As a quilt shop owner, one of my favorite parts of Row by Row is meeting travelers when they stop in the store. A couple weeks ago I was fortunate to meet Mary Ann and James Willis from Florida. They were in Syracuse, NY visiting Mary Ann’s Aunt Liz. The three took a trip to the local quilt shop!

Talking with Mary Ann, I soon found out these people get around! Each summer they plan a trip to visit a different area of the US and Canada and visit many quilt shops, collecting row patterns and kits wherever they go.

Mary Ann Willis (r) with her Aunt Liz, visiting one of hundreds of quilt shops.

In 2014 they did some traveling in their own area of the south, visiting 100 shops in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. They were hooked on the adventure! In 2015 they drove up to Maine and then over to Illinois – a big loop that included stops at 178 shops. In 2016, they drove from Florida, across the southern US to California and collected 179 row patterns and kits.

The following year (2017) was the BIG year! Traveling all the way across the US to the northwest and even into Canada, collecting a whopping 278 rows! Mary Ann told me “That year we put close to 10,000 miles on our vehicle. We visited Mt. Rushmore, The Grand Canyon, Mt. Ranier and I even got to put my feet in the Pacific Ocean!”

James is an active participant in their Row by Row experience, using the map and list resources on the website to plot their route. Mary Ann states, “He’s the navigator. While I’m shopping in one shop, he’s looking for the next one.”

James Willis, the Row by Row navigator!

In addition to their travels, friends and family from all over are always on the lookout for a quilt shop, picking up rows and sending them to Mary Ann. When I met them, they had collected rows from 49 states, including Alaska and Hawaii sent by friends. The missing state? West Virginia!

Mary Ann had two goals when she left my store:
1) Start making quilts from her row patterns and kits
2) Get a row from West Virginia!

(Note: since they stopped in, I received an email update from Mary Ann. They made it to West Virginia and completed her US collection.)

Are you a “super-rower?” How many shops have you visited in your Row by Row experience?

Summer is winding down, but you can still collect a Row by Row Sew Musical pattern at no cost through Tuesday, September 4th, just by stopping by any participating RxR shop.

New this year! Beginning September 5th, pick up patterns and kits in the stores for a small cost. Make good use of the last week to save some money! Online and mail orders begin November 1.

Many stores (like mine) are still looking for a 2018 winner! The shops award prizes until October 31, so even if you haven’t started, you have lots of time to complete a quilt. Click here for all the details on the stitching challenge.

Janet Lutz is the owner of Row by Row Experience and Calico Gals quilt shop in Syracuse, New York. She is passionate about creative business, entrepreneurship and making stuff!

Feature photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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