Illinois Friends Enjoy Their First Iowa Shop Hop

Elaine Deal Rooker and her friends from Illinois did the All Iowa Shop Hop for the first time in 2019 and enjoyed it tremendously. They sent us this great summary of their adventure. 

On June 19 Jean, Sandy and I started our All Iowa Shop Hop. We started from Savanna IL at 8:30 am and went to LeClaire, Iowa for The Expressions in Threads quilt store. We were too early before the store opened and found a coffee shop. The man, who owned the coffee shop greeted us to a booth and made us fresh coffee in white mugs. He was a very good host interested in what we were doing. He eyed Jean and she eyed him. He showed us quilting books and framed quilt pictures on the walls. We left him as the LeClaire store opened at 10:00. Our All Iowa Shop Hop began but the man and coffee lingered as to how lucky we had been to stop at his shop. Even Jean liked him. Was a future date to come for Jean? We laughed but only time and fate will tell.

At the Leclaire shop we purchased the Iowa square, learned about fat squares and quilting. We got our first stamp in our passport and our first quilt direction card. Lunch was at the Machine Shed restaurant and sharing what we had seen and bought. We felt like we were in a sewing Halloween asking for a stamp and quilt card at each store. But we also bought products, fat quarters etc and gained a lot of sewing knowledge. 

At the next store our quilting awareness increased as we were shown fabrics at The Fabric Stasher in Tipton. At West Branch we saw the Herbert Hoover museum and cute shops nearby as we got our passports stamped and were given a quilt square direction card from Cotton Creek Mill. 

In DeWitt we went to Heartland Cottons learning about batting. At the Home Ec Workshop they were not only quilting, there were girls working on yarn. At the Shields Sewing Center, Brother sewing machines followed their embroidery patterns to make beautiful pictures of many threads. Each store visit we were greeted with the store representative welcoming us with answers to our questions, patterns, quilt ideas, quilts hanging we admired,  and materials of many colors and patterns. We realized we were learning and ­wanted to know more. We learned not only about quilting but about Iowa’s people and its history. We learned quilters wanted to help us and we thought more favorably of them as they answered our questions thoroughly and patiently. 

On June 27, Jean, Sandy and I did it again to obtain stamps to complete our passport. At Quilters Paradise in Mt Pleasant we shared with the owner her zest for civil war and red, white and blue, as Savanna, Illinois, has a notable civil war museum. We went to shops where the owner had written quilting books and made patterns. They were busy but stopped to listen to us and encourage us even more. We asked them for their autograph. After all they were quilter celebrities. They laughed as they signed but inside were proud and glad we were fans. 

On June 29, Sandy and I went to the remaining stores to complete our passport at Helios Stitches ‘N’ Stuff and we turned in our passports to Kevin Carpenter, Editor of All Iowa Shop Hop. We told him what a good experience it had been – the people we met, the products, the quilts, the materials, the towns we learned about from houses to shops to lunches to the end making us better friends and quilters. It encourages us to sew more and better. It’s a constant challenging process making a quilt a work of art. We realized we  were lucky to have participated in the All Iowa Shop Hop and am grateful for all who worked to give us this opportunity. Whether we win and or lose, we feel we have won a quilting awareness and desire to sew better. Illinois could learn from All Iowa Shop Hop – it was a wonderful fun learning experience. So much sew a big thank you from Sandy, Jean and me. Of course we still are curious about Jean’s date with coffee shop owner that they only know. We’ve had fun and now must quilt. 

Just wanted you to know about our terrific first time All Iowa Shop Hop experience Thank you and we know we’ll participate next year. After all, we are now more experienced quilters but always will have a lot to learn and this has been a good sewing experience. Thank you very much.