Kudos to shops who had everything put together in time for shop hoppers to see their baskets. Of the 32 stores, 24 had their baskets made up.
Whew! 32 shops. 32 small business owners. 32 sets of directions from the GPS.
78 fatquarters purchased, 10 yards of fabric, 5 books, 4 wool packs, 2 boxes of stationery, 2 charm packs, 2 bracelet charms, a bottle of hand lotion, 1 seam ripper and a “purple thang” (which I still cannot find.) Oh, and a pattern, notions and fabric for my mom to make a handbag.
This is enough to keep me busy all winter and beyond.
Special shout out of thanks to my Reluctant Assistant– my 10 year old son– who tolerated and entertained me along most of the way. Don’t worry, he’s getting a quilt made of snack food fabric out of this!
If you are heading out on this hop, remember you have until Aug 30 to complete. No need to rush. Here’s a look at the last 3 shops I visited:
Very big, bright store with loads of fabric. I wanted to spend more time there, just browsing. They told me that they are featuring more events, so lots of new growth and exciting things happening at this store. They did not have a shop hop basket made up yet.
What I bought: A Kaffe Fasset book, sale fabric.
Reluctant Assistant comment: Not present.
Located in the heart of Northbrook in a wood frame house, this cozy shop had plenty of fabric to choose from. They also do longarm quilting on site. Their shop hop basket was really well put together, (hard to see in the picture, but it’s a nice large basket with fabric, a book and other notions.)
What I bought: More fatquarters.
Reluctant Assistant comment: Not present.
This is a large shop that also sells Janome machines. I had picked up my mom prior to this shop and she found some lovely fall fabric to make a handbag. Everyone was very helpful. Their shop hop basket is not a basket at all. I thought this was rather brilliant. Their raffle item is a bias tape maker from Simplicity. They also have someone who sharpens scissors and travels to area Joann’s Fabrics to sharpen scissors, including the one in Geneva Commons.
What I bought: Some striped fabric and the handbag pattern etc for my mom.
Reluctant Assistant comment: Not present.
Finally made another quick visit to Thimbles in Lockport and that completed our Region 2 portion of the Northern Illinois Quilt Shop Hop. We’ll be moving on the road again soon, but with temperatures shooting up into the 90’s over the next few days, I think we’ll be cautious about how far we head out. We are actually going to try to do Region 3 in one day. That’s a trip out to Galena and Rockford. We’ll see how that goes.
I enjoyed myself here. The store is a delight – lots of samples and fun fabric, charming to wander and discover. Staff was welcoming and friendly.
What I bought: This fantastic cartoon fabric all about home sewing. They had a sample of it made into a bag and I loved it!
Continuing with our summer road trip to 32 quilt shops as part of the Northern Illinois Quilt Shop Hop, my reluctant assistant and I managed to get in another 2 shops. It would have been 3, but I’ve come to realize that I will likely NEVER remember to double check a store’s hours and days when they are open. For the record, Thimbles in Lockport is not open on Tuesdays.
But here are the other 2 shops we managed to get in:
With over 7000 bolts of fabric, they bill themselves as “A Quiter’s Paradise”. The store actually looks rather small as you enter, but take a look at the next room! It’s almost a warehouse of fabric! My reluctant assistant took off like a shot to find some fabric he was looking for, and I was overwhelmed.
What I bought: Serger thread, fabric, and a book on hexagons.
Reluctant Assistant comment: “More fabric than you can imagine and some that you can’t!”
Light, airy place with fresh fabric and friendly staff. This is my home base, by the way, so I may be a bit prejudiced. My reluctant assistant feels quite at home here, as do I. This much I know: it would be hard to find owners who are kinder or more eager to help customers. It would be hard to find sales people who are more knowledgeable or better co-workers and friends. Enough from me.
What I bought: On this particular trip, I bought the fabric for a “transparency quilt” for my nephew’s baby-on-the-way.
Reluctant Assistant comment: “The employees are very, very nice.”
We took off today with a goal of only two shops. This seems to keep us from taking on too much. For those of you not already playing along, my 10 year old son and I have been making our way through the entire Northern Illinois Shop Hop – 32 shops.
Today we hit the half-way mark. And I really can’t complain about how long it’s taken, or whether or not it’s been enjoyable. Some days, I feel like my son…just get me out of here. Some days, we enjoy spending the time together. Today, mainly because we have limited ourselves to just two stores, we had an enjoyable trip.
They are located at a very busy intersection. Your GPS will get you close, but I had to call to find out exactly where they were. They are a Bernina dealer, who also carries fabric and yarn…something I have not seen anywhere along the way on the shop hop. Plenty of fabrics to choose, but we were in and out pretty quick. They did not have a basket made up yet for the shop hop raffle.
What I bought: Fatquarters. I’m becoming predictable.
Reluctant Assistant comment: “Average quilt shop.”
Our next stop was Wild Birds Unlimited in Lisle.
This is one of our favorite little suburban treasures. We have backyard feeders and love our birds and critters. This is the place to stock up on basics, but we have purchased all our feeders from them as well as all our bird food. They have a great selection of feeders and I highly recommend the Woodpecker blend of food. On to the next shop!
A cute little shop in the very heart of downtown Downers Grove. Parking is a little crowded on a Friday at noon, but we found a spot around the corner. Very friendly staff, they suggested that my son could start quilting and might be interested in a book by Joe Cunningham, “Men and the Art of Quiltmaking”. Their basket is a cheery pink sand bucket and matching sand shovel. See below.
What I bought: Fabric (more for the food quilt)
Reluctant Assistant comment: “The ladies were VERY enthusiastic about boys being able to quilt.”
Before heading home we found another Egg Harbor Cafe in Downers Grove, right next to where we parked, so of course, that’s where we ate lunch. All in all, a good morning!
Third time was the charm. We swung by A Touch of Amish in Barrington once before on a weekday shortly after 4 pm. They close at 4:00. Then we headed in that direction on a Monday. They are closed on Monday.
Finally, my Reluctant Assistant and I agreed we would try again, and call before we go. We also decided that today we would only attempt ONE shop. We would take our time and enjoy their goods. And then go home–instead of trying to cram in more shops along the way.
Barrington, of course, is a lovely town. We did eat lunch at their Egg Harbor Cafe, which is always a yummy place to go. And then, brilliantly, came home.
18 more shops to go.
Their web site boasts that they are the oldest quilt shop in Chicagoland. They also claim to have the most fabric, but I think that some of the newer quilt shops in the area may be giving them a run for their money with that title.
They seem to specialize in traditional fabric, with that being the overwhelming majority. That said, I did find brights and batiks and even some food novelty, which my son has been chasing down. They did not have a giveaway basket made up yet. (Each shop on the Northern Illinois shop hop is supposed to have a basket worth $100 that is a giveaway to a lucky winner who visits their store.)
What I bought: Kaffe Fassett fatquarters, and some raspberry and orange fabric. Not very Amish, I’m afraid. But then, of course, neither are we.
Reluctant Assistant comment: “It’s bigger on the inside then it looks on the outside.”
Three days. Three days was all it took. Three days of driving around the suburbs looking for locations and I finally let loose a string of profanity so clear, colorful and resounding that my 10 year old in the back seat learned correct grammatical usage and tense.
After driving to four quilt shops, two of them being CLOSED–(Note to all shop hoppers: check to see what days the stores are OPEN.)–and after inhaling the dust from my neighbor’s newly installed stone driveway for three days, we ran into more construction on the way home. 38, also known as Roosevelt, goes down to one lane between Winfield and St. Charles. The signage gives drivers plenty of time to merge. However, you know how it is. Someone always thinks that where they’re going is more important than where you are going. So they zoom all the way to the end of the lane that’s ending then cut in front of everyone to get back in line.
Today, I found myself inching over the middle line to prevent the zoomers.
I never do this. And I don’t recommend it.
But you’ve seen this too, people like me who get tired of being cut off and attempt to stop others by blocking the second lane. Well, needless to say, someone came up behind me and laid on their horn, eventually swerving out into the emergency lane to go around me and cut everyone off.
I knew it was time to go home.
My husband told me a story about the same type of thing happening in front of him on 64 (where, if you don’t already know this, is a construction nightmare on the east side of St. Charles). He said one car moved over the middle line as lanes were closing, blocking people from cutting others off. Of course, someone else attempted to go around the vehicle on the passenger’s side. Then he said the passenger of the first car swung open the door as the other was attempting to pass. Interesting tactic. Luckily, no one was hurt.
I almost forgot to mention. As we passed the intersection of Arlington Heights Road and Rand Road, I heard a huge crash. Uh-oh. I reached the front of the intersection. Yep. It became clear that a pick-up truck had hit a car. The woman inside the car was crying hysterically. She had at least one child in the back seat. The front lefthand side of her car was crunched like a paper bag. I could plainly see she was wearing a seatbelt and the air bag had engaged. Instantly I reached for my phone and dialed 911. There was no way for me to jump out to assist without causing the potential for more accidents. If you’ve ever seen the amount of traffic at Arlington Heights Rd and Rand, you understand.
Shop Hoppers, be careful out there. It’s crazy. Drivers are unpredictable, traffic and construction is maddening. The main goal is to stay safe. I’m reminding myself. I’m reminding you. Now on to today’s shops.
One of the largest shops I’ve seen. Lots and lots of fabric and notions and thread. They had a class in the back that must have held 60 people. They sell machines, Bernina and Babylock from what I could tell.They did not have a basket prepared for the giveaway.
What I bought: Fatquarters
Reluctant Assistant comment: ” Lots of variety. The life size poster of that lady (Eleanor Burns) is a little scary.”
A charming store, very inviting. Mostly traditional fabrics, but a nice selection of brights and batiks in the back. They did not have a basket prepared yet for the giveaway.
What I bought: Kaffe Fassett fatquarters
Reluctant Assistant comment: “They will cut fatquarters for you. They did for my mom.”
I managed to squeeze in another four stores this weekend…found the ones that were open on Sunday and headed out. Alas, I did not bring my sidekick with me this time. He was devastated. Not.
Nevertheless, I was able to navigate these few on my own.
Lots of fun novelty fabric, including plenty for children. I noticed many children’s patterns too. She also had a nice selection of batiks. Active shop for a Sunday afternoon!
What I bought: More food fabric for my son’s soon-to-be-quilt featuring all snack fabrics.
Reluctant Assistant comment: Not present, but he would have loved the novelty prints.
Heading over to Oswego, just thought I’d mention this little tidbit for those of you who like to imbibe: The Fox Valley Winery is en route from Batavia to Oswego, on Ogden. I was so tempted to stop but unfortunately, I had to keep moving. But now I know where it is! I’ll be back!!!
Very traditional. But I loved the furnishings and the layout, it was all inviting. While it has some modern fabric, it’s clear they specialize in loads of traditional fabric, lots of browns, maroons, very warm and rich. Large selection of wool in colors I don’t normally see.
My eye was drawn to a quilt on the wall made from their “ugliest fatquarters” contest. It’s currently a raffle quilt.
What I bought: Teal colored wool, Mary Janes Farm Magazine
Reluctant Assitant’s comment: Not present.
This is a brand new shop–been opened about a week now. They have 2000 bolts of fabric, with a goal of getting up to 6000 in the near future. They sell Bernina machines and they also have just about the largest longarm in the back that I have ever seen.
They do not have a sign outside yet, and Woodridge will not allow them to put anything up outside. Follow your GPS, then look for the Wood Craft shop. They are to the left of it, behind the Baker’s Square.
What I bought: Fabric for my stash
Reluctant Assistant comment: Not present
This is a very big store, with tons of fabric. They sell Janome machines and Innova longarms, I believe. Be careful here…they don’t have fatquarters but half yard cuts. it’s easy to buy twice the amount of fabric you intended!! (I did!)
What I bought: Fabric and some quilt stationary.
Reluctant Assistant’s comment: Not present.
Nothing like a shop hop in the rain. Unless it’s a shop hop in the rain with your edgy 10 year old son. However, he did man up and take charge of the GPS, and we stayed completely on track the whole day. Only 25 more shops to go.
He also helped me find some really nice fabrics…and he found a few of his own as he scheduled my time to make a quilt for his bed.
All in all, we got to 7 quilt shops today. We were given permission by all shops to show their raffle basket, so here goes!
Sewing Concepts in Carpentersville: Small shop but loads of Janome sewing machines and fabric with a very cheerful and helpful staff.
What I bought: Some fabric for a quilt for my nephew and niece and their new baby.
From the Reluctant Assistant: “They asked me if I actually want to ‘hop’. I didn’t.”
A side note here. The construction near 72 and Randall is a nightmare. Traffic was held up while the lights changed several times. We were pretty backed up on 72 trying to get from Dundee out to Hampshire. If you can find another route, take it. I’d try to avoid this intersection.
Charming setting, with lots of great samples. I was drawn to some of the quilter’s jewelry at the front of the store. Very nice staff ( I knew one of the gals.)
What I bought: More fabric and a charm for my scissors so they don’t get mixed in with someone else’s at a class.
Reluctant Assistant comment: “A normal quilt shop.”
Tidy little store with lots of lovely fabrics–brights and batiks. I would have spent more time browsing fabric but my helper was ready to go.
What I bought: More fabric and a “Seam Fix” tool. I’ve been looking for one of these. It’s just a seam ripper with an eraser on the end to easily remove all the tiny threads on a ripped seam.
Reluctant Assistant comment: “I found a fabric stack (a layer cake) that will make me gain 97 pounds!” (Fabric with all snack foods on it).
Woodstock Quilts in Woodstock:
Tiny little building that might be easy to miss…look for the bright teal door! She had a nice selection of fabrics and was very helpful with directions. Her raffle basket is actually a quilted bag. So we took the goodies out of the bag to display them.
What I bought: More fabric..imagine!
Reluctant Assistant comment: “Probably the single hardest-to-spot building!”
One of the larger shops with machines and fabric. They were helpful in providing lunch menus to local places and offered suggestions.
What I bought: Found some lovely fall/winter fabric — perfect for placemats!
Reluctant Assistant comment: “Spent all eternity in this store.” (Mom’s note: it was time for lunch.)
The square in Woodstock is really a charming place to visit–even in the rain. The Public House looked like it had a wonderful menu, a place I would have loved to try. Alas, we were on the lookout for a place with chicken fingers and fries. We ate at the BBQ King Smokehouse– tiny, but the pulled pork and sweet potato fries were pretty good. You can also find a number of other interesting shops along the square, so you may want to take your time through Woodstock and enjoy it a bit.
Big, bright and airy shop with lots of new fabric lines and an emphasis on contemporary and youthful fabrics. School was just out in Crystal Lake and teenagers wandered in and out of the shop. Fun! I had to take a quick pic of her “button wall”.
What I bought: More fabric of course.
Reluctant Assistant comment: “They had a LOT of food fabric!”
Lots of primitive, darker colors, with lovely cozy quilts. Wonderful selection of felted wools, even on the bolt. I’ll post their basket as soon as they send a pic to me!
What I bought: Some felted wool.
Reluctant Assistant comment: “They had cool toys at the front desk.”
Find out all the details here... including the possibility of winning a new Bernina sewing machine! Each store will also be raffling off a basket worth $100 worth of sewing supplies.
You will get 15% off your purchase at each store on the day you get your passport stamped–how can you go wrong?
I’m going to visit every shop this summer, with a goal of finishing in June or early July. I’ll be blogging about each store and showing a picture of each raffle basket. (with permission from each store).
I will be accompanied by my reluctant assistant who is in charge of the GPS. We’ll be heading to your local store soon! See you then!