Thursday, September 8, 2011

Quilt Across Texas Shop Hop - Part 1

Those wonderful folks in Quitman, TX at Stitchin' Heaven have come up with a great way to force traffic into a lot of quilt stores in Texas.  They have created a shop hop of about 90 stores, in eight different regions spanning the whole state of Texas and we quilters have a whole month (THIS MONTH!) to visit as many as we want or can for a chance at some pretty spectacular prizes.   Called the Quilt Across Texas shop hop it gives people like me an opportunity to see different shops, explore the back roads of Texas and to find unique quilt related items that are not available through the big distributors while hoping for a big prize.

Today is the day that I started my adventure.  There was a little method to my madness.

First of all, I wanted to see how Alex and Kelis would handle a long car ride.  The shop I went to today was 75 miles away which seemed like a good test of their ability to tolerate my ignoring them as the miles flew by.  

Kelis handled it like a pro.  She spent most of the trip sleeping in the back seat on an old wool afghan.  Good Girl!

Alex, on the other hand, spent most of the trip whining and trying to get between my face and the wind shield.  When he wasn't in the front of the car driving me nuts he was laying on the shelf behind the back seat with his head wedged between the head rests looking for to all the world as a dog getting ready to heave up his breakfast onto the the back seat.  

Maybe I'll try drugs on him next time.

The shop I visited made all the Alex drama worth it.  Heavenly Threads Quilt Shop is a delightful little store in Trinity Texas with a sweet owner and a Chuweiny(?) named Lucy as the shop dog.  Lucy got to meet Alex and Kelis and really didn't know what to do with them.  Alex made several attempts to sniff her in her nether regions so no wonder she wasn't interested!

The shop is in an old house, well signed and contains many things for the quilter including several civil war themed prints, embellishments for art quilts and a broad range of fabrics.  Patricia, the owner, recently published her first pattern which combines an appliqued cowboy boot with blue jeans into a nice wall hanging.  It's not on the website but you can see mine if ask nicely.

My hear sung a little when I saw her backing ready bolts of fabric for 50% off and her pillowcase kits for $5.00 each.  I have enough backing fabric for a small quilt factory but the pillowcase kits will be used almost immediately for a project I saw on Facebook.  Country Living Quilts (1816 CR 427, Marquez, TX 77865) is collecting pillowcases for those who have been burned out of their homes due to the huge wild fires around Bastrop, Texas.

 If I am ever near this area again, I will definitely stop in and enjoy all the quilt goodness here.

And that's the other method to my madness.  This shop is WAY off the beaten track for the shop hop.  When I mapped out everything else in that region, all of the other shops are concentrated between Houston and Austin except this one.  Making it to that shop while doing the other shops would be a bit of a pain so doing it by itself made sense to me.  

I also got to enjoy some very pleasant back roads.  I drove up to the shop through a lot of construction on I-45 but came back on a lot of country roads so I could stop and have lunch at Florida's Kitchen in Livingston. Yum, Yum!

I love back roads in any part of the world and today was no exception.  For a while I followed an old boat trailer with a skiff on it.  The trailer had weeds growing on it and the boat lost little bits of itself as we bumped along the road. I wonder what they were going to do with such an unseaworthy vessel after they left the road at a public boat launch?  They may have been thinking about sinking it in the lake, but the drought had made the lakes so shallow that I don't think they would have been successful.

I saw no evidence of wild fires in the area (a good thing!) but I did get to see how low some of the lakes and streams are in this area.  At one point there was an ugly stench coming through the air vents. Before I panicked I realized that the smell came from rotting vegetation exposed by the dropping lake levels.  Glad I don't have a home near there! 

The next part of hop that I will attempt may include an overnight stay somewhere as the distances are pretty significant...especially if I want to loiter at any of the stores.  Kelis will go to Paul and Alex has been offered a place at his foster family's home.  I just have to get the planning done so I can firm up the dates.

If you are in Texas check out some of the stores you have never visited before for a road trip treat.  If you are out of state...see if you can get one going in your state.  Shopping, back roads and unique quilt related stuff will make it all worth the energy to make it happen. 

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