Coming Next Month Is Row By Row All Over Again…

Row By Row ExperienceAre you excited… I am very excited about finally being able to participate in a full row by row experience.

During the last five years that this event has been held, I have lived in Europe, so could not participate, even last year when we were still there, no shops in Italy participated. There was one in Germany I think and one in the Netherlands, but I never got that far to get to go and enjoy the experience. Instead, I joined some Facebook groups, and the wonderful ladies in those groups picked up kits for me and I was able to experience the fun of the event in that way. I felt guilty tho that I couldn’t do the same for them. In some cases, these women pick up kits for others and drove many many miles to get kits for other people. This year, it’s my turn to try and help and I will go to as many states as humanly possible. I will note those FB groups below if you are planning to participate and I really encourage you to do so, but this event has many good things and like all things, in life, it has some bad. I’m going to walk you thru my experiences last year.

A year and a half ago, I wrote this post, which caused quite some controversy on my blog. It’s had many comments over time, and I’ve even heard from people on Facebook about the post. The cool thing about the post tho is that it captured what a lot of people feel about this event. It’s had shop owners, customers, designers, and even the row by row organizer comment. The comments are just as intriguing as the original post is. Has anything changed? Not as far as I can tell, and it probably won’t. However, this post isn’t meant to slam the rbr experience, it is meant to help you, and perhaps shop owners understand that we all participate in this event, not just shop owners, but visitors, people who do not even quilt come to shops, relatives, friends, and many, many husbands.

While I still have never visited a shop during this event, I want to share my experiences because I believe they might help everyone to understand what happens with some of these patterns and even in shops.

So, I will first talk about the shops, because of personal experience myself in quilt shops across the nation, I know how difficult it is to walk into a shop where the salespeople do not really make you feel welcome. I can understand how a shop feels having to deal with an uppity or rude customer also, not that I walk in with those attitudes, but I have seen people do it and sometimes even myself I have not always been probably the perfect customer. This hasn’t been the case for me in Colorado Springs, in fact, it didn’t matter how badly I was dressed, I was greeted warmly and I felt welcome. What a wonderful experience it was to visit the shops here in Colorado Springs.

Quilting is a funny thing in many ways when it comes to our shopping habits, we all have our favorite shops, we all have shops we just absolutely won’t go to, and we all have shops that we talk about to others. The thing with being online now is that word of mouth has never been truer than it is today in the world of advertising. It use to be that quilt shops became best known for the shows that they offered a booth in, or from quilt guilds, or by word of mouth, perhaps in a book listing quilt shops around the world, because the one thing we don’t see is quilt shops advertising on tv.

As a customer or a visitor, one needs to understand the sheer expense a shop has to go thru in order to offer you this free pattern. First, they decide to sign up for this event which doesn’t go without a cost. I don’t know what the cost is this year, but in the past it’s been around $100.00 for a shop to enter this event, and if they join after a certain date the cost again goes up, so it’s worth it for a shop to decide early on if they are going to join this event in order to not have a higher cost of doing so.

Second is the time it takes to come up with a design that fits the theme of the event. It’s not easy to think of a pattern design, you must have some creativity in you to come up with a design you think will entice people into your shop. If you hire someone to design the pattern, you have to come up with a copyright agreement with them in order to be able to distribute the pattern.  This is a reason right here why many shops do not offer the pattern for sale after the November 1 deadline when the event for the year officially closes. The designer takes and puts her pattern up for sale, or she/he chooses to retire it. Unfortunately, there is no way to know this unless the shop explicitly tells you they won’t be selling the pattern after the Nov 1 deadline.

Next, is the cost to create the pattern, most will hire a printer to design the layout if the designer didn’t already do this, or they hire them to create the pattern in a printout that will create the least amount of cost for them. It is not cheap to produce paper patterns and if they add color to the pattern, that cost only goes up because of the cost of the ink. If a shop prints out 1000 patterns, that can cost quite a bit of money. It is by far cheaper for a shop to perhaps take the pattern to a pc printer and copy the pattern using a printer than it is to hire one, but if they want the pattern to look professional, they need to add the color to it. Some shops will give you a picture of the row on the pattern via a picture they took, this to still takes money. Every time they print out more patterns it costs them money, even if they use a pc printer, it’s not just the cost of the paper, but the extremely high expense of ink.

So, as you walk into a shop and ask for that pattern, please give a moment of thanks to the shop, they’ve spent a small fortune to get that pattern ready for you to just take it out of their shop freely. When you don’t say thank you, you’re just being rude and ungrateful.

To shops: Get the pattern right… This is not only the designer’s reputation on the line but your reputation as a shop. I have too many patterns and kits where the pattern shows very little information. No copyright info, no shop info, no website, no email, no phone, address or anyway whatsoever on how to contact the shop. I was simply amazed by this, as a pattern designer myself, there is no way I wouldn’t have my website, and an email in my patterns, let alone no copyright information. I just don’t understand how a shop can overlook these very small things. Especially if there ends up being a problem with the pattern. Too many times last year, I kept hearing how the fabric was cut wrong, that there wasn’t enough fabric for the pieces to be cut and when people drive hours and hours to get these kits and patterns, they really do need everything to be in that kit. If you find that a pattern is incorrect and you need to let people know, put it in your newsletter, on your website, facebook pages, do everything possible to let people know there is a problem. Consider looking at the pattern from a customer’s point of view, even have one of your customers test it out and see how she does with it. Having testers are essential to good patterns, they can point out things that are confusing or don’t seem to work just right, perhaps offer a way to help write a section so it’s easier to understand.

Make sure your pattern is printed or typed, do not use handwriting. Last year, I actually got a pattern, where all it was, was what was needed to be cut handwritten on a piece of paper, no picture, no information about the shop, nothing that was going to help guide me even with fabrics and where they go in the row.

If we need to resize the printout of our pattern, please tell us the percentage we need to set our printer to, in order to get the size of the pattern printed correctly.

Kits are a whole other ballgame… Let me just say… I hate them… I truly hate them.  The number one reason… they never include everything you need to make the pattern, they don’t always have proper instruction, there is no allowance for cutting mistakes, many times there is not enough fabric, and the patterns don’t always reflect what was the free pattern and vice versa, sometimes the free pattern doesn’t match the kit pattern. Plus, I don’t want my row looking like everyone elses, if your making kits, offer several color varieties.

Case in point:

Worst Kit 2016

and

Worst Kit 2016

Both of these come from the same shop, this shop also participated in a collaborative quilt project that shops in Minnesota offered as part of the 2nd row for their shops.

This kits cost is 19.99 for the day or night version of the kit, the kit includes the Hoffman directional skyline prints, the background and the Santa and deer fabrics, cut out like a digital/laser cut is done.

The kit pattern does not offer the ability to make more rows down the road by offering the Santa and the reindeer as part of the pattern, but I’m guessing that the free pattern did.

What I don’t get about this pattern, is why did they choose to make us cut out the buildings for the skyline, but give us no fusible for it, yet they choose to laser cut the Santa and the reindeer with the fusible backing, but no fusible is provided for the skyline and you would need it as part of making the row and attaching the buildings to the background.

No shop ticked me off more than this shop did last year. I was furious when I got the patterns because I’d purchased both the day and night version. I haven’t noted the shop on purpose, but they are not hard to find, I did note the state they were in. To get around their not giving me a copy of the Santa and the Reindeer… I scanned them and put them with a pdf copy I will keep for myself. I just still can’t believe that a shop which had room to add the shapes onto the opposite side of the paper pattern they do give you wouldn’t also give you the shapes to the main part of the whole pattern.

When I wrote to row by row and complained about this pattern not having the shapes in the kit, I was blown off like I was nobody, so that’s when I knew the organizers don’t really care what the shops do.

If you don’t think I haven’t talked about this pattern all year long… you would be wrong. I’ve told everyone I know, and now I tell it in this post so that I could tell the full story. I’ve mentioned it in Facebook groups and I actually told people don’t buy this kit, the pattern in the kit is not the same as the pattern you would get free, I felt ripped off with this pattern.

So, to shops… please make the kit patterns the same as your free pattern. It is also unfair to go the opposite route, by not giving us the full free pattern that is in the kit.

My next gripe goes to not putting any pattern in the kit and then giving the paper pattern to us separately. I have 3 kits that I have absolutely NO clue what pattern they belong to. Ummm that’s like a duh.. at least put your shop card in the kit or something that notes what that kit belongs to so that when I make that row down the road, I’ll know what pattern to use.

Do not use paper sacks to put your kits in or roll the fabric up in paper. Why would you do this? This is not the time to try and be thrifty. Paper sacks can easily lose small fabric scraps, or a button, or charms, this is the time to give us a sandwich bag if you absolutely can’t afford those storage bags to put your patterns in.

If your kit includes laser cut shapes, be sure your pattern also includes the shapes. My issues with laser cuts go to if the shape gets wrinkled and it has a fusible backing which all of the kits I purchased that were laser cut last year did, there is no way to fix that wrinkle other than putting the fabric underneath a pile of books or something heavy then letting it sit for a few days and hope it unwrinkles that part of the shape that got wrinkled.  My other gripe with laser cuts is there is no way to really know if they are not labeled where they go in the pattern unless the shape is clearly marked or clearly defined, so having the shapes is important to the pattern and a key for the shapes so you know where those shapes go in the pattern. I don’t mind laser cuts, but I am also careful about purchasing those kits because too often, the cost is so high that I can’t justify the cost of the fabric in the kit to the cost of creating the row. I do appreciate the advanced patterns, but when the cost is so high that the row doesn’t justify the cost, it makes it hard for people to purchase and many people have a budget they need to live by in order to continue quilting.

When the kit doesn’t have enough fabric and you as a shop offer to replace it, please offer us a second choice instead of making us wait for the fabric to arrive unless it is our choice to wait. Several kits I purchased last year didn’t have enough fabric and having to wait for the fabric to arrive was torture, especially when I was still waiting and the address they had was our military address and we were moving back to the states. It was a small nightmare to let them know I was going to have a new address at the shops I’d placed pre-orders at, or even those fabrics I was waiting for and keeping track of all that was very difficult. I’m still finding kits that weren’t opened yet, and fabric that I now don’t know what it belongs to, fortunately, I have the envelope and the shops name so I can be sure to get the fabric in the correct kit. I was not the only person in this position last year. A Colorado shop last year ran out of a fabric for their paper piecing pattern that they were offering and they made everyone wait for the fabric to arrive because they felt that it couldn’t easily be replaced. I know quite a few people who finished that row without the fabric because we had waited 3 months for the fabric to arrive.

For shops, please talk to your employees. Tell them the rules of this event. Even post them on the wall by your registers or the counter, so the employees know. Last year while on the phone to a Canadian shop, they told me they couldn’t ship the license plate until November 1, because of the rules of this event. This is incorrect information and even tho I tried to point her to the rules on the web, she insisted she would need to talk to the owner of the shop about it, and left me without being able to order the license plate because she wouldn’t take the order until November, thus I lost interest and they lost a sale. This was not a one-time thing either, over and over I kept hearing from others how they couldn’t get a license plate, or a pin until November. The license plates and pins are souvenirs of the event, so you can purchase them at any time the event starts, or after the event. It’s rare that I’ve heard where they can be purchased prior to the event starting, but there is no rule stating a shop can’t do so either. License plates and pins are popular purchases, if your employees don’t know they can’t go ahead and sell or ship them, your store is losing money.

Let me note, that customers… quilters, in particular, know the rules probably better than the shops do, so customers if shops give you some nonsense you know is not correct, open your phones to the website and show them where it’s wrong, or doesn’t state that they can’t. The rules are very clear about what they can distribute when they can distribute, where and how they can distribute patterns and kits, but they don’t mention anything about the license plates or pins.

Taking Pre-Orders: My other biggest gripe about this event. Why is it so difficult for shops to not find the ability to offer their kits and patterns, LPs, and pins for pre-order or ordering online? It’s not like you can’t do it, you obviously can. When you ask me to phone in an order, your asking to give you a lot of info that I’m not so comfortable doing.  You can use a service like Etsy (which charges a very small fee for being able to do so), you can use a simple PayPal button on your websites even. You could even go to the bigger avenue of adding a cart/shop to your site. I know this seems like it may be a lot of work, but I’d be willing to bet some of your customers probably have this experience also and for a bundle or two of fabric would be willing to help you get it set up.

Reasons to think about not taking phone orders:

  • I can’t hear you.
  • Credit Card numbers and addresses have to be mentioned over the phone
  • If I give my cc number and info to your sales person, how do I know what she’s done with the info she’s just written down? Did she trash it? Did she tear the paper up before trashing it? Did she keep it for herself? All of these are considerations and as someone who’s had my cc used for fraudulent purchases, I am far more careful about giving that info out over the phone.
  • When she does repeat all that info with her voice, who else is in the shop to hear it?
  • The other issue is, as a customer, if I call several shops in a row, and then perhaps call an out of state shop, my cc number can be blocked just for making that out of state call because that sends an alert to the credit card company, so I have to go to the trouble of calling my bank, or cc company and getting unblocked.
  • As does a sales person who’s written down the wrong info, then tried to charge my card several times in a row.

If something fraudulent does happen, you could be sued if it is found out that a sales person took your customers info and did something with it. I get that you probably trust your sales people implicitly, but you just never know and I really would encourage you to consider the risks.

If you absolutely refuse to sell in an online shop or website, consider at least offering your shop email or the email address linked to your Paypal account to your customers who wish to pre-order, they can pay you securely thru Paypal and you have a record of those sales along with their information to ship.

I know some people may take issue with the above statement, but I have had 900.00 removed from my account based on a phone order, I know full well what it is like to have to go thru getting the bank to give back that money, get new cards, and have to deal with calling people I owed bills to and ask them to hold for a few days until my money is back in my account. Worse, this happened to me in December, when I was in the middle of also buying Christmas gifts. So, whether you’re a shop or a customer, it’s important to know or think about who you’re giving that information to.

If you decide to offer pre-orders on your website, or Facebook, tell us how we can go about ordering. To many sites last year told us they’d take pre-orders, but gave no information on how to contact you or offer a way for us to even pay online.

Added May 31, 2017 – 10:35am mst – Shops, if you are going to take pre-orders, Please check with your credit card issuer, there are rules and guidelines based on taking pre-orders where shipping is concerned. After reading this post here, you can have a look at what the Federal Trade Commission says about this issue also. Consumers should also know their rights, it wouldn’t be bad for you to also take a look at these laws so you are also aware. From what I can tell, your cc should not be charged prior to the shop being ready to ship, but I know for me, I’d want to get it paid for, so I’d ask the shop to charge it at the time I called or ordered as I usually shop when I have money, if I had to wait until November, I may not have the money since Christmas is so close by that time. I’ve never returned a single thing I’ve bought at a quilt shop and I’m not about to start doing so, and I see this as going in that direction, but I do admit that even when I moved last year, I never had any issues with any of the pre-orders I’d made in regards to what I purchased for kits and patterns last year in online shops. While it was confusing as to the address I gave the shop, I have received all the kits and patterns that I did pre-order last year prior to our move.

Added June 10, 2017 – It was offered that Etsy is difficult to use. I am not so sure about this, but I do know the costs of using Etsy can be a bit high… I recommend if nothing else a Paypal button. These are easy to add to any website, no cart needed. Paypal takes a .30 cent processing charge along with a 2.9% transaction fee for the sale of all items. On a 10.00 sale, the resulting fees would be .74 cents. These fees could easily be added to the cost of your patterns so you could sell patterns / kits / LPs, / pins online. Paypal gives you the address of your customer so if their is no way to email a pdf, you could ship to your customer.

If you’re adding a fusible medium such as Heat-n-Bond, Misty-Fuse, and Steam-A-Steam 2, or any of the other types available, please do not fold them. use a large enough storage bag to put them in unfolded or rolled up, even cut them up in large enough shapes for us to use, but by folding them, it makes us so much more difficult to use these papers since we can’t iron the folds out of them. As an alternative, add a bit extra so that we can work around the folds.

If you’re also using a fusible medium that has several heat levels, be sure your giving the proper one, such as Heat-n-Bond Lite, versus Heat-n-Bond Heavy or Ultra. Ultra is not meant for us to sew over, Lite or Featherlite is. It’s important to know the difference.

Please tell us the brand your using also, each of these has various ways to heat them or prepare our usage of them, without knowing which one it is, we are going to have to guess at how long something may need to be pressed.

When it comes to beads, thread, charms, buttons, etc.. please put these with the kits, instead of selling them separately. Add the cost of that to the kit. It was very frustrating last year realizing that some of these kits had add-ons such as specialty threads, and buttons or charms, ribbons, etc and having to call the shop to order the add-on kits.

Shops, stop griping about online sales. It’s very easy to blame online sales for your slower sales and it’s possible that they are slower. However, griping about it won’t help the customer who’s in your shop and can’t find the fabric that she needs. In fact, I think the more you gripe or whine, the more likely your customer will go shop online as she doesn’t want to hear you do it. Plain and simple, online shops offer the customer the ability to shop around for that fabric that they want.  On Facebook, I constantly see “Support Your Local Quilt Shop”, I think most people do support their local shops, but I also know if you’re not supporting your customers, they will look elsewhere for what they want, whether it’s another quilt shop, or online. I live in a city where there is 650, 000 people. There are five quilt shops, 1 wool shop, 1 sewing machine shop and 1 Joanne’s, plus numerous Walmarts that all carry supplies here and they are all thriving. Part of the reason shops fail is because of attitude. I promise you, your attitude when a customer like myself walks into your shop and you treat her like a shoplifter by following her around, or not asking her if she needs some help, or by not saying Hello, makes more of an impression than if you just said Hello, let her know your there to help her and then let her be. You can always watch her from afar if shoplifting in your shop is an issue, but do not be obvious. Since this is an event where you’ll get a lot of traffic for people just wanting a pattern only, have your license plate or pin for the event right next to the patterns, this by itself can generate a sale. Maybe keep the kits in a basket right by those things also. The very best display I have seen on row by row stuff was at my quilt shop Na-La’s here in Fountain where there is a display of the fabrics by the yard, the row pattern, kits, license plates, pins, etc, all there for me to look at easily. They even had previous years since they had participated before and I had just moved to this area, so the event was over with, they still had these available right on a round display between the door to the shop and the register. I thought it was awesome. They were even excited about this year’s theme which I’m still not even excited about, but I have already seen some great rows.

As I chatted with the ladies at my shop getting to know them and such, I talked about row by row and how I managed to gain kits last year while living in Italy and I mentioned how the picture of the row on the web was a huge influence in my decision to grab up kits. She mentioned how she felt the image should not be on preview because it influences whether people will come to your shop or not and I thought, what a strange attitude. The only reason why I wouldn’t visit a shop is probably yes because the row to me is not worth my time, or because I just flat out didn’t like the row, but I would still try to support all my own local shops. I feel the image should be on preview only because it will influence my decision, no picture, no visit… PERIOD!!! Why should I? If the shop can’t be bothered to show how proud they are of their row, then I can’t possibly know if they really are participating or not. Quite a few shops were listed last year in the row by row state lists, where their pictures were never put online and this is partially because those shops aren’t online, but how did they find out about this event if they aren’t online since 95% of the promotion is all online. My other reason for wanting an image is if I’m making the row and the pattern does not include a picture especially a color picture, I have no idea where to place the fabrics. If the shop wouldn’t let me take a picture of the row, I am also out that way too, so having a picture is as important to the pattern as my being able to decide to pick it up.

Since I plan to travel this summer for patterns, I definitely won’t be shopping at shops where no previews of the row are featured. However, that also goes to pictures that are so small you can’t see any detail in the row. I do not want a pattern that is too easy or something I wouldn’t do. We all have our idiosyncracies, and mine is patterns that don’t challenge me.

To Visitors, Customers, etc… don’t walk in a shop and act like your doing them a favor by being there. I can promise you, they see this every day, they don’t need you to give them attitude either, and if your going on the first day or within the first week, be courteous, if you have to ask for the pattern, ask nicely, if your not going to buy anything, thank them and leave, but I would encourage you to have a look around their shops, if you want to take pictures, ask… If you purchase a kit, open the kit and check it, don’t leave without being satisfied that everything is in the kit, look the pattern over and ask questions before you leave. If they didn’t provide a picture on the pattern, ask them if you can take a picture of the row. If they don’t have their info like even their quilt shop name, write it down at the time and the location of the shop, or ask them for their card so if you do the row, later on, you know where you got the row. It’s not that you shouldn’t always be nice or courteous all of the time, but during a big event like this, the shops will see a lot of traffic come thru their shops and those ladies will be tired. Do not leave without saying Thank you or a so glad you participated in row by row and mention how great you think their row is.

I purchased many kits last year, more than I should have in fact, but I loved the event and wanted to support the shops the best way that I could even if I lived too far away. This is why I believe this event should get some play online also, there is really no reason that shops couldn’t sell their patterns online after the Sept 6 deadline, because most of the shops already have their prizes for the full quilts given out and even online users would have a tough time meeting an Oct 31 deadline. Giving them a chance tho to participate helps to make shops more aware of what being online can do for them, and can offer them the exposure they wouldn’t get otherwise. The other advantage is, that shops who didn’t have winners last year would have winners and would possibly gain new customers because those online finishers would be visiting their shops. Either or, I’m not going on a tangent again about that, I wanted to note that all of my kits came from Facebook groups where other members of the group offered to pick up kits or sometimes patterns for other people. This year I’ll offer to the same for others since I now live in the states. Although it’s not hard to get my states patterns/kits, I do visit other states and will plan to visit other states this summer.

The following Facebook groups are available to join:

Note, these are groups I am a member of, however, there may be other groups I am not aware of. I do know for instance there is a Canadian group, they only let Canadians join and your Facebook location needs to show you do live in Canada to be approved for membership. You can easily find the group in the Facebook searches.

2017 RxR Quilt Kit Swap
On The Rowed 2017
Row, Sew & Swap!
Rowed Warriors Gallery 2017
Rowed Warriors Swap Shop 2017
Row’n, Swap’n, & Sew’n w/ Friends

Quilting Pins – Quilting Pin Swap

There is most likely a license plate group also, but I have little interest in the plates and you can easily get the plates in all of the above groups also, so I saw no need to join an LP group.

There are many more groups than what’s listed above, but they are all past years and the links to those groups are easily accessible.

If you decide to help others, here are a few helpful tips for you, things I learned along the way and when I did Wooly Block last year while waiting for our stuff to arrive in the states.

  • When you post the kits you are offering to pick up, use a picture. It is not fun to have to go looking for those images of that row.
  • Find out the price and the weight if possible so you already know what shipping will cost. One kit usually costs around 2.62 to 2.65 depending on the zip code in the states, a pattern will only cost the price of a normal stamp unless it’s a laser cut pattern and they require a larger envelope.
  • Keep a spreadsheet if possible of the people who purchased from you. Here are some examples, an xlx sheet, and a xlsx sheet. You will need either Microsoft Excel or the equivalent type software to open them.
  • I strongly advise you to use a Paypal account, encourage people to pay via Friends and Family since this doesn’t incur any costs to you. If they choose to use the other option, you will pay fees on what they paid. It doesn’t matter if you use a business account or a personal account, they just need to use Friends and Family as the send money option. However, if you have a business account, be very aware that at the $5,000 sale mark each year, Paypal has to report that income to the IRS, so if you’re taking money in for a personal thing on your business account be sure you mark it that way in your accounting software or you’ll end up having to pay taxes on that money that wasn’t income in the first place. Use your personal account instead, you’ll still be reported to the IRS, but it’s much easier to prove it wasn’t income.
  • Do not ship to people until they pay you. If you pre-ship just trusting that the person will pay, you may be surprised at how long it takes to get paid. If you do this, report the person to the admin in the group asap so they too are aware of what that person is doing.
  • Buy your envelopes in bulk to save money.
  • Ship as quickly as you can after picking up the kits. People want to get their kits quickly.
  • If you have to stall on shipping, keep people apprised as to why.
  • Be sure to watch the messages on Facebook that says Message Requests under your inbox/message icon on Facebook. These requests come from people who are not Facebook friends with you and they may request a kit/pattern/pin or LP from you. You have to manually open the message window by clicking on the “See All Messages or See All in Messenger” link at the bottom of the message menu that opens when you click the icon, you then have to accept their conversation. The good thing about this is that you can usually see what the conversation is about before you accept it.
  • If you sent first class mail, type the tracking numbers back to anyone who asks for them, or send them a copy of the receipt. If you had a lot of kits to send it could take quite some time figuring out all the tracking numbers, and that’s a column you could add to your spreadsheet, so if someone asks because they didn’t receive it, you’ll then have the info handy to just paste it to them. At the very least, let people know you have shipped their envelope.

If you are ordering kits from people in a group, here are some tips to help you out:

  • Most orders are taken via private message so that you can give your address info privately. However, in order for someone who is picking your kit up, they advertise the row they are picking up and letting you know cost and date of pickup. Write a message in the comments box that you are interested, but if you’re a definite yes, also write them a private message and name the row/shop/info in that message. I can’t tell you how many times I had to backtrack what I ordered in order to figure out which row it was and sometimes people delete their posts so it’s not always easy to backtrack.
  • Once they message you, let them know when you can pay if you can’t pay right away, get their info, and pay when you say you would. If you have problems, tell them. keeping quiet will not get you your kit.
  • When you go to pay, in the notes box, on the send Friends and Family payment area, name the row your ordering or the shop you’re getting it from, your address and even your email so that the person sending to you can email you if they don’t see you on Facebook.
  • Keep track of what you ordered. You can use the above spreadsheets I posted and just change the column names. I would also save an image of the row/kit so you know which one it was. Keep these in a folder on your desktop or your cloud storage or perhaps somewhere on your phone if it allows you to keep data storage.
  • Keep a watch for when people ship, and if you remember, write the date in on your spreadsheet or whatever you’re using to keep track, this will let you know if when they shipped if you’re still waiting 3 weeks later that perhaps yours didn’t ship. This happened to me several times last year. I waited for my last kit until Jan/Feb this year then finally threatened the girl that if she didn’t ship my rows that I would let the admin know and with 2017 coming along she didn’t want to be banned. I had my rows a few days later. I never said anything to the admin, but I will be more watchful this year should I want something she can pick up.
  • Once you receive your kit, let the person know, this allows them to write it down in their records and thank them for doing it for you.

This was a really fun experience for me last year. I had more fun getting to know the other quilters helping me to get rows than I did actually getting rows. I’ve made some really good friendships from the experience that I’ll be able to treasure for a lifetime. Do I think it’s worth it… Absolutely. I am very excited about being able to pick up kits for my friends this year.

The Row By Row Experience starts June 21, 2017. (visit shops, pick up kit and/or free pattern, make quilt, turn into shop by Oct 31, 2017)
Hibernation starts September 06, 2017 (shops must stop selling kits and giving out patterns)
Deadline to bring finished quilt to shops October 31, 2017 (finished quilt must be turned into shop by this date)
Shops can start selling kits and shipping pre-orders November 01, 2017 (finally the big day arrives to get all those kits/patterns you couldn’t get during the normal June 21 to Sept 06 dates)

All states, Canadian provinces, and overseas countries have Facebook pages. Most Canadian provinces and Europe do use combined pages, but every US state has its own page. You will find the Facebook pages listed on the Row By Row Experience page for that state or country. It’s under the “Start Here” on their pages menu.

I will be posting rows I am hoping to get during the summer here on my blog, and if you want a kit from Colorado Springs, Denver, Pueblo or areas close to here within about an hour to two hours drive, please write me I’ll gladly pick one up. I’ll also be making one trip visits during the summer to Utah, Southern Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico and possibly a stop in Vegas.

When pages on Facebook tell you to support your local quilt shops, please do it.. they need your business to stay in business, and buying online should be a last resort. My biggest reason for supporting my local quilt shop is not because I need to, but because I love to look at the color, feel the fabric, make sure I’m getting the right value, hear about new techniques, classes, seeing new supplies, flipping thru a book and even just making a friend I can actually talk to.  Shopping online is great, but the biggest hazards to shopping online are the inability to get a true picture of the value of the color on the fabric. Not being able to feel it, feel is so important because the biggest thing you can tell by feel is the quality, is it to stiff, not stiff, silky feeling, etc… you can’t really flip thru a book even tho you might see previews, the previews are usually the first 10 or 20 pages and you don’t actually get to see what’s in the book. Supplies, unless there are reviews you can’t know how a tool will work, there is no demo of it unless you can find a video perhaps of how it works, no support of any kind and you may end up with an inferior product because you can’t know if that sewing machine foot you got such a great deal on really does work on your sewing machine. The other biggest issue, very hard to return items you buy online if you need to bring it back and most of the time you end up paying to ship it twice, once to get it to you and once to send it back. Some online shops (including Amazon) are now also charging restocking fees. :/ When you visit the shops, you don’t pay for shipping, they’ve already included that in their profit margin. When I lived overseas, I had no choice except to shop online, however, had I been in the states I would always have been supporting my local quilt shops.

I do apologize for the very long post, but I really wanted to try and cover everything I’ve learned over the past year and a half since I found out about this event.

Marian

I am in no way affiliated with the Row By Row Experience. I’m just a fan of this event as I love the idea that we get to support our local shops. The logo has been approved for use on this blog by Janet Lutz founder of the Row By Row Experience.

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10 Comments on "Coming Next Month Is Row By Row All Over Again…"

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Valerie Soltis
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Oh my. I had no idea the kind of steps you have to take to be a participant in the row by row. Thanks for pointing out what goes into the quilt rows. Your article sure was good reading. My local shop participates. she has a very small shop but wanting to expand. It took a very long time before we got a LQS here.

sandra pipitone
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Thank you very well put Happy Rowing Idea many are cancer free get fabric designer to design QUILT for us! row by row HAPPY TO the CURE!

Moira
Guest

All good thoughts and very well said.

Susan
Guest

I think you DID cover everything possible! That was interesting to me. You are one of only two persons for whom I picked up kits, so I didn’t have too much worry. You’ve really done a lot of thinking about this thing, and there were things I hadn’t considered at all, such as making sure I knew the name f the shop that made the kit. I think all the ones I picked up here in TN were well labeled, and like you, I’m puzzled why one wouldn’t be! Thanks for all the thought and time you put into this, as I know it was several hours to organize it all!

Trudy Double
Guest

OMG you were on a roll this morning!!! Some great tips. Thanks for all your thoughts.

QuiltShop Gal
Guest

Plenty of great points. I hope you sent an email to share it with the RbR Experience team. Have fun visiting shops during this mega quilting event.

QuiltShopGal
http://www.quiltshopgal.com

TracyDVR
Guest

Well said! Hope shops and quilters take the time to read and share.
Guess I’ll be putting together a quilt shop list to match our route this summer. 😉
Thanks for taking the time to help us all.

Marlene @KISSed Quilts
Guest

Have you looked at credit card laws regarding taking payment and requirements to fulfill/ship immediately?

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