How did it happen? This past summer I participated in the 2014 Row by Row Experience. Although the activity started the first week in July, I actually didn't find out about it until the beginning of August. Each quilt store which chose to participate designed a row based on the theme of "seasons." Beginning in July, the quilters were able to visit any participating store in person to receive their free quilt row pattern. Lots of quilters simply collected those that they wanted and created single table runners with the patterns. However there was more to the project for those interested. Any quilter who collected 8 patterns, combined them into one quilt, completely bound it, and then was the first quilter to present her completed quilt at any participating shop, received a prize! Wait, that's not all! If this shop's own pattern was one of her completed rows, she additionally won a bonus prize. So the race was on because each shop only committed to giving one prize (and one bonus prize) to the very first quilter to walk into their shop with a completed row by row quilt.
I was starting a month late. Did I even have a chance? I joined the facebook pages of the Virginia Row by Row and the nearby states' pages, since driving to multiple states are quite easy and quick here in the mid-Atlantic! At their pages I saw all the different patterns from which I made a list of the ones I'd like to own. Then I looked for ways to work in a drive to these stores in our busy summer schedule. Once I received a row pattern, I started following that store's row by row page to keep track of winners. I also kept a master list. I was quite organized!
I also enjoyed seeing all the quilt rows from all the stores and the various ways the quilters creatively put them together. Each quilt store also sold fabric license plates with their own quilt logo, in addition to kits to complete the row. I only purchased one kit. All the other rows were completed with fabrics and buttons from my stash.
In August I visited a quilt store in Fairfax called The Quilters Studio that I visited with a quilt guild. While there I picked up their Row by Row pattern. Their completed row looked like this. My version looks like this...
A few days later we went to Charlottesville to visit President James Monroe's house. After a tour followed by lunch at Michie Tavern, we drove to Cottonwood Quilt Shop in Charlottesville. Their completed row looked like this. I wish I had bought their kit. My version looks like this...
From there we drove to That Little Quilt Shop in Culpepper. Their version was all about summer however I interpreted mine for winter because my kids challenged me to use these rows to tell our story of living in Virginia the last five years. We have experienced lots of blizzards since moving to Virginia in 2009! Besides, this project was about seasons, and I didn't have anything yet that represented winter. I used white fabric with swirls to represent the blizzard. The blue/purple houses were shivering in the cold, yet hopeful for spring, as evidenced by some of their floral patterns.
The next week I went to Nokesville to Daffodil Quilts and Fibers. (I can't get their web page to come up.) Their charming completed row looked like this. My version looks like this. While placing the blossoms, I liked the idea of leaving them more loose so that is what I did! I also moved some of the flowers around and added more strawberries, at my daughter's request!
I changed the robin to a bluebird...
I also let the dogwood blossoms spill off the row...
From there I drove down the rode to Manassas to Old Towne Needlecrafts. They offered a block pattern called "hummingbird" in three different methods. I chose the paper piecing method. Their completed row looked like this. My completed row looks like this...
The next weekend my husband and I popped down to Williamsburg's Love 2 Quilt and More. Their completed row looked like this. Obviously I had to have this pattern to remember all our trips to Colonial Williamsburg! My version looks like this.
On another day we made a foray into Maryland to Capital Quilts for the only row I got from outside Virginia. Why? Because I had to have this one too-here is their spectacular completed row! In fact, I had to buy the kit for this one because I wanted that fireworks fabric! It was not available without the kit. However I got confused with the directions and almost ruined the bits of fabric I got. Thankfully I eeked it out!
Finally we went to Purcellville's WebFabrics for their row. Their completed row looked like this. Mine looks like this. It has quite a history.
Purcellville is in Loudoun County, the only county in Virginia that has its own flag. The flag is based on the county's namesick, John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun, from Scotland. He was the titular royal governor of Virginia from 1756-1758, meaning that he ruled from Britain. He never set foot in Virginia. He was also the Commander-in-Chief of the Brtiish forces in Virginia.
I used a damask to represent 18th century textiles. The yoyo in the center of the flag hearkens to the 18th century fabric covered buttons, which I learned how to make in Colonial Williamsburg at a sewing class with the costume design center. Whereas 18th century fabric covered buttons are all about smoothness, the yoyo is all about the ruffles. Below, I decided to interpret the agriculture block with barns, many of which I enjoy seeing when we drive through Loudoun County. Therefore I designed two sets of barns, one for each side of the row. I followed their example of the grapes, since they have many vineyards in Loudoun County, however I decided to let the leaves spill out of the row and be loose.
One by one, all the stores from whom I received patterns, even a couple that I never used, gave away prizes. By the time I was finished in early September, one store from whom I received a row had not given any prizes...WebFabrics in Purcellville. I checked daily, then when I was done with my quilt, I double checked, triple checked and quadruple checked their web page, their facebook page, and the Virginia Row by Row facebook page. No winner. So I drove to Purcellville. I brought in my quilt and showed them but they told me they had already given a prize to a winner in August. I apologized for coming in but explained I had checked carefully on-line first because I had no intent on wasting their time. One of the ladies took me to her computer to show me the picture on their facebook page but she couldn't find the picture either. As I went back to the table to reclaim my quilt, the lady told me not to leave because she was going to give me a little something. I told her she didn't need to because that was not in the rules and I was good with sticking to the rules, just embarrased that I came in at all, though I never said that last part but I was certainly feeling it! lol She came back and presented me with this roll of solid fabrics. She said she chose that collection of colors for me because it appeared I liked them since I had a lot of that in my quilt, particularly in the row I interpreted from their pattern. Thank you!
I never got a picture of the quilt label I put on the back of the quilt, but here is a copy of it:
2014 Row by Row Experience
Row Houses in Winter Waiting for Spring
That Little Quilt Shop
Daffodil Quilts and Fibers
Old Town Needlecrafts
Spring Cardinal Row
The Quilter’s Studio
A Capital Fourth
Love 2 Quilt and More
Fall Along the Blue Ridge
It is now on display in our stairwell at the insistence of my husband!