We did most of our shopping in Great Falls and Helena.
We spent two days in Helena. We've normally just driven through, but thought we would do a little more walking around. We heard about the walking mall and went to Prickly Pear Quilts. It was quite expensive and geared to very traditional (read: dark) fabrics. Price-wise, it was the same as Calgary prices, but of course I did buy a bit of fabric to add to my stash along with another Purple Thang! (I love that thang! I use it to push fabric, pull fabric, measure 1/4" seams and I would be thrilled to hear what you all use it for besides that!)
Just a couple of doors down was Aizada Imports. http://downtownhelena.com/listing/aizada-imports/
"Aizada Imports is a new store on the Walking Mall located at 26 N. Last Chance Gulch next door to the Holiday Inn. The store features felted woolen handicrafts from the country of Kyrgyzstan. Store owner and manager, Paula Halverson has been working with women in Central Asia for over 10 years, selling at fiber arts festivals, trunk shows and special exhibitions. She chose Helena as a location for a new store. The store also showcases other Fair Trade products from around the world. One of the reasons Halverson selected Helena for her bricks and mortar store is because of the diplomatic relationship with Kyrgyzstan as part of the Partners in Peace Program with the Montana National Guard, the capital being a central location for this program."
This is such a happy place! It's full of color and of course incredible hand work. I had to pick up this little felt bird to hang on my shelf. Those are little beads along with the embroidery thread used on the felt!
Another little "bird" that I fell in love with, along with a needle work zipper pouch. Just beautiful! The little pouch is worked on both sides! I will cherish these items for many years to come!
Any trip to the U.S., (other than the duty free for booze!) has to include a trip to Joann's! Of course I bought some bambo knitting needles and some cotton yarn for mom's dishcloth's -- but lookie at what I found! How adorable is this? I know it looks busy sitting on my ironing board, but this little pin "armchair" will be perfect on my sewing table! I fell in love instantly and grabbed it! I have been looking for one of these when I saw a "couch" in a quilt shop down in Arizona. Nice that I recently added some red to my sewing room! What a perfect fit!
Great Falls was on my list on the way down and on the way back to Calgary. Of course we had to stop in on Big Sky Quilts. Every time we walk in there though the women offer to send Chef away for a coffee! Why do they do that? He's the BEST when it comes to picking fabric and finding the deals! Why send him away? He gives me great ideas and supports my creativity like no other! I wish that quilt shops would embrace men coming into their shops. It's like this invisible cloak of protection to turn off men from coming into "their domain". I remember 3 Quilt Dude's in Arizona. They have a comfy couch, homemade cookies and fresh coffee and love it when the guys come in and browse! Now if you welcome men, the men are more apt to bring in their wives/girlfriends to browse! More browsing = more sales! I managed to keep Chef in Big Sky Quilts, but not for long. I bought some much needed fabrics, an extra pair of snips and of course added to my purple stash!
On to the Sewing Palace.... full of women, but very little help. We waited for a while holding bolts of fabric in front of the till before someone asked if they could help us. Not sure if there was a class going on or what. We weren't in a hurry, but when other people come in AFTER you that were dealt with first - makes you wonder.
I always wanted one of those color tools so I could study up on "color" and how to work different colors against each other.
Our last quilt shop tour was in Great Falls in Bernina Silver Thimble. I have been adding to my "purple" stash and found a great little pattern for those little duffle bags. This is the first time that I saw one with iron-on vinyl. You can use whatever fabric you want and you can iron on the vinyl. No more having to buy limited type of vinyl fabric -- you can make your own. Of course I had to buy some more heavy pellon for the bottom of the little bag to hold the shape. What a great little "gift" for someone. I am thrilled to have something to make in a pinch for those little gifts!
My next trip to Great Falls will have to be Bernina Silver Thimble "first" and not the last! I would have loved to browse some more, but we were trying to beat the snowfall that was coming!
Of course we had to make a stop to Costco (Helena) and pick up my Chobani yogurt (yum!) and we even bought our first Christmas Pressie! OMG...it's February and I'm already thinking Christmas! Maybe this year I will manage to sew a Christmas tree skirt BY Christmas? The grandson got some new clothes as did we, and of course always something that we swear we couldn't do without!
All in all, it was again a most wonderful vacation! Getting away with Chef is wonderful as always!
What do you look forward to when you go on vacation?