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Kathy’s Row by Row Experience by Kathy Frick

I am a retired elementary school teacher and a novice quilter. I took lessons at the Hayes Sewing Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Loretta Hayes taught our class in June and told us about the Row by Row Experience.

In the spring my husband Marty and I began planning a trip to Omaha to attend a biannual meeting of the B-52 Stratofortress Association, an organization for Air Force veterans who flew or worked on B52 planes. Marty repaired the navigation systems of those planes between 1966 and 1970.

We decided to make a three-week road trip around the meeting and visit the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Mammoth Cave National Park, Hot Springs National Park, the Fort Smith National Historic Site, the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, and the Homestead National Monument in Nebraska.

This seemed like a perfect opportunity to participate in RXR so I printed out the lists of the shops in each state we would be visiting.

We began in our home state of Pennsylvania with two shops in Bedford, Mary’s Quilt Shop and Unique Stitches Quilt Shop. Before the end of our first day on the road we also stopped in Morgantown, West Virginia at Country Roads Quilt Shop.

Karen at Unique Stitches Quilt Shop in Bedford, PA

Karen at Unique Stitches Quilt Shop in Bedford, PA

Our next day was Sunday and none of the shops along our itinerary were open so this was one of the few days I did not get a pattern. Continuing into Kentucky on Monday we visited Uniquely Yours Quilt Shop in Elizabethtown and both Quilter’s Square and Sew-a-Lot in Lexington. In Bowling Green Kentucky the following day, I stopped in the Kentucky Quilt Company. At each location I went in and requested the pattern and Marty took a photo of me outside the shop.

In Clarksville, Tennessee, I asked Marty to come in to see the group of quilters working on a “Quilt of Valor.” We were not familiar with this program and the organizer there gave us information so we could share it with other quilters. The other shops we visited in Tennessee were Bumbletees Fabrics in Germantown and Sew Carefree and Sew Many Ideas, both in Jackson.

Arkansas was a treasure trove with twelve shops: Sew Much More in Sherwood, Pinwheel Fabrics in Alexander, The Bed Warmer Quilt and Sew in Benton, Hickory Hill Quilts in Hot Springs, The Stitchin’ Post in Little Rock, Cozy Quilts in Mulberry, Sew-In-Heaven in Fayetteville, Rabbit’s Lair in Rogers, Village Quilting in Bentonville, and Country House and Sew-N-Sew both in Pea Ridge.

We traveled north toward Omaha and visited Modern Makers in Kansas City, Missouri, and two shops in Kansas: Harper’s Fabric and Quilt Co. in Overland Park and Stitching Traditions in Topeka.

Nebraska added ten to the list including Quilt Stitches in Beatrice; then four more in Lincoln—Cosmic Cow, Sew Creative, Crafthouse, and Calico House, and five in Omaha—Sunshine Stitches, More Sew for You, Country Sampler, A Quilting Place, and Mangelson’s where we saw a winning Row by Row quilt.

When the meeting ended, we started to head east toward home. In Council Bluffs, Iowa, we visited Cut Up and Quilt before continuing on to Winterset where 2 shops are located on the same short block with the new Iowa Quilt Museum between them. The Ben Franklin Store is a variety store and sewing center and Piece Works Quilt Shop is a new business in the former Fons and Porter location.

Karen at Piece Works Quilt Shop in Council Bluffs, IA

Karen at Piece Works Quilt Shop (former Fons and Porter location)

We visited the Iowa Quilt Museum which has only been open a few months and met Marianne Fons who was showing a group of vintage to modern quilts in a “quilt turning,” something new to me. I was privileged to don the white gloves and help her turn a group of quilts one by one as she described them. The remaining pieces in this premier exhibit for the museum, Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts, are on display until September 27.

In West Des Moines, we found The Quilt Block, and on the banks of the Missouri River in LeClaire, Iowa we visited Expressions in Thread.

We drove across Illinois today stopping in Galesburg at Quilting Bee, in Peoria at Prairie Points, in Bloomington at Bolines Fabric Warehouse, in Urbana at Sew Sassy, and in Danville at Threads in Time.

That is a total of forty-six for the trip so far. Thank goodness for the GPS!

At two shops today I encountered requests to put a pin in the shop’s map to acknowledge where the RXR participants were from. Two today and none before this, what a coincidence.

We expect to reach Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday where we will visit the Museum of the United States Air Force.

There are shops in Ohio and at least one more we may find in Pennsylvania.

At almost every shop I was greeted warmly and wished safe travels.