A Look Back, 3-15-23

Thirty five years ago last week this article was in the DesMoines Register.

Thirty years ago yesterday we were once again in the Farm and Country section of the Register.

Carol McGarvey, a writer for the Register, can be credited with making our name familiar to Iowans. Each week she had a small column of what was new and she featured many of our patterns through those years, showing one at a time as we designed them. I still have these newspaper clippings on the wall of the quilt shop because they are so special and so precious to me. I thought you might enjoy seeing them. We haven’t changed at all, have we?

P.S. I wonder if Carol is still in DesMoines – anyone know?

This is why I might miss your picture after I save it to my camera roll.

Crazy, huh?

Harvey continued –

Reader quilts

Chris’s next start – story to come with finish


Photo taken yesterday at Bomgaars Farm Store – it took everything I had to walk away from these chicks for sale!

One of my geraniums in the basement

This is my leader/ender bag hanging by my machine – I’m sewing 1-1/2” squares together to make 4 patches.

How do you like this mess?

Remember this – the best wedding photo of all time? If you recall, this is our pastor from 18+ years ago who married Rick and me. I contacted him and he said that the groom is his nephew in Montana who also owned the dog. We emailed each other and I learned that this yellow lab now has a baby brother named Wesley. Sweet, huh?

I recently sent this to a friend with three kids who also has Friday night pizza night and she agreed 100%! Haha!!!!

That’s all for tonight – are you ready for March Madness?

53 thoughts on “A Look Back, 3-15-23

  1. Susie

    Oh my,look at what youngsters you were when you started the company! So fun that you shared all the articles too. Where does the time go? Well done ladies,you have taught many people to sew,quilt,and find their creative outlet. Thank you both!

  2. Vicki in Seattle

    Mary, I love the newspaper articles! Carol McGarvey and I roomed together in Des Moines right after we both graduated from Iowa State in 1967. I married and left Iowa with my husband in 1968 for Seattle and Boeing. Carol worked for the Register until she retired, still lives in DesMoines and now is a free lance writer. One of the publications she contributes to is “Welcome Home” which features new homes in the DesMoines area and great recipes.
    Last year, she and a friend published a recipe book of prize winning state fair recipes. Carol was a judge for many years in the food exhibits. She is a great friend and has such a wonderful way with words!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Vicki – oh my gosh!!! What are the chances you’d be a blog reader? I love connections like these and I really meant it when I said we owe Carol a lot! She kind of took us under her wing and put us in the paper as somebody IMPORTANT! Haha! I truly had to take these yellowed curling newspapers off the wall to photograph them. If you keep in touch with Carol, please tell her thank you from Country Threads!

  3. Kathy in western NY

    Oh such warm and fuzzy feelings reading everything in this tonight!! You should have those articles posted to remind yourselves of how your customers and friends enjoyed your business. Thanks for sharing all these special moments for those who never got to your shop but loved your patterns and books for a very long time.

  4. Karla Hein

    Love the newspaper clippings!! Such fond memories!! I have followed you from the beginning. Used to live in Grand Forks, North Dakota and never made it down to your shop, but I sure do have a lot of your patterns.

  5. Sandy

    Hi Mary, great to read about your early days, we used to do all night projects as a group, you could see the snack jar getting empty as time and photos progressed. Also used to do weekends away quilting, great fun, going home shattered! Nowadays on group sewing days l just go along to help with charity quilts and sorting out fabric, not keen on lugging a heavy old Bernina anywhere!You have made a wonderful contribution to the quilt world, thank you! Take care everyone, best wishes from Sandy

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sandy – we did all night quilt classes every Friday night for one whole summer – crazy!

  6. Carol McGarvey

    I can’t believe it’s been 35 years. WOW. What a fun story that was to write. It was also such a fun shop to visit.

    Yes, I’m still in Des Moines. After retiring from The Des Moines Register, I wrote for several magazines at Meredith Corp. I have written for Welcome Home Des Moines magazine for a number of years, covering food, home construction, and landscaping. Such a fun job.

    Plus, last year another writer and I produced Baking Blue Ribbons, a book about the food department at the Iowa State Fair. We donated the proceeds back to that department.

    My husband Tom and I have 7 grandkids, one girl and six boys. He passed away in January of this year, and I miss him so much. Thanks for the memories of the Country Threads shop. Do you have any idea how many people’s lives you have touched? So fun to write about you and your amazing success and influence on quilters and fabric lovers.

    —Carol McGarvey

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Carol – oh my goodness, I am so sorry you recently lost your Tom! I hope your grandkids are close by. Evidently Vicki told you I posted the articles – I swear we are all connected in some way! DesMoines is in the news this week with March Madness, isn’t it? We really owe you a debt of gratitude for all the publicity you gave us in our early years. I know it helped propel us into the quilt pattern industry which also created a successful quilt shop. Thank you, Carol!

  7. Linda

    Wow- congrats on 35 years of a such a successful career. Did you have any idea how it would grow? Married over 52 years and we STILL have pizza and beer on Friday nights. Love Friday night cooking!

  8. LaNan

    Enjoy your blog. Ready to watch March madness…printed out the schedules tonight! Since we are supposed to have a snowstorm what better way to spend the day!!

  9. Judi Derry

    Just want to say how much I appreciate your no nonsense, tell it like it is, warm and funny blog. Makes my little old lady day!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Arrowhead G – give us an update – are you now getting rain? Oh, I hope not!

  10. Jo in Wyoming

    What a fun trip down memory lane. Tendall…that was a long time ago!
    Great quilt show too.

  11. Betty Klosterman

    It is a very small world. That’s nice in this screwed up world. And your blog makes it even better. We are so lucky to have our interests in quilting and just working with fabric, cutting, sewing, feeling it and watching the patterns come together. Earlier I was thinking that I’m lucky to love everything about fabric. It would be a very dull life without it. Yep, I’ve got a lot of your patterns and had the pleasure of stopping at your shop. And, of course, all the critters, too. Aren’t we lucky to have these memories for so many years?

    I’ve written this before, but many of your readers may not have seen it. I overheard my husband telling a friend ‘that she always had to stop at this quilt shop, but it was actually a very nice place to wait with all the animals’ and he got a nap in the car, too. That’s Country Threads.

    Guess we’re ready for the next storm. Doesn’t sound like we are going to get much. The temp got up to 66 this afternoon. Supposed to drop tonight. In the meantime, my snow shovel is just inside the back door and I’ll be up to my ears in pieces of fabric!

    Take care. Betty in Rapid City

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Betty – we are still having pretty chilly weather – mostly because of the strong wind from the SW. Can’t even have the dog door open because the flap blows open. Yes, we’re in a storm advisory but doubt it will amount to much. I can’t wait till it’s 66 here!! Wish I had known you when you and Frank visited the farm!

  12. Nancy Schulz

    So good to have you back, sharing everything with everyone! Miss your blog of knowledge and inspiration when technology fails. Glad you can continue to keep all of us connected…a special skill we all appreciate.
    Mariposa, CA

    1. Tina W

      Hi Nancy! I was born and raised in Mariposa! We moved to Oregon in 1970 and I’ve been here ever since. Have you been there long?
      Tina W in NE Oregon

  13. Diane in WI

    I enjoyed reading the articles. I wish I had visited the shop. The next best thing was receiving the Goat Gazette in the mail. Now it is reading your blog. Keep up the good work.

  14. Charlotte S in No. California

    I so enjoyed reading the newspaper articles about your early days. Loved the comments from Vicki and Carol….it is a small world!! I love this blog and all the great pictures you share.

  15. Jean Elliott

    How fun to see those articles! I also made some 1″ 4 patches..320 of them when I was in Iowa.

  16. Sharon

    How awesome to have those newspaper articles! I loved reading them ! I have bought lots of your patterns since the beginning.I also have lots of your books. I love your style !

  17. Gloria from CC

    Wow! 35 years full of quilting, teaching, writing patterns, going to market – you’ve been famous in the quilting world for a long time. I was so lucky to live only an hour away. I spent many hours in your shop and attended many classes (in 1995 I took my first beginning quilting class from you – the rest is history). You had the best sales too! I remember one time I couldn’t get to one of your sales and asked that a box of sale material be sent to me. I still have some of that material! Lots of memories….. Great quilt show today.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Gloria – and those days were the best days life had to offer and we didn’t even know it! When I look back the most prominent thing I remember is being so busy and literally running across the yard, running to the barn and running to the mailblox- all to save time. It is a blur.

  18. Sharon Eshlaman

    Reading this fabulous blog post, the blog about nothing…..and a cup of coffee is the best way to start my day. I can’t thank you enough! You made an awesome impact in the lives of quilters 35 years ago and continue to do so today for quilters and animal lovers like me…..thank you🤗

  19. Kim from TN

    Loved reading the newspaper clippings and reading all the comments on this posting. I visited the shop many times when visiting my mom. I have lots of patterns and fabric from those trips. Thank you for being such a wonderful shop owner and giving me guidance on my quilting journey. The quilt show today made me smile, so many cute Henrys and the Curious George quilt is adorable. Enjoy the march madness games.

  20. Vicki Ibarra

    Loved today’s articles, quilt pictures, and everyone’s comments. I loved visiting the shop whenever I was in northern Iowa. It seems so long ago, but really with the articles showing how long you have been influencing quilting…well, it was long ago. What a wonderful history!

  21. Joy in NW Iowa

    Love this piece of history. Wow!
    It is raining here….not sure how long it will last til the snow starts or the sow/sleet/rain moisture. No school in our local school. The pheasants are coming across the pasture to check for corn on the feeding spots.
    Our road is a disaster! Four wheel drive and still sliding and sliming around in the mud with mountains of snow on the side, remind me again, why do we live here?
    The quilts are all amazing!
    It was a gorgeously warm (with wind of course) 47 degrees yesterday! We did our Sioux Falls trip and hubby gave the car a bath when we got home and literally had to scrape the slush/mud/salt off the concrete afterward. Ugh!
    I’ll be back in my cave today.
    Stay safe everyone!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Joy – with nasty weather coming today, I’m going to the longarm machine. I have got to quilt and bind some of these tops I’ve made over the winter or maybe just leave them as tops? When I die the next person can quilt them – quilting and binding are my least important steps in making a quilt.

  22. Diana in Des Moines

    So many things to love in this blog post! I love the shutter display, love the Harveys, love the news clippings, love the Curious George quilt, and I especially love the baby chicks. We have a Bomghar’s about 5 minutes from our house, and I take Elliott and Leah (my grands) to see them. They had turkey and duck chicks on Monday, they are all spoken for, baby chicks cam yesterday – we will be visiting hem today.

    My mom had a very serious fall last month at her home. She is 89 and I can no longer leave her alone. Tomorrow she will be moving in with us. We are both very excited to have her here, and she is happy to come here so I can feed her lol. Cooking for one is no fun, so just ate cereal most nights for dinner. Say a little prayer for us that she is comforted and safe with us. We watch our grandkids every day, so our home will be a busy little hive!
    Mary – thank you so much for sharing your life with us. I feel like we are friends!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Diana – first of all WE ARE FRIENDS! So many of my readers have become close online friends which allows me to stay home and connect with them.
      Wonderful of you to have your mom move in with you – we always intended for my mom to move in here – had a grandma “apartment” all planned but then she had a stroke and ended up at the care center. Yes, it sounds like your house will be busy!!

    2. Kathy in western NY

      Diana – you are a wonderful daughter and compassionate person to open your home to your mother to care for her. It will be an adjustment for sure but think now of all the memories she will have in her remaining years with the hustle and bustle of youngsters around her. It will give her a reason to get up and get busy each day. I am forever grateful my mom lived close by and her last years were good with family in and out. I live with no regrets of time spent together. Good luck with each day but more important is we look forward to your comments telling us how it is going and hopefully you can make time with your sewing too.

  23. Marie Fibelstad

    I remember the day when you guys opened the the shop and a friend and I could hardly wiat to drive the 2 1/2 hrs to visit all the fabric and patterns and of course the animals!
    Loved the quilts today and all the memories from the newspapers, seems like just yesterday!
    Look foreward to the blog and tidbits!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Marie – the day we opened the shop? What day was that? We actually had a grand opening? I thought we just gradually became a quilt shop. Of course, I’m old – I can’t remember shit!

  24. Sally J.

    Thanks for sharing the newspaper articles…I enjoyed reading the journey that you took in becoming Country Threads.
    I look forward to your blog each day!! It’s a great way to start my morning.
    I’m working on a wallhanging right now but love “Harvey” so need to order the pattern!!
    Thank you for all that you do. Love and Peace from Sally J. in Michigan

  25. Jan Frank-de Ois

    Those Register articles were how I heard about you! I’m sure I ordered from you too, but I can’t remember which pattern.

  26. Betty Klosterman

    Mary, I think the wedding picture with the dog is shows the pure joy only animals have. Maybe we could learn something from them? That is a picture to remember.

    You say you wish you had known us when we were in the store. You were always very, very busy. And we were there the day after 9-11. What a day in history.

    The last time we were there would have been spring of 2011. This may have been then. You had a red/orange setter (?) type dog medium sized and very friendly. Of course he came to greet us and was begging for Cheetos. I kept explaining that we ate all of them, but he didn’t like that message. I think Connie came out to see why he was bugging us and promptly told him he already had too many Cheetos. That didn’t convince him either. Hope springs eternal.
    Betty in Rapid City

    Always a great day to visit with all the friendly animals, watch the various chickens and the strutting roosters crowing. The geese and goats… Oh, we can’t forget the fabric, quilts and people. Wonderful memories. Thank you for having such a great place on the farm.

  27. Chris in Alaska

    Congratulations on 35 years ! I lived in Indiana then -I never made it to your shop but I bought every book and many patterns over the years. Still have them all too ! Those articles are a treasure and thanks for posting them !

  28. Beverly in O-H-I-O

    So fun to read the magazine articles about you and Connie and how you got started. I’ve been a reader for several years; I don’t quilt but I love dogs & March Madness, just like you ! Thank you for a fun to read blog and the effort you put into it.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Beverly – it’s never all about quilting – my world isn’t just quilting! Right now it’s March Madness!! Yeah! Can’t believe AZ, Virginia and Iowa all lost – did you watch?

  29. Diane, Squeak, Buddy

    The newspaper articles are treasures for sure. I never made it to your shop, but I have lots of books and patterns. I am finishing up the $5.00:Jelly Roll quilt. Fun to do. The quilt show today is great. The little kid on the Curios George quilt is adorable. I have been watching March Madness off and on today. Since Syracuse, OSU, and others are not in it, I am going with both Iowas and a few others on my bracket. Worn out. To bed.

  30. Janice Brown

    Mary, the readers and quilters of Iowa were certainly very lucky for Carol McGarvey’s articles about Country Threads. Thanks you for sharing the newspaper clippings with us. I didn’t start quilting until 2004, so I am trying to remember how I heard about Country Threads. I vaguely remember a small advertisement in a quilt magazine for a pheasant quilt by Country Threads. There may of been other advertisements and articles in quilt magazines too that I read . . . but I just don’t recall. After learning about Country Threads, my husband and I did make two detours to your quilt shop on our annual trips out west to visit family.

  31. Sue in Marion, IN

    I loved reading the newspaper articles! Country Threads started about the time I became a “real” quilter. I sewed clothes since I was about 11 and attempted some patchwork when I was in high school, but I didn’t know nothin’ about no quiltin’! I too bought all the Country Threads books and tons of the patterns, which I still have. As people “our age” have been downsizing, I’ve picked up quite a few more at quilt shows. I still love them!
    I married late and was 40 when I had my second child, was a teacher and a trip to Iowa seemed like an impossible dream. Any trip beyond Indianapolis or Ft. Wayne was a big deal! My educational assistant and her husband were from Ft. Dodge and were still making regular trips to visit Grandma Breen —should have stowed away in their trunk!

  32. Carmen Montmarquet

    Thanks Mary for sharing those wonderful articles about you, Connie and your shop! Loved reading them!
    Love the wedding pic too!

Comments are closed.