The First Cross Country Quilt Shop Quest Giveaway!

As we’ve traveled across the US visiting quilt shops along the way, we’ve been amazed by the wonderful variety of fabrics we’ve seen. Each quilt shop has featured a new delight. We’ve marveled at rich rainbows of batiks, chuckled at clever novelties, relished charming reproductions, admired unique contemporary prints, and reached out to touch cuddly flannels.

Now, it’s your turn. As we’ve traveled, we’ve collected a fat quarter from each shop we’ve visited. And you can win a bundle of 10 fabulous fat quarters from the first leg of The Cross Country Quilt Shop Quest.

Contest 1 fat quarter bundle

Here’s how:

  1. Leave a comment below telling us about your favorite quilt shop. That’s it. You’ll be entered in the random drawing for the fat quarter bundle pictured above. Of course, you can  earn up to two additional chances to win by following the directions in 2. and 3. below.
  2. Leave a get well message for Libby Lehman on the Libby Lehman Updates from Caring Bridge blog post for one additional entry.
  3. Share our Facebook post announcing this contest on your own Facebook page for a third chance to win.

The deadline for entries will be 6 pm Pacific Time on Saturday, June 1. The winner will be announced on The Quilt Shop Navigator blog and on our Facebook page on Monday, June 3.

Special thanks goes to

  • Back Porch Quilts in Livingston MT
  • Bernina Sewing Center in Billings MT
  • Fabric Junction in Sturgis SD
  • The Dutch Rose Quilt Shop in Sioux Falls SD
  • Crazy to Quilt in Cedar Falls IA
  • The Fabric Stasher in Tipton IA
  • The Village Smithy in Bishop Hill IL
  • Peddler’s Way in Washington IL
  • The Stitching Nook in Richmond IN
  • Karen’s Quilt and Craft Connection in Barnesville OH

for their generosity in donating these fat quarters.


The Cross Country Quilt Shop Quest, Maryland Shops Part 2: Patches Quilting and Sewing in Mt. Airy MD

Patches Quilting and Sewing has taken over a house nestled on Mt. Airy’s Historic Main Street, with its flag flying. You can’t miss it.

Patches Sign Mt Airy MDThere’s a welcoming front porch and a short drive just to the left of the building which leads to an ample parking area,

Patches Building Frontwith a tempting little corner that calls you to rest a bit and enjoy the wonderful spring weather.

A Peaceful Resting Place Outside PatchesDon’t sit too long, though. A wonderland awaits you inside Patches’ entrance.

Patches Side EntranceA wonderland, I say.

More Fabric at PatchesEverywhere you look, you’ll see more colorful fabric,

Fabric at Patchesmore amazing sample quilts,

Preview of Coming Attractionspatterns,

Fun Food Prints on the Left, A Whole Room of Books and Patterns on the Right at Patchesand notions and just about anything else a quilter’s heart desires.

Inspiration Right Inside the Door at PatchesAnd then you meet the shop owner, Jackie, a lively lady with a genuine love for quilting and quilters and an infectious laugh. She started Patches in the original little house on the site. Soon, it was crammed to bursting and she built a large, well-lit addition on the shop. They now have over 5000 bolts of luscious fabric. I asked Jackie about her favorite fabric.

The shop was abuzz with quilters, as you can hear in the background of the videos we shot. Everywhere, friendly staff members were answering questions and helping customers pick out fabrics.

Helping a Customer at Patches

The whole atmosphere was like a cheerful gathering of friends. Jackie talks in glowing terms about her staff.

Here’s Jackie with Carolyn and Pam. They’d collaborated on picking out that lovely batik fat quarter.

Jackie and her staff

This striking black, white, and yellow quilt has an interesting story.

Gift Quilt at Patches

Listen to Jackie tell the story:

Upstairs at Patches is a large, busy classroom. The day we were there, it was humming.

The Classroom at Patches is a Busy Place

They were working on Storm at Sea quilts using Square in a Square rulers. And the results were beautiful to see. Storm at Sea is on my personal quilting bucket list, and these were absolutely grand. I was ready to dig my trusty Featherweight out of the van and stay for the class.

Lively Discussion in the Classes at Patches

The shelves in the classroom were stacked with donated fabric waiting to be used in Project Linus quilts. Jackie told us that a group meets regularly to assemble quilts for Project Linus and other charitable organizations.

Charity Quilt Fabric on the Shelves in the Classroom at Patches

Patches also carries Huskvarna Viking machines and Floriani embroidery design software, patterns, and threads, Long arm quilting is available, too.

Patches Carries Bernina Sewing Machines

But what impressed me most was their dedication to helping their customers learn and grow as quilters.

Things to Know about Patches Quilting and Sewing and Mount Airy MD:

Website: www,patchesquilting.com

Facebook: Patches Quilting and Sewing

What to see in Mount Airy:

Mount Airy was established in 1830, and its growth was tied to the expansion of the B&O Railroad. The railroad station downtown is on the National Historic Register. Today, Mount Airy’s Historic Main Street offers a quaint assortment of shops and restaurants that make a stroll through the downtown area an adventure of discovery. Because it is on the border between Frederick and Carroll Counties, it is near the center of  the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, with a wide range of historical sites, battlefields, and museums nearby.

Where to eat lunch:

Jackie launched into a long list of recommendations. There’s Carter Que (1310 S Main St) which offers great barbecue, Laurienzo Brick Oven Pizza (114 S Main S) for pizza and Italian fare, Mount Airy Inn ( 1401 S Main St) for traditional fare, Concetta’s (231 South Main Street) offering breakfast and brunch and sandwiches and subs, and California Tortilla (1311 South Main Street) for Southwestern and vegetarian goodness. “We eat at them all,” Jackie offered.


Coming Soon: Stay tuned for An Important Announcement from The Cross Country Quilt Shop Quest.


The Cross Country Quilt Shop Quest, Maryland Shops, Part 1: Bear’s Paw Fabrics in Towson MD

Bear’s Paw Fabrics in Towson MD is located just inside the Baltimore Beltway (I-695) off Loch Raven Blvd and Joppa Rd. You’ll drive down into a shop/industrial park complex on Orchard Tree Lane and hang a left, and Bear’s Paw will be on your left a few doors down.

Lynnie Entering Bear's Paw Fabrics

When you walk in the door, you’ll be welcomed by the Official Greeter:

The Official Greeter at Bear's Paw FabricsAnd another member of the Welcoming Committee:

Another Member of the Bear's Paw Welcoming Committee

Bear’s Paw Fabrics is spacious, expansive, HUGE. One of the first things that catches your eye when you enter is a large gazebo which forms a backdrop of an amazing display of quilt ideas and projects.

The Gazebo inside Bear's Paw FabricsAnd there’s more inspiration tucked inside:

Inside the Bear's Paw Gazebo

Don’t you just love that purple floral jacket?

Another Peek Inside the Gazebo

We soon met Bear’s Paw’s gracious owner, Judy, who invited me to sit with her in their Bernina showroom for a chat. Judy and her husband purchased the shop over 17 years ago. At the time, it was primarily a Bernina shop and general fabric store. It seemed the perfect spot for Judy, who was an enthusiastic garment seamstress. As time went on, quilting and machine embroidery won an ever-expanding place in Judy’s heart (and the shop). They still offer an occasional class on making clothing, but Judy says she finds the amazing capabilities of the new Bernina machines fascinating, and the wonderful quilting fabrics that are available now “addicting”.

Judy and Lynnie Chat at Bear's Paw
Meanwhile, around us, the shop was buzzing.

The Busy Cutting Counter at Bear's Paw FabricsBear’s Paw Fabrics offers a wide array of styles in quilting fabrics and notions.

Patterns at Bear's Paw Fabrics

Everywhere you look, you’ll find something colorful, exciting, and fun.

Pretty Flower Inspiration at Bear's Paw Fabrics

One of Judy’s favorites is their collection of beachy seafood fabrics.

Maryland Seafood is a Specialty at Bear's Paw FabricsThey have their own little die-cut crab appliques, ready to be fused to beach cottage guest towels, picnic linens, and beach totes.

Crab Applique at Bear's Paw FabricHere’s a quick little project featuring those famous Maryland crabs:

A Quick Project with Maryland Flair at Bear's PawElsewhere in the shop, Frank spied this beautiful seascape quilt. Doesn’t it just capture the soft sea breezes? I love the visual texture in the water and the sky.

Sea Scape Quilt at Bear's Paw

But inspiration at Bear’s Paw Fabrics goes far beyond seafood and the summer shore.  Judy says that many of their customers are intrigued by modern and contemporary quilt fabrics and patterns.

Sample Quilts and Sergers at Bear's PawStill others are drawn in by the exciting world of wool applique and penny rugs. Bear’s Paw is offering a Block of the Month program from WoolyLady.

Penny Rugs at Bear's PawThere is inspiration for more traditional quilters, too. I thought the borders on this quilt were the perfect touch.

Homey Sampler Quilt at Bear's PawJudy’s staff are friendly and knowledgeable and always eager to help. When I asked her what made Bear’s Paw Fabrics special, her quick reply was, “It’s the staff.” Some of them have been with the shop for ten years or more.  They go the extra mile to make customers feel confident that no matter what their quilting project is, they can make it and it will be beautiful.

Christmas Bunny Quilt at Bear's PawAnd, surrounded by such beautiful inspiration and such cheerful people, how could you not believe it?

Holiday Applique at Bear's PawThis Tree of Life panel whispered, “Let me go home with you. You know you need me.” So, of course, I did.

Tree of Life Panel at Bear's Paw

Things to Know about Bear’s Paw Fabrics and Towson MD:

Website: www.bearspawfabrics.com

Facebook: Bears Paw Fabrics of Towson, MD

What to see in Towson:  Towson is just inside the Baltimore Beltway and a convenient drive from the many attractions in Baltimore. Explore the Maryland Science Center and the National Aquarium in the Inner Harbor. Or visit Fort McHenry where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write The Star Spangled Banner.

Where to eat lunch: Judy told us not to miss Maryland’s seafood, especially the crabcakes. So try Mo’s Seafood (1528 E Joppa Rd) or The Corner Carry-Out (5401 York Rd). Mo’s does delicious seafood with a traditional Baltimore flair. The Corner Carry-Out is a homestyle deli with a reputation for amazing fried fish.

Our Next Stop: Patches in Mt. Airy MD





Libby Lehman Updates from Caring Bridge — Updated 6-6-13 pm

Libby Lehman

Update 6-27-13:

Tacking new updates to the bottom of this post has made it awfully long to scroll through. From now on, we’ll be posting updates in a new post each week. Please go to our home page and scroll down to find the most recent Libby update post. And, while you’re here, you might also enjoy reading about The Quilt Shop Navigator and the wonderful quilt shops we’ve found on The Cross Country Quilt Shop Quest. Thanks!




I’ve been off visiting quilt shops, so I fell behind on posting updates on Libby Lehman. She continues to improve slowly. Here are the updates from Caring Bridge for the last few days:

From Libby’s sister Sarah on Tuesday:

Update from Lester posted by Sister SaraH (#4): Had a nice visit with Dr. Koch a short while agoand he said Libby showed no C-Diff infection (yea!).  He said her lungs were clear when he listened to them.  Dr. Koch showed me the report from her last cat scan – still shows a lot of swelling in the brain.  He said she was better than last week, was happy with her PT report from yesterday and for us to have patience.  He thought once the brain swelling was reduced we would start seeing progress.  He thought a couple of more weeks on the swelling (ugh)! Hugs – Sarah

From her sister Cathy on Tuesday:

I spent the afternoon with Libby and she was not alert but she was squirming and moving her right leg a lot and her left leg a little. I gave her a “manicure” – taking off the chipped polish and rubbing in some soothing oil. I can’t wait for her to be actually kicking up her heels and kicking b____!

Several of you have ask about the sisters. Here is the lowdown:

 #1 Libby – the oldest and wisest.

#2 Cathy – retired banker and grandmother of 3 grandchildren including one year old twins.

#3 Ellen – retired banker and college professor and grandmother of 6 grandchildren, the oldest of which will be starting Rice University (Libby and Lester’s alma mater) in the Fall.

#4 Sarah – still working in Marketing for an energy equipment manufacturer in Houston and expecting her first two grandchildren later this year.

 Thanks for your continued support and care for Libby.  Cathy

Yesterday (Wednesday) from Sarah:

We got a cute email today from Lester: “My girlfriend was awake and wouldn’t quit smiling at me when I got here a short while ago.  Got her to squeeze my hand twice.  Was very good to see her so alert! She has had a very good day starting with her PT performance this morning!”

Sounds like even in her condition, she might have been flirting with her sweetheart (tee hee). This is encouraging. – Sister Sarah

From Libby’s sister Cathy on Wednesday:

My sisters and I just wanted to thank each of you for all of your continued support.  Every time we talk to each other we remark on how amazed (actually BLOWN AWAY!) we are by the inflow of messages, letters, cards and beautiful artwork that you send Libby.  We share it everyday with Libby, but it also encourages us and keeps us going.  Of course we have known and been the beneficiaries of our sweet sister Libby’s thoughtfulness, generosity, fun personality, optimism, maturity  and zillion other talents for many years. But we had no idea of how many other lives she has touched and inspired around the world.  We did not know that she is a ROCK STAR!  Wow!  How cool!

Sister Cathy
PS.  Libby had the staples removed from the incisions on her head today.  Rock on!
From Libby’s sister Ellen last night (Wednesday)

Today was a mighty good day full of “baby steps” down the road to recovery. Libby was more alert, as indicated by smiles, right arm and leg movements, and quite a few yawns – which means either she is improving physically or quite bored with her loved ones’ monologues – or both! We are reading a few of the cards and journal entries to her every day, but we are still a long way from getting ahead of the outpouring of love and support from her many fans and friends. Thank you all Very much! They are good medicine for Libby And for those of us who get to share them with her!  -Sister Ellen


Update 5-23-13

Libby’s sister Ellen just posted the following on Caring Bridge:

If you know Libby, you know she likes to line dance. Ok, you know she likes to lead and teach ( not surprisingly) line dancing. Well yesterday was slide two steps forward and today seems to be rock one step back. She slept thru PT today, but is still showing brief smiles and movement, but having a laid back day. “Momma (and doctors) told us there’d be days like this…”

Update 5-24-13:

Libby’s sister Ellen posted again last night:

The reports from Lester this afternoon and from my friend who visited and read to Libby tonight were that Libby was resting peacefully with no change from this morning. We hope and pray Libby will be sliding forward again tomorrow.

One interesting tidbit – A therapist asked if Libby spoke other languages (which she does to varying degrees). When told Spanish was Libby’s second-best language, the therapist spoke to her in Spanish which seemed to get a slight response from Libby, according to Lester’s niece.

I wonder what the therapist would have done if the answer had been  “Swedish”, which Libby learned as an exchange student in high school? Anyway,It will be interesting to see which language Libby will re-connect to first. My money is still on English, or at least what passes for English here in Texas.

Good night or “Buenas noches” to all.

Updates for 5-25-13:

From Cathy last night:

Libby had a quiet but good afternoon.  She opened her eyes several times, she smiled, and she wiggled her legs a lot (yes, the left one too!).  The neurologist came by and said that swelling in the brain is about the same.  Her incisions are healing well and look a lot better without the staples.  She coughed a little more than usual which the doctor said is good.  Baby steps, baby steps….

I want you to all know that the family is very pleased with the care Libby is getting at Kindred Hospital in the Houston Medical Center.  The doctors are top notch and caring, and the nurses and staff are compassionate and attentive. It is a clean and quiet place.  She has a spacious corner room with a large window that looks out on the beautiful campus of Rice University where she graduated from college in 1970.  She met Lester there – he was a football hero – when she tutored him in Spanish. As soon as she is able to do so, I know it will give her pleasure to be within view of a place that is dear to her heart.

PS.  Several of you have asked for a picture of Lester with his solidarity haircut.  Sister Ellen took one on her I-phone and sent it to me so as soon as I can figure out how to do it technologically, I will post it in the photo section.
And here is the picture Cathy posted:
Lester's Buzz Cut
Then, this morning, Sarah posted the following on Caring Bridge:
Libby was pretty alert this morning when she opened her eyes. Per Ellen’s suggestion played music from iPhone and she smiled – a lot. Oh what a beautiful sight those sweet slight smiles are. Held her hand and we “hand danced” gently swaying to the rhythm of the song. Think she is stuck in the ’80s & 90s as she responded to Crystal Gayle, Eddie Rabbit, Don Williams & Wyonna Judd. Running a bit of a low grade fever but still lots of leg movement on right side. Thank you Cathy & Bill for getting photo upright. May everyone be showered with bliss & grace today! Muchos besitos!  Sarah
And may Libby and her family also be caught in that shower of bliss and grace.
Update for 5-25-13 evening:
From Libby’s sister Ellen:

Back by popular demand, we are making sure Libby has some tunes playing on an “old school” CD player/radio for therapy And relaxation. She seems to enjoy the music and hopefully, it will help her remember the things familiar to her. She was resting peacefully today with only a low grade fever. She gave us some good smiles, hand squeezes, and limb and right hand movement, while listening to the reading of the CaringBridge messages with George Strait singing softly in the background. Awww.

P.S. Please send more jokes – those are my, I mean Libby’s, favorites. Thanks.

Update for 5-26-13:

From Ellen on Caring Bridge a few minutes ago:

Reports from those who visited Libby today were that she had a quiet day of rest. The visitors played a lot of music and read her the jokes – which by the way, you people are a Riot! Libby continued to have movement on the right, quick smiles, and not too much alertness. Lester’s niece Diane reported that the nurses say Libby has adjusted very well to having the trach shut off and some patients don’t. They have also commented on her beautiful, wrinkle-free skin. We Really like these nurses!

Thanks again for the jokes! We will read them again to Libby when she is more awake. In the meantime, she seems to be enjoying the music, especially Willie Nelson and John Denver. Adios for now.

Update for 5-28-13

From Ellen, last night:

Happy Memorial Day, especially to those in our country’s Service – past or present, or family members! Thank you!

Today Libby continued to respond best to Lester’s voice when he sweet talks her into opening her eyes and smiling. For that she gets a sweet kiss from Lester on her cheek – causing more smiles – from Libby and anyone witnessing it.

Libby’s brother-in-law Tommy relentlessly “coaches” and coaxes her into obeying simple commands to move her limbs, including her left leg. Her fellow Southpaws and the doctors should be pleased with some movement on the left “on demand”. We sure were!

Between the two men they’ve got a real Good Cop/Bad Cop routine going on, but it seems to be working. Keep it up Team Libby!

And, a few moments later:

Oops. Ever realized you made a mistake right after you hit the “send” button? Me too.. Like tonight. Tommy is married to Lester’s niece Diane, and has been a good friend of Libby and Lester’s since Tommy’s freshman year in college with them. Although he is not technically a brother-in-law, he is still -close family.

Sorry, my apologies to Tommy and any of you out there who now know more about our family tree than you ever needed or wanted to know.

Signing off  -Sister Ellen

Update 5-28-13, pm:

From Ellen again:

NEWS FLASH! Here’s the latest on Libby in an email from Lester:

Dr. Koch came by while I was sitting in lobby with Libby in wheel chair. He said if Libby will continue with the small daily improvement that he is seeing he is going to have the trach removed maybe as soon as tomorrow but the great news is he is going to call TIRR (rehabilitation hospital) and have them come look at her this weekend to hopefully get her moved there next week. I asked him about her being asleep so much and he said she wakes up when they work with her in PT. Libby squeezed Jenni’s hand (PT person) and pushed the right wheel on the wheel chair 6 or 8 times on her own. Libby was mostly awake during the ride but went to sleep for the 45 minutes we sat in the lobby (I guess she wasn’t too impressed with the view of Rice.)     I still have a hard time believing she might be in TIRR next week – we all need to open and close with that hope in our prayers!!

And a few moments ago from Cathy:

Libby is completely exhausted from the morning wheelchair ride and PT and she is sleeping peacefully.  She has been taken off the post-surgery antibiotics and is infection free (yea!).  We listened to the Mama Mia soundtrack, Billy Joel, Clint Black and some Andrea Bocelli recordings that my husband, Bill, selected for her and put on my i-phone.

I read Libby some of your messages and cards.  The jokes are great, and the cards and letters are amazing.  They always make me cry because they are either so hilarious or so heartfelt and sweet.  So many of you have shared your story about a loved one (or yourself!) on a similar “health journey”.  The recurring themes of “hang in there”, “patience is the key” and “miracles do happen” is so comforting.  Bless you,
Cathy (Sister #2)

Update for 5-29-13:

Cathy posted two updates. The first is from Lester:

Libby had a good PT this morning. Jenni (Therapist) said Libby squeezed her hand when asked to do it. Libby was also awake with both eyes open most of time. They stood her up twice and asked her to kiss me. She either didn’t want to or maybe she doesn’t like the new hair do (she is going to have to get over that) anyway I was scorned (kinda reminded me of our first date !!!). Jenni was pleased with her performance.

The second comes from one of Libby’s old friends who visited her today:

Susan Gartner, a dear high school friend of Libby’s and a close family friend who has been reading to Libby, reported the following:

 Spent some nice time with Libby this morning.

Post PT I found Libby more responsive after a nap.  Opening her eyes on her own and smiling more when I spoke and seemed to be focusing on my face more than in the past.  Couldn’t get her to move her left leg, but active with right leg.  Also, like last Friday, she really seemed to want to hold my hand.  Then, all of a sudden she dropped my hand and moved hers a good distance away.  I thought she really looked good today, color and skin tone.

Update for 5-31-13:

Yesterday’s updates from Libby’s sisters Cathy and Ellen were not as happy.

From Ellen:

Not much shaking in Libby’s world today. Things didn’t go smoothly in PT, and the rest of the morning was mostly recuperating from trying to do PT. She has been resting peacefully with only a few moments of alertness, and thankfully, her little smiles. Cathy is on her way to the hospital now with some Ricky Tims’ music, so that ought to lift her spirits, for sure.

If you’ve ever driven to Colorado from Houston (which we did every summer to visit our grandparents), you probably remember the transition from flatlands to hills to plateaus to mountians. Today it is sort of like Libby is on a mesa top, rolling along, but not really climbing or descending. She’s sort of somewhere between Lubbock and Amarillo.

And from Cathy:

Libby was very unresponsive today.  In the late afternoon Lester and I turned up some 60’s music (Twist and Shout, Chain of Fools, etc.), but she wasn’t in the mood for grooving.  Later, I played my personal favorite Ricky Tims’ CD, Christmastime.  O.K., I know it is weird to play Christmas music in May, but who doesn’t love “Oh Holy Night” anytime?  I know Libby loves Christmas.  She always decorates her tree the day after Thanksgiving.  I know it won’t surprise you to learn that for many, many years she has made individual, hand painted Christmas ornaments for every extended family member with their name and the year on each one.  What treasures!

Even though they know that recovery and rehabilitation are long and hard and that some days are better than others, those less-good days are still discouraging. Please, leave a message below to cheer them up.

Update for 6-1-13:

There was important, but not very happy news about Libby last night.

A doctors’ report from Cathy:

This is difficult for me to write, so I am just going to give it to you as close to the doctor’s words as I can.  Today in a meeting with Libby’s primary Critical Care doctor, Dr. Stephen Koch, we learned that Libby has lost her center for speech, which was located on the right side of her brain (not unusual for left-handed people) where the major stroke damage occurred.  This affects not only her ability to speak, but also her ability to understand what is being said to her.   This is why she has little response to verbal commands – she literally does not understand what is being said.  She can respond to visual things – If you smile at her she can smile back, if you demonstrate raising your right thumb she can raise her right thumb.  The “intelligence” part of her brain is still intact.  But he likened her situation to a computer without a keyboard or monitor. Therefore one of the main focuses of her rehab will be on speech therapy.  It is possible for her left side of the brain to learn from scratch the cognitive and physical speech requirements, but it is much like a baby learning to talk.  We will learn more about this when she is transferred to a Rehab hospital, hopefully as early as next week.  The good news is that the swelling in her brain is way down and they removed the trach today.  Ellen will give a report on her PT today, which went very well.  Please pray for strength and patience

Cathy also posted a picture of some of the wonderful cards that Libby’s friends have sent from around the world:

Bulletin board

Bulletin board in Libby's room. I forgot to mention that I  have posted a picture that my husband, Bill, took of the bulletin board in Libby’s room with some of the cards and artwork that you have sent to Libby. I had taken one earlier on my i-phone but it was slightly out of focus and my husband deemed it “not up to Libby’s standards.”   There are so many cards (500+!) that we rotate them everyday so please forgive us if you don’t see your card in this picture.  The doctors and other caregivers have all commented on it.  “It makes me happy” one physical therapist said today.  Thank you all for your thoughtfulness.

And Ellen posted this beautiful prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for this day and all our many blessings – that Libby was able to do better in PT, and able to get by without the trach in her throat or oxygen in her nose. Thank you especially for her sweet smiles and pretty green eyes that look at us so warmly. Keep her in your healing hands and help us be with her every step of her journey with strength, compassion, and love.

Give us courage to handle the new problems we have learned of today. Help us ask the question “How? – How can we help Libby?”, and never the unanswerable question “Why?”. Be with us as we deal with our disappointment and keep us ever mindful of your presence and your grace. Be with her doctors, therapists, nurses, and caregivers and give them wisdom, skill, and kindness. Thank you for the support and affection from her many friends and family.

Please rock Libby, Lester, and Les to sleep tonight in your gentle arms, humming softly one of Libby’s favorite hymns, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.” Amen


Update 6-1-13 pm:

Cathy posted again this afternoon:

Libby is resting peacefully today, and she squeezed Lester’s hand twice this morning.  There is no PT or doctor’s visits on the weekends, so it is a time for recharging.  We are all still a little shell shocked from the meeting yesterday with Libby’s main doctor.  You try so hard to get more information from the doctors and specialists, but when you start to get their conclusions and observations, it can be very sobering.  My sweet sister Ellen’s prayer made me weep because it is so very, very comforting, and it reminded me that we are not in charge.  Thank you, Ellen.

Cathy Arnold
2220 Stanmore Dr.
Houston, Texas  77019
I have included my address and e-mail so you can direct specific questions to me, or you can include your e-mail on your Caring Bridge message and I will try to respond individually.    We feel bad that we cannot answer your many questions on Caring Bridge.  Often times we do not know the answers.  Does Libby recognize individuals?  We certainly hope so.  How about Libby’s memory?  At this point we have no idea about her short or long-term memory.  Does she recognize the written word?  According to the doctors, no. She has no language ability.  Your messages mean the world to us.  Often at night when I cannot sleep, I read them over and over.  You are so supportive and kind.  We send a giant electronic hug to each of you.

Update 6-3-13 pm:

Today was Libby and Lester’s 43rd wedding anniversary. This is the evening post from Libby’s sister Ellen:

Although certainly not the type of celebration Lester and Libby would have liked to share, a celebration never-the-less. Libby wore a bright new scarf, silver earrings and necklace, and pink glossy lipstick, which surprised Lester, in a good way. She also rewarded all those present with open eyes and big smiles, mostly directed at her honey. It was a bright spot in a dark week, and we are Thankful for that!

Lester has gotten a semi-commitment from the TIRR people to come tomorrow to evaluate her condition and eligibility for their program, and we are all hoping she qualifies. In the meantime, her PT and other therapies have somewhat stalled out, so we are hoping a new, more intensive program will rev her engines up. God be with her and Lester on this special anniversary day for them!

Happy Anniversary to two wonderful people! May God bless them both!

Update for 6-5-13:

A “wild ride” of an update from Ellen tonight:

Hang on to yer hats because today’s story is a wild ride. First, out of chute #1 came rejection by the TIRR doctors this morning who said Libby was not ready yet for their rehab program. We felt like we had been bucked off and hit the dirt hard on our hindsides. Then out of chute #2 was a better ride with our resignation and acceptance that Libby would need to stay at Kindred Hospital for a while more. Then chute #3 was a rough bronc – a call this afternoon to Lester from Kindred saying Libby would need to move out of Kindred (an accute care hospital) into a skilled nursing facility by Friday! Bucked off again!

But, by the end of the day we have dusted ourselves off -completed some research, many calls, and one visit, and have a short list of possible skilled nursing facilities. Whew! We hope to nail one down tomorrow. God be with us and guide us to the best care facility possible for Libby, and help us accept that His answer to our prayers for acceptance to TIRR was- “not yet.”

But the end of today’s wild ride was the Best part! As some of us were getting ready to head home, my daughter Susan leaned over and said firmly, “I love you, Aunt Libby, and you keep fighting!” To the surprise of us all, Libby nodded her head affirmatively. We were all thrilled to see this action on Libby’s part!!! Then when I teased her with, “What a nod for Susan but not one for me?” She gave another little nod. Fade to sunset and cue the music, “Happy Trails”.

Such good news is welcome, indeed! Happy, happy, happy!

Updated 6-6-13:

From Libby’s sister Sarah:

Last night after listening to different music for over an hour from iPhone, Jimmy Buffett’s album came on and Libby grinned big smiles – alot. Thought probably just coincidence si played other music and then back to his songs. Again smiles. Had forgotten Libby was such a parrot head ( what Jimmy Buffett fans are called). So think Libby is just on laid back, relaxing, no hurry, island time. It was just a peaceful evening.

And from her sister Cathy:

Lester, Ellen, Doris (Lester’s sister), and Diane (Lester’s niece) spent yesterday afternoon and most of today looking at skilled nursing facilities.  We selected University Place in SW Houston, mainly because it appears to have the best rehab program – speech, physical and occupational therapies 5 days a week.  Libby should be moved in the next few days.  It is part of the Memorial Hermann system, which is good because they also own TIRR, where we still hope Libby is able to go when she is ready.

Libby was a little more alert today – she held her eyes open more often and longer – and was able to do some PT.  Dr. Koch said he was very pleased with Libby’s alertness today.  Please pray that University Place will be a place of recovery and progress for Libby.

We’re glad to know that the wild ride of yesterday has settled down a bit.
Please read further updates here: An Important Libby Lehman Update — Angels Needed


Please take a moment to leave a comment below that we can pass on to Libby and her family. The messages she’s received so far are making a real difference and helping them all get through this difficult challenge. Can you imagine them unrolling a long scroll with all our get well wishes and a map showing her quilting admirers all over the world? Pin your wishes for Libby on that map!


The Cross Country Quilt Shop Quest — Day 4: Karen’s Quilt and Craft Connection in Barnesville OH

It was just about noon when we rolled into Barnesville OH looking for Karen’s Quilt and Craft Connection.

Karen's Quilt and Craft Connection

And the Quilt Shop Navigator made it easy to find.

Karen's Quilt and Craft Connection in Barnesville OH

This is Karen, who is the heart and soul of Karen’s Quilt and Craft Connection.


When she bought the store ten years ago, it was a hobby and craft store, with one table of flat fold fabrics. “Customers have been the drivers behind the growth of the store,” she told us. And customers wanted more fabric, and then more fabric, until today, the hobby and craft store looks like this:

Fabric at Karen's Quilt and Craft Connection

And this:

Inside Karen's Quilt and Craft Connection

And this:

Karen's Displays Fabric on Old Booths from Barnesville Restaurant

Karen rescued the benches when a favorite restaurant in town closed and refinished them to use for her fabric displays. “People come in and tell me about the fun they had sitting on those benches and I want to say, ‘Yes, and I’m sure I scraped your gum off them,’ but I don’t.”

Embroidery Supplies and Sample Quilts at Karen's

Above the benches, and everywhere in the shop, you’ll find an inspiring array of idea quilts, like these darling miniatures:

A Row of Darling Mini Quilts at Karen's

Or this beautiful hand-quilted antique double wedding ring:

Antique Double Wedding Ring Quilt at Karen's

Another delightful feature of Karen’s Quilt and Craft Connection is her friend Judy. Karen became a quilter almost accidentally. Judy, on the other hand, started out sewing doll clothes on a treadle machine and, by the time she was in high school, she was allowed to use an electric sewing machine and made most of her own clothes. Here is Judy, smiling beside one of the quilts she made for Karen’s shop:

Judy Poses with the Quilt She Made at Karen's

It’s easy to find coordinating fabrics at Karen’s. She often displays them right next to the sample quilts in her shop.

Karen Makes it Easy to Find the Fabrics Used in Her Samples

Karen’s is a center for a great many charitable activities in Barnesville. In 1974, the town of Xenia OH, where Karen was living at the time, was hit by a devastating tornado which killed 33 people and injured more than 1300 others. More than 1400 buildings were destroyed as the twister plowed a path a half a mile wide through the town. Karen recalls that a church in Kansas sent quilts to comfort the survivors, many of whom had lost their homes, their livelihoods, family members, and friends. The memory of that kindness is rooted deeply in Karen’s heart. When another huge tornado ravaged Joplin MO a few years ago, Karen spurred another quilt donation project for its victims. Within two weeks, they collected over 80 quilts from their customers and quilters in the Barnesville area. Other people in town donated money to fund the trip to deliver the quilts to Joplin. Earlier this year, Karen collected pajamas for donation to the Tri-County Women’s Health Center, which offers mental health services and shelter to victims of domestic violence. And just since we visited, Karen’s joined with other businesses and quilters to make and donate the raffle quilt below to raise money for the annual 3Cs Cancer Walk.

March snow 13 011 3Cs quilt from Karen's Quilt and Craft Connection(photo courtesy of Karen’s Quilt and Craft Connection)

That sense of community and caring fills Karen’s shop to the brim. She regularly features a customer’s quilt in her shop window. This quilt, made by Jill Parks, was in the window during our visit.

T Shirt Quilt Displayed at Karen's

“Jill began this quilt in the 80’s. She didn’t know what to do with her t-shirts and began piecing them in a random design. She was so happy when she finished quilting it in 2010. She uses this as the main comforter on her bed because of its wonderful warmth.”

Karen calls her fabric collection eclectic. Her customers clamor for brights, Civil War reproductions, homespun, and animal prints. “Especially pigs,” she said with a rueful shake of her head. ” I can’t keep a pig in the shop. If a fabric has pigs on it, it just flies out the door.”

Official Quilt Shop of Who Cooks for You Quilt Guild

Things to Know about Karen’s Quilt and Craft Connection and Barnesville OH:

Website: karensquiltandcraftconnection.com

Facebook: Walnut Ridge Fabrics

What to see in Barnesville OH:

The Belmont County Historical Society maintains the Victorian Mansion Museum (532 N Chestnut St), with 26 rooms restored to their original glory. Belmont County is the only county in the state with a total of three official Ohio Byways: the Drovers’ Trail along Ohio 147 and 800, Historic National Road/US 40, and the Ohio River Scenic Byway along Ohio 7. Karen tells us that the 50th Annual Pumpkin Festival, scheduled for late September, is a fete not to be missed.

Where to eat lunch: Karen directed us down the street to Patrick’s (101 W Main St), where I had one of the best cheeseburgers I’ve ever eaten. She also suggested Annie K’s (777 E Main St). 

Next time: We reach our first East Coast destination, Baltimore MD. But no visit to any city would be complete without a few quilt shops.







An Update and Well Wishes for Libby Lehman — New Update 6-13-13 and Message Deadline Extended

Libby Lehman

The latest post from Ricky Tims on Facebook is dated today:

Libby continues to improve – slowly, but surely. She is expected to transfer soon to another hospital where her rehabilitation can begin. Each day she seems more alert and it is evident that she is making progress.

From Ricky on Sunday:

Libby Update for Sunday – Mother’s Day.

Libby is still in critical condition. She is waking for longer periods of time and was a bit more responsive this morning when Lester was there. She obviously smiled at Lester and squeezed his hand more and stronger than yesterday.

Your prayers are appreciated.

We are so grateful for Ricky’s updates, and most of all, that Libby is showing signs of recovery!

Update 5-17-13:

From Ricky Tims on Facebook:

Libby Lehman update. Libby has been transported to a new hospital where she will begin very slow rehabilitation. I understand her first day there was tiring and so her progress was not evident. However, the general improvement continues.

The family has set up a Caring Bridge page where you can get updates directly from the family. This will be the best way for you to get your information. I will continue to report from time to time, but I urge you to visit this page – sign the guestbook and submit your email so that you can get email updates if they are sent.

God Bless Libby


Caring Bridge is a fine organization which provides a much needed service to the family and friends of people dealing with serious illness and injury. By all means, follow the link to Libby’s page there.

Update II (5-18-13)

There are THREE (!) Libby updates on Caring Bridge today from Libby’s sister Cathy and from Sarah Davis:

From Cathy: Wow!  Thank you, thank you for all of the beautiful cards, letters, and art pieces (mini-masterpieces!) you have sent Libby.  She has received over 400 from all over the world!  We have been reading them to her every day, and will continue to do so.  We have displayed some of them on a big piece of foam board in her room so she can see them.  What a beautiful visual testimony to the love being sent to her.  We can never thank you enough.

From Sarah: Sisters Cathy & Ellen have been creative with some sweet caring moments. Cathy & Bill read cards to her & have made a bulletin board in her room with some of them. Ellen gave her an impromptu make-over hospital style with some neutral lipstick. Ellen reports a bit more responsive than last two days.

And from Cathy again: Several of you have asked for Libby’s mailing address.  Because her home mailbox is small, we are asking you to send any mail to her husband, Lester’s, work address:

Libby Lehman
StarTex Title Co.
617 Caroline
Houston, Texas  77002
Lester has been Libby’s biggest angel.  He is a devoted, caring, and loving husband, and a true advocate for Libby in dealing with the many doctors, nurses and other caretakers.  He has been with her a good part of every day.  Libby sits in the palm of God’s hand, but Lester has his strong arms around her as well.
Thank you, Lester.

Update III: (5-19-13)

Libby’s sister Cathy posted this on Caring Bridge today:

Libby continues to rest peacefully.  Although we couldn’t get her to open her eyes for more than about a minute at a time, she moved around a little bit more in her sleep.  She moved her right leg more often today.  I read her some of her cards and letters and Caring Bridge messages to her.  I don’t know if she heard me, but it was comforting to me to read all of the sweet messages and to hope that she is feeling all the love flowing to her.  Lester got a strong squeeze from her while holding her hand and talking to her.  Please pray for more alertness and continued healing.There

Thanks to Cathy for taking the time to post these updates on Caring Bridge. Prayers and good wishes for Libby and her family.
 Update IV: (5-20-13)
There are two new Libby updates on Caring Bridge from Libby’s sisters Cathy and Sarah!
From Sarah:
This morning Lester reported that he walked into Libby’s room and the physical therapist and her assistant had Libby sitting up (with support of course) on the side of her bed. The therapists will be working with her 5 days a week. Hopefully changing positions will help to get her body to respond a bit more. Still praying for her to be more alert but it was encouraging to know she will be getting PT so many days in a row. Hugs, Sister Sarah
From Cathy:
Libby has her eyes open more today, and the Physical Therapy team had her propped up in a chair this morning!  This is important for her circulation.  She will have physical therapy 5 days a week.  Yea!

Libby has to wear a helmet anytime she is moved out of the bed  because she had two pieces of her skull removed during her two surgeries to allow room for her swollen brain to expand.  These pieces are being kept in a sterile refrigerated environment, and will be re-inserted in her head at some future day at least 3 to 4 months from now.  (Probably just as her hair starts to grow back!)  The surgery will actually be a good sign because it means she will be strong enough for it.
Thanks so much for your prayers for more alertness because they have helpled. Today Libby had a smaller trach put in, a sign of improved breathing. Once again, thank you for your beautiful messages.  We continue to read them to Libby.
Someone asked for Libby’s and Libby’s mother’s Hebrew names.  I will need some help there.  Libby’s full name is Florence Elizabeth Anthony Lehman.  She was named for her two grandmothers.  Libby was never too fond of “Florence”, although she adored our grandmother, Florence Anthony, whom we called “Donna”.  Donna was a concert pianist who lived in Manitou Springs, CO and who collected beautiful antiques, especially silver and china pieces.  Libby’s Mother was Catherine Warren Henry Anthony.  Among her many talents, she was a quilter and quilt shop founder and owner. She was a wonderful role model and inspiration to all of her four daughters.   Hope this helps to keep prayers of all faiths flowing.
Bye for now, Cathy
Update V: (5-21-13)
And, later last night, Libby’s sister Ellen posted a wonderful story on Caring Bridge:

However, the highlight of the day was this afternoon when Lester showed Libby his new haircut. He got his hair buzzed into a “burr” cut to match her hair growing back. Then during a conversation with me he mentioned he liked the new hair color growing back better than the last color she paid for. At that Libby’s eyebrows shot up along with the biggest grin we’ve seen in a long time. The crowd went wild and all three of us were laughing in our own way. Lester you were so busted. Thank you, God, for the sign we have been looking for!   Love, Sister Ellen (#3 in sibling order, but #1 in your hearts-haha)

Doesn’t that sound like Libby, though?

Update 6-13-13:

Be sure to read How We Can Help Libby Lehman on our blog.

There’s still time to leave a get well message for Libby below, too.


Please help us to send Libby best wishes for her recovery. Let’s add to that wonderful stack of cards!

We’d like to give everyone who’s been following the Libby updates on our blog and via Facebook an opportunity to send her a short greeting. WRBQ and The Quilt Shop Navigator will be producing a get well scroll to be sent to her next week. If you would like to have your get well wishes for Libby included on the scroll, please post them in the comments below, along with your city, state or province, and country, so that we can add a map to show her that she has well wishers all over the world.



Quick Travel Tip

Quilt shops make excellent traveling rest stops. Not only are their restrooms generally cleaner, better equipped, and much nicer than those at fast food joints or highway rest areas, they have fabric!


(Photo from the restroom at Fabric Junction in Sturgis SD)


The Cross Country Quilt Shop Quest – Day 4: The Stitching Nook in Richmond IN

We left our overnight stop in Indianapolis early on Day 4, headed for The Stitching Nook in Richmond IN.

Stitching Nook

The Stitching Nook is easy to find. It’s in the same shopping center with the big Lowe’s store, just off I-70. The Quilt Shop Navigator will lead you right to it.

Stitching Nook Sign

Waiting for us inside was Mary, who has been with The Stitching Nook for over 25 years.

Mary at The Stitching Nook

Shop owner Diana started The Stitching Nook 30 years ago primarily as a source for cross-stitch patterns and supplies, which weren’t readily available in the area. Mary joined the staff about five years later. “I was looking for a part time job and loved to sew, she said. As quilting grew in popularity, they carried more and more fabric and added Huskvarna Viking machines to their repertoire.

Inside The Stitching Nook

Today, the shop is filled with eye-catching quilts and luscious fabrics.

A Rainbow of Fabric at The Stitching Nook

I loved this exquisite applique quilt from Edyta Sitar’s Spring Bouquet pattern and had to take a closer look. It’s done with a raw edge applique techniques and Mary assures me that it’s much easier than it looks.

Lynnie Admires an Incredible Applique Quilt at The Stitching Nook

This modern sampler quilt made with a rainbow of solid fabrics graced the wall of The Stitching Nook’s classroom.

Sampler Quilt at The Stitching Nook

Everywhere you look, there’s something else to intrigue and inspire quilters, like this striking wallhanging.

An Interesting Take on New York Beauty at The Stitching Nook

Or these delightful panels.

Panels at The Stitching Nook

And, of course, books and patterns galore.

More Quilting Books and Patterns at The Stitching Nook

The diversity of The Stitching Nook’s offerings is remarkable.

Pattern Corner at The Stitching Nook

They are especially proud to be able to offer paper piecing classes by a Judy Niemeyer certified instructor. And in June, they are excited to be able to sponsor Pat Knoechel from Quilt in a Day for a special afternoon lecture and demonstration.

The Stitching Nook's Classroom

The Stitching Nook’s spacious classroom is really the heart of the shop. They present classes for every quilter’s skill level and interest. “We want everybody to be the best they can,” explained Mary. She told us about one class, about seven years ago, where the quilters started out as a room full of strangers. Now, that same group of quilters often take classes together, meeting up before class for dinner. “Our customers are like family,” she added with a smile.

Things to Know About The Stitching Nook and Richmond IN:

Website: www.stitchingnook.com

Facebook: Stitching Nook

Blog: Mary’s Blog on The Stitching Nook

Things to See and Do in Richmond:

Richmond is located on the Historic National Road, which was the first interstate highway established by Congress in 1806. This road was carved through dense forest in the early part of the 1800s and stretched from the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC to St Louis MO. Richmond is the site of one of the twelve Madonna of the Trail statues, located in Glen Miller Park at the corner of 22nd and National Road.

For quilters, another unique offering in Richmond is The Chocolate Trail of Richmond and Wayne County. What could be better than a self-guided tour of one-of-a-kind bistros, cafes, local chocolatier and candy shops/factories, historic homes, spas, a winery, intriguing gift shops and more?

Where to eat lunch: Mary suggests Galo’s (107 Garwood Rd) for excellent pizza, soups and salads. Another possibility is Ghyslain (416 North 10th Street ) for sandwiches, soups, salads, and elegant desserts with a French flair.

Next time: Karen’s Quilt and Craft Connection in Barnesville OH.



The Cross Country Quilt Shop Quest – Day 3 Last Stop: Peddler’s Way in Washington IL

After our adventures earlier in the afternoon, we approached our final stop of the day with a bit of trepidation.

Peddler's Way

Peddler’s Way is a little alleyway just half a block off the main square in Washington IL. If you’re approaching from the north on Main Street, as we were, and miss it, just swing around the square and try again.

Lynnie Entering Peddler's Way

The shop is a little easier to see from the other end of the alley, with its welcoming front porch and period sign.

Peddler's Way Quilt Shop in Washington IL

And inside is no less welcoming.

Inside Peddler's Way

The staircase to the upper floor is decked with stunning sample quilts.

Staircase at Peddler's Way

Gail, one of the shop owners, greeted us warmly and invited us into the shop’s bright classroom.

Gail and Lynnie the the Peddler's Way Classroom

Gail almost can’t remember a time when she didn’t sew. When she was a girl, she made many of her own clothes and recalls adding rickrack to the hems so that when they were let down, the faded crease wouldn’t show. When she was going off to college, she decided to make a quilt out of the scraps from her years of sewing. She and her grandmother hand tied the quilt together and she treasures the long conversation that accompanied the project.

The shop was started over twenty years ago as Peg and Lil’s Needle Patch. Gail and her co-owners Linda and Debbie bought Peddler’s Way about nine years ago, and love the busy, happy atmosphere of the shop.

Peddler’s Way carries a wide variety of fabrics, just about anything your needle craves. But what drew me in was the rainbow of batiks that inhabits most of the upper floor of the shop.

Did I Mention Peddler's Way Has Batiks

Row after row of glowing batiks – richly colored and pastel, striking and deep, soft and subtle, warm hues, cool tones – it’s all there.

Batiks at Peddler's Way

Did I mention that Peddler’s Way carries batiks?

A Rainbow of Batiks at Peddler's Way

They are also well stocked with threads and notions and the latest patterns, with a special corner dedicated to purses.

Purse Central at Peddler's Way

They carry yarn and knitting supplies, too.

Oh, Yes, Peddler's Way Carries Yarn, Too

Peddler’s Way is also a Pfaff dealer, with a range of machines available for any sewing or quilting need. Gail delights in finding neat new gadgets to offer their customers, like the Multi-Angle Wedge Ruler by Creative Curves she found at Paducah the week before and excitedly showed me. “I haven’t even shown it to Linda and Debbie yet,” she told me with a slightly conspiratorial tone. She can hardly wait to play with it and then teach their customers how to use it.

Gail Shows Off Her New Ruler Find.

The well-equipped classroom is really the heart of Peddler’s Way. It’s almost always buzzing with activity. There are regular Cutting and Sewing Days for Project Linus. One of the most popular activities is Chocolate Days, when quilters come to munch and chat and sew together. One of Peddler’s Way’s instructors is Judy Niemeyer certified, which allows them to offer classes on Judy’s stunning paper-pieced designs. In fact, another popular gathering at Peddler’s Way is Paper Piecing Mondays, where quilters bring their individual projects and their lunches to spend the day, with help and encouragement available whenever they need it.

The Classroom at Peddler's Way

And care and encouragement are both hallmarks of Peddler’s Way, and not just for customers with challenging quilt projects. Gail is a colon cancer survivor. When she completed her treatment and returned to the shop, a longtime customer and friend asked her how she discovered her cancer. As she told of her experience and emphasized how a colonoscopy caught her disease, there was another customer nearby. Some time later, she received a phone call from that second customer. “I want to tell you that you saved my life,” said the customer, who had overheard Gail’s conversation and scheduled her own colonoscopy.

Gail went on to say how satisfying it is to be able to make a difference in other people’s lives, whether it’s encouraging a customer to try a new technique, reassuring another that her quilt will turn out beautifully, or providing the impetus for someone to take care of their health. “I go home very happy every night,” she said.

When you visit Peddler’s Way, you’ll go home happy, too.

What You Should Know About Peddler’s Way and Washington IL:

Website: www.peddlersway.com’,

Facebook: Peddler’s Way Quilt Co.

What to see and do in Washington IL: Washington Square is a quaint town square just a few steps from Peddler’s Way, with restaurants and shops. Gail told us that Abraham Lincoln often rode through town during his circuit riding days. The courthouse in Metamora, just 7 miles north of Washington, was the site of one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. The Washington IL Historical Society is located on Zinzer Place, just across Main Street from Peddler’s Way. Next door to the Hisorical Society is The Village Doctor’s Museum which gives visitors a peek into a doctor’s office as it was in the early 20th century.

Where to eat lunch: Gail recommends Madison’s on the Square (106 Walnut St), a tea room and bakery. They serve all sorts of soups, salads, and sandwiches plus delectable desserts. Denhart Baking Company and Restaurant (101 Washington Sq) is another great option with a menu of comfort food and scrumptious baked goods.


The Cross Country Quilt Shop Quest – Day 3 Still More: The Village Smithy in Bishop Hill IL

The Mississippi River

After lunch in Tipton, we crossed the Mississippi River on our way to our next stop, The Village Smithy in Bishop Hills IL.

Village Smithy

See the blue star in the map above? The Quilt Shop Navigator told us that was the location of The Village Smithy. When we got there, we found The Colony Carpentry Shop instead. The Village Smithy is actually a couple of blocks further up the street, between Helena and Bergland Streets. What?!?!? The Quilt Shop Navigator made a mistake?!?!?!? Well, yes and no. The Quilt Shop Navigator uses GPS mapping and browser locator signals to pinpoint your location and the locations of the quilt shops in our data base. In this case, the GPS mapping data is in error. For what it’s worth, when I checked with Google Maps, they placed The Village Smithy about half a mile south of town, in the midst of a corn field.

Corn field south of Bishop Hill(Photo from Google Maps Street View)

Mapquest did well and located The Village Smithy right on the money. So The Quilt Shop Navigator is, in this case, better than Google but not quite as good as Mapquest.

This is not an uncommon problem. Here’s a map showing some store locations in New York City (the green pins) and where GPS location mapping said people were (the blue pins) when they were in the stores.

GPS Store Locations versus actual locations(Map courtesy of Mashable.com)

And here’s what Mozilla/Firefox has to say about the accuracy of its browser locator signals:

Accuracy varies greatly from location to location. In some places, our service providers may be able to provide a location to within a few meters. However, in other areas it might be much more than that. All locations returned by our service providers are estimates only and we do not guarantee the accuracy of the locations provided. Please do not use this information for emergencies. Always use common sense.

So the moral of this story is that you may have to look around a bit once you have “arrived at your destination”. In our case, we asked a fellow who was mowing the lawn at a nearby sandwich shop and he said, “Oh, you mean Marilyn’s shop! It’s just down the street a couple of blocks on the right!. You’ll like Marilyn. She’s a great lady.”

A couple of blocks down the street, there was The Village Smithy.

The Village Smithy in Bishop Hill, IL

And inside we found Marilyn, who is indeed a great lady.

Inside the Village Smithy with Marilyn

Marilyn grew up near Bishop Hill.  Her mom and grandma were quilters and she just naturally got involved in the process. She had a beauty shop for many years, but wanted a new adventure so, since she loved quilting and making things, she and her husband started The Village Smithy over 20 years ago, with 20 bolts of fabric and a stock of handmade crafts. There are still handmade crafts in the store, but there are now hundreds of lovely fabrics – homespun, calico, reproductions, and more – along with notions, thread, and machine and hand quilting supplies.

Fabric at the Village Smithy

Everywhere you look at The Village Smithy, you’ll see something intriguing.

Everywhere you look at the Village Smithy, you'll see something intriguing

I loved the red and white checked pieces in the picture below. The scalloped border and the basket embroidery on the wall hanging are spectacular up close.

The Village Smithy Also Sells Antique Linens, Dishes, and Glassware

Marilyn said she just likes making things. “I quilt at home every day.” She posed holding a little sample quilt she’d made from the scraps from another project. Doesn’t she have a lovely smile?

Marilyn Shows Off Her Own Project

The Village Smithy also offers quilting classes. Marilyn loves to encourage other quilters and share what she’s learned along the way.

Lynnie Shows Marilyn Her Hand-Pieced Dahlia Medallion

Another wonderful feature of The Village Smithy is Sheri, the longarm quilter in residence.

Sheri is the Longarm Quilter at the Village Smithy

Here’s a closeup of her work. Those are fantastic feathers!

A Close up of Sheri's Beautiful FeathersOne of Marilyn’s favorite stories about The Village Smithy concerns an antique quilt frame that she had in the front of the store during its early days. There was always a work in progress on the frame, and her mom and aunts and sisters and friends from the community would gather around it to quilt the afternoon away. She has a photo of her mother, aunts, and sisters working on a quilt her mother had pieced. When the quilt was done, though, she sold it. Now she wishes she had it back again as a reminder of her quilting family. She’s piecing another top from blocks her mother cut years ago right now, and thinking of putting the old quilt frame back up in the shop. If you’re lucky, perhaps you can sit down to add a few stitches to it when you drop in.

Things to Know About The Village Smithy and Bishop Hill IL:

Website: www.villagesmithyquilts.com

What to see and do: In 1846, a group of Swedish immigrants seeking religious freedom left their native land under the guidance of their charismatic spiritual leader, Erik Jansson. The site for their new utopia, later called Bishop Hill, was described to them as a “land of plenty, brimming with milk and honey,” and they struggled to make it so. These Janssonists built a successful communal society based on economic and religious principles. Many of the structures erected during this building campaign still exist. The colony grew and flourished for fifteen years before disbanding in 1861. Today Bishop Hill is a quiet country village where the charm and character of the original colony have survived the test of time. Bishop Hill is a National Landmark Village, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and it is an Illinois State Historic Site. The town is full of quaint shops, galleries, and historic buildings.

There is a busy calendar of events happening in the town, including a quilt show sponsored by the Prairie Queen Quilt Club and the Bishop Hill Arts Council coming up May 17-19. Marilyn also recommends that you shouldn’t miss Midsommar Music Festival on June 22.

Where to eat lunch: Marilyn suggests Colony Eatery and Bakery (103 Bishop Hill Rd), with homemade soup and sandwiches and, of course, luscious baked goods. The Filling Station (303 Bishop Hill Rd), just a few doors down from her shop serves burgers with all the fixings. For a more elegant repast, try PL Johnson’s Restaurant (110 W Bjorkland St).

Stay tuned for Day 3’s last stop: Peddler’s Way in Washington IL.