Many of you may not know that I'm a quilter. My favorite quilts to make are baby quilts and quilts for Breast Cancer patients. It is truly a hobby with a purpose. Once a year here in the San Francisco Bay Area, several of the quilt shops get together and put on a shop hop where hundreds of Northern California quilters drive through several breathtaking counties in search of the perfect fabrics to make that special quilt or just to add to their stash.
This is by no means and ordinary shop hop. This event takes place over 3 days and by the time I finished I had visited 8 quilt shops and driven over 200 miles! There are quilters who come from out of town and meet up yearly for this event, and then there are locals who may visit a shop or two. Each shop that you visiti on the quest gives you a fabric sample and a stamp on your passport. If you complete the quest, you will have 8 fabric samples to put together with other fabrics from your stash to make a unique quilt. You will also have collected a stamp from each store to add to your passport which gets deposited at the last store that you visit so you can be entered into a drawing for baskets full of quilting supplies and other goodies.
As you can see in the photo above, these are two of the quilts that were made from the same core groups of fabrics. Each store starts with the same fabric samples and then they add their own personal touches and flair to it. Every customer has the opportunity to vote on their favorite quilt, and the winning quilt shop maintains bragging rights for the year. It's really cool to see the different designs that each shop come up with.
This year I was on the quest to find as many beautiful Breast Cancer fabrics as possible. To my dismay not many shops carried fabrics displaying pink ribbons or any signs of hope. I did find a stack of fat quarters at Cloth Carousel in Winters that had a Breast Cancer fabric paired with black, white and pinks. When I got to A Qulited Heart in Vacaville, I hit the jackpot! Not only did they have a wide selection of Breast Cancer inspired fabrics, but the owner herself is a Breast Cancer survivor! We swapped testimonies about our Breast Cancer journies, and she informed me that they have an annual fundraising event in the month of October for Breast Cancer Awareness. Needless to say I will be making the drive to the city of Vacaville to support the cause next year. In addition to the Breast Cancer prints that I was looking for, a popcorn print caught my eye and so did a blue print. These are fabrics that I will add to my stash projects down the road.
Being the overachiever that I am, I completed the Quilters Quest in one day. The weather was beautiful and since I left early in the morning there was no traffic to hold me back. The drive through Wine Country on the way to Broadway Quilts in Sonoma was gorgeous. Miles and miles of grapevines covered the hillsides as the sunset shined upon them.
Over the years I have taken a kid or two with me on this journey. Last year my son drove me the first day and my husband drove me the second day. This year I decided to take the journey on my own. It was a day of peaceful driving, a time of reflection, and some time to just take in the majestic natural surroundings that I am blessed to be able to see because I live in Northern California.