Friday, March 30, 2018

Chattanooga area quilt shops and quilters welcome Ben Taphouse from Lewis and Irene fabrics: part 2

During the two-day whirlwind visit with Ben Taphouse, Director of Sales for Lewis and Irene fabrics, we visited four quilt shops in Tennessee and Georgia. After a presentation for the Choo Choo Quilters on Monday evening (see this blog post), we had a full day on Tuesday meeting with shop owners of Chattanooga Quilts, Chattanooga Sewing Machines and More, Sew 'n So Quilt Shop and Lana's Quilts and Sew Much More.
Here is Kim Thomas (center), owner of Chattanooga Quilts in Ooltewah, TN,
with Ben (right) and me.
Our first stop Tuesday morning was at Chattanooga Quilts in Ooltewah. Here we are with Kim Thomas, the owner. The Lewis and Irene fabrics were well received at Chattanooga Quilts, so be looking for several collections arriving in the upcoming months. You won't lack for project ideas and inspiration at Chattanooga Quilts because Kim has curated fabrics for several projects and kits will be available at her shop. The Lewis and Irene website also has loads of free patterns for downloading. Contact Kim to see what's coming in.

Traveling from Chattanooga Quilts in Ooltewah, Ben and I dropped by Chattanooga Sewing Machines and More. Because of our tight schedule and the flurry of activity that was happening at this store (it was hopping!), I didn't get a photo. But I can say that shop owners, Kyra Rhyne and Josh Flinn were smitten with the collections and have childrenswear and garment sewing projects planned for them. Be watching their class calendar and stop in the shop in the next months.

From Chattanooga Sewing Machines and More, we made a quick stop at 4 Corners Cafe near Collegedale, TN, for paninis. True to the typical antics of a traveling sales rep, Ben took to eating our lunch on-the-fly in the car. [Ben--next time we'll have to make time to enjoy the home made gelato at 4 Corners!]
Ben outside Sew 'n So Quilt Shop in Rocky Face, GA.
On to Sew 'n So Quilt Shop in Rocky Face, GA, where we were greeted by shop owner, Anna Quarles, and a group of her customers.
Ben shows customers at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop a photo of
the glow-in-the-dark inks in the Fairy Lights collection.
Ooohs and ahhhhs filled the shop during Ben's presentation of the upcoming Lewis and Irene fabric collections. Anna took copious notes based on the "Oooh/Aaah Barometer" and reactions to the lines from the attendees. As of the writing of this blog post, the full collection of Lewis and Irene's "Bee Kind" is at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop along with pre-cuts from the Spring/Summer Bumbleberries collection.
Meet and Greet with Ben Taphouse at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop.
Lucky winners of the door prizes were thrilled to be going home with Lewis and Irene fabric goodies.
Anna Quarles, owner of Sew 'n So Quilt Shop and Ben Taphouse.
The final appointment of the day was an evening Meet and Greet at Lana's Quilts and Sew Much More in Cleveland, TN, hosted by shop owner, Lana Masengill.
The Bumbleberries fashion blender was used
in this sample.
 While Ben presented the collections, attendees got to examine the fabric strike-offs ...
Examining the strike-offs.
 and pass around the samples.
There were lots of projects and samples on hand for people to see at the Meet and Greet.
The Lewis and Irene door prizes were very much appreciated. (Think she's having a good time?)
A lucky winner of Lewis and Irene charm squares.
Lana already had several bolts of the "So Darling" line in her shop and it was no surprise that these and the Bumbleberries  fashion blender, were leaving with customers in one and two-yard cuts. Fear not! Lana has more Bumbleberries and other upcoming Lewis and Irene collections on order!
Ben Taphouse with shop owner,Lana Masengill, at Lana's Quilts and Sew Much More.
The wrap-up
After hearing the stories behind the company and its fabric designs, I hope the Tennessee and north Georgia quilters and sewers won't be strangers to Lewis and Irene fabric collections that will be making their way to the area's quilt shops. Thank you so much to all the shop owners that allowed us to visit.

So, after:
    2 days,
    4 quilt shops,
    2 Meet and Greets,
    1 guild meeting, and
    168 miles...

... Ben and I did a brain dump and recap of the visits and conversations with shop owners and all the quilters. Believe it or not, Ben recommended Smokey Bones for a great late-evening dish of mac and cheese and deep-fried Oreo cookies (and he claims he does not have a sweet tooth!). One minute it was 9 pm, and the next it was midnight! Time flies when you're talking "fabric."

Thanks for a wonderful visit and hope you enjoyed your trip to Chattanooga, Ben! 
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