As you make your pilgrimage down I-81 from northern Virginia there are several quilt shops along the way. I’m not a quilter, but I love browsing the shops. The rainbow of colors made from hundreds of bolts of fabric lining the shelves are a feast for the eyes. I admire anyone who can take simple pieces of cloth and create magnificent works of art that we call quilts.
The Cloth Peddler Quilt Shop in Stevens City is in a historic home circa 1840. The home is full of lots of history and lots of beautiful fabric. It’s just ½ a mile off I-81 exit 307, an easy on/off as you begin your pilgrimage.
Next is Ragtime Fabrics in Harrisonburg. Ragtime opened for business in March 2003, in the old Rockingham Motor Company building in downtown Harrisonburg and is 2½ miles from I-81 exit 247B. Just around the corner from Ragtime is The Virginia Quilt Museum The museum features a collection of nearly 300 quilts, a Civil War gallery, antique and toy sewing machines and rotating exhibits. I have not yet been to the museum, but it’s high on my list of places to visit in Virgina.
You’ll find Sew Classic in the Shenandoah Heritage Market, 1½ miles from either I-81 exit 240 or 243. This wonderful country market is home to more than 20 locally owned and operated shops. Patchwork Plus is approx 10 miles from I-81 exits 245 or 240 in the town of Dayton. They have over 3000 bolts of fabric and about 120 samples hanging in the shop. It may be a few miles off of the highway but remember you are on a quilter’s pilgrimage to the Blue Ridge Quilt Festival. Rachel’s Quilt Patch is in downtown Staunton, 3 miles off I-81 exit 222 and housed in the Staunton Railroad freight station a brick building circa 1860.
6 miles off I-81 exit 150-B in Troutville is the Old Trinity Schoolhouse Quilt Shop Not to far from the shop is White Oak Tea Tavern, a wonderful place for a pot of tea and lunch. Get back onto I-81 and Exit 141 takes you to Route 11 in Salem. Driving southbound you’ll find Quilting Essentials, a lovely quilt shop in a little strip mall. You can take Route 11 all the way to The Oaks Victorian Inn or cut 10 minutes off your drive by going back to I-81 south to exit 118B. Spend the night at The Oaks and enjoy in a 3 course breakfast before heading off to the The Blue Ridge Quilt Festival at the Blacksburg Middle School. just a 14 minute drive from The Oaks. I went to the last festival and all of the quilts were beyond gorgeous!
When staying at The Oaks make the time to go to Schoolhouse Fabrics in Floyd. This three story old brick schoolhouse has been converted into a “Sewing Paradise”. They even have a room with nothing but bridal fabrics, lace, fancy buttons and more. Come back north on Route 8 to Route 11 and head west into Radford to visit Sew Biz. If you skipped Scholhouse Fabrics and are on I-81 take exit 109 to Sew Biz. Sew Biz. The historic Central Depot building, which was once a hotel is now the home of Sew Biz. It looks fairly small from the front but is a grand labyrinth of many rooms filled with sewing machines, fabrics and anything else you might need. They specialize in Virginia Tech fabrics. The last quilters shop off I-81 is in Wytheville. Take I-81 exit 73 to Batiks Etcetera & Sew What Fabrics. The Bali Batik fabrics are absolutely gorgeous.