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

This was going to be an exciting day. There was a new shop to explore and a region to check out of which meant prizes!

We had about a half-hour drive to the west to get to Heather’s Book Nook in Granite Falls, MN and she opened at 9 this morning. Tu-Na Helper was focused on getting there by opening time if not before.

We came into Granite Falls on a most interesting route. Google maps on Tu-Na Helper’s I-Phone was set to route us the shortest distance so we found ourselves turning onto a gravel road probably because it was 12 feet shorter than staying with the paved road.

tunaquilts 16a

The road even got narrower after this!

This also happened on the first day of the hop when we found ourselves diverted through a mobile home park. After touring past the homes, we finally exited following the directions told to us by Google Maps and came onto the right road.

This time the App would not fail us either. However, I fail to understand the logic in these short-cuts. Then again I am not the one driving. But Tu-Na Helper is a follower at least of map directions.

Me: “Why did you turn onto the gravel road?”

Tu-Na Helper: “Because it (Google maps) told me to.”

Me: “Even when you go through a mobile home park or onto gravel roads?”

Tu-Na Helper: “Well, we get there don’t we?”

He is right. We eventually get to our destination.

We checked out of the South Central Region at Heather’s. We each received a set of 4 coasters with quilt designs and a metal tray to hold them as our incentive prize.

tunaquilts 6a

I really like this set of 4 beautiful, tile coasters. They have cork on the bottom to protect surfaces. I’ll be leaving mine at my ND house and Tu-Na Helper will be taking his to our AZ house (only he doesn’t know it yet). Both sets are the same.

The next shop would be a 36 minute drive to Marshall. I settled into my seat working on my hexi project as our trusty Prius headed south.

tunaquilts 1a

At Fabrics Plus, I asked which quilts were made by PB&J. I was given the tour of the shop and shown her beautiful creations.


Used with permission of PB&J. This was my favorite.

Jen of Patterns By Jen (PB&J) and I were together in the New Quilt Bloggers group several years ago and she lives in the area.

PB&J 2

Used with permission. She has patterns for sale.


Used with permission of PB&J. Here’s the professional shot for the pattern of the quilt that now hangs in the shop.

Back on the road, I again settled in for an even longer drive—an hour and 10 minute drive southward to Worthington. We can count on Crafty Corner Quilt & Sewing Shoppe having a bottle of cold water ready for us. Tu-Na Helper had forgotten to fill his water bottle this morning so it would come in handy. Not only did we get the water but they also included a Rice Krispie bar (as they’ve done in the past) with their free pattern and square of Fabric.

tunaquilts 2a


We now turned our car to the northeast as we zigzagged our way to the quilt shop in Windom. I featured Prairie Quilting and their love story in 2017 here

When we arrived, I found a beautiful floral fabric while Tu-Na Helper talked farming with Kay’s husband, who was in his feed business office next door. We’ve been seeing full truck loads of corn in their husks the past couple of days which we suspected were headed for a food processing plant. We’ve also driven by miles and miles of corn fields but some fields were barren or growing a crop he didn’t recognize.

tunaquilts 17a

A central MN corn field viewed at 60+ MPH.

He was curious.

After we left the shop, and Tu-Na Helper had his answers, he turned the car to the southeast and headed to Sherburn. 

tunaquilts 19a

The Quilt MN Shop Hop flag greeted us as we exited the car at Old Alley Quilt Shop. Each shop on the hop displays this flag. It helps us locate the store. Although, we didn’t need it in this town. Notice that beautiful purple antique machine.

tunaquilts 21a

There were many brightly painted antique machines scattered among the flowers. I took pictures of them all!

tunaquilts 24a

Coneflowers are some of my favorite flowers. I just can’t seem to grow any but they seem to flourish outside the door of Old Alley.

I really like the quilt shop in Sherburn and featured them in 2016 here. I’ve always said that if I could own a quilt shop it would be just like this one.

Back in the car, we turned eastward avoiding I-90 due to construction.

tunaquilts 26a

Metal sculptures seem to catch my attention!

tunaquilts 27a

These two art works were found in Blue Earth.

tunaquilts 28a

Blue Earth has a number of Little Sprouts scattered around. We can’t leave without finding one!

We arrived in Blue Earth and visited Michele’s Quilting & Sewing Center before continuing east onto Hayward to visit Calico Hutch. I featured them in 2017 here. 

tunaquilts 15a

This quilt was behind the counter at Calico Hutch. I think it contains over 6,000 pieces. I wrote the exact number as well as the name of the pattern on a piece of paper and now I can’t find it. So if anyone is reading this and can enlighten me, please comment so I can fill in the blanks.

Up to this point, we were making good time. Tu-Na Helper had adjusted our travel time for the day to include spending an additional 5 minutes at each shop so we didn’t feel rushed. Some shops we spent more than the 20 minutes and some shops less. However, he had now changed the Route 4 Me App to direct us using the fastest route. 

The last shop of the day would be in Mankato, one hour and 13 minutes to the northwest. 

The New Shop on the Hop — River City Quilts 

tunaquilts 47a

We drove up to River City Quilts and parked on the side. Notice the stairway; it’s the location of many wedding and graduation pictures.

tunaquilts 46a

This side entrance is handicap accessible.

tunaquilts 35a

Inspiration greeted me inside the side entrance.

After walking through the door, I met the new shop owner, Laurel Ballman. 

tunaquilts 38a

She bought the shop on August 1st, 2018, although it had been in business since 2000 in another location of the city. Laurel says her first year participating on the shop hop has been fun. I sure hope she’ll be back next year.

tunaquilts 52a

I give River City Quilts two thumbs up! This shop is located at 529 North Riverfront Dr, Mankato, MN. This is the front entrance. 

River City Quilts is now located downtown. This 142 year old building used to be the meat market. There’s lots of original architectural charm remaining in the building.

tunaquilts 36a

There’s the original tin ceiling.

There’s even a meat smoking room in the basement. But the only evidence of that are the smokin’ hot and bright fabrics you’ll find inside the shop. Laurel offers a bit of everything to try to appeal to everybody’s tastes.

tunaquilts 45a

This is a bright and colorful shop. Notice the antique drawer pulls. The cutting counter is the old pocket door.

While you won’t find any fresh meat in the shop now, Laurel has been cooking up some fun. She creates kits and offers classes which will be starting back up in the fall.

tunaquilts 31a

Her advice for new quilters is to start simple.  She says,”Don’t be afraid of trying something new and different. Ask for help. Ask questions when you need.”

tunaquilts 37a

I even found a firemen suit in a corner of the shop. It belonged to Laurel’s uncle and was added as a scavenger hunt item for the junior hoppers. 

tunaquilts 39a

The outside of the shop is also interesting. Through all the years and various owners, the original Coca Cola sign has remained intact.

tunaquilts 49a

Only 5 cents for a bottle of Coke. I wish!!

There’s a mural painted on the building across the parking lot that I had to have a bit of fun with.

tunaquilts 50a

When you stop at River City Quilts in Mankato, take time to relax and look for some smokin’ hot new fabrics. Be sure to tell them that Tu-Na sent you.

tunaquilts 44a

You can also check out their online shop and website here.

After we left the shop, we drove around the downtown section of Mankato because we’ve never seen it before. Laurel’s husband had spoken about its revitalization.

tunaquilts 30a

We dined on Mediterranean fare at Olives. 

tunaquilts 14a

The restaurant was appropriately named. We started with a bowl of olives. 

tunaquilts 12a

And then some delicious bread.


tunaquilts 13a

We shared Spinach & Artichoke Dip. Tu-Na Helper liked it with the bread; I liked it on the lettuce.

tunaquilts 10a

Me: “Stop, don’t eat anymore. I forgot to take a picture.” Tu-Na Helper: “That happens a lot.” Me: “Do you mean my forgetting things or me taking pictures of  your food?” Tu-Na Helper: “Both.” Tu-Na Helper had a huge plate of Kefta Kabob.

tunaquilts 11a

I had Chicken and Vegetables with Pasta.

The food was delicious.

tunaquilts 9a

The desserts looked impressive. I’ll take one of each, please. Actually, I took pictures instead. 

tunaquilts 8a

Although, I do wish I had bought a piece or two of Baklava for us to enjoy later.

It was a good thing that Tu-Na Helper parked three blocks away from the restaurant as we needed the walk before we jumped back into the car.

We would be checking into a hotel room that we had secured earlier that morning located in New Ulm. It would be a 35 minute drive west from Mankato. We were beginning to think we were driving in circles. We both were tired and looking forward to a good night’s sleep. 

After we settled into our room, we each turned on the hotel WiFi and started checking our email accounts. And then we heard it!! 

It was loud! 

Tu-Na Helper: “There’s a cicada stuck in our air conditioning unit,” he reported to the front desk on his phone.

Front desk: “I’ll let maintenance know about it in the morning.”

Tu-Na Helper: “I’ve banged on the unit to get it to stop and that hasn’t worked. Just so you know, in case you get complaints of loud noises from this room.”

Me: “Are you kidding?” I replied when he told me that there would be no one coming to rescue it or us. The hotel was full so no other rooms were available. We were too tired to try to find a different hotel.

Tu-Na Helper continued to try to get it to leave by banging on the unit. He even took the front grill off of it but about all that succeeded in doing was creating a cloud of dust in the air. He gave up and we got ready for bed.

We’ve only heard a couple of cicadas while living in North Dakota but we’ve also lived in a suburb of Washington D.C. and can still recognize that unforgettable sound. They are loud and shrill. This one had the added advantage of being stuck in a metal box that only amplified it.

I climbed into bed covering my head with the sheet and the pillow trying to convince myself we were outside camping in the wilderness. But I know for a fact that thing chirped all night and Tu-Na Helper slept right through it. Oh, it would settle down for a minute or two after his song was over and I would be just about asleep when it would start all over again.

It was a long night. 

A Look at the Loot for the Day

tunaquilts 29a

Here’s the patterns from each shop we visited today and eight 5″ squares of Quilt MN Shop Hop fabric.

tunaquilts 4a

I found another option for gnome beards, another half-yard of lovely flowers, a half-yard of birds to include in the applique project, a lovely fat quarter on clearance for my stash, and a cookbook.

tunaquilts 3a

The Southwest Region publishes a cookbook/quilt pattern book each year. This one needed to come home with me as it included some wonderful breakfast recipes and quilt patterns. I added Bloomers (top picture) to my “must make” list.

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!

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

Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Two of the Quilt MN Shop Hop, 9 Shops, 528 Miles, Only 44 Shops Remaining

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

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

Or the Shop Hop posts from prior years: 




What I Learned Today:

  1. I am not very good at pretending. No matter how I tried, I could not convince my brain that we were outside enjoying the fresh air and sounds at a campsite.
  2. Tu-Na Helper can sleep through just about anything.
  3. “None of us are getting any younger” as heard on a radio program. 
  4. I beg to differ. My mental age is still 29.
  5. Attitude is everything.
  6. “We are better together” seen on a sign just outside of New Ulm. I agree. Tu-Na Helper and I make a good pair.

Question: What’s your mental age? In my head, I am 29. Although, I often wonder who keeps stepping in front of me every time I look in a mirror.

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

Linking to:

Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication

15 thoughts on “Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Five on the Quilt MN Shop Hop, 8 Shops, 366 Miles, Only 20 Shops Remaining

  1. Leslie Schmidt

    I got a chuckle out of your observation about someone else showing up when you look in the mirror. I can really relate. I never realize how big I am until I look in the mirror. I’m 69 years old, but think I’m still 45. However, my body doesn’t agree.

    I keep forgetting to ask you if you ever make anything with the patterns and charm squares you collect on the shop hop. I never have, but I keep saving them. I haven’t gotten more than 10 pieces from any hop, so there wouldn’t be much I could do with them. However, some of them might work together.

    What an awful way to spend the night, with that chatty cicada! My husband usually can sleep through most sounds. I think it’s harder for mothers. We have been attuned to sounds of our babies, and it just carries over.

    I’m going to be sad when your reports from the hop are over. I get a few laughs, and I enjoy your photos and descriptions. You’ll just have to take more trips!


  2. Cathy

    Another day packed full of adventure!!! The quilt shops look so quaint and the people so friendly. The quilts are gorgeous and the loot y’all are earning is totally fun. Y’all seem to find some really yummy food and the pictures make me hungry!! I can’t even imagine trying to sleep with a cicada stuck in the AC. Ugh!! And my mental age….I’m thinking 30 sounds good. There are so many times I say “my mind says “yes”, but my body says “no”!! Thanks as always for your wonderful posts!!! xox


  3. piecefulwendy

    Funny, we were just having a conversation the other day about mental age. Like you, my mental age is 29. My body tells me differently, however! Good to see those shops again. I definitely need to make a run to Mankato and see the new River City Quilts. It looks like a nice shop. (I thought Old Alley was closing, so good to see it’s still there!)


  4. karenfae

    I think I have been to the shop in Mankato but not positive – the bug in the vent would have driven me crazy and I would not have been able to sleep without ear plugs – do not travel without them! Mental age hmmm 30? I don’t feel old


  5. Rochelle Summers

    Another busy and fun day. Love all the photos…quilt shops, fabric, sculptures, food. Those cicadas are horrible. I could hear them even without hearing aids in, I’m sure. The reflection in the mirror tells me a different story than the mind. I’ve never had any angst over birthdays because I haven’t felt old. But I do feel that time is flying faster than ever!! Looking forward to more adventures on the blog hop!


  6. Marsha Cooper

    28 shop?? OMG!! Our Central Kansas shop hop keeps shrinking, unfortunately. Still lots of fun.
    Some day I will figure out how to have enough money to just travel to so many different shops.


  7. dezertsuz

    Mental age? Sometimes about 5, other times more like 35. LOL Rarely ever does it match my chronological age! What a wonderful day, and great new shop. I would love to wander around all those small towns. I know I’d want to live in each one … right up until the cold came down in sheets! =) We have cicadas all the time, and I pretty much tune them out. If it were right in the air conditioner in my room, that might be harder to do. Thanks for sharing all these good things! Love the art, the colored machines, and the beautiful flowers.


  8. Kathleen McCormick

    Bug in the vent – I don’t know but I am sure I would have been up all night, too. So many fun things on this day…I love the tiles and the fun you had in Mankato – and those deserts – oh my! It really is so much fun reading these and I don’t know how old I think I am, but it am sure it is under 35.


  9. Demaris Soso

    Another fun story of a fun day on the Hop. Food looks good, shops are fun, prizes are rewarding not so much for sleeping places. Nights are way to long if you can’t sleep because a bug is singing. Would a spray of insect spray have shut him up or is it a her?
    Very funny now, right?


  10. 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

  11. Barbara Mitchell

    A cicada in the air conditioner! Oh my! Glad one of you got the rest to get behind the wheel….loved the coasters wurh the quilt patterns 💕I got inspired with your posts and visited the closest Quilt Shop this week and found some fabric for curtains for my new sewing room and many other adorable fabrics…loved the trip through the mobile Home Park🚗


  12. 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

  13. thedarlingdogwood

    Oh, that cicada incident sounds horrible! I wouldn’t be able to sleep through it either. I love the fire suit hidden among the bolts of fabric, my son would be over the moon if he found a firefighter suit in a quilt shop! What fun!


  14. 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

  15. Quilted Pants

    I am so enjoying this series of blog posts. Thank you for storing up all the photos and memories to share.
    I still can’t get over how far you traveled each day and how many shops you visited!



I'm intersted in what you think. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.