I've never been on a shop hop, and there is one in the Norhern IL area. I guess I'm looking for information about it...
What is a shop hop? How does it work? How much money am I going to need? Any details you can share would be greatly appreciated. I'll drag my daughter with me kicking and screaming the whole way. Although, to be fair, she likes fabric shopping with me, and has a really good eye for what colors/prints work well together. She just really doesn't want to be a quilter, but I keep trying :)
I just finished a shop hop here in East Tn. I've done a lot of them so here's the scoop.
Take address labels in case they have individual drawings at the shops. Most shop hops have nice prizes for stopping at every shop. Some have block patterns and fabric that are really cheap that will make one block. When you get all the blocks and make them, you have a sample quilt. You can buy the finishing fabric or a finishing kit at any one of the shops. Our shop hop has baskets at each shop that will be drawn for. First prize is $100 at every shop, second prize is $50 at each shop, and third prize is $25 at each shop. Ours had 12 shops so First prize could be $1200. That's a nice prize. Be sure to put your name on your passport. That's the form they use that is stamped at each shop when you visit. One of our shops said someone won last year but did not put their name and address and phone number on their passport so they had to discard it and draw another name. That's sad. You're not obligated to buy fabric at every shop, but take a look around and ask where their sale rack is. Some of our shops gave away fat quarters as a gift. Some gave gift certificates for $5 on our next visit. It's really fun and to see what different shops have. Hope this helps.
Diana in East Tn.
I like shop hops because you run into so many quilters...some at multiple shops. Definitely bring someone. The ones I have been on have been more for the fellowship and of course fabric enters into the picture. But don't feel obligated. You might want to bring a pattern or two with you that you want to make so you have an idea of what fabrics and how much to buy without having to buy another pattern. That is what I have started doing lately. I bring patterns and buy only the amount of fabric I need for that project. When I get home, I put it in a tote with the pattern. I feel more in control of my excess this way. (everyone has their own way of justifying their addictions.) But mainly, have fun!
I love shop hops! I get to visit new places and meet new people! I usually get the block kits to make the quilt if I like it! I limit my budget to what I can afford. Most shops give 20% off one item. I use that for something on my wish list, like a pattern or a ruler. Last year, I saved all of my silver change for the year, and cashed it in to spend on the shop hop. Let me know if you have a good time!
Susie, traveling in a car with a friend (or relative) is one way to do a shop hop, but sometimes the shops sponsor buses, and you might like to try that sometime. It's a great way to meet other quilters and share ideas. There are often prizes given out on the bus, and some shops put on meals for buses arriving around the dinner hour. I especially like to take the bus when the hop is further from home. You can plan projects and do some hand sewing while riding the bus, and it's fun to ooh and aah over everyone's purchases.
On the banks of the Mississippi River in north central Minnesota (Brainerd lakes area)
Here's a link to info on the shop hop you mentioned - 32 shops in 3 regions (have to go to all the shops to qualify for grand prize): http://www.northernillinoisquiltfest.com/quilt_shop_hops.html
I was just at Fabrics Etc 2 yesterday & the shop owner mentioned the hop as they are participating. I haven't done one either but this looks like fun - and lots of time to do it! (Most hops I've seen last a much shorter time & have fewer shops).
Eileen--That's the one :) Two of the regions are easily do-able. I can tackle them over the course of two weeks. But the third one is going to involve a hotel stay somewhere out on the western edge of the state. Rockford is only about an hour drive, but it's another hour or more to get to Galena. I'm going to give it a shot, though.
I like the idea of taking a pattern with me to find specific fabrics. I really try not to buy willy-nilly, unless I've really fallen in love with something. That will take some research to see what I feel like making (outside my current UFOs). After this weekend, I should only have 4 that are active.
Thanks so much for all the great advice!