Crafters find friendship, food, fabric and fun at quilting retreats in a farm bed-and-breakfast.
By Lorna Wiens
Two of my favorite things in the world are quilting and company. So I guess it’s only natural I’d open a B&B featuring sewing bees on our homestead. I borrowed a corner of husband Mel’s pasture for my Farm Quilt Haus, named for our German heritage. At this cozy country cabin, I host retreat days for quilters, as well as small family gatherings. Crafters say a stay here is like therapy, a chance to escape interruptions and focus on sewing and having fun.
Our son, an architect, originally designed the cabin just for me, so I could work undisturbed by TV and telephones. But our local quilt shop had recently closed, which left crafters with no convenient spot to gather. Our year-round guest cabin evolved from there—it was a perfect fit!
The quilting retreats can accommodate eight people, with sleeping room for four. They bring their own sewing machines, and arrive carrying more fabric than luggage! The great room is equipped with large folding tables, ironing boards, cutting counters and rulers, and heavy-duty electrical circuits. If the guests want, I arrange a formal quilting class with local instructors or a speaker.
One woman books a weekend every year with her granddaughters, and she teaches them quilting techniques. Other groups prefer to meet for freestyle sewing. They bring whatever projects they have in progress, from purses to bedspreads.
Being creative makes people hungry, so I make sure there’s plenty to eat. Some guests bring their own potluck ingredients to prepare in the cabin kitchen. Or I can fix a meal, complete with produce from Mel’s organic garden.
For entertainment, we have poultry and purebred shorthorns to serenade us. And for those who want to take a break, I direct them to the best places for sightseeing, canoeing or fabric shopping. The ambiance is cozy, with seasonal quilts and folk art prints on the walls. We have two beds and a bathroom with a claw-foot tub for guests who spend the night after marathon quilting sessions.
But you don’t even need to sew to enjoy yourself at the cabin. Groups of families and friends have come here for wedding showers, parties, reunions, club meetings and sisters’ getaways. We’ve welcomed people from as far away as China, India and Madagascar. Mickey Rooney and his wife even stayed here when they were performing in a nearby area opera house.
Since quilting is my major relaxation (I once owned a quilt shop), I like to spend time at the cabin myself. A couple of days a month, I invite quilting friends over and we work on our own “UFOs”—those unfinished objects tucked away in our closets.
Editor’s Note: For more on the Farm Quilt Haus or to make a reservation, call Lorna at 218-894-2715 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.