December 7, 2015

My Alaska Shop Hop!

I don't travel very often, and never very far (my husband won't fly). So last spring when my son suddenly insisted that we go to Alaska (we live in Connecticut) my response was that he had been there three years before with his college friend! So why go again?? But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became. It was all because my sister in law was about to retire from 6 years as the Superintendent of the North Slope School District based in Barrow, Alaska. It was our last chance to visit Barrow, because well, no one goes to Barrow without a really good reason! So my son quickly planned the trip, and I made sure there was just enough time to visit at least one quilt shop in each city :)

The trip consisted of 9 flights, Hartford - Chicago/Midway - Seattle - Juneau - Anchorage - Barrow - Fairbanks - Train to Anchorage - Seattle - Baltimore - Hartford. That was more than I have flown in the last 9 years! Thankfully the flights were all uneventful, and we met some really interesting people along the way.

Our first stop was Juneau, to visit my brother in law and nephew. Rain Tree Quilting was first on the quilt shop list.

It was a beautiful shop, as you can see!

Traveling for two and a half weeks with only a carry-on, I didn't have much room for fabric. I bought a few small pieces of a newly released fabric line by Northcott called Eskimo Snow, designed by Alaskan artist Barbara Lavallee. I didn't know at the time that it was so new it had only been released in Alaska!

Our next stop was Anchorage. After a day on the Alaska Railroad to Seward, we spent a little time checking out the city.  The Quilted Raven was my fabric fix for that day! 

They had an incredible selection of Alaska related fabrics and patterns. I bought a few more pieces of Eskimo Snow, and a couple Alaska wildlife panels. I could have spent several hours in there, but the parking meter was ticking and we had many more places to go!

One of my favorite parts of the trip was meeting a fellow Statler (quilting machine) owner that I had known of from various quilting forums. I have always respected her talent and knowledge, and it was a real pleasure to meet her! We had lunch, which turned into a few hours of talking "Statler" and a well needed break from our busy schedule. Oh, I wish Jo Ann lived closer. A LOT closer!!

Almost forgot to take a picture, so please excuse the parking lot!

Our next stop was Barrow, Alaska, to visit my sister in law. Barrow is the northern most point in North America, far north of the Arctic Circle. It was May, and the next time the sun would set was August! It's really hard to describe Barrow, it was an experience I will never forget. Here I am outside the general store.

To my surprise, they had a very large fabric section. I guess a lot of people make their own clothes, and quilts too!

Animal furs are not something that I am used to seeing in any store!

Our next stop was Fairbanks, the first fabric store on the list was Material Girls. Wow, lots of fabric!

I found more pieces of the Eskimo Snow fabric, and some northern lights fabric.

Last stop on my Alaska Shop Hop was Northern Threads, also in Fairbanks.

I bought a quilt pattern called Northern Wilderness, here is their sample. Now I just need to find time to make it!!

We had a fantastic trip, ending briefly in Tacoma, WA to visit my brother and sister in law. Would I do it again? Absolutely!! And I would buy more fabric and have it shipped home :) I ordered more of the Eskimo Snow line when I got home, enough to make a long overdue king size quilt for our bed. I still have to design it... and piece it... and quilt it... that will keep me busy!