You meet the nicest people

I was away from home this weekend on a quilty road trip with Jeanne of Grey Cat Quilts. We drove to Minneapolis/St. Paul (about a 4 1/2 hour trip) to meet Amy of Domesticat and her friend Jacob (no blog).

It was an awesome trip, and exactly what I needed.

I picked up Jeanne at 6:20 Saturday morning, which is about right for me – I told her I’d be there at 6:00. We made it to the hotel after a brief, unnecessary detour around St. Paul thanks to some road work. It wasn’t that the roadwork required a detour – I just got impatient sitting in a line of cars. Unfortunately, every turn I took led me to a dead end, more roadwork or the wrong side of the interstate. Ten minutes after turning out of the line, we found ourselves right back where we started.

Amy was in town visiting Jacob and his family and they picked us up at the hotel for a little fabric shopping. The first shop we went to was Twin Cities Quilting, a small shop tucked into a strip mall. They had a nice selection of fabric ranging from batiks to more contemporary fabrics including Malka Dubrawski’s line “A Stitch in Color” (which is very intriguing in person – I was drawn to the vibrant colors) and a decent selection of black & white and black & grey prints that made Jeanne very happy. The fabrics were almost exclusively clear colors and contemporary designs. There were a number of quilts on the walls, leaning toward simpler designs, and they had a reasonable selection of patterns. I didn’t take any photos in this shop – when one of my companions did, the shop owner (rather sharply) informed us that if we wanted a picture of the quilt we could buy the pattern. Other than this exchange, the staff were friendly and helpful. The shop also does long arm quilting, and the frame was visible, though roped off, from the main quilt shop floor. The shop website states that they carry about 1500 bolts of fabric. They did not have a lot of pre-cuts, but they would cut fat quarters for you from the bolt. The shop was clean and open, well lit, and obviously had room to add fabrics as it grows. I purchased these fabrics at Twin Cities Quilting:


Left to right: Montage by Michele D’Amour for Benartex, Style P2667-9 (Small Stained Glass WhiteBlack)
Citron Greyfrom Michael Miller, Style CX5183 (Citron Soleil)
Modern Textures from the Riverwoods Collection for Troy Corporation, Style TRO 1210 22
Citron Gray by Michael Miller, Patt# CX-5181 (Stitch Petal Citron)

After the quilt shop we walked across the street to Ol’ Mexico for lunch. After our oh-so-healthy McDonald’s breakfast, the Spinach Salad with pineapple-mango vinaigrette, walnuts and grilled chicken was welcome and delicious. Amy, Jeanne and I wandered over to Just Truffles, conveniently also within walking distance. Not enough distance to walk off the two truffles I had, but I could live with that!

Our next stop was Treadle Yard Goods, an incredible shop that would get me in a lot of trouble if I lived closer. This isn’t a quilt shop, but a fabric store, with knits, silks, cottons, lace, trim, a nice selection of oilcloth and laminated fabrics, wool, and just about anything else you can think of. They packed a lot of very nice quality fabric into a fairly small space. Their quilting fabrics also leaned toward contemporary, with fabric by designers such as Ty Pennington, Aneela Hooey, Valori Wells, and manufacturers Free Spirit and Riley Blake. They had a small selection of batiks, some flannels, and a good selection of children’s prints, as well as a substantial notions area. I picked up a little set of sewing machine screwdrivers here, as well as a couple of fabrics.


Left: Stella Dot by Dear Stella Design, #Stella-1 in Gray
Right: London by Dena for Free Spirit, PWDF122Green

The staff was very friendly in this busy store, and they will cut 1/8 yard pieces. They cut straight yardage – no fat quarters or fat eighths – and there were no precuts and very few project samples.

After a short decompression at the hotel, Jeanne and I joined Amy at Jacob’s home, watching their three kids while Jacob and his wife, Holly, had a grown up’s night out. The kids were fantastic, and entertained themselves while we gabbed about fabric and life and enjoyed some really awesome pizza. How can you resist a pizza called “It’s Not Easy Being Green”? We swapped a little fabric – I got to bring home a couple of pieces of Liberty fabric, which I had never seen in person and am totally in love with now. It’s so light and richly colored and delicately printed.


Amy also gave us the most hilarious fabric with X-rated illustrations of sexual positions.

We finally crashed back at the hotel, and the next morning spent another hour chatting with Amy over breakfast. Before heading out, we noticed words on the bathroom mirror, revealed by the condensation. Someone had written “kindness” and “forgiveness” at the top of the mirror with their finger. Lotion, soap, or even the oil in your skin will linger behind and steam will reveal the lines.

Jeanne and I wanted to get home before dark, and there were two quilt shops we wanted to hit on our way back. We figured the first shop was about 2 hours away and didn’t open until noon, so we left around 10:30. Unfortunately, it was more like 3 hours, so we were only able to go to the one shop (we missed Quintessential Quilts in Reedsburg, WI). However, the one we did get to was incredible. I strongly recommend that you make the effort to stop at Olive Juice Quilts in Onalaska, WI (near Eau Claire) if you are within reasonable driving distance. And by “reasonable” I mean an hour or two. In fact, this shop deserves its own post. They not only allowed us to take pictures in the show, but encouraged us to photograph their sample quilts. As you’ll see in that post, I can’t say enough good things about this shop. Here’s what I bought at Olive Juice Quilts:


Left column, top to bottom:
A Walk in the Woods by Aneela Hoey for Moda (opens a PDF), 18525 13 Cloud
A Walk in the Woods by Aneela Hoey for Moda (opens a PDF), 18526 13 Cloud
Stockholm by Robin Zingone for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, ARZ-12033-12

Second column:
The Fiona Collection by Anna Griffin for Windham Fabrics, Pattern #19562-6
The Fiona Collection by Anna Griffin for Windham Fabrics, Pattern #19562-2

Third column:
Pimatex Basics by Robert Kaufman, Screen Print D# BKT10533 (This fabric is extremely smooth)
Flights of Fancy by Paula Prass for Michael Miller Fabrics, Pattern# DC3895 Cobblestone

Right column:
Clothesline Club: Little Blessings by Darlene Zimmerman for Robert Kaufman, Screen Print #8688
Weekends by Erin McMorris for Free Spirit,#EM 20 Pink Kaleidoscope

(A few of these don’t have links – they were on clearance and I couldn’t find them on the fabric manufacturer’s websites)

After leaving Olive Juice Quilts, Jeanne and I could not stop talking about how wonderful it was, and it inspired some excited chattering about opening our own quilt shop. You know, when one of us wins the lottery. We spent the next two hours driving back to Janesville talking about all of the things we’d do in our shop, then, because it was only 5:00, stopped at an Indian restaurant and talked for two more hours. Jeanne even brought in her laptop and documented all of our ideas, just in case.

It was a long, exhausting trip, but I haven’t had such a great time in years. I’m so glad we went, and I want to do it again!



  1. If you’ve never been, QQ is worth a trip of it’s own. The house it’s in is gorgeous (big old victorian with sprawling additions). There’s an entire room of thread. The only down side is that you can be lost for hours in it.

    Glad you had a chance to take a quilty road trip!

    • Ha! That was a test!
      No, really I just forgot to change the Flickr permission on the group of uploaded photos to Public. They’re all good now.

  2. When you shop hop how much yardage do you typically buy? Many times I don’t have any project in mind when shopping but I know I like the fabric so I buy a half yard. Should I be buying more?

    • It depends on what kind of projects you usually work on, the specific fabrics, and your budget. If you work on smaller projects, have limited storage space, make scrappy projects, or have a limited budget, fat quarters and half yards are great. Generally, I buy more of fabrics that I can use in multiple projects – light, dark or tone on tones. “Pretties” – the ones that we all love to buy but are harder to use in projects and include medium to larger scale prints, stripes and multi color prints – I buy less of. The grey hexagon fabric is just a fat quarter because I love it, but would use it sparingly. The light gray with circles and the light gray with rectangles are both half yard yard cuts because they’re versatile. If I hadn’t been at the end of my budget I probably would have gone with full yards of those two. All of the fabrics in the first two photos are half yard cuts, although I certainly could have gone with a full yard on the small gray dot. There are exceptions – The six fabrics on the right of the last photo are 1 yard cuts (or slightly more) because they were on clearance and there was a minimum 1 yard purchase. If I find a clearance fabric that I really love, sometimes I buy the remainder of the bolt, thinking I can use it as a quilt back.

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