Shop Hop is an annual event each June, hosted by the quilt shops in Western Washington. It's essentially a block exchange with a twist: each shop designs a quilt block using fabrics designed by two local fabric manufacturers. The quilt shop organization publishes a map to all the shops, and designs the sampler quilt. With map in hand, you visit each shop and pick up a free kit to make each of the blocks.
Since my first in 2004, I've done five Shop Hop events. And I still think 2004 had the prettiest fabrics and colors. Deep rich reds and golds and sage greens to go with a yummy floral in jewel tones. This quilt will eventually hang on the wall in my living room, and it will go perfectly with the rest of the decor.
I did the 2004 Shop Hop on my own, and knew I wouldn't be able to make it to all the shops (I think there were 56 that year). So I cooked up a strategy: a week before Shop Hop I bought the poster of the finished quilt, then figured out which blocks I could make without the free kit. I just bought enough of the different fabrics to make the blocks on my own.
A few years ago I drafted patterns for all the missing blocks, and discovered that I really enjoy drafting patterns (in spite of the math involved). And choosing fabrics is downright fun, one of the best parts of quilting. After I picked out fabrics to go with the Shop Hop fabrics, I cut out the pieces, and put each block in a ziplok bag. This way I'd be all ready to work on the quilt... whenever I found the time.
In February, I started piecing the blocks, and by the middle of March all but 13 of the blocks were finished. As I finished each one, I put it up on the wall in my sewing room in the correct spot, matching the poster of the finished quilt. It was so nice to see the quilt take shape, see how the blocks looked alongside the others, and how the color choices worked out. The final quilt will have a narrow strip of green sashing fabric between all the blocks, and a wide border around the outside.
So far, these are my favorite quilt block designs:
More to come...