That’s the feeling we got when we walked into Inspirations in Hills, IA. From your first glimpse of the front door with its little red wagon overflowing with geraniums and the frosted quilt blocks in the windows, Inspirations looks and feels exactly the way you’ve always imagined a quilt shop should.
And then you step inside.
And, as you stroll around the spacious shop admiring the inviting array of fabrics — Civil War reproductions, batiks, children’s novelties, and contemporary prints — it isn’t long before you discover why Inspirations feels so picture-perfect: They were featured in the Spring/Summer 2013 edition of BHG’s Quilt Sampler magazine!
And there’s framed copy of the feature article, appropriately titled “Dream Come True”, hanging on the shop’s wall.
Inspirations is a dream come true for shop owner Nancy, who made her first quilt while in college in the mid 70s. After years of following the craft show circuit while raising their family, she and her husband bought and renovated an old general store into Inspirations.
Nancy’s enthusiasm glows from every nook and corner of the shop, from the breathtaking samples that hang on the exposed brick walls to the spacious, well-appointed classroom that fills the upstairs. And her love for quilting shines through her eyes as she reminisces about that first quilt.
And that enthusiasm has built a shop that draws quilters from miles around. There’s always something exciting going on at Inspirations. The Shop Clubs are particularly popular and, for the most part are low-key opportunities for quilters to gather monthly to socialize and sew and learn about new trends and gadgets in the quilting world. The Farmer’s Wife Club is following along with the letters and quilt blocks from Laurie Hird’s book The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt. The Breakfast Club features new product demonstrations and show-and-tell of members’ latest projects. The Breakfast Club quilters recently completed their first group quilt, a Scrappy Star Quilt.
Nancy also talked about the Stash Busters’ Club as her way to help quilters to embrace their stash and view it in a new way, as a reflection of their taste.
Nancy smiled as she told us about quilting in the area around Hills. “There are hundreds of enthusiastic quilters here,” she said. “They give us our inspiration!”
Things to Know about Inspirations and Hills IA
Facebook: Inspirations Quilts
What to See and Do Near Hills: Hills is eight miles south of Iowa City on IA 27. Iowa City offers a wealth of sights and activities. At the University of Iowa, you will find the Old Capitol Museum (21 Old Capitol) housed in the historic building that served as the Iowa state capitol from 1840 through 1857. Nearby are the University of Iowa’s Museum of Natural History (11 Macbride Hall) and Museum of Art.
Admission to all three museums is free. Iowa City also hosts the Iowa Arts Festival in early June and a Jazz Festival in July.
Where to Eat Lunch: The Mill Restaurant (120 E Burlington St, Iowa City) serves standard lunch fare. Check out their vegetarian black bean burger. Another tasty stop near the Old Capitol Museum is Short’s Burgers (18 S Clinton, Iowa City) or try the Clinton Street Social Club, a retro-warehouse speakeasy just upstairs from Short’s with an eclectic menu of old favorites with a gourmet twist.