When the alarm went off, I eagerly (for once) got out of bed. I was still suffering from a horrible head cold, but that wasn’t gonna stop me. I had to be in Jefferson City before 7 a.m. to board the bus for a trip to 11, yes count them, 11 quilt shops in one day.
There were more than 30 women on the bus. We had muffins, drinks (soda and water), chips, cookies and, of course, what quilting adventure would be complete without chocolate? The bus was great, the seats comfortable and our driver’s name was Leon. He told a couple of jokes to get everyone laughing and we were off.
We headed down Highway 54 toward the Lake of the Ozarks to our first stop off Highway 42 at Love to Sew Boutique. We were welcomed and all shoppers had their passports stamped. There was a lot of “oohing” and “ahhing” over fabric and patterns. Then we were herded back on the bus and were on our way to the next stop, Camdenton’s Fabrics & Friends.
There were cookies and lemonade for those who needed a wider variety than was on the bus. And oh, the bargains to be had. On to stop No. 3, Greenview Sew & Vac off North Highway 5. By this stop, we were getting very good at getting off the bus, getting our passports stamped, checking out the goods and being back on the bus in 30 to 45 minutes.
The next leg of our journey took us to Stover. We passed many sparkling lakes and rivers. The views of the hills and valleys were accented by the colors in the trees that turn color early in the fall season. The variety of golden yellows, striking reds and numerous shades of greens was amazing. Occasionally, someone would point out a particular tree and say I want to find just that shade for whatever project was running around in their mind.
After visiting Claude’s Country Threads, Nustyle Quilt Shop and Stover Quality Quilting we were treated to lunch, which was included in our ticket price, at the Stover Community Center. They were having a special day in conjunction with their “Festival of Sharing” program. Not only were our tummies fed the most wonderful homemade soup, but we were treated to a mini quilt show of the quilts that will be auctioned off in Sedalia during their annual Festival of Sharing. Those quilts sparked many a wonderful idea for new quilts in someone’s future.
Everyone settled back on the bus and headed for Warsaw’s Saltbox Primitive Woolens. Their main thing was primitive art and wool based appliqué. I saw several bags leaving that store; someone even made the remark that we had certainly stimulated their economy.
More scenery, lots of conversations all going at once, then the lady that put the trip together gave everyone a prize. Several of the shops we were visiting sent her books, patterns, fat quarters and other sewing related items. They were generous enough that everyone received something – I got a new pincushion shaped like a heart that will be put to good use quickly.
A Little Bit Country quilt shop in Lincoln was the next stop in our journey. Then we were off to Primitive Stitches in Warrensburg, followed by Patches Place in LaMonte, with short drives between the two. Everyone was starting to slow down. Conversations lagged, a few quick naps were taken, a quick stop at McDonald’s to refuel and then on to our last stop before the hour ride home.
The lady who owns D & T Quilt Shop in Sedalia runs the business from her garage. I bought several fat quarters as did many of the other ladies. The chattering was short-lived after getting back on the bus. Darkness had fallen and very little scenery was visible out the bus windows. A few had put on their overhead lights; they were much too eager to wait till they got home to look over their goodies one more time. Others cat-napped until we pulled back in to the Jefferson City parking lot.
Then everyone jumped out of their seats grabbed their many purchases and scurried to their vehicles calling out goodbyes and can’t wait till we get to do it again. More and different shops to visit, roads to travel and bargains to be found, but for now everyone headed to their homes to unload and craw into bed so they could get up on Saturday and start a new quilt or finish an old one or simply look at their new patters, book, and fabrics and plan and dream.
Written by Debbie Steffan, an avid quilter and the fiscal administrative manager for the Missouri Division of Tourism.