Greetings. My cousin, Beth, wrote this story about making her Row by Row quilt, and I asked if I could use her story. She said yes. For those who don't know: Row by Row quilts were in quilt shops all across the USA and Canada. Each store had its own row pattern. If you asked for the pattern, you could get it free. The year's theme was water. In each store, the first person who turned in a completed quilt using eight or more rows won 25 fat quarters. Here is Beth's story, and a picture of her beautiful quilt:
My Row-by-Row, by Beth H.
The story includes some drama, because I had to get it done and submitted before I left for the UK. The contest window was closing quite soon after I would have returned.
You know the ending [she wins], but I did not…
Imagine me trying to manage the time frame. I am cranking row after row, achieving about one row a day at my cabin in northern Minnesota. Labor Day comes, and the row I have saved until last comes up.
I saved the Tahoe row for last for several reasons. [The row was from a quilt shop in Nevada, near Lake Tahoe]. I did not have a kit, and it was appliqué not pieced.
It is time to start (remember - I am at my cabin). I did have the muslin base I planned to use. Oops! I am out of fusible web.
My daughter could pick some up on her way north from the Twin Cities…
My son could pick some up before he leaves his place in Grand Forks…
My nephew could pick some up before he leaves from his teaching job in another northern town…
Nope, the nephew had a soccer game to coach until shops would be closed.
My son was working and stressed and unwilling.
My daughter was leaving too late to catch the quilt shop before it closed.
My nephew mentions that his parents are in our local biggish town getting groceries. There is a quilt shop there, so I call. I get my BIL, and he is quite willing to enter and purchase things in a quilt shop. I give him careful instructions, and he gets the right amount of the right stuff!
I move along carefully, cutting and applying and measuring and appliquéing. I did not finish at the cabin, so it came home where I kept working on it. Then I needed purple for the mountains. I go downstairs and check the stash. What?! No purple batik?! What?! No purple anything?! All I had was purple dragonfly with sparkles fabric.
Of course, this was evening, and I had to suspend all progress until stores opened the next day. I was the first customer in my closest shop the next morning. I also resolved to beef up my purple (lack of) stash. Mission accomplished
Now assemble the rows and make it look good. Did that. That took a day and a half.
Take it in to be quilted. I knew I had to allow them some time to get ‘er done. I hurried to complete with three and a half weeks to go before leaving the country. Turned it in. Told the story and the hope to get it finished before the end of September. “Will October 1 be okay?” she asked. I said, “No.” She put RUSH on it.
I went home and hoped and started packing for Europe.
People had been asking me if I was excited about the trip. Really, the answer was no. I am worried about this Row by Row quilt. Too hard to explain, so I would usually say, “Yes I am excited about my trip.”
For the first two weeks I did not worry. Oh, I called every store to see if anyone had already turned in a quilt. All but two stores said, “Heck, yes! We had our first quilt tuned in less than a week after the contest started.” (Stupid overachievers!) One store was not open when I called, and one store said “Not that I know of…”
After two weeks I started to agitate about this process again. As time went on, I told myself, "well at least I will have a lovely (big) creative blue quilt all to myself."
I will love my quilt.
I don’t really need a prize or reward.
My husband and I are planning one last trip to the cabin before the UK adventure.
Time is getting short.
Oh well, as I said, I will have a quilt to love and to love me back.
I kid you not! One hour before we were leaving for the cabin, the quilting shop called to tell me the quilt was complete! On our way out of town, we detoured to get the quilt. Got it. It was a custom job - more than I had asked for or hoped for. The quilting is great.
Drove to the cabin. On our way, I called the one quilt shop again and they confirmed that my quilt would be their first for the contest prize. Got to the cabin and did the binding. It would not earn ribbon in a show, but it was bound.
The next morning, left the cabin with a complete quilt at 6:00 AM. The shop is 2 1/2 hours away. It is even further north - not a trivial drive from my place in the Twin Cities.
Got my picture taken with the quilt. Reported every row’s quilt shop to post on Facebook.
Got my prize - 25 fat quarters. They let me pick my own. That took some time, let me tell you!
Plus a bonus prize, because that shop’s row was in my quilt.
Turned around and drove back to the cabin.
Went back to town and less than 48 hours later, left for Scotland.