Have you ever picked up a Row by Row pattern at your local quilt shop? Are you familiar with how Row by Row works? For those of you who are new to this, or don’t know the history, let me fill you in a little bit.
The Row by Row Experience was founded eight years ago in the state of New York by a quilt shop owner named Janet Lutz. Summer is traditionally a slow time for shops, and she was looking for a way to bring in shoppers.
By 2015, all fifty states and Canada were on board. Fast forward to today, and thousands of shops participate across the world.
What does participation mean? A quilt shop must design an original quilt row and offer the pattern to any customer who requests it in person at no charge for the summer months. The patterns can not be shipped during that time, and must be picked up in the shop.
For the first few years the pattern was to be a row shape. The idea behind that is the customer can collect several rows and assemble them into a quilt. There are now seven acceptable sizes, not all of them rows.
I was working at My Quilting Loft a few months ago, and one of the owners mentioned to me that she’d like to participate, but hadn’t designed a row yet. I grabbed my graph paper and got to work.
The theme this year is “Taste the Experience.” Since strawberries are an important crop in our area, that’s where my mind immediately landed. It wasn’t long before that had morphed into using the ingredients for strawberry jam.
I did a little research before I started drawing, and found a LOT of people complaining that most of the rows they’ve collected are applique. They were asking for something pieced. I happily obliged. My design is four blocks, and each of those is a nine-patch.
When I was done sketching, I passed it off to the store owner, Kristi, and she did the hard part - drafting the pattern itself. I did a little reviewing and pattern testing, but getting it all worked out was quite a project. I think we both understand now why so many of the patterns are applique.
However, I actually love how it turned out! I added a border around my blocks when I made this one, so this isn’t an actual Row by Row size.
If you’ll find yourself near Troutdale, Oregon over the summer, stop by and grab one. If not, be sure to check your local area for participating quilt shops. I can’t wait to see all the different rows you all will make!