Country Threads Barn Story Part 4

In 2001 we celebrated 20 years in business with a quilt show in the haymow. Around the barn were 20 partitions so I started with quilts made in 1981 in the first partition, 1982 in the second going around the barn and finishing at the door where I started. It was a monumental job just finding the quilts and dating them. I should have had names and dates on all of them but I couldn’t pull it off. Visitors would see a quilt in the barn and head to the shop to buy the pattern – retailing genius, right? We finally had to take pictures of all the quilts and put them in the quilt shop so we could identify which quilt the visitor wanted. Here are some pictures taken in the summer of 2001 – wish I had taken more.

We started having quilt camp three times a year. Early spring was too cold but June was usually fine, summer was stiflingly hot so that left fall for two camps. I will never forget the Lynnette Jensen workshop when we sewed flannel quilts – HOT!!! Honestly, we cooked! Fall can sometimes be really warm, too. We were totally at the mercy of the weather in North Iowa – we always said to come prepared for three seasons.

More camp photos.

In 2003 Rick and his friend Jim installed two huge windows in the south wall.

And this is how it looked each spring when I had to clean it again.

I will go up there tomorrow to take pictures of how it looks today. I will close this part of the story with pictures of friends – in no,particular ulnar order or significance.

Mom’s 80th birthday party.

Becky performed at Country Threads MANY times over the years.

My job was always popping the popcorn – here are two of several dozen pictures taken at the popcorn machine!

Here’s a couple more pictures of church friends at the wedding reception.

Tomorrow I’ll take pictures to close the barn story. I wish it was still a fun place to sew but it’s very dirty, has a bale elevator up there and a big stack of hay bales.

44 thoughts on “Country Threads Barn Story Part 4

  1. Lynn in Iowa

    Oh how I would have loved to sew in the barn. I was never lucky enough to attend camp. We were raising our family at that time and things like that just were not in our budget at the time. I believe I was at the quilt show though and also went to your Labor Day sale several times. Such inspiration. Thanks again for sharing!! Love this blog.

  2. Donna Sproston

    It is such a beautiful structure and I am so glad it is filled with happy memories.

  3. Carolyn Boutilier

    Wonderful pictures and I am sure great memories. Thanks for sharing.
    Carolyn b Shenandoah Valley VA

  4. Jo in Wyoming

    What a wonderful trip down memory lane. I can only imagine how much fun, and work, the camps were.
    When I started quilting, I couldn’t get enough. Classes, retreats, sales, I loved it all. I still do. Only now I teach once in a while. I still love everything about quilting.
    How I wish I could have experienced camp at Country Threads.

    1. Marilyn

      Thank you for the barn history. How wonderful you have given so much hard work through the years to make it so special to so many and still touching our hearts as you share the past with us. Love all of it.
      Be still and God bless you.

  5. Barb P

    I spent the past two weeks cleaning and organizing and yes downsizing things in my sewing room. I found a fabric square that I must have bought years ago from the shop. It is a square with the barn printed on it! What timing with your barn history posts.

    Barb P

  6. Dee Dee Peterson

    Thanks for sharing your story. I am really enjoying the story and pictures. I was able to come twice from NE Wyoming. I had such a good time just shopping and visiting.

  7. Sue in Oregon

    I love your barn story and history. Such good times you had. I wish I had lived closer because I’m sure I would have been there.

  8. Beryl in Owatonna

    What wonderful memories!! I was able to visit the shop once, don’t remember the year, possibly about 2004. I was there with my brother and SIL…we enjoyed the visit! I wish it was still there but totally understand why not!!
    Thanks for sharing the pictures and all of your time, again! You are a special person.

  9. Charlotte Shira

    What a great place to have quilt camp! Thanks for sharing your story and your memories.

  10. Brenda in SC

    Thanks for sharing your story. I really enjoyed it. Wished I would have known you and Connie back then and could have come to visit your shop. You know, I think was driving tractor trailer 18 wheeler back then for Schneider International and may have passed through your neck of the woods….LOL….Now, that is something I bet you didn’t know about me!! That old barn sure could tell some stories I bet if she could talk. You need to write a memoir about that barn and get it all down as it as it has such a rich and full history. I, for one, would definitely buy the book. Speaking of books, I bought one of your pattern books this week, “Sew Charming”. So, I am on the hunt for 5″ inch civil war material squares.
    Hope everyone is well and staying cool.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Brenda in SC – you are so right! I did not know you were an over the road trucker! I am impressed! Did you drive for many years? By yourself?

  11. Christie

    What memories. I remember when Marion asked if I would go to “quilt camp” in Iowa with her. We came and as they say the rest is history. We met many people and friends and the 5 core group of us starting our own guild of sorts. The No Neck Chicks ( we swear it was the name of one of those fancy chicken breeds) were born and for years when camp dates were full or would not work for all 5 schedules we created our own camp at Country Threads renting the classroom for a week . Amy, Becky and Renee from Kansas and Marion and I from the Philadelphia suburbs. Marion and I started with flying to Minneapolis and driving sending our machines & supplies through the mail. Eventually we decided the 20 hour ride was “easier” and allowed us to bring so much more with us. Our husbands still find it hard to believe the drive was easier – but there were times when were we would be 8 hours into the drive and still had not taken a breath catching up on our lives and discussing what we would make at camp. It’s now 20 years later and we still meet once a year for a week for “camp”. So Country Threads created so many wonderful memories and lifelong friendships – I hope you know the impact you and Connie made for so many of us. xo Christie

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Christie – your nite is heartwarming to me! Thank you! We also made so many good friends through camp and it’s just typical of the way quilting brings people together. Yes, I remember when you decided driving would be easier – I agree that it probably was. By the time you actually flew into Mpls and then drove here you probably were almost at 20 hours! Haha! So fun to hear from all you guys!

  12. Pat Smith

    Reading the comments from some that were lucky enough to attend a quilt camp at Country Threads makes me so sorry I didn’t know about it at the time. I would have had to come from a long way, but probably would have tried. The memories all of the attendees have are priceless. The barn was beautiful for the quilt show and a perfect back drop. I loved how it looked for your wedding. That barn has served you and your animals well over the years.

  13. Lisa W

    Mary, I had the opportunity to attend Quilt Camp at one of the June camps and it was awesome! I have such fond memories of that experience and think of it often. Sewing in the barn, enjoying time on the farm and shopping at Country Threads made for a memorable trip. I have loved this series on the barn! Thanks for all you share on the blog.

  14. Brenda Ks.

    Loved the memories. One of the pictures is of my sister my friend my niece and me. We went many times and always had such a good time. Sadly my friend and my sister are gone now. I remember one camp there were some girls from California there. They were such a hoot. I remember the year it was so hot we couldn’t see in the afternoon. We would see early morning then leave and come back in the evening and see until 1 or 3 in the morning. Great memories and really good times.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Brenda inKS – I remember how hot it was that year! I know Reva is gone but Nan? Who do you mean?

        1. CountryThreads Post author

          Brenda KS – Sarah died? Did I know this? What happened? I’m sorry – I don’t remember this.

    1. Christie

      Brenda we were there that year and sat with the CA gals. Boy were they mad the mystery quilt would not be finished in a day!

      1. CountryThreads Post author

        Christie – I remember that camp! Sounds like a California attitude to me – how in the world did they think we could do that in one day? And they traveled to Iowa from CA just for that?

  15. Kathy in western NY

    All the comments are just as fun to read as your post was! Nothing like friendships made and memories to treasure with sewing and quilting. Just as you enjoy hearing from your readers, it’s been just as interesting for us to read of parties and retreats in your barn. Seems retreats now require fast internet speeds cause so many attendees have to download patterns and keep in close contact with family texting so very different times. Course now most here are on pause due to virus spread.

  16. Diane in Maryland

    This is a wonderful history story of Country Threads! I’ve really enjoyed it . One reader suggested you write a book. Well, you just have complete with pictures! Very nice! It is amazing how quickly days turn into years. Great memories.

  17. Judith Ann Jaques

    I love seeing what was, I never got to visit. I am wondering where the shop was? The sewing classes were done in the top of the barn but where was all the fabric,books and notions?
    I have to ask this. I know strange but how did you deal with mice with all that hay? LOL.
    Also is that snow you had to clean up? judy

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Judy – in one of the stories I showed which building became the quilt shop – you’ll have to go back and re-read

  18. Lori Porter

    Oh the memories! thanks for sharing. I always wanted to visit your shop when it was open, but that never worked out because I live far away. Your books & patterns have been very popular with my quilt club here in Montana.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  19. Joyce from NY

    Such great memories for you & all your retreaters. Wish I had known you then. Thank you for the barn stories.

  20. Norma

    What a great story! Thanks for preserving an old barn! They are wonderful places to gather.
    Happy Anniversary! Your wedding reception looks like a fun time.

  21. Chris in NW PA

    I have been enjoying the pictures and memories from Country Threads. It has been a lot of fun.
    Thank you for putting all of this together for us. I was never able to attend quilt camp or visit your
    shop. However, I was able to attend the quilt shows in Cincinnati where you & Connie had a booth.
    I am the lucky owner of 2 barn quilts. They are wonderful to display during the summer.
    So I also have happy memories of Country Threads.
    Thank you.

  22. Diane and Squeak in Central Ohio

    Mary, what great memories, pictures, your wedding!😊. I loved seeing them all! What year did you start the Goat Gazette? You sure were two busy women! I am so happy that you and Connie came to Columbus for the Country Living Fair because I never made it to Iowa. In fact, it is one of 5 states I still need to visit. It was fun to see you at the CL Fair and see what you were making!! Please do write a book😊

  23. Janet Nesbitt

    Hi Mary, and Connie too! This has been just so much fun to read and now I feel like digging through all of my old quilts to find the one I worked on in your hay mow, Down on the Farm from your Leftovers book. I, too, have a picture with you girls at the base of the stairs after Quilt Market in Minneapolis one year, and another here in front of my barn. You girls have been, and continue to be, such an inspiration to all of us! Happy Anniversary tomorrow!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Janet Nesbit – I came cross the pictures taken by your barn, too – that was a memorable trip!!!

  24. Marilyn Miller

    Thanks so much for the pictorial time travel. I wish I had been there during the camps but feel lucky to have been in the barn several times as well as your other buildings/shops. You captured the heart of all of us country lovin’ gals with the fun decor, flower beds, geese, chickens, goats, cats and dogs! Thank you.

  25. Meredith in Cincinnati

    This has been so interesting ( and fun!) to read! Thank you so much for the trip down your memory lane. I’ve always been sorry that I wasn’t able to travel to your shop. People who were able to go raved about the fabric! The animals! The wonderful people! Fun to read on your blog.

  26. Helen Jane (TX)

    Hi Mary…Happy Anniversary!…enjoy all your news…and the reader comments too. So “thanks” again…it is hot here even in the 90ts after 6pm…my morning glory vines are growing profusely. I took your hint and planted red seeds along with my favorite blue…it is probably too early there. Really we are “toasting” here or it feels that way.

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