Shop Hop ‘Til You Drop'


Not Your Mama's Quilt Store | Texas

Shop hops are an entertaining way to visit quilt shops. If you’re new to an area or traveling, a shop hop is a marvelous way to discover all an area has to offer. You’ll be surprised at how different and inspiring each shop is.


Not Your Mama's Quilt Store | Texas

Hops aren’t limited to quilting. You’ll find them for breweries, craft stores, gift shops, and even restaurants. They are often organized by multiple retail owners who want to familiarize you with their business. They usually have a lot of similar components - a passport to get stamped when you visit each location, a small thank you gift such as a block pattern or fabric, and prizes for visiting all of the stores.


Some hops have been going on for years and you’re probably aware of familiar ones. But you’ll discover new shop hops by visiting websites and social media. If you’re curious about others that are out there, hit up Google for “quilt shop hops near me” to see those you’ve missed. Before you get on the road, here are a few things you should know.


Before you begin, pick up your passport at a shop near you so you’ll know which stores are included.  Sometimes there are magazines or passports to purchase. Make sure to fill in your info on it in case you lose it and to be eligible for prizes. At each stop, have your passport stamped and receive a giveaway if one is offered. At the end of the shop hop, turn in your passport to be included in the prizes. Each shop hop has a different procedure so be sure to read rules carefully.


Use a mapping app to plan your route. For a statewide shop hop, the hop might be divided into areas so use that as your guide. Decide how long you’ll devote to the hop and if you plan on going to all of the stores. You may want to begin at the store farthest away and work your way closer to where you live in case you run out of time. That way you can go to those closer stores another day. Realistically, three or four shops in a day might be all you’ll be able to get to, especially if there’s distance between stores.


Not Your Mama's Quilt Store | Texas

Of course, the best part of a shop hop is gathering companions to go along. They can be quilting friends, a non-quilting friend, a spouse, or even go alone. All are good options!


What’s your budget? Not just for fabric, kits, patterns, and notions of course, but also for gas, food, and hotel fees if you’re staying overnight. One way to determine your gas expenses (which can add up if you’re not careful) is to plug the stores into your mapping app to see how much ground you need to cover. Divide those miles by how much your car gets per gallon of gas to see how many gallons you’ll need, then multiply that by the price of gas. That should give you a good idea of how much money you need to put aside. You can save money – and time – by packing a lunch or snacks instead of eating in restaurants. If you need to spend the night somewhere, this is a good time to use rewards points. The goal – more money for shopping!


Lone Star Quiltworks | Texas

Half the fun of going shop hopping is being able to buy at the stores but without some strategies, you might run out of cash real soon! You can set a limit of how much you’ll spend per store. Some veteran shop hoppers put cash into envelopes for each store so they don’t spend too much – but that takes a ton of discipline! If you don’t spend one store’s allotment, you’ll have more to spend later.


One way to keep on track with the amount you can spend is to create a list of things you’re looking for. Go through your stash to see if there are certain fabric colors you need to replenish, notions or tools you’ve been wanting, or books and patterns to add to your library. Frankly, we think this is a great time to stock up on OLFA products! One of the best parts of hopping is remembering which stores you were in when you made a favorite purchase. Don’t forget that for the stores, this is their opportunity to make money. Use your list to pick up smaller items, such as fat quarters or spools of thread, when nothing jumps out for you.


Not Your Mama's Quilt Store | Texas

Shop local while you’re hopping. You’ll often find gift shops, restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries nearby so take advantage of seeing what else the town has to offer, either then or for a later trip.


Use social media to spread the word about how much fun you’re having, and to encourage others to join in. Many shop hops have Facebook groups or Instagram hashtags that make it easy to share your adventure. Your photos will encourage people to visit them, or answer questions other hoppers might have.


GRS Creations & Fabrics


One thing we need to talk about is shop hop etiquette. The store owners and their employees put in long hours preparing for, and then working the shop hop. They depend on sales from the hop to fuel their business. Take some time to look around instead of rushing in to get your passport stamped and then heading for the door. Sometimes, things aren’t always perfect, and they all may be worn out from a busy day, or you might be in when a large group arrives. If you have to wait, try to be gracious and understanding. If you’re running behind schedule and worrying about getting to the store before they close, call ahead to see if they might be willing to stay open a few more minutes (not hours) and understand if they aren’t able to. Check on their social media for their hours or unexpected closings, because, life happens. A smile and thanks can go a long way during these events.


When you’re done with the shop hop and have completed what you need to be entered for prizes, follow the instructions on the passport. Once you’re home, lay out your loot and bask in the memories of the amazing time you had. And above all, sew up all of the fabric and kits you’ve purchased while you dream about the next shop hop you’ll attend!


A great place to start if you don't know of any Shop Hops in your area is Shop Hop Inc. They currently run over 10 all state shop hops and OLFA is a sponsor. 


The All Iowa Shop Hop kicks off June 1st.