Region 3 Complete!

Alas, we still have 3 more shops in Region 1 before we complete our Northern Illinois Quilt Shop Hop.  

We were able to head out to the Rockford area again yesterday, and frankly, we are getting smarter about these long drives.  Now we pack a cooler with lunch and snacks, we chit- chat about the scenery and the history of the area and also about the shops we are visiting.

With 29 stores behind us, we have some solid knowledge about store layout, fabric availability, and to be honest, we have noticed some major differences in shopability (if that’s a word!)  When we completely finish, I’ll do a summary blog with general thoughts.

For now, let’s get into yesterday’s trip:


Quilter’s General Store in Rockford

Set in a farmhouse, the quilts, samples and fabrics are laid out in the style of a very charming tour house.  You start in the kitchen, enter the living/dining room area and can even go upstairs into a child’s bedroom.  Near the stairs they had a civil war quilt that finally gave me the inspiration to embark on a civil war quilt.  Generally speaking, not my style, but the accompanying book by Barbara Brackman included the history of every block.  I got pulled in.

Quilter's General Store in Rockford.  Civil war blocks.

Quilter’s General Store in Rockford. Civil war blocks.









What I bought:  Barbara Brackman’s Civil War book, along with some fabric to work on the blocks.  I also found a hand embroidery guide with instructions for all types of hand embroidery stitches.

Reluctant Assistant comment:  “An old-fashioned quilt shop.”

Quilter's General Store in Rockford.

Quilter’s General Store in Rockford.







Quilter’s Haven in Rockford

This shop is set in a little more congested area of Rockford, though only 10 minutes or so from the last shop.  There were a number of shoppers in the store, even though it was a quiet Wednesday.  This store was busy.

What I bought:  Fatquarters

Reluctant Assistant comment:   “No comment.”

Quilter's Haven in Rockford

Quilter’s Haven in Rockford







The Notion’s Nook in Rockford

This shop has a tiny storefront, so it was easy to miss.  It is located in the Edgebrook outdoor mall, 5 or 6 stores to the right of the Egg Harbor but before the Annie’s Popcorn sign. (Some day I’m going to have to analyze the number of quilt shops located near an Egg Harbor…we’ve eaten at 2 so far on this trip, and have passed a number of them along the way…smart marketing!)

The shop is under new ownership – this owner has only been there 1 week.  But the shop itself was nicely put together.  They do have a lot of reproduction fabrics and some kids/Halloween stuff.  No shop hop basket yet.

What I bought:  A Civil War book and some stationery.

Reluctant Assistant’s comment:   “Don’t ask the barbecuing guys out front where the sewing store is.  They don’t know, even though they are practically in front of it.”


Julieanne’s Quilt Shop in Roscoe

A little tricky to get here.  Follow your GPS, but know that they are technically on 251, you just have to pull into the service road to get there.  Our GPS took us round and round in a circle just near the place, but we finally had to call.

The shop has many beautiful reproduction fabrics, including Barbara Brackman.  But they also have some 17th Century French reproductions.  I took note, because I would love to come back soon and take another look.  Since I did not have a plan for that fabric, I did not buy it.  But once I got home, of course, an idea came to me.  They also have some reproduction fabric that gives a portion of the sale to Habitat for Humanity.

What I bought:  Reproduction fabric

Reluctant Assistant comment:  ” Call for directions!! Or you will be going around Clayton Circle for the rest of your life!”

Julieanne's Quilt Shop

Julieanne’s Quilt Shop







Before we headed back, I noticed that just 2 doors down from Julieanne’s Quilt Shop, was a little cross stitch shop called Just One Stitch.  I thought, what the heck, we’re all the way out here.  So we stepped inside and found some of the most beautiful cross stitch work I have ever seen!  Everything in the shop was created by a mother/daughter team who must have worked endlessly on these pieces for most of their lives.  Honestly it was lovely, so I am sharing some samples, with their permission, and be sure to stop in when you are in Roscoe.  The work is just spectacular.

Just One Stitch in Roscoe

Just One Stitch in Roscoe







Just One Stitch in Roscoe

Just One Stitch in Roscoe


Out West and Back

My Reluctant Assistant and I finally headed out on Region 3 of the Northern Illinois Quilt Shop Hop.  

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Region 3 spans the greatest distance.  It starts in Clare and heads out to Galena, back through Rockford.  We totaled over 250 miles on our car yesterday.  Ambitiously and unrealistically, we attempted to do the whole region in one day.  Alas, some of the stores toward the end close at 4 pm , and we just couldn’t physically get there in time.  So we will be making another trip out to the Rockford area  very soon.

We both have to admit that even though we spent a lot of time on the road, this trip was very enjoyable.  The scenery is lovely as we headed farther west, and we stopped in some towns that I did not really even know existed.  I find it somewhat depressing that many small towns just aren’t what they used to be, and many had empty storefronts that were clearly affected by the recent economic downturn, along with many other factors, I suppose.  But that will have to wait for another blog post, as the quilt shops all seemed to be thriving and very well-stocked.

My advice:  Take your time through these little towns and really experience them.  Like us, you don’t have to complete it all in one day, and you’ll get to experience a piece of Americana.


Basketcases in Clare

When you find yourself in the middle of cornfields and think you are hopelessly lost, then you are almost there.

The view from the parking lot at Basketcases.

The view from the parking lot at Basketcases.




The store is on a farm, in what looks like a barn.  Very charming.  The bulk of the product is upstairs, but be sure to look around everywhere.  They did not yet have a basket created for the shop hop.

What I bought:  Charm pack of Halloween fabric

Reluctant Assistant comment:  “Very cozy.  They had 2 dogs in the shop!”


It’s for Quilting, Etc in Rockford

Located in a wood frame house setting, this is a very inviting place on the outskirts of Rockford. Small rooms inside the building can keep you hunting for hours, but we did not take that long!

What I bought:  Several fatquarters and a “purple thang.”  But for the life of me, I cannot find the “purple thang.”  I’m sure it got shuffled around in the course of the day, and for all I know it is still stuffed in my car somewhere.  For now , it is in the Bermuda triangle that was the Region 3 trip.

Reluctant Assistant comment:  “So much fabric in this place , it’s almost claustrophobic!”

It's For Quilting in Rockford.

It’s For Quilting in Rockford.







Lucky 2B Quilting in Pecatonica

A vibrant little quilt shop in this small town.  I got excited about their basket for the shop hop.  This is the one I really want to win, so far.  Their basket is 3 blocks from one of Edyta Sitar’s Laundry Basket Quilts patterns.  The basket includes the patterns and the laceys (laser cut appliques) for the 3 blocks.

Laundry Basket Quilt Pattern - 3 blocks included in Lucky 2B Quilting's Shop Hop Basket shop hop basket

Laundry Basket Quilt Pattern – 3 blocks included in Lucky 2B Quilting’s Shop Hop Basket .

Lucky 2B Quilting pattern for basket

Lucky 2B Quilting pattern for basket










What I bought:  Cut fabric and a charm pack of batiks

Reluctant Assistant’s comment:

” A normal quilt shop.”


Yellow Creek Quilt Designs in Pearl City

This quilt shop is partnered with an antique and gift shop called “Sew Many Antiques”.  The two owners are sisters, and they have written a number of books.  The owner promised to ship me a signed copy of her latest book, which she is also hoping to add to her shop hop basket ( a new shipment of books was due to come in soon.) Also, ask her for directions to Galena.  Her route is very direct, and takes you right to 20 and into the heart of Galena.  Your GPS will likely take you on a very long ride.

Yellow Creek Quilt designs in Pearl City

Yellow Creek Quilt designs in Pearl City





What I bought:  A couple of quilt charms for a charm bracelet, some hand lotion (they have their own label) and a copy of the owner’s book.

Reluctant Assistant’s comment:  “I liked the bank vault in the back room!”


Phatquarters in Galena

This is a very tidy store that I have visited once before when they were in a different location.  They moved to the main street in Galena and are right in the heart of things now.  The store itself has a lot of Bernina accessories, with a large classroom in the back.

What I bought:  Some fabric, and a small Bernina measurement guage that I had never seen before.

Reluctant Assistant comment: (Actually, he was totally distracted as I had promised we’d stop at the candy shop in town.)

Phatquarters in Galena

Phatquarters in Galena







Galena, of course, should be a day trip in and of itself.  The day we were there, it was over 90 degrees, so while it was not raining, it was certainly sweltering.  We stopped first at Chocolat where I got my self a bit of chocolate. If you go, try the strawberry rhubarb dark chocolate truffle.  Almost worth the 2 hour drive by itself.

Next stop for us was the Candy Kitchen in Galena, an old-fashioned candy shop, complete with kids in front of us paying with nothing but nickels and pennies.  My son wandered through here for awhile.  Being from the suburbs, I don’t know if he’s ever really seen a penny candy shop like I knew growing up.  I think it was a real treat for him.

Candy Kitchen in Galena

Candy Kitchen in Galena







The next stop was Orangeville.  My GPS did not recognize the address of this quilt shop, so I called there and the gal working could not give me directions.  So I had my GPS get me to the general area of Orangeville and told her I’d call back then.

The route from Galena takes you onto Meeker, and then onto a road called Stagecoach Trail.  And it is almost exactly the way it sounds.  It’s a two lane highway that swerves and curves its way through very picturesque farm country and is a real delight.  The day we drove through, we had clouds moving in and out of the sunlight casting artful shadows over the hilly terrain.


Once you are in Orangeville, be on the lookout.  It’s probably best to call for directions.  You literally pull into a side street that turns into a gravel road that leads to the driveway of the quilt shop.  The shop is in the basement.  Oh, and don’t mind the sign on the street that says Dead End.


Uniquely Yours Quilt Shop in Orangeville

This quilt shop is in the lower level of what looks to be a home.  They have a wide selection of fabric and even some that I have never seen before.  They also have a very large selection of patterns and books.

What I bought:  I found  more of the fall fabric that I have been collecting.

Reluctant Assistant comment:  “If you’re looking for fabric, it’s worth the ride, but wow, it’s in the middle of nowhere!”

Uniquely Yours in Orangeville

Uniquely Yours in Orangeville