The first Nebraska Fabric Shop Hop was held April 16, 17 and 18, 1999 with 18 participating shops. A shop hop bag was purchased for $10.00 and a stamp card was given out to record the shops visited during the 3 day event. The grand prize was for a computerized sewing machine! Those 18 original stores were Calico Annie's in Fullerton, Calico Cottage in Hastings, Calico House in Lincoln, Cobblestone Quilting in Tecumseh, Common Threads in Syracuse, Countryside Fabrics in York, Creative Hands in Lincoln, Fabric Fair in Seward, Just Sew in Wayne, Loper Fabrics in Beatrice, Pat's Creative Stitchery in Hemingford, Platte River Quilting Company in Grand Island, Prairie Point Junction in Cozad, Quilter's Delight in Holdrege, Sew What in Columbus, Silver Thimble Sewing Center in Ogallala, Suz's Fabric Art in Fremont and Vogie's Quilts and Treasures in Dodge, Nebraska. 302 hoppers turned in cards and 105 received prizes from this 3 day shop hop.
The 2nd annual Nebraska Independent Fabric Shops’ hop was held March 16-25, 2000. There were 32 shops that participated this year with 10 days for the hop and 804 registered hoppers. Each shop had a commemorative block design that they handed out to the hoppers.
March 22 -31, 2001 were the dates of the third annual NIFS shop hop. The theme was “Great Nebraska Fabric Chase”. 34 shops participated giving out a 9” block pattern at each shop. This was the first year a book was published and given to the hoppers with information about each shop. 713 bags were sold for $10 each to hoppers.
“Miles of Road – Miles of Fabric” was the theme for the fourth annual NIFS shop hop. It occurred April 4-13, 2002. Free patterns were given out for 6” blocks this year and everyone was given a strip of fabric to tie to their car antenna or door handle. 26 shops participated and 800 bags were sold.
In 2003 the theme “What’s Black and White and Red all over” was the theme for shopping to 30 shops. Over 950 bags were sold to hoppers. Everyone gave out a pattern for a 9” finished quilt block. A sewing machine was again the grand prize.
“Spring Across Nebraska” was the 2004 shop hop theme. The group grew to 33 participating shops across the state that each gave out a block pattern to make a quilt. Two sewing machines were given away and a quilt made with all of the shops’ blocks was given as well. 58 hoppers visited all 33 shops during this hop!
The 7th annual NIFS shop hop took place March 31-April 9, 2005. “Postcards Across Nebraska” was the theme with 39 shops to hop to. 5” charm squares were featured this year and a free pattern to use them by Pat Speth was provided to the hoppers. We added wooden bunnies in our stores decorated for hopping this year.
The theme for March 30-April 8, 2006 shop hop was “Material Madness”. 40 shops participated. Packs of 5 fat sixteenths were featured in this shop hop and each store’s free pattern was geared toward using fat sixteenths. An official shop hop fabric was available for this year for the first time.
“Shop hop around the Clock” brought a 50s theme to the shop hop in 2007. A black batik fabric with bright pink designs on it was used. It ran from April 12 to April 21, 2007 with 37 shops.
2008’s theme was “It’s a Party and You’re Invited”. Each store had a pattern using 5” charm squares. 27 people went to all of the shops this year. 37 shops celebrated from April 10-19. We had a batik fabric with colorful party items scattered on it this year.
2009 had 34 shops handing out blocks made with Thangles. Each shop had a project made with their Thangles block for their free pattern to give to hoppers. “Quilters Going Green with Envy was the theme. April 16-26 were the dates for this hop. A notebook was included in the bag for hoppers to collect their free patterns in.
2010’s theme was “Cooking up Great Quilts”. 35 shops participated. The fabric was a line called Oxygen from Studio E fabrics. Thangles were used to create the blocks with 3.5” strips of fabric. 1600 bags were ordered. 26 people went to all of the shops
2011’s theme was “Charming Nebraska” with 39 shops. March 31- April 10 hoppers drove across Nebraska to collect their free project sheets and collect a silver charm at each shop to use on a bracelet or to embellish a quilt. 1750 bags were sold to hoppers and 47 visited all of the 39 shops to earn a free bag for next year.
April 19-29, 2012 “Quotable Quotes” brought each shop designing a 12” block and a 6” block that could be assembled in a very large quilt designed by Julie Geiger in Cozad with wonderful quilting related quotes. The bag price went up to $15 this year. 49 people visited all the shops in 2012 so will get a free bag for next year’s hop. A water bottle with the logo on it was provided with every shop hop bag this year.
Shop Hop 2013 was titled “Border to Border”. 39 shops sold Nebraska themed fabric and created projects with free patterns to give to customers centering around things of Nebraska. The fabric had a border print, a tossed print with features of our state, and tone on tone fabrics listing all 93 counties. This was the 15th Annual NIFS shop hop and lasted from April 18-29, 2013. Instead of a book we used a newspaper format with all of the information needed. 48 people visited all of the shops. Over $12,000 was given away in gift certificates to winners from this shop hop.
“Wild About Nebraska” had the fabric centering on the animals and wild flowers in our state. A panel of animals, a border print with bold bright colors and a sepia fabric of our bright scenery print were featured. April 3-12, 2014 around 1600 hoppers shopped at 35 shops. Projects centered on this fabric.
2015 brought “Follow the dots to Fun” for the hop. April 9- 19 hoppers collected polka dotted fabric at 31 participating shops. The feature fabric was white, red and black with dots and the letter N. It was very popular fabric. The burlap bags had dots on them and at each shop a custom designed pin was given out that they could attach to their bag or just collect. 81 hoppers went to all 31 shops.
“Seasons Sewn” was the 2016 theme for the April 7-16 shop hop. Fabric was done by Windham of a panel with a monthly square with the word Sew in it, two border prints, a white on white sewing notions and 3 colors of tossed prints. 34 shops participated