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Road Trip: In search of the perfect fabrics

Let me introduce myself: I'm Carolyn Vagts, editor of Quilter's World magazine and writer of this update. That's my day job, and at night, I'm an addicted quilter. I tend to eat, breathe and sometimes sleep with my quilting. I have a beautiful studio with my work space right in it. How convenient, since I work at and with quilting. As editor, I am very hands-on with every issue. I'm also very hands-on with this update. I love to share my experiences with other quilters in hopes it will inspire them to explore the endless possibilities available to them.

With each update I select a book or pattern to accompany it. It's usually something that I feel goes along with the content of my update. This time my suggestion is the Exclusively Annie's Quilt Designs pattern Batik Jewels. I'm working to use as much of my small amounts of stashed fabrics as possible and this pattern is perfect for accomplishing that. I'm thinking that several table runners made and ready to gift would be nice to have on hand. With a bit of imagination and a free afternoon you can make that perfect finishing touch to your dinner table or a friend's.

Batik Jewels
Batik Jewels is an Exclusively Annie's Quilt Designs pattern available at AnniesCraftStore.com.

When you're an addicted quilter like I am even a vacation turns into a treasure hunt for beautiful fabrics and new quilt shops. I have a wish list of colors and fabrics I'm looking for just in case we do find a few shops along the way. It's a really good thing that my husband is understanding. He's always willing to go along with my craziness. Our first stop on vacation was the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Ky. What a wonderful place! The ark was huge and very interesting. It was a fascinating place to visit.

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The Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Ky.

While in Williamstown, we picked up a brochure of local attractions at the hotel and in one of them we found a nearby quilt shop listed. Now wasn't that convenient? The shop was established 30 years ago in a 187-year-old log cabin. It's been built on to, but you can still see the log cabin part of the building.

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The Quilt Box quilt shop in Dry Ridge, Ky.

It was a cute shop with lots of fabric choices (over 5,000 bolts of fabric!). I can usually find something in every quilt shop I visit and I did here. I added several gorgeous batiks to my too large collection -- none on my list, but when I see a certain green or brown I don't have, well, I may need it in a future project!

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Inside The Quilt Box quilt shop in Dry Ridge.

We then headed toward our next destination, New Orleans. The drive was long and we took a couple of days, but it was beautiful. There were lots of big, rolling hills, and the trees were leafing out and the grass was just turning a nice green. Farther south, some of the trees were blooming. It was such a nice change from my Michigan weather! The closer we got to New Orleans, the warmer the temperature. Everything down there was in full bloom and green. We found our way to our hotel in the French Quarter.

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The hotel where we stayed and its courtyard.

Once we were settled into our hotel, we headed out for an evening in the French Quarter. The shops were wonderful! Later, we stopped for dinner and ordered traditional New Orleans Cajun food. It was delicious! While in the city, we took a tour and learned the history of the area and saw all the important historical sites. We took a steamboat ride down the Mississippi River and visited the famous above-ground cemeteries.

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A steamboat on the Mississippi, and some of the tombstones at one of New Orlean's famous above-ground cemeteries.

After three days in New Orleans, we were back on the road again, working our way north through Louisana and on to Natchez, Miss. I loved the great oaks filled with Spanish moss and the beautiful houses around the city. The next day we were off to see the plantations and, of course, to search for quilt shops.

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Great oak trees filled with Spanish moss and a historic house in Natchez, Miss.

I hope to find several quilt shops on the way back home. I couldn't have asked for a better vacation!

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