Thursday, October 24, 2013

More from the Shop Hop

Ready to hear more about the shop hop? We started our journey at the store farthest away from all of us. Diana and I live in NY. Diana's sister, Alice, and Alice's friend, Judy, live in western Massachusetts.  We all met up in Lee, MA, and headed east to Appletree Quilts in Auburn.  It's located in a small strip mall. The store is bright and well lit. They seemed to have mostly modern fabrics and batiks. The store was crowded but it was still easy to look at the fabrics. There were two lines, one for people who needed fabric cut before paying and another for folks just paying. The staff was organized and efficient.

Our second stop was at Charlton Sewing Center in Charlton, MA. This store is located in a former church:

We entered in the basement which is where they sell Bernina Sewing machines.

You need to climb some fairly steep steps to get into the shop itself. It's a fairly open space and there was plenty of room to look around despite being crowded. There were some really lovely samples of wool candle mats, but unfortunately, there didn't seem to be any corresponding patterns or kits. I was disappointed as that was the one thing I planned to purchase. I have to say the staff did not seem very friendly, and frankly, the stairs were tough. It seemed to me the stair rail was very low when heading back downstairs. It didn't feel very safe to me.

The third shop we visited was The Quilt and Cabbage near Sturbridge, MA. This store was not really set up properly for a shop hop. The check-in for the hop was on the walkway outside the store and the line to check in interfered with new people coming in as well as people leaving. It didn't get much better inside the shop. This is a very small store with very narrow aisles, but it is absolutely jam packed with great fabric! There were baskets and crates of fat quarters all over the place, a huge selection of clearance fabrics ($5/yd), beautiful reproduction fabrics and a large selection of French General fabrics. The only problem? You couldn't really look at anything. You needed to weave in and out of the aisles and there were a lot of oeople in the store so you could really only look at things as you smushed along in line. I would love to visit this store again, but definitely not during a shop hop!

I enjoyed shopping at Quilts and Treasures Inc., in East Longmeadow, MA, but you have to go through a roundabout just before the store.  I don’t like roundabouts in general and that was the worst roundabout I’ve ever traveled.  There are even signs at every entrance to the roundabout saying “Dangerous Intersection” – no kidding.  Anyway, the drive from Sturbridge to East Longmeadow was absolutely wonderful.  It was primarily back roads, up and down hills and around curves through the Massachusetts countryside.  The weather was fantastic and the foliage was amazing.  Every curve we went around we were exclaiming about the beautiful scenery.  I’m sure there is an easier way to get to East Longmeadow, and I would probably not enjoy those back roads in winter, but it was an especially nice ride in Fall.  As for the store itself, it’s located in a strip mall; it has large, open aisles, and very good lighting.  The staff was energized and very friendly.  If someone paid in cash with exact change, they let out a yell and all the other sales clerks let out a whoop!  They also celebrated if someone bought a full bolt.  These girls were a fun bunch.  The store had a nice variety of fabric including a large supply of Thimbleberries fabric.

Bayberry Quilts in Chicopee, MA, is in a former house and the neighborhood it’s located in seems pretty run down.  It seemed like a random location for a quilt store.  As you might expect in an older home, the rooms are small and boxy.  The lighting wasn’t great and was even pretty bad.  Some of the fabric was located in a former closet – blacks and browns.  The lighting in that closet was very bad so you really couldn’t see the fabric very well.  The store did have a large selection of kits, but I thought they were a bit pricey.  On the plus side, they had a nice selection of clearance fabric and the snacks they set out for the hoppers were great!

My favorite store of the six I visited was Southampton Quilts in Southampton, MA.  Easy to get to, just 7 miles off the interstate, the store is located in what looks to be an office park.  There were sales clerks outside to greet us and some really beautiful samples hanging outside the store.  As soon as I walked in, there was a display of autumn-colored fabric that I was drooling over.  This store had several demos going on of rulers and other products on and so many gorgeous samples.  I bought four patterns as a result of seeing the sample quilts!  Even though it wasgetting to be late afternoon when we arrived, the salesclerks were all going strong and were very friendly and helpful.  I would definitely return to this store again.

Diana and the others finished the shop hop on Sunday and she told me all about the three stores I missed.  She liked those three stores the best, but found the staff in one of the stores to be a bit cranky by Sunday afternoon.  

Here are pictures of my non- fabric purchases:

Diana convinced me to try Best Press on my fabric before cutting. I'll let you know if the extra step seems worth it. The rest of my purchases were all patterns:

Southampton Quilts had some really beautiful samples that inspired me to buy these three patterns for small quilts.

This is a paper piecing pattern of a loon. My brother and sister would both really like this one.

A Crabapple Hill stitchery pattern for me.

Even though I already have two other bag projects in the works (Amy Butker's Weekender Bag and Fig Tree Quilts' One Piece a Bag), I couldn't pass up this pattern that uses fabric strips and clothesline.  Diana's made a few bowls using this method and she says it's easy, so I'm going to give the bag a try.

This was a great experience and I know it won’t be my last shop hop.



  1. What a great review of the shops you visited! I loved the look of the one that was located in the former church building.

  2. I live in Australia so will likely never to get to visit these shops. However, my dream is to travel through the New England countryside in autumn to see the colours. The countryside drive on back roads you described just lit up my imagination!