A quilting Shop Hop, I’ve come to discover, not only acquaints you with the latest fabrics, cutting tools, and ways to form blocks, it just by golly grabs you. After visiting six shops from Jonesborough to Crossville, I couldn’t wait to take on the last six in Sevierville/Gatlinburg area in this well-organized, eye-opening East Tennessee Shop Hop.
And it’s a good thing we shoppers had from June 4th to 13, 2015, to see all 12 shops. It takes a while when you’re careening around bends and curves on the back hollow roads just to get to ’em. It’s amazing what you’ll do to earn a free fat quarter and a stamp on a Passport card! Here’s a snapshot of what the last six shops had in store.
Holloway’s Country Home Custom Handmade Quilts
(3892 Cosby Hwy., Cosby; hollowaysquilts.com; Facebook: hollowaysquilts)
In what may have been the prettiest setting of all, Holloway’s sets up shop in a log cabin in rural Cosby — and who wouldn’t want to sit and stitch on this porch? Filled with bolts of country colors, finished quilts hanging from the rafters, and even socks for quilters, the ladies at Holloway’s demonstrated how to make a tiny, wearable pieced pin and directed me to the printed sayings you can purchase to make any quilt special.
Mountain Stitches by Susan
(601 Glades Road, #13, Gatlinburg, TN 37738; moutainstitchesbysusan.com)
It was Susan’s husband who greeted me, and that’s when I realized this shop is a family affair. When I looked up after receiving my free pattern, a fascinating off-set variation of the traditional log cabin pattern using the Shop Hop barn caught my eye. Susan directed me to two rooms filled with tasteful, heritage fabrics that she identified as patterns developed during the Civil War. Mountain Stitches, tucked away in a spot you’d hardly know is part of busy Gatlinburg, is one shop I’d come back to just for Susan’s eye for combining fabrics.
Red Barn Custom Quilts
(628 Dolly Parton Parkway, Sevierville; redbarncustomquilts.com)
If you like the convenience of kits, head to Red Barn where finished models (and available kits to make your own) await. Filled with fabrics for all sorts of projects (holiday, traditional, modern, etc.), Red Barn offers a variety patterns and honest-to-goodness advice. Along with my free fat quarter, for example, I was handed a Scrap Sack Pattern using just what I had in hand.
The Cherry Pit
(115 Bruce Street, Sevierville; quiltingatthecherrypit.com)
On a quiet side street in busy Sevierville, the staff of this artfully arranged and filled-to-the-brim shop welcomed me in immediately with a demonstration for a pieced table topper. It wasn’t long, though, that I spotted completed models throughout the store arranged in vignettes where coordinated materials were available for shoppers to make their own. One highlight: each visitor received a variation of the Cherry Pit’s Shop Hop barn quilt pattern with several appliques (silo, Christmas tree, pumpkin, etc.) that could be applied on top. What a great idea!
Machine Quiltin’ by Iva
(1020 Old Knoxville Hwy., Sevierville; email@example.com)
With a drawing contest jar and prize baskets filled to the brim right on the front porch, Machine Quiltin’ by Iva drew guests in immediately. Known for an extensive collection of quilted wearables and totes, this shop has perhaps the largest supply of batik fabrics of the Shop Hop bunch. Rooms filled with collections from such suppliers as Thimbleberries invited quilters to see (and buy) the latest fabrics for their projects. And, as their name implies, you can have your quilt tops machine quilted by Iva!
Gina’s Bernina Sewing Center
(10816 Kingston Pike, Knoxville; ginasbernina.com)
Just as the name implies, Gina’s is THE source for fine Bernina sewing machines. But much more awaits — full displays of children’s patterns and fabrics, little projects like pillowcases, quilting books and supplies, and, my favorite, colorful new fabrics from the Kaffe Fassett collection. Just days before the Shop Hop, Gina’s staff put the finishing touches on an artsy quilt with wool embellishments. Classes, helpful staff, and ideas for new projects — this is a one-stop shopping experience for the novice or experienced quilter.
After turning in my card complete with all 12 stamps, I took my freebies and purchases home. Of course, I wonder what I’ll start next.
Just one more thing: I was overwhelmed from the start at the work of the shop owners and staff to prepare for an event of this magnitude. From the decision to use pictures of East Tennessee barns adorned with quilt patterns as a theme came a coordinated effort to place a finished quilt in each shop, to offer quilt blocks to customers, and to spiff up displays and models throughout each store. And some shop owners took the theme further, creating additional quilts and wall hangings unique to their store. As Julia Ranney at Little Blessings in Crossville told me, “I stayed up ’til 3 AM several nights to get it all done.” And I suspect most shop owners did the same. But it all adds up to an event worth seeing — and appreciating.
If you want to go next year . . .
- Put these dates on your calendar: June 2 – 11, 2016.
- Mark off about three days to see it all, drive it all.
- Plan a stay in beautiful East Tennessee using tnvacation.com or TripAdvisor.
Hope you’ve enjoyed your virtual tour. And if you’re a quilter, let me know. Better yet, show me something you’ve made! Love looking — whether I ever get around to quilting something myself or not!
To read Eye candy for quilters: East Tennessee Shop Hop 2013, Part I, click here.