Next week, I am taking a road trip with my quilting friends. The quilt shops in our area are hosting a Shop Hop, an event that is common all across the country. Since I am on a strict budget, I need to plan for a shop hop!
What is a Shop Hop?
First, let me explain the basics. Shop hopping is a day of visiting related stores. Many times shop owners will coordinate a specific period of shopping, plan special events and giveaways, and offer prizes to people who stop at every participating store. When you begin, you are typically invited to purchase a “passport” that will be marked at every shop. A full passport becomes your raffle entry for a grand prize. I was lucky enough years ago to win a store’s raffle basket with wonderful fabrics that I turned into my Sedona Stars quilt.
Plan for a Shop Hop
As much fun as a full day of quilt store shopping sounds, it can be depressing when you are on a limited budget. I want to support small business and independent store owners, so I always try to make a purchase at every stop. Knowing that I have to make smart purchases I created this plan for a shop hop.
Tip # 1 – Think about your future projects
Are you starting a new quilt? Is your UFO pile growing because you need borders or backing fabric?
Start your shopping list with fabric. Be sure to include specific colors, sizes and those special designers and fabric collections that you have been drooling over in your Instagram feed!
If you are a scrappy quilter and have a sufficient stash, think about supplementing with colorful pre-cuts. One of my local stores has a scrap bin near the register and I always find delightful fabrics in fabulous color combinations.
Tip #2 – Inventory the basics
Take a look at your notions. Thread is a necessity, so put those basic colors on your shopping list. I generally piece with a beige or grey but you may need bright colors for an upcoming project. Are you working with bent pins? Treat yourself to a new box of straight pins. Having fresh, sharp tools makes preparing your quilt pieces so much easier. Stock up on new rotary cutter blades now! Don’t overlook your sewing machine – grab some needles while you are in the notions aisle.
Tip #3 – Shop for Gifts and Souvenirs
A shop hop is the perfect time to grab some gifts for your crafty friends. Many shops have items such as notepads, pincushions, bobbin holders and scissor fobs that make lovely and useful gifts for fellow quilters and sewists.
If you are far from home and want a souvenir, look for local patterns and fabric. The recent Row-by-Row Experience with the coordinating fabric license plates are fun to collect. Books make wonderful gifts so make a list of titles for yourself or others. The coloring craze is in full swing and designers are on board with coloring books featuring quilting designs and full quilt layouts.
So, are you ready to plan a shop hop with your quilting friends? Be sure to download the planning guide and make notes about the fabric, books, notions and gifts you are interested in. Drive safely and have fun shop-hopping! I’d love to hear about your crafty road trips so please tell me about your adventures.