Traveling with a Quilter

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In my opinion, there are certain burdens that the spouse of a quilter must bear. Don’t get me wrong, there are perks, too. However, today I’m going to talk about one of the most serious trials some spouses face because they are married to a quilter, and that is traveling with one.

Now, I have heard horror stories of quilters who have husbands that will not let them stop at quilt shops when they travel! Perish the thought! I’m afraid that might be grounds for legal separation, pending counseling for the DH (dear husband)! I mean, after all, what happened to “Happy wife, happy life”?

Fortunately for me, my DH will stop as many times as I want to when we are on a road trip. He may or may not know that I actually plan the routes of our trips to include quilt shops that I have never seen, or some of my favorites (okay, full disclosure here–probably BOTH) 🙂

For sure, I try to make certain that we travel at least once from June to September so that I can Row by Row my way across the country. If you have never experienced this wonderful adventure, be sure to check out the website for Row by Row Experience, and maybe with the few weeks left, you can still hit some shops! I know that my mom’s shop in Kearney, The Quilters Cottage has not yet had a winner! You could even win 25 fat quarters yet this year! Pretty much every year, I design the row for her shop, and it is so fun! But, I digress…

Catch Me if you Can–Row for Taste the Experience Row by Row 2019 at The Quilters Cottage

Since the DH is so accommodating, I have been to a lot of quilt shops across the country. (A LOT!) I love to share my experiences at these shops here on the blog so that if your long-suffering spouse, like mine, is willing to make quilt shop stops, you can see where I have been and decide if you want to stop, should you be in the area.

The DH often uses the time while I am in a shop to run and get gas, take a short snooze, or even catch up on emails from his job. I’ve even been known to send him off to find some lunch, as long as he brings back something for me! He never complains or says anything about what I bring out to the car (so far) because I have a separate account that finances my quilting, and it isn’t being deducted from the general fund (otherwise known as his account!) I think those separate accounts are what has kept us married for 33 years! lol!

Now, I have to say that I do my research ahead of time, and I decide on just a few shops. Normally, I will hit just a couple on the way to someplace, a couple while I am there, and a couple on the way back. I don’t want to take advantage of his good nature. If we are in a large town with lots of shops, I might run out by myself in a morning or an afternoon while he catches up on some work, or naps in the hotel. I love my smart phone for that! I could never do it without that help with driving directions! Make friends with Siri!

On our last trip to Colorado Springs, where we arrived just in time for a tornado warning, hail, 60 mph winds, and a flash flood warning (see above picture), I decided to go to Ruth’s Stitchery. I was not disappointed! That is a fabulous shop! It has everything a quilter could hope for: large shop with great lighting, tons of variety of fabrics, samples everywhere including the newest trends like collage quilts, wools, embroidery, and a nice bathroom:) I literally spent an hour and a half in the shop, and could have stayed longer, but they were closing.

On the way to Colorado, we stopped at a great little shop in Colby, KS called the Quilt Cabin. This little gem right off of I70 was easy to find and well worth the stop. The owner Junelle Hills was a lovely woman who has great taste. Beautiful fabrics and samples abound with a large selection of flannels, brights, and notions.

As we made our way home, we stopped in Ft. Morgan, CO at a small shop because I really wanted their license plate for the Row by Row. The shop is called Inspirations, and the fabric selection was small but very nice. They had a good variety of batiks, Kaffe, and Tula Pink, which can be hard to find. They are also a Stonehenge Challenge shop, as is the shop in Kearney, NE. I had been on the Kansas and Colorado Row by Row Facebook pages looking at available rows and license plates from shops that would be along our route, and chose the places that had rows I liked or plates I wanted. It always helps me narrow down my choices for stops, if we travel during the summer. If we are traveling at a different time of year, The Quilters Companion and Travel Guide is a fabulous resource.

Thirty-three years of marriage has taught me a few things about how to “convince” my DH to do things that he may not be thrilled about. I’m going to give you my best piece of advice: Give Fair Warning! There is nothing my husband likes less than being surprised. If he were one of the spouses that won’t stop on a trip for a quilt shop, my first action would be to do my research, choose one “must stop” shop, and then approach him about it a couple of weeks before the trip. I’d say something like this, “I know that usually when we travel we don’t take time to stop at any quilt shops, but there is just this one in “wherever USA” that I really would like to see. Please think about planning enough time to make this one stop and we can talk about it later.” Then, make a quick exit so that he doesn’t have time to slam the door shut on the idea (because he probably will). Bring it up again in a few days, and see what his response is after he has time to mull it over. If he says no, gently ask what his reasons are that he would deprive you of this small request. If they are good, let it go and try again the next time. If they are not, go to the mattresses. You deserve to stop at a quilt shop!

Now, I would never suggest that you boycott him by not cooking or doing laundry or whatever it is that you think would get his attention, but get creative and help him understand that if he doesn’t go out of his way once in awhile to accomodate your wishes, you may just feel less inclined to accomodate his! Haha! and Good luck!

Sandi Griepenstroh

Sandi Griepenstroh


I started quilting in the early 90's as a young mom while I was still teaching high school social sciences and English. Now it is my full time job, and I love sharing the joy that quilting has brought into my life through lecturing, trunk shows, teaching everything from piecing to machine quilting, and longarm quilting the pieced quilt tops that others have made. I am a maker through and through, and I can't wait to meet my fellow makers and talk quilting!

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