Is The Row By Row Experience Shortsighted?

Row By Row ExperienceI think the Row By Row Experience project is short-sighted. Why, because they started this project, four years ago, and the last two years it seems to have been it’s largest turn out. Yet, when you go to find the patterns to purchase or perhaps even download after the November 01 deadline, it is extremely difficult to find any that are available.

Many of these shops have an online presence, yet they don’t put their rows up for people to download or purchase.

Of the over 1000+ shops that participated, less than fifty of the over 200 that I’ve visited so far even have their row patterns online to sell, less than ten offer them as free downloads. To even find 2014 patterns online is next to impossible. I’m not saying they aren’t out their, but it’s not an easy task.

I have to say, I’m really disappointed that their is no ability for those of us online who can’t get out, or live in the USA be able to share in the experience after it’s over. Such a shame to use online sources to get the advertising needed, but then forget about the online community when the event is over. 

As a brick and mortar shop, if your not online, then you are losing out on business you could gain by having an online presence. This holds true for the Row By Row project, if they weren’t online to advertise and get this around, the project would most likely flop. You’d have to advertise in magazines and shops to get the word out. By being online, they open themselves up to all the people who are online and spreading the word.

However, they are short-sighted in the fact that they offer no solutions for what happens after November 1, when shops are free to finally sell the kits and patterns online. It’s not as if they couldn’t setup a shop to direct sales to an email address for shops who have no online presence. Imagine all the other kits and patterns they could continue to sell by having an online presence after November 1.

As someone who is from the United States, living overseas, it’s sad to see that a project as large as this that is helping to promote quilt shop sales, would be so shortsighted as as to not find a way to help offline shops, and even online stores who just have a web presence but no shop with the ability to continue to sell those kits, and offer the patterns.

Of the patterns that I did order today, I was flabbergasted at the cost of shipping on these items. Many shops only offer USPS priority mail, at a cost of 5.95 to 7.95 and in many cases, the cost of shipping is more than the cost of the pattern. I’d rather pay the 93 cents it costs to ship, or even first class mail at 2.00.. call me cheap, but I don’t see why I need to pay 6.00 to have a pattern shipped to me.

If their were any rows I loved the most, it was the rows in Arizona from the various shops who participated. I really want them, yet I could only order one of them online.

Many shops want you to call and reserve your copy, I don’t want to call, I am online, what’s wrong with putting your product online to sell, even if you use a source like etsy, or payhip, or craftsy even to sell your products. I’m sure there are other sources I’m not even aware of.

Imagine, if your an online shop, why not offer a newsletter, and when people signup for it, they get the pattern for free, or like you on Facebook or Google, thus you can advertise your kits in the newsletter.

I know, it seems I’m on a negative track these days, but this experience has really taught me that according to quilt shops I’m a negative for them, but I could be a positive, a potential future customer because I have to order everything I need for quilting online. 

So come on, get it together, Row By Row, give those shops who participate, who are looking for that additional business a way to sell online after Nov 1. Offer a pdf creation service so patterns are downloadable. Imagine the money shops would make if you took a small percentage, and they got the rest, even at 3.00 to 5.00 per pattern, even 10.00 those shops would still make money. It’s worth it to find a way for them to sell those patterns.

I could share with you the few that I ordered, but I’ll save that list for another day.. I’m thinking it might be worth it to give a more accurate list of what’s online to sell, because the Row by Row site also doesn’t have that.. they have the list of sites and supposedly the icons show the shops with kits online, but it’s not accurate.

I know, those of you who were in the states enjoyed this experience, and if I’d been in the states I to would have really enjoyed it, but I’ve waited months to grab up the patterns I liked only to be disappointed by the fact that they are not online and I am truly disappointed.

So, with that said, these are the free patterns I found before I gave up today, I haven’t given up, I’m just tired and need to do some other things tonight before I hit the hay.

Thank you to the Stitchin Post in Oregon, Tranquility Quilts, Cloth and Quilts (who also offers their 2014 pattern), and Stitch Online who all are offering downloads of their row patterns. When I find more I’ll post about them so you to can download them. I like them all.. I’ll be back. πŸ™‚

To the Cary Row Company who is also offering their pattern for free, but you have to pay for shipping and it’s cheap.. πŸ™‚ To ship their pattern is as low as a mere 93 cents (they have many options for shipping, I just chose the cheapest way to get to me) I like you.. I’ll be back. πŸ™‚

All links moved here.

Please take the time to thank these shops, I really appreciate that they thought of us still after this event was over.


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. Logos were obtained from the Row By Row Experience website for use in this post strictly to link to their site.

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45 Comments on "Is The Row By Row Experience Shortsighted?"

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Sherr Forslund

The Quilters Garden in Fenton , Michigan offers full kits of their rows in the shop and online

Denise A

I know I’m late to the RBR 2015 party, but I just started doing the RBR 2016 and I am feeling exactly the way you are. I don’t mind pre-ordering if there is no way I’ll ever get to that shop but it is very frustrating to find that quilt shop online only to find it’s down for construction or no way to order. Come on….it’s not a prized possession at this point. Sell the crazy things!! πŸ™‚ I was also disappointed at one shop that I have frequented in the past…their block was nothing ~ only a row of the house fabric with borders all around – no kit to buy – it was already done for you. They wouldn’t sell you the row fabric that you could do your own and sold their finished product for an outrageous $18.95 – For what? A strip of fabric with simple borders around it. I ended up finding it at another store, purchased and if I want to do their strip and am able to now. The free pattern they gave you was 3 drawn houses and no directions. After the first of Nov they should have an online RBR for the patterns.


Hi Marian, I didn’t seek out any rows after the event last year, so won’t comment specifically, but I do have a couple of general observations: One is that older people tend to be uncomfortable with computers and especially e-commerce. It’s been my experience that a lot of shops are owned and staffed by older women, so maybe it isn’t so easy to do the online part, as attractive as it may be to many of us. Also, I’ve read that the average age of quilters is somewhere north of 50, so they might not think they have enough customers to justify the effort.

All the online promotion also gave me the impression that patterns would be easily available at a click of the mouse from anywhere in the country. I do wish someone would step in and pick up the slack. Row By Row organizers, are you game?

My only complaint is that is hard to find rows without using Facebook, which I am trying to stay away from. I wish the organizers could aggregate the rows and feature them on their own site for one-stop browsing. But like another commenter indicated, the program is in its infancy and seems to have become wildly popular all at once. It’s really fun, and it must be doing wonders for the industry. Let’s hope for some future improvements.

(BTW, good to hear Budding Star Quilts was so accommodating. They are one of my local shops and it’s a great place with really pretty rows both in 2015 and 2016!)


As a shop owner, I’d like to respond to some of the comments…I have 2 brick & mortar stores & don’t sell online for 2 main reasons: 1.I want to be here when someone needs my store & if I sell online, it’s not necessary to have a retail place of business. (If consumers continue to buy everything online, our local stores will go out of business.) 2.I simply don’t have the time or staff to run an online business…I’m busy taking care of my customers in my store 6 days a week!
I was surprised at the price of the ‘Row By Row’ Plates when I ordered them to sell, & found out that the labor to cut & package them & the way they were printed is why we have to pay so much more for them than we do regular printed cotton. (Kind of like the cost of running printer fabric through our printers.) ‘Hope this helps!

I do understand your point, but like Marian, we are also stationed overseas. There are many companies that offer pdf downloads of their pattern and Row by Row should have a platform for this as well, in my opinion. A place where shops can pay a small additional fee and offer rows after Nov 1 as a $3 download OR get a percentage of sales. But you as a shop could also offer online pattern downloads and take almost no time away from your customers, save the occasional email. You also do leave out the younger generation that most quilt stores seem to be mystified about reaching…the way to do that is online. As someone who moves frequently and doesn’t like clutter I store most of my patterns online. I scan them in and they are available on my devices to print or view – I then usually toss the hard copy. If I want a paper copy I print it, use it, and probably shred it again. That sounds wasteful, but unless it’s a pattern I use often, it will probably just be used once and sit in my pattern archive. It actually isn’t wasteful when you consider I usually do just view them on my devices. Paper weighs a lot, takes up space, and I don’t want to pay postage to scan something in and delete it after waiting 2+ weeks for its arrival. I also don’t want to call a store. I get hammered on international calling. Addresses and payment information can be taken incorrectly. The post office can lose the pattern. By the time I called a store and ordered a pattern and had it shipped it would surely equate the cost for a kit between calling time, my time, and shipping expense. Stores in America… Read more »

I agree with you. I knew about Row by Row last year, but was excited this year when I found a 2016 license plate at Missouri Star, well before the June 21st date. I randomly took the first week of June off. I thought most shops would sell their license plate and decided to call them. Out of 37, 3 were rude, several refuse to sell before the 21st, and about 24 had them. I was able to buy a Michigan shop license plate 2016, on Ebay today. I wish every shop would do the same. I think the shops should sell the plates when they get them. Then they complain that they have them left over. I understand about the rows on June 21s, but they should be more available, like online. Thanks for the links. I will use them.

Guest at Quilter’s Corner Etc offer their kits and patterns online and did from the September deadline and shipped out after November 1st. 2015 was the first year of participating and it was great! And the feedback we received was positive.
We even turned our “row” into a wall hanging kit for one pattern and a quilt kit for our second pattern by adding borders, blocks and bindings see them here….. (
Ready to start 2016….just received our first fabric from Clothworks!!


As a quilter, I purchased many kits. Some had adequate amounts of fabric, some were short. It’s frustrating when you are supposed to cut a ten inch square and the fabric provided is 9 and 6/8. I love the Row by Row experience, but plan to scale back for 2016. On the kits, please put in a tad extra fabric and charge a dollar or more extra.


I wish all the states would have done what Michigan did when this started they had a downloadable pdf of all the store info and pictures of there blocks I was planing on during a little road trip and hit several stores but I had the hardest time finding what their row looked like.

I just want to offer a shop owner’s perspective. First off, Row by Row has been a wonderful thing to happen to quilting. The program has exploded more than anyone could have predicted. All along, they have said that their role is to coordinate the event, not directly assist shops in selling their items. It was conceived as an idea to get quilters INTO shops, and only this year, has the “allowing sales later” component been figured in. So in short, the program is still in its infancy and is like a running toddler – hard to keep up with! For many shops, it’s not as easy as “just put the pattern online”. As you mentioned, many shops don’t have an online presence. Even if a shop does, they may be limited in what, how, or when they can add things to their website, based on budget, website limitations, parent companies (like Bernina stores) or personnel / webmasters available to help. Last year, our shop paid a designer for our row. In our contract with her, we were specifically not allowed to sell it at all, and our time period to give it away ended after Labor Day, so if we had used her this year, we would be contractually unable to share the pattern now. This is why you won’t find our 2014 pattern available. This year, I designed our row, and honestly, I don’t want to put it “out there” as a pdf. I’d still like to maintain the feeling of control, so we are offering to mail our patterns out at $0.93 each (and yes, you can order those online). Honestly, after the costs of printing patterns, purchasing envelopes and postage, and staff time spent, we are probably losing money on them. We already have a quilt… Read more »
Guest in CT(click special events, go to bottom), in OR (search row by row, 3 free patterns). for Sew Easy Sewing in NM(click online store, go to lower left click on what’s new, click on words row by row pattern, then after appliquΓ© images.


thanks so much for your additional sites! And even the one from Roswell (I grew up there and really wanted this one!)


Marian, you’re a sweetheart! Found all the patterns except the AZ odegaars one (the link just downloaded the 4 page pdf of the AZ ones) I’m in AZ and it was difficult to get to all I wanted (actually picked up ones in NV and CA too. I was able to buy one from Sew Much for Quilting (Goodyear, AZ) before they went out of business. I really like the 35th Ave Sew and Vac but pattern is expensive, as are most of the ones in AZ that you can buy…oh well.


Great points the row by row is fun, and it gets a lot of traffic for many shops. I agree I think that they would offer the row via PDF. I know there are some shops out there that pay designers to create their rows, so a charge is appropriate.


Excellent points. I hope the Row by Row people take note of them. Thanks for the links. I AM in the states, but no one can get to all the shops they’d like! Arizona did have some awesome rows!

MaryBeth Little

I know one of the gals behind Row by Row and feel I must speak in her defense. As I understand it, Row by Row is a way for shops to bring more customers and business in. But it is up to the individual shops as to what they do beyond Nov with regards to the patterns/kits. I feel your tirade against Row by Row is really unjust imho.

Elizabeth Johnson

As a person who uses the internet a lot to get supplies I found the same thing. If I couldn’t walk into their shop I could not get the pattern. Which I thought was stupid for revenue. They would allow me to buy the license plate but not their exclusive pattern or kit. Most shops I called told me this even after I told them I was disabled and didn’t drive. Sad


Thank you! I agree 100%. Thanks also for the links to the shops that have their patterns available, I really appreciate that!


Thank you for this posting. I love the Rows but we volunteer with a State Park in the summer so that even though I”m a full-time RVer I can’t get to every state. After the hoopla is over, I see no problem for the design to be offered online. I”m proud to say that I know Lisa at Lisa’ Clover House Design and I’m pleased that she is offering her block. Why aren’t they all? You’ve got a good point!

Sandy Wootten

I certainly agree with you. We can’t go to all the quilt shops. These are not complete quilt patterns. I love going into the shops and getting the patterns and usually buy something else. if these patterns were available for download I would be made aware of these shops if I will be in the area. I also would online window shop and possibly find something else I want.
Since the Row by Row organization does not provide the list its impossible to see what’s out there. the majority just visit the stores that they shop now. I also would not pay more than a dollar for postage. This would be a lot of work for a shop. So I feel free download is the only way to go. Row by Row should provide the list


I agree, it is so difficult to find patterns free or to buy. Try Leavenworth quilt co., serendipity quilt shop. The silver thimble, Lisa’s clover hill quilts, budding star quilts, and quilting confections for free 2015 row by row patterns.


I share your frustration. I followed along with the hop on line and saw a quite a few rows that I would love to have but have even forgotten where the are now. On line searches are so time consuming. Even living in the states, it is difficult unless you are on vacation to travel to shops to join the hop. There should be a better way for customers to shop the hop on line.
xx, Carol