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Quilters on the move this weekend

Post by Melissa Santos / The Olympian on June 26, 2009 at 2:18 pm with No Comments »
June 26, 2009 2:18 pm

For Lenny Shearer, Orting’s Wild Rose Quilt Shop was the 22nd quilt shop she’d visited in two days.

She and her husband stopped there Thursday as part of a four-day "Quilt Shop Hop," which is taking place at 57 shops in Western Washington through Sunday.

Upon entering the Orting city limits, Shearer and other quilters were greeted by a sign saying, "Welcome Shop Hoppers."

Shearer, who lives in Lynnwood, said the event is a great way for quilters to find new materials and see different shops.

"That’s what makes it exciting, when you see the different designs at each shop," said Shearer, 59.

About 2,500 quilters participate in the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop every year, said Stephanie Pratt, who is coordinating the event throughout the region.

Local businesses get a boost from extra visitors, Pratt said, while quilters get to visit new shops and see different fabric offerings. Each shop gives away special fabrics produced especially for the event, along with kits to create a unique quilt block.

"It’s just an event to build interest and get people out to see what new fabrics are out there," Pratt said. "It’s kind of this huge hidden industry you don’t think about."

Shop hoppers travel with "passports" that get stamped at each participating business. Once quilters have visited at least 16 shops, they can turn in their passports and become eligible to win prizes.

This year, one of the grand prizes is a retreat at Orting’s very own Wild Rose Quilt Shop.

The upper floor consists of a five-bedroom retreat center that can accommodate 10 people overnight. A large studio area includes sewing tables and ironing stations. A full-functioning kitchen overlooks Mount Rainier.

Robbie Burns, co-owner of the Wild Rose, said the retreat center offers quilters the chance to work undisturbed while spending time with some of their closest friends.

"The camaraderie and the socialization that goes on is awesome," Burns said. "The ladies tell their husbands, ‘don’t call me, don’t bother me unless the house is burning down.’ Then they can come downstairs and shop during the day and then run upstairs and finish their projects."

Shearer said she’d love to win the grand prize and come to the Wild Rose for a retreat.

"I like the idea of girls being able to get together and quilt together," she said. "I love having somebody with me."

Kirkland resident Cathy Cleveland, 52, said she and her friends come to the shop for retreats about twice a year. Though quilting is the focus, the group enjoys much more than sewing during these weekends, she said.

"We cook together, we share stories about our lives, we share wisdom," Cleveland said. "We’ve had tears, we’ve had laughter. It just brings us closer together."

This is Wild Rose’s first year participating in the Quilt Shop Hop, Burns said. She hopes some people who came to her store for the first time will return someday.

The retreat center is also available for people who want to scrapbook or use the space for other crafts, she said.

"We love to show off the retreat center," Burns said. "We just want people to know that Orting is on the map and we’re worth the drive, so come on down."

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