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Quilters ready for annual 'Quilt Shop Hop'

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The Southern Crescent, as well as other parts of metro Atlanta, will become a quilt-maker's heaven next week during the 10th annual Greater Atlanta Quilt Shop Hop.

Quilt shops in both Jonesboro and McDonough will participate in the region-wide romp for fascinating fabrics, which attracts quilters from as far away as Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina.

Shops in Decatur, Marietta, Conyers, Covington and Newnan will also participate in this year's event, which will take place from Thursday, March 26, to Sunday, March 29. Quilters will receive a passport, which they can fill up with stamps at each shop, for a chance to win special prizes.

Jeanne Lowery, owner of Quilts and Fixins in Jonesboro, helped organize the first Quilt Shop Hop 10 years ago. For the quilt-shop community, the event is big business, she said.

"It is by far our biggest event every year," Lowery said. "The quilters look forward to it all year, and they save their money. I expect 750 people to come through next weekend.

"The idea was to get all the quilt shops in greater Atlanta together," she said. "There may be busloads from South Carolina, so they come from a distance. If it's not fun, people won't keep coming back, so we try to do something as a group to keep it fun."

Lowery said that this year, as with every Quilt Shop Hop, there is a theme. This year's theme is "The Magic of Childhood," and every shop participating in the Quilt Shop Hop will offer childhood-themed fabrics, and decorate their stores to fit a unique variation of the theme.

"My shop is doing Saturday morning cartoons," said Lowery. "We have lots of quilts with Fred Flintstone and 'The Jetsons.'" She said that visitors during the Quilt Shop Hop will be treated to cartoon-themed quilting kits, as well as "Scooby Snacks."

Visitors, who are able to stamp their passports at all nine shops, will be entered into a grand prize drawing, in which they can win a $100 gift certificate to each shop (a $900 value). The second place prize is a Baby Lock-brand sewing machine, with a sewing table and a carrying bag, valued at $500. The third prize is a Longaberger-brand basket of 90 fat quarters (18-inch-by-22-inch quarter yards of fabric), valued at $350.

Each shop will have separate prize drawings and goodie bags for participants, and will offer unique, quilting-themed charms, which can be purchased and placed on a special Quilt Shop Hop 2009 charm bracelet.

Karen Taylor, owner of A Scarlet Threat in McDonough, said this is the first year her store has participated in the Quilt Shop Hop. Her shop will be decorated to fit the theme of birthday parties, and will offer a variety of birthday games, such as "Pin the Tail on the Donkey."

"It's huge exposure," she said. "We've completely revamped the store for the shop hop. We pull out all the stops, so they can see everything.

"For quilt makers, it would be the same as when they have a gun show," she said. "It allows the quilters to come and see what's new, different techniques, new products. It's kind of a jump start to get out of the winter doldrums and start working on some kind of project that makes you happy."

For more information about shops participating in the 10th annual Greater Atlanta Quilt Shop Hop, visit www.atlantaquiltshophop.com.