demonstration in their packing room.
Tu-Na Helper was really impressed in their packing room with their equipment that prepares the rolls for shipping.
Toni’s advice for beginner quilters is to “Start small and make sure you have a network, a buddy, to give you support. Don’t do it alone.”
Toni has worked in the shop for 41 years helping her parents in the beginning. Toni and LeAnn have a small staff to help them. Cheryl is their right-hand lady and Judy sews shop samples. Judy cheerfully acknowledged, “The shop is my playground.”
In addition, they offer two quilt retreats a year, held at the Oklee Inn. Their line-up of teachers include Doug Leko from Antler Quilt Designs and Kari from New Leaf Stitches.
This is the first year Oklee Quilting Supply has participated in the Quilt MN Shop Hop. So far, they’ve received good positive feedback. I suspect they’ll be back for more next year because once you’re hooked—you’re hooked!
I dug through the clearance section and found several fabrics that I couldn’t live without.
Plan a trip to Oklee, Minnesota to visit Oklee Quilting Supply and when you do tell them Tu-Na sent you. You can find their website here in case you want to check out their online shop offerings.
We said our goodbyes, wished them well, and were on our way to Sadie Rae’s Quilt Shop in Bemidji and then onto Anderson Fabrics Outlet and Quilt Shop in Blackduck.
The Quilt Shop in International Falls was open until 5:30 and it was only 3:55 when we left the quilt shop in Bemidji. Tu-Na Helper said he was sure he could drive the one hour and 30 minute drive and arrive before closing so he turned the car northward and we headed toward Canada. International Falls is next to the Canadian border.
We arrived at Up North Quilt Shop (I featured them a couple of years ago here) shortly before closing, did some quick shopping, and checked out of the Northwest region receiving this incentive prize.
We were so focused on our drive and trying to get to International Falls before closing time, that we didn’t think about calling around for a hotel room until after we were finished at the shop. I also think Tu-Na Helper was thinking that if we didn’t arrive before closing, we’d have to find a hotel there.
Our routing App said that we’d be starting the next day at Front Porch Quilts in Walker but that is lake country and this was Friday so I knew rooms would be hard to find. And they were.
Nothing was available as far south as Pequot Lakes, 3 hours and 12 minutes away from our current location. The only room available, and only due to a prior cancellation, in Bemidji was charging $239.00 plus tax for the night since the Dragon races were in town. Tu-Na Helper said, “No, thanks,” and continued calling.
I was beginning to think that we’d be spending the night in the car until finally he informed me he had secured a room in Blackduck at The Drake Motel. I’ve learned not to be fussy on these last minute bookings but I do want it to be clean. I was a bit worried.
Me: “How much did we save by getting a room at the cheaper motel?”
Tu-Na Helper: “About $190.00.”
Me: “Oh, so I can add $190.00 to my Shop Hop budget??
Tu-Na Helper: “Your mind works in mysterious ways.”
Before hitting the road for Blackduck again, we picnicked in the park.
We travel with a cooler stocked with yogurt, fruit, vegetables, and cheese for lunches and a snack bag with bread, peanut butter, trail mix, and pretzels. We decided we had enough food and only enough time to have a quick supper tonight. We still had an hour and a half to drive to get to our motel room and we were tired already. I was sure that there would be plenty of restaurant suppers ahead.
I kept myself busy while traveling with sewing and talking and looking around at the scenery.
It was almost dark when we pulled into The Drake Motel in Blackduck.
I didn’t look around the room much and got ready for bed pulling the covers over my head by 9:30. I can not ever remember going to bed this early. Morning would come soon as we had an hour and 46 minute drive to the next shop on our list and they opened at 9.
A Look at the Loot for the Day
Don’t miss out on my other 2019 Shop Hop posts:
Or the Shop Hops in prior years:
What I Learned Today:
- 4:30 AM comes early especially when one doesn’t adjust with an earlier bedtime.
- Wearing new glasses didn’t improve my math abilities.
- I have not mastered the art of taking a selfie which is evident by the picture above.
- I am adding to my list of things to buy.
- My mind works in mysterious ways.
- Tu-Na Helper enjoyed having the car parked right outside our room door.
Question: Do you picnic in the park or prefer restaurant fare during your travels? On our shop hop travels and many other trips as well, we’ll bring things along and eat/snack in the car or at roadside rest areas or have a tailgate party. But suppers are definitely eaten at local restaurants rather than chains except for this night.
At this time I am not affiliated with any of the items, products, services, or shops that I picture or talk about here on Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats. I just happen to like and use them.
Thanks for stopping by and do come again.
Karen, Tu-Na Quilts