Rowing Fun All Around Times Three!
Before I started working full time, you could say I was a prolific quilter with more than 100 quilt projects under my belt (mostly wall hangings though). I also have many UFOs to work on. I was getting a little bored with quilting then something called Row by Row Experience peaked my curiosity.
Well I just love it, I love it so much that the three years that my province has participated, I’ve done a challenge quilt. I’ll admit, I spend way too much, I get so caught up with buying and swapping for other kits that they were coming in faster than I could make them. J In fact, I still have kits from 2015 and 2016 to make. Other than my 3 challenge quilts I have completed another 70 ish rows with more to come. This year alone, I am working on # 42 and # 43. I still have to put these rows into quilts, I have enough of certain themes that I can make one with campers, one with farms, one with landscapes, well I think you get my drift…
The second year I was better prepared, spent hours and hours planning our trip from Winnipeg all the way to Yellowstone National Park, traveled 15 days, 5500 kms and I think we overdid it a bit, my carry on couldn’t fit my kits, so I had to put my clothes in the carry on and my 90 some kits in the big suitcase… I was so tired from that trip that I had to rest up a few days before starting my quilt but I was a week ahead of the year before so I though, maybe this year I’ll get the prize at the LQS.. No such luck, my quilt was at the binding stage when the winner claimed the prize. I brought it to the second closest store which is a 90 minute drive round trip. I vowed to myself that nothing and no one was going to get to <my shop> in 2017.
This year I meant business, I wanted to win at my LQS partially because I didn’t want to travel to bring the quilt but my main reason was because I love her fabrics. Again I had prepared a binder with spread sheets of which shops had which rows, distances between the stores, how many minutes I could stay in each store. We left on the 21st, only went to Minneapolis distance wise this year but I did take time to visit the Prince Museum, visit with a quilting friend too, I worked on rows while we were away, so by the time we came back after 4 days I had 5 rows done (luckily several of these were laser cut). They say the third time is the charm and it was for me, I won on June 27th at the store <my LQS>.
It’s not the prize, it’s the bragging rights. Because I was so focused on winning at Keystone quilts, I took time off work, I said to my boss that I would be back only after I had given in my quilt. One morning, my husband had to go to work late because I needed help pinning the quilt. Then off he went and I quilted it, put my binding on, it was getting late, not much time to eat, so I opened the fridge to see what was in there, I found some cold cuts in a package, ate it like a banana so I wouldn’t dirty my hands and could continue working on my quilt while eating. I was just about to sew my label on, couldn’t find the darn thing so I had to make another, called the shop to see if she had a winner yet and the answer was no, so I said I am on my way, wait for me as I would be arriving around closing time, called my husband to tell him where I was headed, he left work early so he could see me win, however, he was stuck in traffic, so I ended up waiting on him (followed him home). Needless to say that after we arrived home in separate cars and I ate, I had a well deserved nap.
The first year I started, I noticed that after 3 weeks no one had claimed a prize, so I suggested to my husband that we go get some kits, unfortunately there were only a few shops participating in my province, so that meant going across to border as they had more shops in a shorter drive than if I drove to either ON or SK so I figured why not? During rowing (traveling from store to store) I would read the instructions on the kits). I won my first RxR but not at my LQS, I had to travel a little further, as dedicated as I was my quilt was traveling with me to work, I was sewing my binding on while my husband was driving, working on it during lunch, my husband did the cooking and cleaning and some could say it’s like football season when the wives say that they don’t see their husbands, you could find me in my sewing room when I wasn’t at work or sleeping.
I love the hunt, the trip, the experience and mostly meeting the shop owners. Every year I send a picture of my winning quilt to each shop that I have use a row from. Several stores stand out and you gals know who you are. Some of the shops go above and beyond and these are the rows that you’ll find year after year in my quilts.
I can’t wait for next year. I like to call the Row by Row Experience <Rowing Season> and I cannot wait until next year for the fun to begin again. However I better make more quilts with those 70 + rows I have waiting for me.
Linda Mullen, Winnipeg MB