Last weekend I went on a Quilt Shop Hop with my longtime friend Peggy. A Quilt Shop Hop like this is an opportunity for quilt shops to lure obsessed, addicted quilters into their stores to spend a lot of money they don't have on (sometimes) gorgeous material they may never use.
Should you not be a quilter, it works like this: a group of shops in a general area sell "passports" which need to be stamped at each and every shop in order to qualify for prizes which range from a super duper sewing machine, to "fat quarters" of fabric. (A fat quarter is a certain amount of material, the exact size of which I have yet to learn.) Along with the stamp, each shop gives out one part of quilt pattern. If one hits all stores, one has the whole quilt pattern to do, for free.
After one gets stamped, one then wanders around ooohing and ahhhing at material and quilting books and the amazing quilts most shops hang on their walls, often with the pattern and already chosen and cut fabric to make the quilt top.At a large extra cost, because all the choosing and cutting of fabric lengths has already been done.
I don't sew, therefore I don't quilt. At all. Never. And am highly unlikely to learn at this point in my life, what with my permanently injured right hand and all.
Peggy learned to sew at her mother's knees and makes wonderful quilts. (My mother had one arm and never sewed, either) Peg has enough spare fabric to make seven to ten huge quilts, all stored in her sewing room, and she has a small stash, compared to "real" quilters, she tells me.
So why was I along on a three day weekend to seven quilt stores in New Hampshire and Northern Massachusetts, you ask. Well, because it was a road trip, of course, with three nights in hotels, and an opportunity to go to the ocean. Plus, as Peggy is quick to add, I have a good eye for color. This is a rather startling fact we discovered three years ago when she made me a quilt for which I picked all the fabric. She has dragged me along to quilt shops with her ever since.
Now Peggy and I met when I was four and she was five. This August will mark 54 years of friendship. The last road trip we had been on together, however, was over 35 years ago, with our then-husbands along in tow. It was also the last time we had a major blow out that almost came to blows. ( Long story short, we wanted to set up camp in different spots, ended up screaming at each other, and stomped off in different directions, leaving out frightened husbands behind. They tentatively set up in a third spot and were both surprised and relieved when we turned up happily together, several hours later. Our mothers could have told them this was a normal occurrence, reverting back to five year olds.)
This was our first road trip since then, and while we knew blow outs were unlikely, we did wonder how well we'd travel together now, in our late 50's.
It was great! We had a wonderful time, even though I got tired of fabric stores, and took to reading while she bought still more fabric. I even bought a passport to have stamped, though it turned out neither of us won anything, alas.
After we finished the Shop Hop, we hit Newburyport, MA, like the tourists we were, going into the wonderful selection of clothing. furniture, art, junque, and second hand stores the city offers. Peggy is always helpful in dragging my walker up and down steps, so I could hit as many stores as I liked. Our big purchases? Peg bought a pair of denim "I dream of Jeannie" pants, and I bought a cheap ring, both in a small head shop, which was affordable. We also had dinner with two of her old friends who now live in the area.
We spent a couple of early morning hours at the beach in Newbury, MA, too. These were perhaps the best hours of the whole trip.
This trip has hardened my desire to take my own Road Trip this fall, in late September or early October. I have never take a road trip alone. I have always gone with my mother and/or daughter or one spouse or the other, and have always pretty nicely compromised over the route or the speed or the accommodations or the tourist traps, or all these together. This next trip will be mine, all mine. Never mind that I can probably only drive a few hours a day, and will need to rest a lot and walk around a lot, and deal with pain a lot. Never mind that I will be low budgeting it, and will miss my daughter and granddaughter and dog. Never mind that I won't be able to go as far as I'd like, and visit all my J-Land friends, I am going to do it, anyway!
My tentative route will be from CT to DC through WV to KY (near Cincinnati) to Pittsburgh, PA, then home to CT. Do any of my readers live roughly along that route? I would be happy to take an extra day or two to swing by to meet you, just let me know! (Mort, do you want a visit from an odd lesbian from New England?) I will be staying in motels in some places, and hope to bunk down on a sofa in others. I don't care how neat or messy anyone's house is, I just want whatever adventure the trip can offer me. And I have to be as frugal as possible.
And I want to meet and talk to people, flirt with babies, exchange hellos with strangers. This will be the most difficult part, I think. Rene is very good at striking up conversations with anyone, I am shyer. I just hope that between scheduled visits I can have hello-where-are-you-from? kind of interactions, no big thing, but still tough for me. We'll see what happens. Now I am going to get my maps out and start daydreaming.