Happy Chinese New Year to everyone.  January 28, 2017, was the first day of the Chinese new year and beginning of “Spring Festival” in modern mainland China.  It’s called “spring” festival to correspond with the first term (spring) of the solar calendar which can fall anytime between January 20 and February 20.  It’s the most important public and family holiday for the Chinese people and lasts seven days.  It could be compared to Christmas in the US, particularly the time between Christmas and New Years Day when folks travel home to be with family and enjoy many traditional activities.  

I was fortunate to travel to China during Spring Festival in February of 2015.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  I even took Row by Row along.  Our row theme that year was Row by Row H2O.  2015 was the Year of the Goat (ram, sheep, lamb).  You can see the “goat” garlands in this Shanghai marketplace.  The crowds gathered were huge because most citizens were on official vacation at this time.

In the Chinese zodiac, each year is associated with one of twelve different animals.  2017 is the Year of the Rooster.  The ancient Chinese word for rooster can also be interpreted as any barnyard fowl or chicken.  We quilters are particularly fond of our chickens.  A simple Google search using the words chicken and quilt yielded over two million images in .8 seconds.  That’s a lot of chicken quilts!  Use the words rooster and quilt.  You’ll get about a half million hits.  

The phrase “rooster’s head” was particularly important to me when I was teaching children to sew on sewing machines.  I called the main thread take up guide “The Rooster’s Head” because that’s what it looks like when you view it from the side.  The-rooster’s-head-has-to-be-up was the mantra.  Use the hand wheel, kids, and always return the rooster’s head to the top when you complete a line of stitching.  Whenever I could see that a student was struggling to pull their work from beneath the presser foot, all I had to say was “Where’s the rooster’s head?” and they could immediately solve their own problem.

Row by Row Experience has a wonderful program launching this summer called Row by Row Junior.  It’s for kids 6-14 to travel along with you, collect free row patterns just for them to make, and learn to sew with you and support from www.rowbyrowexperience.com.  Be sure to ask your favorite local quilt shop to offer Junior this summer.

Here are just a few of the many rows that found a Home Sweet Home for chickens, roosters, and a pheasant from around the US and Canada in 2016.  Enjoy!

Blue Hen Quilt Shop Newark, Delaware 302 533-5215 http://www.bluehenquiltshop.com/

Quilt Cabin Colby, Kansas 785-462-3375

Li’l Red Hen Quilt Shop Paola, Kansas 913-294-5230 http://www.lilredhenquiltshop.com/

Ladyfingers Sewing Studio Oley, PA 610-689-0068 https://www.ladyfingerssewing.com/

Country Quilting & Keepsakes Oberlin, Kansas 785-475-2411

Hen & Chicks Studio Conrad, Iowa 641-366-3336 https://www.henandchicksstudio.com/

Thistle Dew Quilt Shoppe Fair Oaks, CA 916-967-5479 http://www.thistledewquiltshoppe.com/

Faye’s Henhouse Quilts Mayville, ND 701-786-3790 http://www.fayesquiltshop.com/

Cow Lick Quilts n’ Crafts Enumclaw, WA 360-825-5433 http://www.cowlickquilts.com/

The Quilt Shop at Essenhaus Middlebury, IN 374-825-6471 x300 https://www.essenhausquiltshop.com/

Prairie Flower Crafts Alden, Kansas 620-534-3551 https://www.prairieflowercrafts.com/

The Stitchin’ Post Hattiesburg, MS 601-268-5545 http://www.mystitchinpost.com/

Chicken Feed Quilts Coaldale, AB 403-345-4048 http://www.chickenfeedquilts.com/

The Chicken Coop Mundare, AB 708-764-3727 http://www.thechickencoop.ab.ca/

Margie’s Sew Much Fun Crestview, FL 850-689-3655 http://www.margiessewmuchfun.com/

Quilter’s Nook Boydton, VA 434-265-6150

Sew There! Angier, NC 919-331-2499 https://sewtherefabricstore.com/

Rooster Creek Holts Summit, MO 573-821-2201

The Whistling Chicken Carthage, TX 903-690-9992

The Sewing Basket American Fork, Utah 801-980-9150 http://sewingbasketutah.com/

The Fabric Center Morris, Illinois 815-942-5715 http://www.fabriccenteril.com/

B & F Variety Store Gregory, SD 605-835-9415

Piece of Heaven Mountainburg, Arkansas 479-369-4006 http://www.pieceofheavenquiltfabric.com/

Let us know how you liked our flock of rows.  Write a comment below.  Comments take a little bit to show up so don’t worry if you can’t see your comment right away.  Remember to ask your local quilt shop to offer Row by Row Junior this summer.