When I began sewing almost a decade ago, my first two quilts were made from pre-cut charm packs. I hadn’t invested in many notions and wasn’t quite ready to cut yardage, but I still wanted to make quilts. Those little 5″ squares were the perfect beginning. Additionally, the online tutorials by Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company gave me the idea that this was all not only possible, but FUN. Her personality is engaging. If she made a mistake while filming, she shared that too. She demystified this craft. In those early days, I tuned in several times a week and watched Jenny piece quilts with enthusiasm. I think my children recognized the “jingle” and knew with the quack of the duck in the video, that I was intent on learning more. I gained so much information from those tutorials, that it was years and many quilts later before I took an “in person” class at my local quilt shop.
Fast forward to January 2020 and I finally made it to Hamilton, Missouri – home of the Missouri Star Quilt Co.! My family roots are in the midwest and my husband and I were in Kansas City for the AFC Championship Game between the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans. We had one free day in our schedule, so off to Hamilton we went. I might add that there had been a significant ice storm and the temperature was in single digits. We were committed; we were ready to explore. Yes, my husband willingly makes these fabric field trips with me…even when it’s freezing outside. I’m blessed.
Hamilton is just about an hour from Kansas City, but what we both noticed is how wide open the roads were along this route. No east coast-like traffic jams or aggressive lane changes by fellow drivers. We were gifted a blue sky that I remembered from my childhood – I swear, I never tire of it. I say RED is my favorite color, but it could easily be THIS blue.
This may sound silly, but I was GIDDY sitting in front of this shop. I had no idea what to expect or if I might just run into Jenny, but this was the embodiment of where and how I learned to sew. Once inside, we were greeted, almost immediately, by the staff who explained the store layout, what we could find at the other shops along Davis Street and that there was actually a place called “Man’s Land” if my husband needed a cozy hangout while I shopped! Interestingly, “Man’s Land” is a place for anyone who needs a break from shopping while relaxing in leather chairs and maybe watching TV. Its original beginning was as an old-fashioned men’s clothing store, well before it had anything to do with Quilt City! If you’ve shopped until you’re ready to drop, this might be the place to go, rest and refresh before continuing on.
I thought it was really cool that in each shop we entered, someone on the staff was sewing. Sewing, right there, by the fabric or the checkout area, not tucked away in a hidden studio. This is a company that walks the walk and they SEW and they QUILT! There’s a community vibe that everyone is working together. It never felt like I had walked into “work”. Everyone we met was helpful and friendly.
There are hundreds of patterns, templates/rulers, notions of all kinds and “gear”. Need a sewing mug, tote, t-shirt or other novelty item? They are available. I had to keep reminding myself that my suitcase was already pushing the airline weight limits, so I had to remain focused and frugal (to an extent).
This particular building is the location of the 500th store of J.C. Penney, which the name and location had been retained. Talk about a step back in time!
I liked that each shop had a specialty or theme. This concept means not having to roam a factory sized warehouse to find the perfect fabric. I sometimes find huge stores to be overwhelming. Here, you could narrow it down and find what you need rather quickly. However, if time is not an issue, going in and out of all the stores along this quaint street would be a lovely way to spend a day or more. There are restaurants and benches if you need to refuel or rest.
I don’t know if or when I’ll make it to Hamilton, Missouri again, but I’m thankful I was able to visit at least this once. It was nice to shop these beautiful stores in person. Oh, I almost forgot! You know the “quilter’s cash” you accrue with online purchases? Yes, you can apply that to in-store purchases! What? Happy day! Even better, as we went from one shop to the next, any purchase generated NEW “quilter’s cash”. I know it all adds up, but I convinced myself I was generating my own coupons – ha!
One additional “take away” for me after this vacation was that you don’t need a big city, big lights and a booming metropolis to make things happen. Start where you are, follow your heart and your dreams and work hard. You never know what might be waiting for you around the next corner if you just take that first step and start. If you find yourself in Hamilton, I hope you get to meet Jenny!
This is not a sponsored post; all content and photos are property of Two Terriers Studio.