We Have a Winner!

BlueRibbonBefore I could even get the shop door opened this morning, I had someone parked out front waiting on me. That someone wasn’t here just to shop either. No! That someone brought her finished quilt for the Row by Row Experience contest. Yes! Now we have a WINNER!!! And yes, our row was amongst the eight that she included in the quilt. Super! Who is our winner? Her name is Stacy Houk. She’s a local supporter of the shop and has been ever since we bought it back in 2004.

Stacy had help from her daughter in obtaining rows from outside of our area and in deciding which rows to put into this quilt. The quilt will eventually make its way to her daughter’s house, but for now it will be on display here for all who visit us to see and marvel over. Then I think she needs to enter it into our local county fair, or better yet into the Tennessee State Fair.

One of the criticisms that has cropped up with regards to some of the first quilts to be submitted to participating shops is that the quilts haven’t been completely complete. While the quilts are quilted, bound, and do have a label per the contest rules, many of the appliqué elements aren’t necessarily stitched into place. Sometimes none of them are. They’re just ironed on with a fusible webbing product. Anyone who’s worked with raw-edge appliqué knows that if it’s not stitched down it will eventually release from the project and might even fall off completley. Ask me how I know this. If you don’t believe me I can show you an example of what happens to a quilt when the appliqué elements are not stitched in place.

MermaidBubblesI can honestly say that every element on Stacy’s quilt was stitched in place as it should be. In fact, not only were all the appliquéd pieces stitched down, she even added quite a few extras. For example, the mermaid has some lovely golden tresses thanks to the Razzle Dazzle thread that has been couched down. Even her eye and lips are stitched around as are all the little bubbles.
LemonadeH2O Bottle
Then there’s the sugar bowl. It has “sugar” beads pouring out of it and into the lemonade pitcher. The pitcher looks like glass because Stacy used a clear plastic for the pitcher. The bottle of water that helps to make the lemonade was also made using that plastic. Look at all those little drops of water pouring out of it that were stitched around, not to mention the stitching done on the lemons to make them look like they’ve been sliced. Makes my fingers tired just thinking about it.

The first row had lots of raindrops. All those raindrops were pieced! It would have been much easier to make each raindrop from one fabric, but I love the effect of the pieced raindrops much much more. In fact, I love that technique so much that I’ve been working on a project that does something similar with a couple of the appliquéd pieces. That will be show-n-tell probably when the snows of winter are falling.
HOQ SunbrellasStacy even got extra creative with our row. The designer had used a blue fabric for the background and we had suggested you could also use tan to simulate sand thanks to a suggestion from Jo. The first weekend of the RxR hop a lady came in and suggested that the row could be split in half lengthwise with tan (sand) on the bottom and blue (water) on top. What a great idea! I wish I’d of thought of that. Stacy took that idea a bit further and split the row into three parts – sand, water, and sky. I love it! She said she carried out my idea of using scraps in the sunbrellas and pointed to a bright piece of fabric with jungle animals that had been used in a special quilt that she’d made. You can see it in the circle on the sunbrella as well as in the section on the right of the photo.

There was another row with pieced umbrellas and she hand embroidered the handles on each one of them. The more I looked over her quilt the more I wondered if she’d even been sleeping for the past several weeks.
Pic-Winning Quilt-Label
Last, but not least, her label listed the name of each row, the shop it came from, and the city and state of the shop. The edges of the border around the label were stitched down by hand with a blanket stitch. I told her Miss Martha would be proud of her because I know for a fact she would.

You can tell Stacy put a lot of time and effort into her quilt. She’d hoped to get it further along with the rows she had on hand before her daughter and grandson visited in July but said she spent too much time cleaning house. Why do we do that for our children? It’s not like they’re real company or anything. But I digress… Amazingly, even with the welcomed distraction she managed to get her rows put together, embellished, and quilted before anyone else around here. Yes, I am impressed to say the least. Can you tell?

Now, before you get the impression that Stacy is Wonder Woman, I must tell you that the quilt was actually quilted by someone else. Yes, Stacy had it longarm quilted by Rhonda Griner who did a great job, as always, and got it done in record time. I don’t even want to think how much more difficult it was for Rhonda to quilt given all the little extras Stacy added, but she rose to the challenge and did a fantastic job. Well done Miss Rhonda!

So, put your hands together and join me in a big round of applause and a heartfelt congratulations to Stacy! Oh, yes. Feel free to give a long and loud whistle while clapping if you know how. If you don’t know how I’ll be glad to teach you next time you visit.

Winning QuiltWinning Quilt-Stacy

Until Next Year…

Our second annual Shop Hop is officially over! Were you able to visit all the shops you intended to? Some folks visited here more than once during the hop so I expect it might be a while before we see them again. Hopefully, it won’t be too long, but I bet it won’t be before the end of the month.

While our physical shop hop has ended you can still enjoy some great freebies by going on a blog hop sponsored by Quilting Gallery. Once you go to their site just look for the Autumn Block Party button on the right hand side. Click on that and you will discover and learn about designers you may have not heard of as well as be able to enjoy a free 12” block from each of 45 designers over the coming weeks made especially for the Block Party. There will be three different designs posted each week along with three different deals of which you may wish to take advantage. So far there have been designs posted for three weeks (nine blocks) so you’re a little bit behind. Choosing a block to start with won’t be easy. I’ve had a little time to think about it though, and I think I’ll start with Hide-n-Seek by Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts. It is sooo cute and absolutely purrrfect for this time of year! Best hop on over there pronto! You won’t want to miss anything!

Now, back to our local shop hop. I owe you two door prize winner names – one from Friday and one from Saturday. I wish I could give everyone something special, but then that might take the specialness out of winning if everyone was a winner. All in all we had eight winners in this shop, and I’m guessing the other shops had multiple winners as well. It would be nice to compile a list of all the winners and see how many folks actually ended up winning something.

Okay…without further ado the winner for Friday was drawn by Miss Martha when she came in Saturday morning. Yes, I forgot again. Our Friday winner was Heather St. Clair. Congratulations Heather! The winner for Saturday was drawn by Victoria after she came in from playing at a wedding in Tuscumbia. The name she drew was Rhonda St. Charles. Congratulations Rhonda!

We’re open to feedback on your hop experience. Tell us what you liked and what you think could be improved upon. Tell us what things might entice you to hop again, or hop at all, next year. Did not having a specific pattern to pick up at each shop bother you? Did having smaller prizes from each shop bother you rather than having one or two big prizes? Did you visit a shop that you’d never been to before, or did you stick with the shops you have frequented in the past? Was sufficient time given to allow you to get to all the shops you wanted to visit? Since this event is meant to get your creative juices flowing for the long winter months ahead, we want to make sure that you were sufficiently pumped after you left the last shop on your list. If that didn’t happen for you please let us know what to change so next year will be even better.

OK…I can’t stand it…How about one more winner? If you leave a comment before 9:00 p.m. CST Saturday, September 29 answering some, or all, of the questions above I’ll randomly pick a name from those who comment and award one last prize. Put your thinking cap on and help us make future shop hops well worth your time and effort to participate.

Time to Start Hoppin’!

Have you started hopping yet?! We had several hoppers yesterday, some from Nashville who didn’t know about the hop, but they do now, and even more hoppers today. Oh my aching back…knees…feet…why don’t I just say BODY?! But it’s aching for a good reason so I’m not complaining at all.

I must apologize to those I told I would share in the blog yesterday who our door prize winner was for Friday because I didn’t do that…obviously. I ended up driving to Huntsville yesterday afternoon and upon our return I got into pulling fabric for some kits that had to get made. When 9:30 p.m. rolled around I headed upstairs to put my feet up, yes, they were aching then too, and didn’t once think about the blog or the need to be informative. So, tonight I will correct that omission and tell you whose name was drawn for yesterday as well as whose name was drawn for today. Keep in mind that the earlier in the hop you visit the more opportunities you have to win because your name stays in our basket until the hop is over. That means if you came yesterday you still have six more opportunities to win!

Winner for Friday, September 14 – Carol Bobo
Winner for Saturday, September 15 – Becke Siejack

Congratulations ladies! If you haven’t been able to get out and hop around yet you still have all of next week including Saturday. If you need a reminder as to how our hop is going to work just click on the newsletter tab at the top of the page and you can read all about it. Of course questions always arise so feel free to contact us if you’re unsure about anything.

Speaking of questions…a couple of questions have been asked that I’ll answer here so you’ll be in the know from this point forward.

Question #1 – What’s the point of a Shop Hop when there’s no special pattern to pick up at each shop?

Answer: The point is to have fun hopping around with like-minded fabric lovers as well as save some of your hard earned cash in the process. No, we don’t have a special block to be collected from each shop, but that’s really a good thing because if you’re unable to make it to each shop for whatever reason you won’t be missing a valuable block pattern whose absence would ruin the end result of the fabulous quilt you could have made otherwise.

Question #2 – Why is there no great big grand prize like a sewing machine or some such?

Answer: In order to offer such a prize the participating shops would have had to pony up a good chunk of change in order to buy a machine or other spectacular item. Given the current economics we didn’t want to put the shops in a position of not being able to participate because the extra funds weren’t available. Besides, having the opportunity to win something at each shop you visit makes your chances of winning something greater than just the one chance to win a machine. Besides, how many machines does one person need anyhow?

Question #3 – Why were some shops in the area left out of the hop?

Answer: When we put together a list of local shops we tried to include all of whom we had knowledge. Some shops had already planned on being vendors at the Athens guild quilt show (which you can still catch tomorrow) and didn’t feel they could do that and cover their shop during the hop too. Others never got back to us with a reply and we had a deadline of April 1 for getting the information to The Quilt Shop Navigator for publication in their book and online. No, we didn’t leave anyone out with malicious intent. Maybe if there’s a shop hop next year a shop not included this year will be able to participate while some of the shops this year will not. Only time will tell…

Please feel free to submit any other questions to us via e-mail. We will try to answer each and every one in a timely and thorough manner.

I think that will be all for tonight. I’m ready to go put my feet up again and watch a couple of episodes of Last of the Summer Wine. Love the scenery as well as the quirky characters. Makes me want to go sit on the side of a hill, soak up the view, and have a snooze with them sometimes. Problem is, I’d have to walk to get up that hill, and I’ve already got tired achy feet. Thank heavens I have a good imagination and can envision myself being there from the comfort of my favorite armchair.

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