Saturday, July 25, 2015

Rowing, Sewing, and Winning!

A few weeks ago I posted all the details about this year's rowing adventure. Then I got busy to the task of quilting which put me a bit behind on the blogging. However now that my Rowing adventure has come full circle, I've a bit of time to share about all the fun! This year's row theme is "water."   (The official details can be read here at the Row by Row Experience webpage.) 

This year my daughter joined me in the rowing which gave us a lovely bit of girly time. The beginning of the Rowing entails collecting free quilt patterns from various shops in America and Canada. We plotted our route and began our Rowing through lovely Virginia where the tall green trees, rolling hills and mountains abound! For us, we don't get to go on vacation this year, but this made a great staycation activity since there are so many quilt shops in our area.

Our first stop was in Great Falls, Virginia to the Jinny Beyer Studio.


Now I have to tell you that I have been a fan of Jinny  Beyer for years, ever since I first saw her on Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson in the early 2000's. (Is that how we type that? lol) She was always one of my favorite guests. At the time she was living in Australia and she showcased stunning brilliantly colored vibrant quilts that were all hand sewn. Even though I do a lot of hand sewing today, I did very little of it back then and I was perplexed, however I get it now! =) She explained at that time that since she flew a lot around the world, she did all of her quilting by hand so it could be portable on the plane, in the airport, at the hotel. (I'm sure a Dr. Suess book could be written about this!) Well, shortly after those shows aired my world became quite busy with homeschooling teenagers, then we moved from Texas to Northern Virginia where I was even busier. When I first started plotting my Row quilt shop travels, and I saw the Jinny Beyer Studio, only 30 minutes from my house, I assumed it was simply a brand name for the lovely quilter from Australia. I knew she had her own line of fabric, of which I had a few in the fabric stash, so I assumed she had her own line of quilt shops too. I did a bit of investigating and pleasantly discovered I was wrong! Jinny now lives in Great Falls and this is her own store! I had no idea she is now my neighbor! How cool is that? I now follow her shop on facebook and had fun seeing her garden. I had no idea she enjoys gardening, like I do. I love her garden. It looks like a quilt and is actually representative of the 18th century gardens of which I'm so fond and often blog about!

Visiting the shop was fun! It is cute and of course filled with brilliant color. Without a doubt I had to buy the row kit with Jinny's personal selection of vibrantly hued fabrics to recreate the nearby Great Falls! My family and I did some hiking there a few years ago and you can see the vibrant color of the falls yourself at my blog post here!


After purchasing the kit my daughter and I explored the gorgeous shopping area at Great Falls Village Center which reminded us of some of our favorite spots back in Texas. We found great food at The Old Brogue Irish Pub that had outdoor seating of two lovely choices. There is a water feature and tables with fire pits in the front. We chose the quiet solitude of the deck in back looking over the gardens. Of course there is indoor dining too. We enjoyed a crabcake sandwich that was delicious! Included was a coleslaw with mandarin orange in it. So tasty! I'm a picky eater and this Texas gal doesn't rave about many restaurants in Virginia, but this is worth a visit.





Now to fast forward, here is a peak at my work on Jinny Beyer Studio's row...




Now back to the collecting of  Rowing patterns, our next stop was Haymarket, Virginia to Oh Sew Persnickety! This row was designed by Polly from Aunt Polly's Porch. I started reading her blog after meeting her at the Haymarket Quilt Guild. She had done a trunk show of her quilts and they were fabulous!


This quilt shop is cute and bright and airy...all of which I enjoy. It is surrounded by streets named after Lafayette, Washington, and Jefferson, so of course I loved that!


This was actually the first row that we began. My daughter wanted to learn to quilt and this looked the easiest from our collection. We used our own fabrics from the stash and laid everything out to applique in one night! Mine are the yellow and my daughter's is the pink and purple.


Our next rowing stop was Kelly Ann's Quilting in Warrenton, Virginia. Not far from her shop is the infamous Lafayette Stepping Stone, which we visited a more than once!



This is such a cute shop in the historic area and this was their warm quilty Row by Row greeting on their porch!


This was my first time to ever work with half square triangles...


That ended our first day of Rowing pattern collecting. The next morning my daughter and I left for a lovely day of driving in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Our first stop was to the Scrappy Apple in Winchester, Virginia! This charming shop was full of fabrics that I could barely resist. I'm a fan of florals, swirls and batiks, like my daughter. We bought a few watery batiks to aid us in our rowing. My compliments to the shop worker who gave us a heads up about a traffic blockage down the road which included a SWAT team. Although she suggested a detour we drove straight through and all was well. Funny in that I had e-mailed my husband about our drive out west that day. When I left the shop I read his e-mail that said, "Have fun and be safe." lol We were!



I liked her cleverness in designing this one which features Old Rag Mountain which is a popular yet difficult hiking venue. I've yet to attempt that one!


We continued up the road towards West Virginia! We came so teasingly close to the border, only a couple of miles, that the mountains beckoned us to come. Driving up in elevation and driving on the curvy mountain roads reminded me of my trips to Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania when I was a little girl. Alas, not today. I told my daughter perhaps we can do some West Virginia rowing on another day. Meanwhile we finally came to a combination antique and quilt shop on the side of the road, Liberty View Quilt Shop at Cross Junction.


The surrounding view was so lovely that my daughter and I ate our lunch in the car looking at the mountains and corn fields. That's my type of view!





Next we set the gps towards Staunton, which is a long drive. However I loved their row pattern and have always wanted to visit their town so this was the day. I took a break at the Apple Tree farmer's market which was huge! Finally we arrived at Rachel's Quilt Patch in Staunton, Virginia!


Wow! Rachel's Quilt Patch is located in the historic area, specifically in an old railroad station. Aren't the guys of our family going to be jealous. They love trains! This quilt shop really got into the Rowing theme as the canoe has a Row by Row sign inside it to greet us!


And inside there was a kitty to greet my daughter!


The interior walls are old brick from the train station. I love history and kitties. What a great combination!

This row used partial seaming, which I've seen on Simply Quilts and I've read about. This was the first I've used partial seams to complete a block.


The scenery that day kept getting better and better. We drove home from Staunton in the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains on back roads which are always the best! We enjoyed dinner on the deck when we got home and told the guys about everything they missed from mountains to trains to kitties! It was such a beautiful day that I felt like I had come home from vacation!

Our final day of rowing was in the local area since we had appointments in the next few days. We had to run by Suzzie's Quilt Shop in Manassas, Virginia for this adorable seahorse pattern which ended up keeping me busy for a week! lol It was worth it though.


I planned my strategy by going through all my scraps to find great water fabric, then great seahorse fabric to compliment them. I shared my quilting journey on facebook, a few teasers on my public page (linked on the right) and these photos on my personal page. The seahorses drew lots of likes. I have one friend from college who kept commenting on each one, "This is my favorite." lol It was a lot of fun to visually share with my friends and kept my momentum going with my crazy driving schedule to get my kids in opposite directions to college and work each day.




At this point I let my friends vote on which seahorse I sewed next. Purple won!





Our next stop was Aurora Quilts in the historic area of Manassas, Virginia. I thought her saying on the fabric license plate was quite clever!





Every few days I shared progress photos with my friends...


You can see I've added a red cardinal to my umbrella row. I embroidered a black french knot for his eye.


To the watering can row I've added flowers that were left loose and three dimensional by stitching them down only in the center with cute little buttons for pollen.





Finally it was quilt sandwich time! I did purchase a license plate from Jinny Beyer Studio, but they were on back order so after payment, I self-addressed an envelope. They will mail one to me as soon as they arrive! I think it will say, "Row and Sew."


Alas, this is the final photo I took of my quilt. Since the sewing machine tends to be the bane of my existence, I tend to hand sew as  much as possible as evidenced by my Hawaiian quilt. I hand quilted it as I hand appliqued everything. I used homespun looking long runnning stitches for a folk artsy feel. I stitched in the ditch and around most of the motifs. I also added beads to some of the rows, as described in the directions. I added blue beads to look like water streaming from the watering cans. I added blue beads to act as rain drops to the umbrella row. I added three dimensional green fabric ruched seaweed to the seahorse row. I also added pearl bubbles coming from the seahorses' mouths. I also meant to add teal seashells to the beach scene (my idea because I have these gorgeous seashells in storage and all the bead work inspired me) but I completely forgot. However I did include my quilt label. So why don't I have more pictures of my quilt???? Well....

This morning my husband drove me to a  lovely quilt shop for me to submit my quilt and...I won! Since this post is so long, and that story of winning was so full of fun and loaded with its own set of pictures, that will be tomorrow's post. If you would like a sneak peak at the win, click on my facebook button in the right column! 


  1. It's just delightful! What an awesome assortment of themes to bring together in one quilt. I love all the wildlife and the cool colours punctuated with brighter hits, too. Fantastic work on this new quilt and happiest congrats on winning!

    ♥ Jessica

  2. Wow, to have so many quilt shops to visit - I'm jealous!

    Your quilt is just lovely, congratulations on winning!