Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day One of the 2019 Quilt MN Shop Hop; 6 Shops; 599 Miles; Only 53 Shops Remaining

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.

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Not just too bad of a picture as Tu-Na Helper was driving 75 MPH on the Interstate.

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.  

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Each of us got our own passport. Tu-Na Helper hops right along with me. He helps me shop and is very good at picking out colors and finding things on my list. Every hopper gets a passport to present at participating shops. The shop then stamps their spot and presents each of us a free 8″ pattern and a 5″ square of the 2019 Quilt MN Shop Hop fabric.

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.

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They are impressive, though, and would definitely keep your rulers safe.

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.

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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.

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You’ll find Oklee Quilting Supply right there on main street at 205 Main Street, Oklee MN. It is stocked with a variety of quilting fabrics.

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.

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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.

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There are rolls and rolls of batting waiting to be purchased and shipped.

Tu-Na Helper was really impressed in their packing room with their equipment that prepares the rolls for shipping.

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The heavy roll is laid on the table, put inside a heavy plastic bag, and then the air is sucked out and bag sealed.

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This heavy-duty, hydraulic, piston compresses the package so it isn’t too long for the UPS to take.

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.”

tunaquilts 33

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.”

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The Quilt MN Shop Hop fabrics were displayed in these vintage wash tubs.

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.

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You’ll also find gift and home decor scattered through the shop.

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!

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I dug through the clearance section and found several fabrics that I couldn’t live without.

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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.

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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. 

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We saw this happy “art installation” alongside the road between Oklee and 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 each received a bundle of  4 half yard cuts of Kansas Troubles and an exclusive pattern designed by Highway 10 Designs for visiting the 4 shops in the Northwest Region

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Each of our bundles is different!

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.

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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.

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I’ve started a hexi project for road trips.

It was almost dark when we pulled into The Drake Motel in Blackduck.

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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

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The free patterns and 5″ squares of Quilt MN Shop Hop fabric (one from each shop we visited today).

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I was successful in getting 2 yards each of the blueberries, green tonal crosshatch, and lady slippers.

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There’s a half yard of each of the masculine pinks, a yard of flowers, 1 1/2 yards of each of the 30’s-because I love 30’s, 1 1/2 yards of each of the tonal fabrics that were on clearance, and 4″ of cork to make new handles for my purse that I just noticed were tearing. Along our drive today, I added another item to my list – fabrics for a robot quilt for my grandson. I’ve already got the backing but needed to get some for the front. I found one with the right colors that looked like gears. My list is growing!

Don’t miss out on my other 2019 Shop Hop posts:

Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: 8 Days; 59 Shops; 2,815 Miles on the Quilt MN Shop Hop and Stories to Tell!

Or the Shop Hops in prior years: 




What I Learned Today:

  1. 4:30 AM comes early especially when one doesn’t adjust with an earlier bedtime.
  2. Wearing new glasses didn’t improve my math abilities.

    tunaquilts 20a

    Honestly, no one is pinching me. But this is as good as it gets with very little sleep.

  3. I have not mastered the art of taking a selfie which is evident by the picture above. 
  4. I am adding to my list of things to buy.
  5. My mind works in mysterious ways.
  6. 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

24 thoughts on “Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day One of the 2019 Quilt MN Shop Hop; 6 Shops; 599 Miles; Only 53 Shops Remaining

  1. davemelvanolan

    What fun! We enjoy picnics and roadside meals. It is so much easier with my dietary restrictions, not to mention cheaper than dining out all the time.


  2. piecefulwendy

    We bring snacks along in the car, but usually eat in restaurants (no chains, if we can manage it) while on the road. I just used a piece of fabric from the Blackduck shop that my husband bought for me, about 10 years ago! It’s been a pet fabric . . .


  3. rl2b2017

    Hi Karen! I so enjoy your posts, especially about the MN hop. It is amazing to me that you are able to hit all of the shops, but it sure sounds like a fun adventure. Maybe someday I’ll be able to do something similar. Your Helper is a keeper, and I’m looking forward to the next chapter. We usually bring along snacks for stopping at the wayside – I like to stretch my legs every 2 hours or so. ~smile~ Roseanne


  4. Karen Marlow-Goad

    yes you should add more to you list – you saved on the motel!! we do both, picnic and stop along the way for something quick – looks like you did well that first day


  5. Judy

    Was fun to meet you at Oklee Quilting! I love your blog and can’t wait to read more. I still giggle when I read “Tu-Na Helper!” Judy the Sample Sewer


  6. Rochelle Summers

    Sp happy to read about your trip. Was wondering if you would be making the trip this year. It seems like a lot of driving but you are lucky to have the Tu-Na Helper to go with you and that he is judgement free about the purchases you are making! Looking forward to the next post.


  7. Kathy Pitts

    I love these posts,have been reading them for three years now. The most entertaining posts on a quilt blog. BTW, my husband would never indulge this with me, as previously mentioned, Tu Na Helper is a keeper.


  8. Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting

    Thanks for doing this, Karen! I/we all enjoy reading your shop hop adventures! And to answer your question, we bring granola for breakfast and eat in the car, trading off drivers. For “lupper” we usually do a fast food, preferably a place with salads or sub sandwiches. We typically have a long road to haul, from Minnesota to California!


  9. Janice

    Karen, I enjoy reading your shop hop adventures so much! I don’t have an answer to your question because I’ve never done a shop hop before but I’d sure like to! I always visit the websites of those you introduce. I admire quilteres who are able to start and maintain a successful business!


  10. Susan

    And we’re off, and I’m already having such a good time! It was wonderful that you chose the blueberries in the first shop, and what a great shop it sounds like! You did have quite a nice haul for the day, and managed to find a good room at a reasonable price in unreasonable times. Yay!

    When I travel alone, I will either eat in the car or stop at a roadside park or rest area to munch something. If a restaurant is considered Wendy’s, I probably have at least one restaurant meal a day. =) I like to try out-of-the-way local places, too.


  11. Leslie Schmidt

    You two certainly have adventures. I’m so glad Tu-Na Helper is being recognized! He is a big part of the success of your trips. I don’t know if my husband would really like to do the whole shop hop, but he does like to help me find quilt shops when we travel. He doesn’t rush me and doesn’t put up objections to what I buy, although he would be much happier if I would actually use what I buy! I read on Pinterest a quote that really speaks to me. ” I’ve decided that collecting fabric and actually making quilts are two distinctly different hobbies.”

    We always stop at restaurants when we travel, but when my husband goes on trips by himself, he will take a lunch for the first day. I think men like to drive straight through if they can, and only take the shortest stops for gas and restroom breaks. At least that’s been my experience.

    I enjoy taking trips vicariously through your blog to see shops I will never get to. Each one has its own personality. I’m looking forward to the next installment.


  12. KJ

    What a great start to your trip. It seems you really lucked out on the blueberry fabric. Well done. You two make a great team.
    We try to get hotel rooms with cooking facilities so we can go to the local grocery store and buy our food. It saves money, and means I can be relatively safe with my allergies. Although there was that one grocery store that had open peanuts down several of their aisles. I vacated, quickly, and my girlfriend finished the shopping while most of the customers stared out the window to see if I was going to pass out. We also make sure we have snacks for the drive and a picnic lunch. I also scope out the local restaurants ahead of time so we can stop at one or two in our travels.


  13. vivianhelenastinet

    I have read your blog for sometime and enjoy. your road trip reminds me of the one we did last summer, but sadly I left everyone in the Amish country on my blog and need to get back to it. We went from CA. to NY, and back again using the Quilt Book which I can not find at this moment. It was great fun, and met some delightful ladies, bought some fabrics, some of which I have used, some are still in packages, but some day. We did about 9,000 miles. Ending back at home near Yosemite. We are in the process of down sizing and deciding where to go. This will probably take a year, and hope next summer to take a quick trip to see where we might land, if we don’t stay in the area.
    Thanks for sharing. vivian http://www.vivianhelena.com


  14. somethingrosemade14

    I was just wondering if you were doing the MN Shop Hop since I thought it started already and I didn’t see any posts from you. Glad to read that you had a successful and fun first day and Tuna Helper is living up to his name. I’ve never done a shop hop with my hubby but when we are traveling he does look to see if there are any quilts shop near where we’re staying. We always have snacks in the car but I do like to load up when we’re at a Caseys. Looking forward to seeing your purchases.


  15. 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

  16. Grace

    Love reading about your travels during the MN Quilt Shop Hop. Glad you enjoyed your stop in Oklee, my local store. I have not done the whole state only a couple sections but look forward to going to a new section or two next year and of course my local section. So fun to see the shops!


  17. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Three on the Quilt MN Shop Hop, 6 Shops, 282 Miles, Only 38 Shops Remaining | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

  18. Kathleen McCormick

    Wonderful stories always are the hop stories. I didn’t realize how long this struggle was going on with your vision – your a saint for not complaining about it. Not driving would be a real change for me so I am glad you can do it when you choose to. Sounds like Tu-na Helper is all in and I love that he does a passport too! You did well on the first day; you may need a bigger car for the way home.


  19. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Four of the Quilt MN Shop Hop, 10 Shops, 252 Miles, Only 28 Shops Remaining | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

  20. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Five on the Quilt MN Shop Hop, 8 Shops, 366 Miles, Only 20 Shops Remaining | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

  21. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Six on the 2019 Quilt MN Shop Hop, 9 Shops, 245 Miles, Only 11 Shops Remaining | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

  22. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Seven on the 2019 Quilt MN Shop Hop, 6 Shops, 137 Miles, Only 4 Shops Remaining (or so we thought) | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

  23. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Eight on the 2019 Quilt MN Shop Hop, 5 Shops, 406 Miles, Time Spent with Tu-Na Helper–Priceless | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

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