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Five Delightful Quilt Shops to Explore

Tom and I made a trip to Dubuque, Iowa at the end of April to visit our daughter, Lindsay, and help with the Loras College Dance Marathon -- a wonderful event that annually raises over $200,000 for the Children's Miracle Network and the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. On our way to Dubuque we ventured off of the interstate and explored some new parts of Iowa which, of course, included five quilt shops!

Our first stop was a small town called Colo where the Lincoln Highway (Hwy 30) and the Jefferson Highway (Hwy 65) intersect. We ate at the Niland Cafe -- an awesome restaurant with homemade food just like they made when these highways were widely traveled upon before the interstate was built. Not far up the road is a small town called Conrad. There we found the Hen and Chicks Quilt Shop. It is owned Heidi Kaisand who started this shop in 2011 after having built a stellar reputation as a professional quilter and quilt teacher. This shop had awesome fabrics and they were preparing for the next day's Sidewalk Sale! I found some fun Halloween fabric and knew that I could use it with a panel that I had gotten at a Panama Quilt Guild meeting last fall. I also purchased a 1/2 yard of two gorgeous patriotic prints that will be used in a future Quilt of Valor project.

Next we headed down the road to the Amana Colonies. I had been to Fern Hill in South Amana a few months before, but couldn't resist stopping again as we had more time on this trip. This shop has a lot of fun things including architectural decor for your home and garden. The entire second floor of this historical building is full of fabric, but not the type that you usually find in most fabric stores. Some of the fabric is designed by Stephanie Brandenburg, the daughter of the owner. I have written about her fabric in a couple of previous blogs. There is also a wide selection of batiks and wool. I purchased a few fat quarters for the Halloween quilt and a few to add to the fabrics for my Dear Jane quilt. (If you have never heard of a Dear Jane quilt, that will be the subject of a future blog.)

Next we traveled a bit further to Main Amana and found the Heritage Designs Quilt Shop. While I did purchase another 1/2 yard of patriotic fabric, I also found some adorable cross stitch patterns of quilt blocks on perforated paper. I can't wait to adhere these to small wooden sleds and gift tags for Christmas.

The next day found us in Dyersville, home of the Field of Dreams and the Toy Tractor Museum. I dropped Tom off at the museum while I went in search of the fabric shop in downtown Dyersville. It is called Vintage Threads. I had a nice time visiting with the owner about Quilts of Valor. I bought another 1/2 yard of patriotic fabric as well as some fat quarters for the Halloween quilt. I also spotted the Basilica a few blocks away and the outside of the church was quite amazing. I retrieved Tom from the Toy Tractor Museum and we went inside the Basilica only to discover the most beautiful church. It truly rivals any of the cathedrals that I saw in Europe. Absolutely stunning!!

A trip to Dubuque is not complete without a stop at the Cotton Cabin Quilt Shop. There are always fun fabrics and patterns to look at and I rarely go in without buying something. This time I stocked up on a refill of Best Press. Since discovering this magic in a spray bottle, I make sure that I always have plenty on hand. It tames even the wobbliest of quilt blocks as it is starch and sizing in one. And it comes in several delightful scents!

I am so thankful to have a husband who indulges my love of all things quilty. We have enjoyed discovering new things on our travels while in search of new quilt shops. Let me know if you have found a great quilt shop so that we can add it to our list of fun places to go.

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