Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Traveling With The Traveling Quilters - Last Day, April 28th

After breakfast we continued our journey. Our first stop was The Creation Station in Buellton. A most unusual quilt shop, with many intriguing ideas and innovations. "Dad" met us first-timers as we got off the bus, and gave us a tour of the shop. I had met "Mom" and her daughter at a short class at the LongBeach Quilt show. A wonderful family!

 Everyone visited the lady's room. (you have to see it, even if you don't use it). An extra treat - besides the neat "goody bag"the quilt shop gave us,  the Solvang Bakery (which is next-door to the shop) also gave us each a cookie. (It was almost too pretty to eat - almost...)

It's a button!

We stopped at Solvang for shopping and lunch on our own.  I found inexpensive lace trim at Buttons and Bows, and cute buttons at Rasmussen's fabric.
Actually - lace, zippers, and inexpensive fabric

 Lunch, unfortunately, was not so good. Well, you can't win them all...

The Elf-Skivers were not made with real elves.

Our last stop of the day, and of the trip (sigh) was Cotton and Chocolate in Thousand Oaks. Another nice selection of fabric and supplies, and more lovely salespeople and inspirations.

I was sorry to end this trip, even though both I and my suitcase were heavier than we started, and my wallet a lot lighter.

If you go:

What should I wear?
Wear layers: There is no way you can get a bus load of quilters to agree on what the right temperature should be inside the bus. If you take a light sweater you can use it for warmth, or to stop up the cold-air coming out of the vents...Also, good walking shoes are a must, and a hat if you are sensitive to sun.

What should I bring?
A suitcase with gussets. Lots of cash. I took my iPod with music and audio books on it to listen to as we rode along as I don't like to read while I'm on a moving vehicle. I also really wished I had a small craft project I could carry with me because seeing all the wonderful examples of fabric art made my fingers itch. I also took two cloth bags for purchases a list of fabric and supplies I would need for upcoming projects, and a list of thread colors I was low on.

What shouldn't I bring?
You probably shouldn't bring husbands or boyfriends unless they are active quilters, and even then they might feel conspicuous being the only male in a large group of women. Check with the tour leaders if you are not sure.

What should I do beforehand?
I googled all the quilt stores we were going to visit to see what their specialties were.  I also tried to divvy out my cash so that I wouldn't overspend my budget the first day.  I wish I had done more research on restaurants for the times we were on our own.

What should I expect?
Well, think of going on a quilt run, only you are going outside of your usual neighborhood, and you won't have to drive or navigate, and you will also be able to eat at nice restaurants and do a little sight-seeing while you are with the group.

Will my trip be like this one?
No. Even though the same basic itinerary may be repeated, The Traveling Quilters crew is constantly researching and updating their lists.

Last thought: I think that there must be a law somewhere that all quilt shop owners and staff are friendly, generous, and creative. No two shops were alike, and every one of them was full of wonderful examples of quilting and sewing projects.

With the Traveling Quarters - Second Day - April 27th

Next morning, after a continental breakfast at La Cuesta Inn, we boarded the bus to continue our adventure.

The first stop was The Quilters' Cupboard in Atascadero, another lovely quilt shop.

After leaving there we drove to Kiler Ridge Olive Farm in Paso Robles  where we had a guided tour of the facilities and an olive-oil tasting, followed by a delicious meal where each course included a different kind of olive oil. This was a unique experience for me, and I learned a lot, the most important thing being that a lot of commercial olive-oil is adulterated or over-processed, so you need to do your homework.

After an exciting ride down Kiler Ridge Road we went to the Seven Sisters Quilt Show, which was being held at the Madonna Inn Expo Center. This was a good-sized quilt show and the time I spent there went by fast.

What I bought today: Fabric, thread, sewing kits, and olive oil!

After the quilt show the bus took us back to the La Cuesta Inn, where dinner was on our own. Fortunately, the Apple Farm Inn and Restaurant was right across the street. Even if you don't eat there, it is fun to walk around the lovely grounds.

Part of Apple Farm grounds