Monday, August 10, 2015

Row by row road trip

Not having a migraine has been a bit of a rarity this summer. After having a terribly wicked one for about a week, the weather finally shifted and I discovered  that my head had finally ended its repeat performance of Hiroshshima and Nagasaki.   This being a rather big deal in the grand scheme of things, I decided to take action. It was time to take a road trip. I was going to go on a road trip, and collect some of these rows for the row by row experience before summer got away from me before my head decided to have another brainstorm mimicking an epic nuclear attack.


 visit these stores on a beautiful Friday in August. Friday, this is important that it is FRIDAY. Google says it should take about 3 hours to make a loop. I'm figuring on a half hour at each shop, so more like a five and a half hour day. Leave at 11, be back at 4:30.


I pack a lunch and leave the dog, ferociously territorial of a new favorite toy [whatever, dude] and start off down the road. It is 11:30.

Stop 1
And get distracted by a sweet little Mennonite shop I've been meaning to stop at for ages and finally catch them open. Yay. 

Stop 2
Lauren Baker's Needlework's is probably one of my favorite shops. It's well lit, not cluttered, it has fabric and yarn, and if you bring your own bag, you can enter a monthly drawing for $20 in fabric or yarn. There's two jars, yarn or fabric, and no limit on the number of times you can enter. You get to pick which jar.
She carries Malabrigo and Cascade yarns.
I won yarn once.
It was a very special day.

Be aware, there is a tiny, barky little dog guarding The Needleworks.
You've been warned.
Stop #
It's now 1:45PMish, and I'm hunting for Fox's sewing in the Meadville Mall. I a} had no idea there was an interior to the Meadville Mall and b} had no idea how to get into the mall, let alone know there was a sewing store in there.

They loved my binder for organizing the patterns and immediately asked if I was in childcare or early childhood education.
Bingo. You ladies have my number.

I only wish they had a sign that said Faux Bois. But everyone insists on going with 'Fake Wood'. I know it's rural PA but let's try to be a little classy, folks. Faux Bois.

So DuBois is 'of wood'...?
The morning's coffee has come a calling, I remember there's a cheque that I need to cash, I'm thirsty, and I need WiFi to double check directions to the next place. Bank and Timmy's. Bought big iced tea because it's stinkin hot and I don't need another migraine. And back on the road. Eat pb&j sandwich from cooler. 

Stop 4

Homespun Treasures
I have passed by this shop before with no idea whether it was open or not. Now I have the intel - if the flag is out, she's open. It's deceptively big and has a lovely selection. The proprieter gave me a packet of what all the Pennsylvania rows look like. I buy some fabric and head for stop 5.

Armed with packet, I now make an informed decision to maybe not stop at certan shops today and in the future, because I find their patterns... cómo se dice... bleh.

Hello, Franklin. This building, along with your very Byzantine looking Methodist Church that had a wedding today, fascinates me.  But why can't there be a quilt shop in Franklin? You would not be breaking the seemingly honorary code of a minimum of 13 mile radius between quilt shops. Seriously. I saw an empty store front back there on the main drag. Franklin is just the sort of place bursting with quaint, you should have a competition with Oil City for who has more quaint.

But Oil City would win.
Because they have a quilt shop. Spoiler alert.
 Am very looking forward to Stop 5, Celestial Quilts in Oil City. They had really weird hours when I stopped in January, but they had some really cool fabric, and if memory serves, they had some Kaffe Fasset, which makes them the only shop in PA north of I-80 carrying it... [south of I-80 carrying Kaffe is Quilters Corners in Finleyville, hands down my absolute favorite shop bar none]
Joy, joy, joy... I can't wait, I can't wait. I can't wait...!!!

Wait, what?!

I'm glad they are extended. But still. I made a special trip because we have a funeral Saturday,
and since when are quilt shops open on Sundays?
I will be a grown up and refrain from making a scene on the street,
for I am a teacher and thus a paragon of the community. 
Maybe I will cry quietly in my car for a few minutes.
It is now 3:25. There is no time for tears. 

Stop 6 Country Quilts

Country Quilts and Country Creations...
My phone says I must drive another 3 miles but here you are on this side of the interstate, so here I will gratefully stop. [You haven't updated the Google why...? You're right off the interstate. RIGHT OFF. Not three miles off. HALF A MILE OFF. I WOULD BE FIXING THAT YESTERDAY. But then I'm not you...not my circus...]
So you are a quilt shop and a gifty gift shop. Hokay. This is a lot of stuff.
You have a portapotty? Is your normal flushy not working? O_o I'm so sorry for you. Actually, I'm not sorry for you. I'm sorry for me. But portapotty is better than no potty. I wish I could wash my hands.I can't believe there isn't a sink to wash up in.
[A portapotty. Thank God my mother isn't here.]

It is now 3:45. There's no way I will make it to Clarion before 4:30. I-80 is the hottest mess of messes. East bound is moving like molasses in January and West bound is a parking lot for 10 miles. Forewarned, I now know I'm not coming back that way. Maybe I should call this lady [very sexist of me to assume the next shop owner is a woman, ah?] and tell her to please put the pattern in her mail box or something because I won't make it. Stupid Friday hours closing early.

*2 miles into driving purgatory I recieve phone call that I left my wallet 3 shops ago. They're open until 5PM.*
Kyrie Eleison. Christe Eleison. Kyrie Eleison. Christe--

Wait. I might make it on time...
*pull into parking lot at 4:11* Dig through purse to discover that it wasn't my wallet [praise God!] but a coin purse with my business card in it, which explains why the shop owner had my phone number to be able to call me.

Stop 7
Cotton Creations, Clarion
Retrieve pattern. Discover owner is most delghtful person who is keeping shop open for someone else who called ahead who is going to be even later that I thought I was.
So tired at this point, I did not think to take a picture of the shop and am ready to just head home. Siri says drive will take 2 hours. Didn't think about that when I started. Thank God I remembered to pack some fruit because I'm hungry now.

3 hours later I am pulling into my driveway because I made several wrong turns due to awful traffic, fatigue and my fabulous kidneys hard at work. Props to the only employee at the Valley Dairy in Cranberry whateverthatplaceiscalled who noticed that I was a breathig person sitting at that counter, because your shift supervisor sure didn't, and I was on a sugar crash. I shouldn't have to thank you for doing your job, and being Johnny on the Spot, but you were the only person checking on customers when the other five people standing around behind that counter, including your supervisor, weren't. 

Also, I have learned that Cook's Forest is the #1 weekend vacation destination in rural PA. Forget Lake Erie. They've got traffic backed up for miles to get into Cook's. Not making that mistake again.

To wrap all that up, my trip today looked something like this:

It was so much fun, now I understand the concept of shop-hops and why people love to do them.

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