We had a nice crowd at church this morning – the governor has opened up everything so guess people feel safe coming and yes, I wore my flag dress.
I had this quilt in my hand just a few weeks ago and today I couldn’t find it! Who knows where it is? I’ve been hanging it up for 22 years – missed number 23. It will turn up. I don’t think it would have stayed on the hanger today – the wind was atrocious!!! I couldn’t even go outside and if I opened the door, pictures blew off the wall for cryin out loud!
And now my question for you to answer to qualify for one of these two prizes – the pincushion or the project bag.
I have to admit I’m shocked, saddened, surprised and downright sorry that 90% of you never visited Country Threads! How can that be? My question is “how did you ever learn about Country Threads?” We had so many people here through the years that I just assumed anybody who wanted to visit had done so. Many plane tickets were purchased by those from far away and I’m guessing that if I had this blog THEN to connect with all of you, we wouldn’t have had to close. Dang.
So tell me in the comments section how you know Country Threads. I will let this question run for a couple days to give me a break from blogging.
My friend Carolyn Pope invited me to an all night quilt class in your original chicken coop and I have been a fan of CT ever since. Remember those classes???? Ancient History 😀.
The Internet was unknown then. Somewhere between 84 and 89.
I’d never been to Country Threads as I live in So CA and had not heard of your shop or blog. So sorry to have missed the shop, but have now found the blog because of Kayla from Jo Kramer’s blog.
I purchased one of your older quilting books through Connecting Threads and then the anniversary quilt pattern offered through Country Living magazine.
I learned about Country Threads from Jo Kramer’s blog. She often spoke of you and Connie fondly
Although I never had the opportunity to visit your shop, from the pictures you have been sharing, I’m very sorry to have missed you! I just recently learned of your blog from a very dear quilting friend Mancy B. So glad she told me to check your blog out, and will enjoy reading in the future.
A friend visited your shop, and began to followyour blog. She got me to follow your blog too. We have since bought several of your books.
It’s been so long, I’m not sure I remember. Ha ha!! My used to be local quilt shop carried your patterns and books. Of course I feel in love with them! I subscribed to the Goat Gazette as soon as I heard about it. I am one of the fortunate ones who was able to visit Country Threads a couple of times. Always looked forward to the Goat Gazette and would be on the phone with a mail order. Loved when those arrived in the mail!! =:)
I learned of Country Threads by purchasing your books “On Behalf of Chickens” and “Country Threads Quilt Shop Series”. I’m not sure which one I purchased first in the early 1900’s. Back then, I was working full time and had two children in school heavily involved in school activities and sports. I also live in South Carolina. If I had mentioned going to Iowa to a quilt shop, my husband would have just laughed and laughed and turned around and walked away!
I am laughing right now brcause you referred to a purchase of a pattern in the early 1900’s, Mary must be ancient!
I heard about you through magazine articles years ago. But Jo Kramer from Jo’s Country Junction mentioned you numerous times and featured your cute store on her blog a couple of times. She commented on how sad she was when you closed. And that’s when I started following you. Hard to visit from Alaska with two little kids still at home during the years you were open and a husband that didn’t like to travel with the family.
I’ve always wished I could have visited your shop and sewn with you in the barn. I’ve been a fan of your patterns and books for years and years. Our local quilt shop carried them and that’s how I learned about you. When your shop was open, our children were all at home and there wasn’t time or money to travel so far to visit your shop. Now that our nest is empty, if you were still open, I’d be there for sure!
I purchased a book by Country Threads many many years ago and I fell in love with the country style as it fit right in to the log home I had purchased. I ended up purchasing more books from Country Threads through the years. I’m sorry that I never was able to visit.
I learned about Country Threads from Jo Kramer and then realized I had 2 of you books. These past years I have enjoyed your blog and the patterns you offer us.. You truly are a Blessing
Our quilt shop got a book called “On Behalf of Chickens” and I loved it. That was about the time the quilt shop series started and you were the first featured shop. AND it was close to Clarion!!
I started quilting after I retired in 1998. A few years into classes, retreats, lots of quilts, and lots of fun, I ordered a pattern from your store. Somewhere in one of my binders in my sewing room, I’m sure I have the receipt. I’ve been spring cleaning the sewing room – first time ever – and ran into the pattern. I cannot remember which pattern it was but the instructions were missing. I filed the pattern where I would remember the location. About a week later I found the instructions but for the life of me, I cannot recall the location of the pattern… Old age, too much “stuff”, and spending time in the garden, and I still haven’t remembered where I put the pattern. It’ll turn up and then I’ll let you know which one it was. I’m sure I made it more than once. Thanks for all the patterns you two designed. And, thanks for this wonderful blog. I am a dog lady as you are. In fact, just ordered a new puppy from my daughter’s friend. And that’s the story of how I came to know and appreciate Country Threads and still do today.
It was probably 1996 ..a friend opened a quilt shop and I was hired to work there. I live on a farm and love rural living. We attended quilt market and fell in love with your patterns..farm animals and rural life spoke to both of us. I visited your shop at least three times with my sister. An easy road trip from Alexandria, Mn. I loved Mary Baker and Ina. I made many of your patterns as shop samples and also for myself..in fact I just used the Big Star pattern again to make my grandson a quilt for this coming Christmas. Flags, animals and quilts just seem to go together.
The project bag👍👍.
I think I learned about your shop from your books from That Patchwork Place. Visited your shop twice during the ‘90s, I think. Once was on a bus trip with our guild, and once with my small quilting group. What fun times both of those trips were!!
Saw the Bulls Eye quilt as sample in a shop in Kelowna, BC, Canada when I was on holiday visiting my mother. It must have been in the 1990s. Loved the look of it so bought the pattern and made it! Subsequently bought more of your patterns and a couple of your books. Have made wallhangings, table runners and other quilts. To this day many of them remain my favourites. As much as I would have loved to visit, as a single mom with 3 little boys, there was no money for travel other than my annual visit to my mom’s house.
Last year, when you did the quilt along Bulls Eye, I introduced it…and your blog…to my little quilt guild and many of us joined in and sewed along.
Thanks for the blog and for sharing your life on the farm and in your studio!
My Mom&I took a week’s vacation together every year One year we did the Quilt museum in KY and shoo hopped back home Country Threads was on our list! and the project bag is favorite Reminds me of my Aunt Carol (Pottsy) She loved flags/red stars and sheep
I had several of your books and patterns and was intrigued by the fact that it was a converted chicken coop. When we found ourselves “sort of” near the neighborhood on our way back from Manitoba to California, I directed my husband to the location. We didn’t have GPS back in 2004. Our friends were traveling with us and she was also a quilter. We told about our Airstream caravan to Churchill to see the polar bears and promised to send pictures when we got home. The rest is history. We’ve been good friends ever since.
As a quilter, I stumbled across your blog when I was searching for something quilting related. I immediately loved it and was hooked! I was fortunate enough to visit your shop twice, as we traveled to/from Montana with our camper. Our last visit was late summer the year you closed. On our first stop, Jackie was whining at the door; she went in with us, fussed a little by the cutting counter, and then jumped up and settled down in a box to take a nap. We love cats and thought it was so funny and typical. Your shop was wonderful! I have always been truly grateful I experienced it twice.
My friend, Therese Waller, took me on a road trip to Country Threads. That was back in the late 90’s. I remember she bought a complete group of MODA fat quarters..and I just didn’t understand why…believe me, now I know.
I introduced CT to my daughter, who was a textile design student at UNI. I think she visited CT to play with the cats more than buy fabric. Was the shop kitty named Emma?
Sarah and I would catch up with Mary at the Antique Show held in the UNI Dome.
I discovered CT upon the purchase of a pattern – probably the big Santa, and learned about a newsletter that was sent out. I signed up and enjoyed reading about farm life, your great love of animals, and Mary’s upcoming wedding to Rick. Have your one of your books which I love as much for the photography as for the quilts themselves.
I live in New Zealand and I visited Country Threads when our son was at NIACC in Mason City. I did some research on what quilt stores were within an hour and a half drive from Mason City and Country Threads was one of them. When I got home I checked and found that I already had a Country Threads pattern and didn’t make the connection. I had my husband Wayne with me and we had a great visit to Country Threads in Garner.
Hi, Colleen! Our 22 year old granddaughter lives in Canterbury, and works in Christ Church, N.Z.! She feel in love with a wonderful N.Z. young man and moved there. She loves the country, her job and Adam! We miss her terribly as she grew up right next door to us and we were close in heart as well. She learned to quilt from me when she was only 5 or 6. Her Kindergarten teacher came to speak to me when I went to pick her up from school one day. Ashley is such a little love and I couldn’t imagine her getting into any trouble. The teacher asked…please tell me how she knows what a quarter of an inch is and how she knows to read a ruler! She and her older sister are math wizards. Ashley helps her 14 yr old brothet with math thru skype. All children should learn to quilt then math makes sense! Where do you live in N.Z.?
I happened across your ad on page 126 in the Quilter’s Travel Companion 1996-1998 edition as I was planning a trip back to MN from CO to visit my family! The first visit hooked us and we stopped every summer from then until you closed!
I learned about you from Jo Country Junction blog. She talked about you and I agree that you are such a nice person. Love your stories and how you care for all your animals
Your books fit my country style so many years ago. I have patterns and books of yours that I still intend to use. My three friends and I made the trip from Breckenridge, MN to Garner where we posed with our matching quilts in front of your sign. We still meet once a week and work on projects. My favorite of your books was always “On Behalf of Chickens.”
In my sewing years I did not visit Country Threads. I lived on the west coast and it wasn’t possible. Aside from that I bought many of your patterns through the years and still have some of them. I found out about your blog through Jo Kramer’s blog. I never miss a post. Thank you and Connie for all your hard work.
I grew up in Garner so that’s how I knew about Country Threads. After I moved to Wisconsin I would visit the shop every day when I came home to visit. I had to come every day because you would get deliveries every day! I bought a lot of fabric but wow..you had fabulous.folk art and I have a lot of it! I used to buy eggs too…and dried a lot of the blue /aqua ones. $1 a dozen on the honor system in the refrigerator in the garage!
My oldest daughter was a junior at ku and getting excited about life on her own. That summer she asked if I wanted to go to Nebraska to some wonderful furniture store she had heard about. Yup this was when you really had to go to Nebraska to go to Nebraska furniture mart. So off we went. A new book was hitting the book stores to rave reviews so we picked up a copy to read along the way. My girls have never trusted my driving skills, so Jenna drove and I read Harry Potter aloud as we traveled. As a surprise Jenna asked if I wanted to go to a quilt shop a little farther up the highway. Yup. Fabric in the chicken coop. Such wonderful memories of our road trip. Just me and my daughter talking reading and being together before she was starting life on her own.
My first quilting class was at Country Threads in I believe 1988 or 89. A neighbor told me about the shop as I was new to the area. We did a 9 patch and rail fence! What a great shop and teachers!
You and Connie came out to the Buggy Barn to teach one year and I took a class from you! I had a wonderful time and we did a mystery class it was done in red, white and blue ! I always put it out starting with flag day and leaving it out thur the month of July! 🇺🇸 My other favorite is the welcome with the flag and stars. I have it up all year long. I was very sorry that I never made it to your shop but I feel like I have been there thur your blog! Thanks Mary for sharing your stories.
Purchased some of your books and patterns, then heard about the Goat Gazette. For many years had subscriptions for both my daughter and I.
Still have your books and patterns. Purchased red flannel at least 15 years ago to make Wear Warm Clothes and still need to make it!
hi. i learned to quilt after my daughter was born in 1989 and she was in a mother’s day out program. she wasn’t two years yet. i met a woman in joann’s who was getting fabric cut, i asked if she was making a quilt. she grew up amish and agreed to give me private lessons. shortly after that i went to the only quilt store i knew of and bought several books and patterns. your chicken pattern. continued to buy your patterns and then books. i loved your style. i taught your patterns sold your books and patterns in my store. everyone loved your bull’s eye quilt and i taught it many times. we had little money when i first learned to quilt and didn’t travel. now i have health issues and haven’t traveled since 2003 except to visit family in texas. i always wanted to visit, but supported you by buying your products, teaching them and selling them in my store. i’m slow now but have several of your projects in progess. hugs, patti in florida
I’ve been to a few retreats there and made a trip to shop a time or 2. i came to a hypertufa making class once. I still have that pot. It was always fun coming there.
I’ve been to a few retreats there and made a trip to shop a time or 2. i came to a hypertufa making class once. I still have that pot. It was always fun coming there.
I believe I came across your blog while searching for quilting patterns or tutorials on the internet and have followed you ever since. I wish I’d have known about your shop when we did our first cross-country trip in 2007 after I retired. We stopped at Fons and Porters shop and saw a few of the bridges in Madison County (My husband hated the dusty roads. Never liked to drive a dirty car). Then we went to Pella where my son-in-law is from and stopped at a quilt shop there. I would have loved to have seen your shop. We have driven through Iowa several times. It’s beautiful country!
Okay girls, I was at the Houston Quilt Show and have seen you there. My husband brought me to Iowa just to see the shop! I own almost all your books and patterns! I have a Mary Baker pin cushion! I ordered from the shop! I had a subscription to the Goat Gazette which I shared with my priest! And also 22 years ago, my friends sent an article to you on me when I had cancer and the quilt they had made me. You published the article in the Goat Gazette!!! I am a 22 year survivor of cancer and still enjoy reading your article and posts when they come!!! It’s like Mary and Connie have been best friends with me for a very long time!!!! Love you guys!!!!
Hi Mary I had the quilt shop series magazine,read it from cover to cover often.used your pattern of the lady gardening to depict my grandma in a family quilt,the I found on internet your blog ages years ago.it took a long time before I was brave enough to send you a comment, now I feel you are a friend! Thank you for all the work you put into the blog ,you are the best! Enjoy your summer, it’s cold and wet in New Zealand
Sandy, where are you in New Zealand?
Mary, our friend Leslie introduced another mutual friend, Bobby, and me to your patterns and blog! She was always talking about “Mary”..the paterns, the shop, and the Goat Gazette which she would often bring for us to read. Bobby and I got up at 4 am one morning to take Leslie to the airport in Baltimore for her to fly to Iowa to visit you, your animals and Country Threads! I try so hard to be spontaneous but my practical side usually wins. I said, “Les, you don’t know this person you are going to visit!” and she said “yes I do!”. Leslie had a wonderful time! Bobby and I now wish we had gotten on the plane too! Reading your blog, and your fantastic books -which are so much more than just a quilt book! – and making your fun and pretty patterns is a great gift! We all look forward to it.
I found out about this blog after meeting you and finding out you were my neighbor. Such a kind woman too. Becky was my oldest dyin Cody’s teacher and you found out I had broken my leg and you brought my family a nice home cooked meal. It was so thoughtful and so appreciated. Over the years I have been blessed to find out just what a great person you are.
One of my friends knew of your shop and four of us took a car trip from Denver, stopping at quilt shops along the way. We signed up for a quilt hop where we went to a number of shops in several states. It was so much fun and a trip I’ll never forget.
I found Country Threads after your shop closed. I have three of your books. I made one quilt from the first book, but it hasn’t been quilted. I think I am a topper, I make the tops and then seem to wait for years before they get quilted. Hope to get two king size ones quilted this summer.
I love Kansas Trouble, Jo Morton and batik fabrics. And of course dying my own fabric.
I became aware of Country Threads and you gals through the books and patterns you published and I collected. By the time I was in a position in my life that I would have been able to travel and visit, you announced that your shop was closing. As the saying goes “ Life gets in the way!”
I bought your books and even a small bag of wool from one of your sheep. Now retired and able to come to the barn😢
I was a full time RVer and learned to quilt while in a Texas RV park. The pattern to a quilt I wanted to do cake from Country Threads. I was born and raised in Hampton, IA, so came to Clear Lake to work as Camphost at Oakwood RV Park. While working there, I would get over to Garner to visit your store at least once every summer. I talked with you several times. I was so sad to hear your store had closed. I have bought several of your patterns from thrift stores. If I see one I definitely will pick it up. I miss your store!!
I LOVE the little pincushion! I got to visit you during one of your Flag Day sales! I had a blast. And Happy Belated Anniversary. It was very windy here in SE MN yesterday too.
I saw your shop in the best Quilt Shops to visit magazine and knew I had to go. My daughter and I took a road trip to visit and I came back at least once a year. I live in Millstadt, Illinois it is in the southern portion of the state. We just loved your employees, Connie, you and the animals.
I lived in NY near Buffalo when I first heard of you. I think it was “word of mouth” or perhaps a pattern. I so looked forward to visiting your shop and thought I was closer to you once I moved to CA. My traveling quilt group visited several shops in Iowa and the covered bridges one summer. Unfortunately my budget didn’t allow the trip. I was so sad when the bridges were lost and your shop closed. I’d love to win whatever you would like to send. I enjoy you posts immensely!
I first saw Country Threads at a quilt show. I think, it was in Chicago. I remember the booth had little lights around the top.. Mary was demonstrating weaving rugs . I loved everything in their booth. It was a booth that I remembered because it was different.After visiting their booth I visited their shop in Iowa a couple of times.How sad I was When Country Threads closed.
Jo from Jo’s Country Junction mentioned your shop in one of her blogs.
I started collecting your books and patterns in the late 1980’s-90’s. I had a friend Connie that owned a quilt shop in Swansboro, NC and I went with her to the Quilt Market in Charlotte where we met you and Connie…we thought it was cool that it was Connie and Mary & Connie and Meri! I still have the copy of the Goat Gazette you gave us that day!
My husband and I would take road trips which included train shops and watching and of course quilt shops. We were able to visit several times. I still have some of the kits I bought to make up. So wish you were still open but enjoyed the time I did get to visit. My days are spent learning new ways to spend quilting and staying safe. Thank you and Connie for providing a much needed way of chilling out.
Like both projects
I was interested in quilting, but didn’t really start quilting until about 15 years ago. I am a great collector of patterns and fabric (as many of us are) and have bought several of your patterns. I must have come across your sale when you were going out of business. I usually look for bargains! I’m not clear on the details here. I can’t remember how I came across your blog — probably in an internet search at some point. I’ve been following you for awhile, and don’t want to miss any of your posts! I just commented a few days ago that I wish I had known about you and Connie in your “heyday” — I probably would have found my way to you somehow! But, better late than never — you inspire me in many ways — not just quilting!
If I remember right, I think a friend showed me your Goat Gazette and I subscribed and then I sent a picture in of my beloved Molly.
I loved reading the Gazette and of course, you printed Molly’s picture. I have several patterns from Country Threads. Thank you for all you do – I love reading your blog everyday and enjoy the animals and their antics.
Like a few others here, I heard of Country Threads from reading Jo’s Country Junction blog. I didn’t realize what a wonderful place it had been until I had read this blog for a while (which I think Jo recommended as well)
I started reading around the time you were having the big sales to clear out remaining store items.
Hi Mary! I did not get to visit your shop unfortunately before you closed. I learned about you and Connie from Jo Kramer’s Blog, “Jo’s Country Junction”. She speaks so fondly of you, and now I know why! I am so sorry I did not get to meet you. I feel we are kindred spirits.
I have now bought a couple of your books and will be collecting more. Had I known y’all came to Charlotte, I would have went. It is only 45 minutes away from where I live in South Carolina.
I enjoy your blog and look forward to all your stories and pictures and your life on the farm.
I did get to visit your shop. I talked my friend into stopping in when we did a shop hop of various shops in that area. I was glad we did as I wasn’t ever in that area again before you closed. I have a kit that I been meaning to start. Thanks
I loved your patterns from the beginning. I live in eastern Nebraska, and my sister lives in Minneapolis. When my mom was alive, we would drive to see my sister and always made a point to go to Country Threads. My mom was always thrilled to visit the little quilt shop in the Chicken Coop. She loved visiting with your wonderful employees and we would spend a long time looking through ALL the fabrics and patterns. One time you, Mary, were outside the house and Mom was SO excited.
I was just getting into repros, and was doing an internet search for fabric when your site came up. I thought it was delightful, and the very next thing I knew, you were shutting down. I was sooooo disappointed, but at least I could subscribe to your blog!
I followed Country Threads when you published the Gazette. I have continued with your current blog. Traveling has always been something I wanted to do but life sometimes has other ideas. I fell in love with your quilting style and have many of your books and patterns.
Thank you for sharing with us. Either the project bag or the pin cushion would be lovely to have, but if I had to pick just one, I would say the pincushion.
Sadly, I was never able to visit. My house is very country and I discovered your books and patterns in a LQS. I always felt like they were created with me in mind! 😂
Your patterns were carried in my local quilt shop , Country Peddler in St Paul, MN. I’m one of the lucky ones who attended quilt camp and shopped your great store for many years. I’m in one of your recent blog posts of barn camp pics! I’ve so loved you and Connie’s designs all these years! Love the blog and consider the years spent at Country Threads a highlight of my life. Absolute joy!
Mary, I heard about your shop from a very good friend of mine. I finally got a chance to go to your shop a few months before you retired and I LOVED it! Loved the kitty on the counter when I purchased my fabrics, you and Connie being so welcoming and, of course the fabrics that I bought.
I hope you and Rick had a lovely anniversary yesterday!!
Your booth was my favorite to visit at the International Quilt Show Rosemont Center in Chicago. For several years, a couple of friends and I would take a 7 AM flight from Columbus OH, fly to OHare airport, check into our hotel and be inline before the show opened. We shopped until we dropped for 3 days. On Saturday, we would take the subway downtown to a musical and dinner. That was such a good quilt show in Chicago. Your booth was always so crowded with people. I can only imagine the work it took to prepare.
This is how I know Country Threads. I was wanting some fabrics like you carried, the colors, the homespun, etc. I don’t know how I first heard about you but I subscribed to the Goat Gazette and the minute it came in the mail I read it from front to back; I still have a lot of them. Years later I had a business meeting in Minnesota so I asked my employer if I could leave a day early cause I needed to go to a Quilt shop in Iowa. I drove from Minnesota to your shop and enjoyed it so much. I met all the girls. You and Connie were not there that day. I took a lot of pictures! I even had a friend of mine make me a bird house like you had in the front yard, it was red. Paula in KY
I found your site quite by accident doing a web search for something….I sew, but do not quilt. It was about the time when you were closing your shop. I signed up for your newsletter & have been following your blog ever since…..I am a huge animal lover (especially cats!) & I love all your stories about the farm, the collections & all your wonderful flowers. Thank you for all your hard work, reading your blog is a highlight in my day!
Stay safe, Sandy
I met country threads at a quilt expo. I signed up for the goat Gazette then and bought a few patterns. Had a wonderful chat with you.
Well that’s an easy question to answer. In 1995, I decided I wanted to learn how to quilt. A couple of ladies at John Deere would bring their quilts in and put binding on during their lunch break. At the same time we bought a weekend home in Clear Lake, Iowa so my first quilt shop I visited was Country Threads which was only a few miles away. I took a log cabin class from Mary Baker in 1995 and the rest is history. I still favor the dark, primitive look in my quilts or Americana. I visited Country Threads literally hundreds of times over the years until they closed. I have all their books, most of their patterns and just recently used up the last of the material they designed. I cried when I heard they were closing – the end of an era.
I learned about country threads because I was a quilter living in Mason city where there were no quilt shops at that time. Country threads was nirvana! If I had a choice I would enjoy the project bag.
I started quilting in 1992 and probably became aware of your shop through an advertisement or a pattern. I did subscribe to the Goat Gazette, which I always enjoyed reading! In about 1996, we visited Country Threads, while taking a family vacation, and your shop was our destination but we also stopped at the Amana Colonies. I still have the coffee mug I purchased along with a kit for the documentary baskets, which I still want to make. It was a fun trip, filled with good memories.
I am not sure how I became aware of CT, my sister-in-law and I went on a 3 day Thelma & Louise trip the fall of ’98 or ’99. We were shop hopping & your shop was one we stopped at… I have a pic of you holding one of your cats. Several years later, I lived with a retired veterinarian, I got him to stop a couple times on out trips to see his relatives in Sioux Rapids, IA. I loved stopping at your shop & your little farm.
I knew of Country Threads through your patterns but when my son moved to Minneapolis, we would stop on our way up and visit your store. I always wanted to go to one of your camps in the barn but I worked and lived 4 hours away. It just never happened. It’s nice to still be connected through your blog.
My adopted sister Lee told me about you because I am a crazy for animals and she knew I would love your stories of chickens, goats, puppies and cats. I have been a huge fan of your blog since and look forward everyday to see if the fun things that happen on your farm is like what goes on at mine. She has been a huge fan of your also, she even brought some of her goat gazettes for me to read when we went to the Paducah quilt show last year. (She’s in North Carolina and I am in Michigan). I start each day with your stories and a cup of tea then head for my barn to feed and water my horse, mini donkeys and chickens. My newest dog Sammy, an eight month old female Aussie Shepherd, looks forward to playing with her favorite rooster Harvey, Sammy teases Harvey and then Harvey tries to fight back. Their sparing is hilarious!
For some reason I can’t remember how I found out about Country Threads, but I do remember stepping into a wonderland! It was the beginning of a love affair with my favorite quilt shop. I loved everything about it. I live in Spirit Lake (about a 120 mile round trip) and I’m not much of a traveler, so I didn’t get there as often as I would have liked to, but I got there as often as I could. Being a farm girl, I loved the setting, I loved the cats, I loved all the kits, the fabric, the gift items, getting the Goat Gazette, the barn… I loved it all! I still have a few kits I have to do (imagine that) and I look forward to lots of happy memories flooding over me as I get to them. Thank you for providing me with those many happy times!❤
I purchased your original book, written before you were married, and I fell in love. That was before you became Mary Etherington! I purchased several of your books and endless numbers of patterns. I recall seeing the shop at some of the big shows, especially in Chicago. I always intended to visit the shop but it never happened. Now I’m so happy to follow along on your blog and feel as if I know you. I love hearing about your life and all the animals.
I knew you first thru your patterns. Then I saw you at a Country Living Fair in Columbus Ohio. I was working when you came to visit Karen O’Connor the owner of Red Rooster Quilts in Dublin, Ohio (She used to come to your quilt retreats). I was going to make the time to visit the shop when I was at a friend’s house in Cedar Rapids, but then learned you had resident kitties in the shop. I am highly allergic to cats, so I knew I would only last in your store about 2 minutes and would not be able to purchase any fabric anyway, so I just made do with purchasing your patterns thru RRQ. I would have loved to come in and browsed your fabric and looked at all the samples.
I grew up in Crystal Lake, Iowa so knew of Country Threads when my mother told me about your shop. She and I would often shop there together on my visits to my childhood home, with our oohs and aahs over fabric. She and I often shopped different colorways, but always enjoyed our time there. My particular pleasure was your Goat Gazette. When it came in the mail, I would make time to sit and read it, disregarding the work calling to me. It was so much fun!
I wanted to learn how to do punch needle work, found your web site several years ago and have been following ever since. I live in Massachusetts, would of loved to have visited your barn!!!
I found a pattern, Harvey, and feel in love with your style. Have been to your shop one time and found your blog when I was looking for direction to find your shop again. I’m sorry that the physical building is closed. It’s a lot of work. I work a few days a month at a local quilt store. I do enjoy your blog very much. I’m from northwest Iowa before I married.
Thanks for sharing your life with us!
I followed a link on Jo’s Junction to your blog. I followed for a year then you decided to close your store. I made the BOM you started then the lady who took over for you posted the rest of the patterns. I have no idea when that was. I would have loved to have visited your store and taken a class in the barn. Thanks for sharing your life with ut.
Heard of your blog from my sister. Not sure how she found it. Would have loved to have visited your shop! My 4 sisters and I have always taken a road trip to new quilt shops every year and somehow missed yours. Love reading your blog and seeing the pics, a bright spot in the day.
I was introduced to Country Threads because I took two classes; one on “Harvey” and one on “Uncle Sam” – both are at least 25 years old. These were taken early in my quilting journey and these two wall hangings are displayed every year. When we retired and moved to Sun City near Hilton Head, I joined a quilting group that met once a week and of course they had “show and tell”. I showed “Harvey” at Easter and “Uncle Sam” at 4th of July. I was asked to teach them and started looking for the patterns, but of course Country Threads was closed by the time I started to search for the patterns. I called and spoke with Mary and was able to get the patterns (no pictures) and have taught both “Harvey” and “Uncle Sam” to approximately 60 quilters. We just (19 students) finished with “Uncle Sam”. I now have both sizes of “Harvey” and Uncle Sam” and they both get displayed on their appropriate holidays. Thanks to Mary and Connie for bringing smiles to lots of my quilting friends because of their patterns. I have sent Mary the pictures of most of the “Harvey’s” that have been created and will send “Uncle Sam” as soon as we get to meet and have “show and tell” again.
My quilting friend and I were traveling to a retreat in Minnesota and she suggested we stop. I was amazed with your shop and all the talent displayed! So glad I got to visit!!
The fireworks convention was being held in Mason City and my grind in Fargo said she would meet me there and we would come to the shop. The next day the quilters came to the shop and I was lucky to come again a few years later. It was like coming back home. The quilters group always referred to County Threads when we met each year as such a special shop which it was. I am sorry for this group who never experienced the shop and meeting the great staff and Zack.
I’m pretty sure that I heard about you from Jo’’s Country Junction blog. Another great blog. ❤️
I moved to Nicholasville, Kentucky in 2011. Sometime after that I learned of Country Threads, I don’t remember how. It is my favorite blog. If you
we’re still open i’d Be planning a trip. Thank you for your blog!
I was a customer at Country Threads for many years – from the time you opened until you closed! You were about 100 miles away (from Rockwell City) so we didn’t come often but a couple of times/year. I loved then and still love Civil War reproductions and you had the best selection anywhere!!
Many years ago I ordered the “30 Star” quilt pattern kit from Country Living Magazine. Two years ago I finally started to work on it!! Low and behold one day I could not find the pattern (think I through it out in a stack of newspapers). I found your address and ordered another pattern and I have followed your blog every since. Yes I finished the quilt and need to send a picture.
Wished I could have visited your shop as from all the comments it sounded like one fabulous place.
I enjoy your blog everyday!! Thanks for all the time and effort you put into it. God bless you and stay safe.
I don’t remember exactly how I came to know of you, I think I liked your patterns and found out you had a store. One time I rode along with my husband, for work, and we were very near your place and I wanted to go so badly but he was on a time constraint and said we would come back sometime but unfortunately we lived quit a ways from you and that did not happen.The next time we were remotely close I looked you up and found you had closed 🙁 . Everytime I think of it, it makes me sad.
Forgot to mention love both items and my first choice would be the project bag. Thank you for doing this!
I started buying your patterns. I have a pretty good collection & your books also. I saw you ladies at a quilt show. I can’t remember if it was at Houston or Des Moines. I would have loved to have visited your store.
I found the blog first, can’t remember how exactly. I visited the year before you closed. My late husband and I were in our RV. You still had sale items in the barn. I love where you live thanks for keeping us up to date and the memories.
I moved to Titonka in 1993 and heard about Country Threads soon after. With small children, I didn’t get over to Country Threads as often as i would have liked, but when I did, I was always so inspired. I loved seeing the barn evolution pictures. My choice would be the project bag. Thank you, Mary!
I am one of those people who never visited Country Threads. I didn’t know you were there. I would have definitely visited had I known. Before my mother died a few years ago, I visited her in Nora Springs a couple times a year all the time you were open. I started following your blog after I found it listed on Jo’s Country Junction by Jo Kramer after my mother died. I love reading both of your blogs partly because they keep me in touch with Iowa.
I came to know Country Threads as a young woman/mom from southeast Iowa, reading the Sunday Des Moines Register and always watching for that section where your business advertised. There would be a tiny picture of a project and just the mention of a shop in a chicken coop intrigued me no end. I had little money to work with, so on the occasion that I could mail an order, waiting for the arrival of the project was paramount to a child on Christmas Eve. Years past, I married again, this time a young man that grew up in Clear Lake with family still remaining there. Admittedly, I had an ulterior motive when he asked me if I would go with him to meet his family ‘up north.’ 😉 Every trip ‘home’ thereafter, (and several in between for your special events, sales and a hypertufa class!) I made it a point to come over. I anticipated the arrival of my ‘Goat Gazette’ with all of its great quotes, recipes, pet pictures and short stories. I reference your recipe book regularly. I miss the great country fresh ‘ambiance’ of your shop, barn and the surroundings. While I would love to win one of the offerings, mostly I want to thank you for the memories there I enjoyed with family and friends.❤️
Project bag – Debbie R. Dallas Center IA
I have been to Country Threads on several occasions and attended your closing sale!! Sad day for me as I loved your shop, the fabrics and the patterns!!
I learned of you by visiting your booth at Houston Int’l. Quilt Festival. I bought many nice things at your booth and was so sad when you closed the shop.
I attended the Country Living Fair met you bought some beautiful quilted table runners and picked up a copy of the Goat Gazette. Then I subscribed to it. Went every year to the Country Living Fair that you were there Bought more stuff from you and always followed your mail and Gazette. I feel like we’re friends ha ha. It was my sister and I dream to come to Iowa and visit the Barn 🐶
I started your patterns when you 1st started publishing them. I read and reread each issue of the Goat Gazette. I loved your style. Carolyn
Quilting friends told me about the shop and the patterns. Made a trip to the shop during a vacation to Iowa.
Oh yea and I’m the Domestic Violence Prosecutor and a dog foster mom I learned that after visiting Country Living Fair also
Early in my quilting career, as part of a family vacation, we were in “close” distance of Country Threads. With much negotiations with husband and children we made the turn and headed towards CT. This was before GPS and Garmins, the 10 minute trip took over an hour, due to road repairs, etc. Needless to say my car mates were not happy! When we did finally arrive and everyone got out to stretch their legs my husband said, “Okay, 15 minutes to shop. That’s enough right?” What?????? After all the detours, etc???? I could have spent the night in the car!!!! I treasured my 15 minutes of shopping!!!!
Isn’t it strange, I don’t recall how I found your blog. It was a few years ago, but your shop had already closed. During my teenage years, I lived on a hobby farm with my mom and dad and 4 siblings. Your blog reminds me of my own farm life. I recently found an old country threads pattern for a sant and put two and two together. Oh, how I wish your ship was open. I would plan a road trip from TN to Iowa just to see your shop. I love how you share so much of yourself. We are such lucky readers.
I’m not exactly sure how I stumbled upon Country threads, I think I saw a pattern and then noticed on the back of the pattern that you were in Iowa so I convinced my husband we needed to make a trip to your shop. I was hooked after our visit and I have several quilt projects in my home that our Country threads patterns and kits. I purchased one of your large barn quilts which hangs above our garage. Having grown up on a farm I love old barns and I especially loved reading about the history of your barn in your posts this week.
I first fell in love with the patterns in books. My cousin from Bedford told me about your shop. On our way to Mankato from East Tennessee we stopped and visited your shop.
I didn’t start quilting until after your store closed otherwise I would have made a road trip down there I heard about your blog thru Jo Kramers blog. I love reading about the animals, life on the farm and your projects. The barn history was very interesting.
I learned about Country Threads for Jo at Jo’s Country Junction.
Thanks for sharing about the barn. It was fun to see it in all its different uses.
I not exactly sure how I found your blog. It may have been through Jo’s Country Junction. I love reading about your life on the farm. I was raised on a farm and miss living in the country.
Lived in Davenport at time I visited with my daughter from MD. Best mom/daughter day! Your shop was a blessing. Then turned to you for advice on our dog that got nippy. People wanted us to put him down. Never. You even said you would come take him for us. He lived a long peaceful life with no more nips. Subscribed to Country Threads newspaper and saved many recipes from it. Your business rocked!!!
We were at Winnebago having work done on rv. I was talking to a lady there and she told me about Country Threads. I have been to your shop several times. Always love seeing your quilts that you had out.
I had some of your books and fabric. I think I must have done an online search for something and found your blog. You were in the process of closing then. I live in Florida so it would have been a long trip to come see your shop!
I found your blog from Jo Kramer at Jo’s Country Junction and unfortunately it was after you had already closed your shop 🙁 It makes me sad as well because I am an Iowa girl and I would have made the trip!
A local shop owner knew that I was cat and dog crazy. She said you have got to go there as it is a really cute shop plus all the animals! Whenever I got a bonus at work I would load up and make the trip! Many happy times!
I visited your shop twice. Our daughter lived in Minneapolis and we drove down from there to see the famous Country Threads. One time I dropped off a quilt for you to quilt . It was a sampler designed by Country Threads and I don’t remember the name of it. It had garden girl, flag, flowers, crow, snake (yikes!) and lots of other fun stuff. I worked at Quilted Hearts in Gainesville at the time and you and Connie visited the shop and did a class for us. QH did that quilt as a block of the month and later you published a book I believe. I also bought the cutest lighted salt box style house and have enjoyed it in my bookcases for quite a few years now. I just loved your store and yes, I sure do wish you were still there! Also wish Quilted Hearts was still there…it was the best too!
I came to your shop at least once a year with my quilting friends. We made it a day trip. I enjoyed every minute of it. I live in NE Iowa so it was a great excuse to take a vacation day from work.
I’m one of the few ,in the small 10% that had been to your store! A friend of mine and myself we went on a road trip one day from the Twin Cities. She brought me down to your quilt store. It was the best of both worlds! Between the quilt shop and the animals I was in Heaven! In addition, my only speeding ticket ,ever, occurred outside Garner. I think it was the Minnesota plates!😧
Sadly I never visited your shop, you had closed before I found you. Jo Kramer’s blog talked about your blog & what a kind person you are & I’ve been hooked ever since. I have several of your patterns & books & look forward to your blog posts everyday.
Hi Mary! I was at your shop many times! We would drive down from the Twin Cities and spend several hours at your shop. Every time I went I felt like I was at a Quilting Mecca!!! At that time we lived in the suburbs and coming to your place was an escape on so many levels. I was a subscriber to the Goat Gazette for all your issues. Now I wishI would have saved them so I could read them again! I have most of your books and many of your patterns. Last year I finally used your barn silk screen panel and made a tote bag . The fabric I used was your line of fabric that I believe was called Wear Warm Clothes. I still have some scraps left and have yet to decide what to do with them. I would love to win the project bag since it would be a symbol of really great memories! I have been to quilt shops all over the US, and your shop will ALWAYS be my favorite! No one else could measure up!
I visited your shop twice. I found out about you because I enjoyed your patterns and books. I still do! I remember being so excited to go and feeling like a little child, “Are we there yet?”
I learned of your store through your patterns and books. My mom and I had the great pleasure of visiting your store the fall before it closed. We loved it! My mom, (now 88) says It was the best quilt store she ever visited! And boy did she do some damage:)
I have a bunch of kits that she bought and never made that I inherited when I cleaned out her house to move her to a senior apartment. I was very sad when I heard you were closing.
My friend and I met you at Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio. We are both quilters and bought a twinning frame and book. You were passing out copies of the goat gazette I loved your stories and jokes subscribe and have been with you ever since. I often talk about my friend in Northern Iowa.
I found you through the blogging world, soon after you stopped having retreats. I remember feeling sorry that I hadn’t known of you sooner. Then I connected the dots and realized that I had some of your books.
I knew you thru your patterns and magazine articles, and coming back from WI going to Omaha, my husband and I stopped at your store and I got to shop and enjoy your lovely quilt store. It was quite an experience, I just loved it and was so glad to finally be there.
I was reading a blog on Jo Country and she was talking about you. So I looked you up, subscribed and the rest is history.
I sure wish I had been quilting when you were open. I live in Washington but would have loved to come to your shop.
Something tells me I found out about your blog from another blog and have followed it ever since. It always makes my day a little brighter. You have such good taste just like in both projects you posted today – adorable.
I ran into Country Threads at the first big Quilt show that I visited. I believe it was Padue. I also visited your show a couple of times. Once on a bus trip and the other time was a quilters car trip to visit a friend that had moved to Iowa. Loved your shop.
I stumbled across your shop when you were having your “going out of business ” sale! So wish I had found you earlier but I purchased many of your books and several patterns and now I watch for them at various quilt shows when they have a corner with people clearing out stuff they don’t want anymore. I started following your blog soon after that! I so enjoy reading it daily since I’m a “farm girl” too! Thanks so much for all the little patterns you post too. My granddaughter loved “Harvey the bunny”!
I saw a pattern you had and looked Country Threads up- have. Even following you ever since- really enjoy reading your blogs and seeing all the animals!!!
Love your tales of the farm and animals that share this life with you.
I have known you from afar for many years, and suspect I didn’t know of you until the early 90s. I loved wandering your shop and the farm. You had such interesting plants and stuff. Just a comfy place to come to. My nieces goat came to live with you for awhile…so I loved checking on the animals. I never came to camp, but did come the day you had the gal speak that wrote “Letters to the Amish”. She was delightful. But, anyhow, you introduced me to punch needle, I always loved the history of the Civil Wars, and some of your fabrics appealed to me enough, I have plenty on my shelf had I kept sales tickets with fabric I would Still find them on my shelves! I too miss the Goat Gazette and browsing inside and outside the chicken coop.
I don’t remember how I learned about Country Threads – can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday!!! LOL Was lucky (Blessed) to have visited twice! Once with a girls’ road trip from SE Nebraska and the other a bus tour stop! Enjoyed both times! Wish I could have visited more. Loved the barn! HUGS… and stitches
I learned of Country Threads through your patterns and books. Back in the early 90’s I lived in Pittsburgh, PA, and a group of us flew to Minneapolis and rented a van to go to Country Threads for the weekend. We took a class from you and had a great time. I had gotten your Goat Gazzette for several years. I have been following your blog for several years, and always love hearing about all your animals and the goings on at the farm!
I’m one who never got to visit the shop, but through your wonderful Goat Gazette I got to come to the shop loved that paper. Would read it front to back and then again. It was like a letter from home! I was introduced to it by a friend who new I loved your patterns and books.
Your blog is the next best thing, but sure miss the Goat Gazette!
My three sisters, Mom, Aunt Fran and I visited your shop where your slogan was “ we don’t charge extra for the cat hair” or something like that. That was way before internet.
I found your blog while browsing a couple of years ago. Enjoyed it and have been reading since. I have especially enjoyed your barn history recently showing the changes through the years. Reminds me of the farm I grew up on. Your comments and those of your readers have been helpful in my journey of rehab after knee replacement. It has been six weeks. I am moving, but slowly. I knew what to expect because of all the comments on your blog. Thanks readers. I enjoy reading about your quilting, the animals and your family and friends. I never made it to your shop since I only heard about it after it closed. Softball took our family into the Quad Cities area several times but never into the heart of Iowa. I read your blog along with Bonnie Hunter’s. I found her while reading one of your blogs. Reading both of the blogs starts the day off right.
I met both you and Connie, I believe, the year you closed, in September at the Ohio Country Homes fair in Columbus, Ohio. Connie was at your booth doing a little needle punch and I said, “Oh, I love that, how relaxing it looks, but I don’t know how.” And she said anyone can do it, she let’s me try on her project, and two hoops (two sizes), two needles (because you might misplace one) and several kits later, all rung up… and then one of you says, we’re closing our shop, watch for our sales. Which I thought was quite a clever sales technique….get her hooked, reel her in… she’ll be back for more! Which I was! Every week of your sale, I bought categories… punch needle kits, fabric, patterns… I’m fully loaded with your lovely items … but never went to your shop. I would have taken a road trip for sure if I knew about you.
I learned of Country threads from your quilting books. The aerial shot of the farm in your books always intrigued me. Since I’m from Ottumwa, I returned each year to visit my family there. I have relatives who spend the summer in Clear Lake and often visited there, too. In truth, my great love was Winnebago. My cousin’s husband had the same interest, and we’d often go up to a Forest City to go through the factory and see the latest and greatest rigs. No GPS in those days, but I hunted down your farm and came to visit the shop. I fell in love with the whole thing, cats wandering and all and visited any time I was in the vicinity. I’ve dragged my husband there many times and even our youngest daughter. I just happened to come when you were closing and retiring and was able to buy a lot of patterns. One of my favorite quilts that I’ve made was called Chicken Salad, I think.
I found you when looking for the Country Living 30 year anniversary quilt and have thoroughly enjoyed your newsletter every after. It’s is a treat to open your messages every day. Thank you for continuing to post every day – it’s most appreciated.
I live outside Chicago and started going to the Quilt Festival at Rosemont. You were vendors there and I started visiting your booth yearly. Miss those quilt shows.
I do not quilt or sew but visited Country Threads with some friends who do. There were maybe five of us who drove from Humboldt to Clear Lake to visit a friend who was living in a care center. We had lunch later on at a cute place (The Cottage?) in town. All of the ladies with me liked to quilt or sew so our next stop on the way home was “‘Country Threads.” I am guessing the year to be around 2010 or 2011? I spent very little time inside the shop as I was interested in the farm animals. A few years later, one of those friends gave me the link to your blog and I’ve been a fan ever since. Reading about your adventures brightens my day and it is something to look forward to each day! Thank you, Mary, for sharing your life with us.
The first time I visited was when I brought a bus load of ladies on my first bus trip. We caught you by surprise early in the morning Mary Baker had forgotten to tell you we were coming early and you heard us drive up! I still am in touch with many of those ladies and your shop was such a big part of the trip we still talk about it and many of us had returned to your shop over the years. I follow your blog faithfully and still wish you had your shop but I also realize time marches on.
I was an on-line stalker until my neighbor (also a quilter) invited me to attend your after closing sale. We drove the nearly five hours to attend and stayed overnight nearby. She had previously visited Country Threads as her husband is from the Storm Lake area.
I discovered a cute little quilt shop called Connie’s Calico’s in Vancouver, WA where I had recently moved. She had several of your quilts displayed and I fell in love with your “Fall” from your 1992 Quilt Shop series book. I continued to make your patterns over the years. Then I was talking to my sister in Ankeny about you and she said, “Oh, they are not very far away, we could go.” Oh I was so excited to finally see your shop! My other sister and mother lived in Mpls and at least once a year I would fly from Portland, OR To Mpls. Then we would drive down to Ankeny for a weekend. We ALWAYS looked forward to the stop in Garner at your farm. It reminded my mom of visiting her grandparent’s farm when she was a child. So many happy memories and they all come back when I make one of your patterns💕
I first heard of Country Threads when I worked in a quilt shop back in the 1990’s. The first quilt I made was Little Farmer’s Daughter and I used Thimbleberry prints as well of a few of your fabrics. If you look at the quilts I have made over the years they are predominantly a Country Threads design. I subscribed to the Goat Gazette until the end and visited your shop on three different occasions. One of the visits was the bus garden tour you hosted in 2003 (I think). What still excites me as that I have more of your quilts I want to make. Lots of great memories. I do remember when you and Rick got married and that it was on Flag Day.
I learned about Country Threads from one of your books which I still have. I enjoy reading about Hazel and all the farm adventures.
I lived in Forest City (Winnebago) in the 70’s and still visit there.
I worked part time in a small quilt shop after I retired and the owner loved Country Threads patterns. She had been to one of your work shops. She would get The Goat Gazette and I would read it from front to back. I’ve been a fan ever since which is about 23 years. Wish had I had been able to visit your shop too!
Your booth was my favorite to visit at the International Quilt Show Rosemont Center in Chicago. My sister and I would make trips to your shop. We even had a space at the fall market you held in the field!! Many great memories of our visits to your shop. We always loved seeing all your new patterns and quilts, so inspiring!! Such a wonderful day we would have coming and spending hours shopping!! Loved reading the Goat Gazette and now look forward to reading your blog each morning!! You keep us all motivated to sew,sew,sew!! Thanks for the memories!
I learned about you when you came to the Country Living Fair in Columbus, OH
My friend Margaret Ferguson told me about Country Threads. You and Connie came to The Great Black Hills Quilt Escape and taught for a few days. I visited the store twice. Such Fun!
I got to visit once. I convinced my husband it was on the way to Amana Colonies from Kansas City. HAHAHA
He sat in the car (thank goodness) and enjoyed the goats. I enjoyed the shop and the shop cats!!
I actually did have the opportunity to visit once! What a great time with friends there shopping. Still have some of your patterns that I purchased that day that I haven’t made but still love. Your patterns are timeless.
I really cannot remember for sure but know it was almost from the beginning. I think it was from Your first quilt book and then I had to subscribe to the Goat Gazette and then trips to visit and then sending my quilts to be quilted by Ina and ……….I miss Country Threads so much!
I found out about you on a quilt bus trip that stopped there. And then I was hooked! But I had used your patterns for years before that. Had no idea it was a shop too.
I learned of your blog thru Jo’s Country Junction blog. I enjoy your blog very much as well as the patterns. I would have loved to visit your shop and meet you.
The Quilt America quilting convention was held in Indianapolis from 1989 to 2001 (approximately). I started attending in 1991. Some time in the 1990’s, I took a class that either you or Connie taught. In the class we were given copies of the latest Country Threads newspaper. I subscribed to the paper and have been following you since. In May of 2011, we took a vacation and traveled to your shop. It was wonderful. Everyone was so friendly. The woman (I can’t remember her name) on the long arm was quilting and she let us watch and told us how it worked. I was so excited to be there, I asked if I could look in the barn. Of course you said yes and up to the loft we went. Unfortunately I have no pictures, but my memories are of a wonderful day. And I came home with plenty of projects!
My sister and I knew about Country Threads from your patterns and books and were big fans! She lived in Maine and I lived in NH at that time. We had both flown to Idaho so we could drive a UHaul (with antiques from her MIL) from Idaho to Maine. We mapped out our route for the next day every night according to what places we wanted to visit. As we headed toward Iowa, we were determined to find Country Threads! When we got really close we had to ask a few questions of folks, but we found you and stopped in to shop. You were there to help us Mary, and we each filled a few bags with wonderful “country” fabrics then headed on out to find a place to overnight. What a thrill! That trip across the country in a UHaul truck is a trip not to be forgotten, even after 30 years or so later.
When I learned to quilt Country Threads was at the top of the quilt designers. I believe I took a class from you or you were a vendor either at the Expo in Novi, Mi. or Cleveland,Ohio. Then kids and a career a couple of strokes and quilting stopped for about 10 years. When I came back to quilting I was thrilled to run across you again. I still have your books and patterns I had purchased back then. Finding your blog was like being thrown a lifeline. I didn’t recognize the names of any of the current quilt designers or what their style was, didn’t have a clue about all the new techniques, ect. I think you get the idea. I look forward to your daily blog, it’s like hearing from an old friend.
I heard of Country Threads from your patterns and books but never visited your quilt shop. I learned of your blog through Jo Kramer’s blog and I am so glad I did. I enjoy stories of your animals and the quilt shop, pictures of projects. I wish I had known of your quilt shop back then. From your history posts it looks like it was a fun place to be.
I had become fatally ill. During my recovery, I had lost my short term memory. This was devastating to my self-esteem so I decided to learn to do something brand new so I would stop comparing to how I use to do. I bought a Viking sewing machine and started taking sewing lessons at 56 years old. It was so difficult because I would forget how I had just been instructed to do things. It was a process of difficult concentration but I learned. One day in class, I asked my instructor to show me how to sew blocks so I could make my grandson a quilt. After class a lady stopped by my machine and told me to look up country threads because you had the cutest designs. I am 62 now. I have made baby quilts, throws, and twin size. I am not a good quilt maker but each one I make is full of love. I have been sewing masks and purses this year.
Good for you Dena! So happy for the great progress you have made in your recovery and that you persevered. Blessings on you.
I read about Country Threads on Jo’s Country Junction blog. Unfortunately, you had already closed the shop.
I married into a crafty family and my sister-in-law works at the sewing shop in Iowa Falls. They brought me along on a girls’ day out way back when and one of the stops was Country Threads. I was hooked! And stopped in whenever I was in the neighborhood and so enjoy your blog now!!
My mom took me to visit some time shortly after you opened. She didn’t quilt but I was just starting to. I remember being in love with the all the pretties, I tried to stop each time I was “home” to visit the folks in Crystal Lake. Reading your blog is a “Taste of Home” for me now that the folks have passed.
It seems I have known about Country Threads forever, but I think what spurred me to seek you out was a book with the history of how you opened the quilt shop in a chicken coop. I live in southeast Iowa and was eventually able to visit the shop on a couple of occasions, one being for my 50th birthday in 1996. My cousin took me there for a Bed and Breakfast outing, and such a great time we had. A lady from New York, I believe, came and she was helping you with a new fabric line. You introduced us to the bread braid (I can’t remember the real name of it) for breakfast, and we found out it was made in Iowa, and oh so good. Just great memories, and a wonderful place to visit. Love, love your blog. Could go on and on, but won’t.
Our daughter went to school in Ames. When we would drive down to Ames from MN, we often checked out quilt stores along the way to stretch our legs. Finding your store was a real gem. Loved it.
I started quilting about 4 years before you closed. Visited your shop several times. However never got to attend a retreat in the barn. Would of been great. I grew up on a farm by Cylinder so have lots of memories of the smell of fresh hay. Also the not so great fresh smells and the hard work of cleaning the barn out. ( a sheep and cattle ). Thanks for bringing those sights, sounds and smells to forefront of my memory. We also had a chicken house were we had 90 hens and gathered two 5 gallon bucket of eggs a day. Thanks for the memories. Marit
Unfortunately I never got to Country Threads.
But I do have a book or two. I really like your patterns.
Not sure how I found the blog–maybe through another one I read.
I enjoy reading it very much now.
Thanks for all you post.
I was looking through my books for a project. I have Back to Charm School and got that’s how I found your blog. I was so disappointed to see you had closed. I have granddaughters that attend college in Iowa and thought it would be great to combine a visit with them and your shop.
Hi Mary, I don’t comment often but read your blog every day. I 1st heard about and visited Country Threads when I was with my mom visiting relatives in Garner. They lived just next door to the quilt pattern testor for McCalls quilting magazine. I was able to visit your shop when I was filled with ” visiting ” and found your shop. You were so welcoming and offered your classroom and machine for my use! I’ve made many of your patterns and was a Goat Gazette subscriber for several years. Thanks for helping keep memories alive.
I retired from teaching in 2004 and wanted to learn to quilt. A dear friend gave me all her mother’s quilt books. On the back of a Martindale book was a promotion for some of their other publications, including your first Charm School book. I joined your charm pack of the month club, and your monthly patterns literally taught me how to piece and quilt. I subscribed to Goat Gazette in its final years, and we laughed at the jokes and the animal tales. Of course, we had to come see the farm and visit the shop. My husband does not brake for quilt shops, but he made an exception for Country Treads. We planned two short trips, and while I was in quilt heaven, he played with the cats.
I found Country Threads while searching for a sewing event. You were still having them in the barn. I was still working at the time and none of my sewing friends would commit to attend with me. Heaven forbid that I would travel from Colorado to Iowa alone to attend an event!! Been Following your blog for years and look forward to reading it every day.
I was at your shop twice about a bazillion years ago. My hubby and I drove there twice from central Kansas because I had purchased a couple of your books and had seen how you love animals. I always bought too much! The last time I was there I remember you were taking one of your dogs to the vet to be put to sleep, and I cried often on the way home thinking about it. Can’t remember his name now. I had such fun in your shop. I still have lots of your fabric, probably all of your books, and stacks and stacks of your patterns. My Barn Dance quilt in blues is my absolute favorite! Wish I could visit again! My hubby even enjoyed being there! Loved the Goat Gazette! I put together our company newsletter so I knew how many hours that took to put together. Will never forget that you printed in the newsletter that you had seen my photo in one of KTQ’s books! I still haven’t written to you telling you how we could be twins!!! That will come! Keep sharing your world with us! ♥️
I bought your book from That Patchwork Place and it had a small map in the front. When I drove my girls from Seattle to Louisville I told them we were stopping in Iowa to visit your shop, my first destination quilt shop! We loved it.
Like many others who have answered, I believe I heard of your blog through Jo Kramer’s blog. I faithfully read it every day and have enjoyed your animals and quilts so much. I have even started my own Swedish death cleaning. I wish I could have visited your shop. Sounds like a place I could have spent hours in while my husband slept out in the car! He is so patient. I love both items up for giveaway.
I think I have been driving to CT since it was only the Coop before the barn was painted, before the garage, your add on to the house for your sewing room, before the second quilt building , etc. I think I heard about you via a conversation I overheard at an old grocery store in Mason City. I am not sure but I think I have all your books and lots of your patterns. When I used to drive up it was like I was coming to the only other place, besides my hometown of Bloomfield, that felt like home. I had been transferred to N Iowa by my husband to his hometown and was considered an outsider. As soon as I could see the barn, everything else but joy fell off my shoulders. I remember when Laura worked in the shop and Sue and Mary B. I will never part with my books and patterns. I have some but not all copies of the Goat Gazette, which caused work stoppages until I read it at least twice! The recipes are part of my family’s collection of go-tos. When we travel and I see your books or patterns, I always tell the owner of the shop how lucky I was to be an hour and a half from you two! (Remember me emailing you for the rug books for the owner of Las Colchas in San Antonio? I go back every year.). I brought my daughter in law to see your store so she could understand the difference in quality of fabrics and how easy it was to ask questions of the experts….this on the two days I taught her to quilt and she finished a little quilt from your shop, finishing the binding on her way home. You changed my life, helped me find my creative voice and time for myself. I have met so many other quilters over my years, in shops, gas stations, museums and camping stores. Tim knows my choice of what to wear to my cremation is my hokey old CT T-shirt with the motto on the back. (It best out my Yellowstone sweatshirt so that is how important it is.). It gets worn as soon as it is freshly laundered! Tim “understood” the Friday evening, at the start of vacation, when he watched two bus loads of women from Wisconsin unload and run for the shop!!!! I guess this is a form of love letter to all Connie and you created.
I found you in a book, many books. The Quilt Shop Series might have been the first, but I can’t remember.
Working 2 jobs, raising 3 boys…dad, husband and son, and going to night school kept me pretty busy. I somehow found time to take beginning quilting. I’ve been hooked ever since.
I never made it to your shop. I was close once. I spent the night in Mason City. When we got home, I looked you up and would have walked, had I known!
I bought your patterns from my local quilt shop in NH. When I ordered from your shop my purchased arrived with a copy of the Goat Gazette! Loved it. I have followed you for years but never made it to your shop. Wish I could have traveled to Iowa. You and Connie have done great things together. Thank you! I’m now in North Carolina and still read your blog every day.
I was lucky to be able to visit your shop twice. I learned about Country Fabrics from my cousin who had visited many times. We made side trips on the way back from the AQS shows in Des Moines (I live in Northern MN).
I learned about Country Threads from my favorite quilt shop in Naperville, Il that has been closed now for many years. Somehow through them I found out about The Goad Gazette and as I followed your shop through the years, I learned about your going out of business sale. Visiting your shop was one of my bucket list items, so we planned a trip around your sale and I at least experienced your wonderful spaces WE came home with treasures too. I will always love your style and have made many of your quilt designs and hope to make many more.
I learned about you from Jo Kramer’s blog and have read your blog ever since. I love your writing style. I also ordered your Bull’s Eye quilt pattern. It’s in line to be worked on. Thank you.
The way I heard about Country Threads is I live at Garner, IA the same location as your shop. Just a short drive to the shop. I am not a quilter but have done a few small projects. Quilting is something I would like to try some day. I know both Mary and Connie and always enjoy visiting with them.
My girl friend & I would visit y’all at the Houston quilt show. Love the country colors & would always make a purchase, even though I didn’t need it. Lol
Love reading the newspaper & had a subscription to it. Y’all were one of the first booths we visited
Love your farm stories & all the animal stories.
Well, I had several of your books and patterns. Made a few Bullseye quilts and I still sleep under one of them in the cold Wisconsin winters. Love the weight! My guild took a bus trip to Country Threads in the 1990’s. We had such a blast. When we got back on the bus we had the best “show and tell”. I think we had a prize for the person who spent the most money. I won’t say her name, but she is a good friend. BTW, it was over $700. Still enjoy the memory.
Bought On Behalf Of Chickens …that started it all. Bought a magazine with you n Connie on front. Then I got a Goat Gazette n have been buying your books ever since. Look forward to your blog every morning.
Still have some of your fabrics in my stash!
Feel like you and I are good old friends!
Launa – We ARE good old friends!!!
I didn’t know of CTs existence til 2010. We were busy working w kids in college. It wasn’t til we retired and moved from Houston to Asheville, NC in 2002, that I had the time to give a favorite hobby, sewing, another go. That lead to quilting and joining the 350+ member Asheville Quilt Guild, in which I was very active. We were also traveling nonstop in the US and internationally.
A local friend, who had a son in Iowa, told me about visiting CT and it sounded like a Quilting Nirvana. I soon realized that I had many patterns and books by Mary and Connie. Then, my Virginia cousin told me about the blog, which I joined immediately and I’ve never looked back. I could do without a lot in my life, but Mary and her blog are not one of them! I feel like we’re friends and I admire Mary’s vast energy and talents Too. Being a huge, huge animal lover, the animals and Hazel are a big draw for my husband and myself too. We do have a son in Chicago now and I’d love just to drive out and see Mary’s farm, from the road. I’d never dream of disturbing your day, but I’d like to see.
Thank you for being a big part of my daily life!
Vickie Lemonds – just let me know when you’re coming by and I’ll put on the coffee pot!! Would love to have you visit – inside the fence!
Mary, you and Connie came to the Storm Lake Quilt Society Club so many years ago and taught a basket pattern to our quilt club members and I never forgot you guys. Many to your shop every year till you closed and sometime more then one time a year, it is about 3 hr drive one way. My husband stopped and we let our little cocker out and your little baby goat came to him and tried to butt him! Always loved the cats you had in the quit shop. Also enjoyed your yearly sale of things! Have lots of good memories of Country Threads and the great fabrics and ideas you guys created. Marie from Storm Lake, IA
I started quilting at the age of 16 in 1971. My mom taught my sister & I to sew & we made most of our own clothes. I used leftover scraps from our scrap bag to make those early quilts. In 1980 I took my first quilt class at Patchworks here in Bozeman, Montana. We made our own patterns with sandpaper. Things have improved in the quilting tool area & pattern selection. I discovered Country Threads books & patterns & their style fit my style. I admired Mary & Connie’s stories in the back of their books. I discovered the Country Thread blog several years ago & live the day to day connection. My husband & I do not travel often so never made it to the shop when it was open, I regret that. My hobbies are similar to Mary’s, I feel if I lived closer we would be friends!
In ’07 we bought a new camper as we planned a 6 wk trip for one of 3 trips “out west”. We camped at Clear Lake. The day we left I received word that a dear friend had passed. I then made the decision to make a memorial quilt for her husband. The plan was to pick up fat quarters at each quilt shop in her favorite colors. Many came from your shop! The quilt turned out beautiful & he was very appreciative! It was also her dream to make the trip we were making. The pattern I used was Lucky Stars. I think I first met you at the quilt show in Chicago & again in Cincinnati. I have several of your books & patterns. We enjoyed visiting the shop & my husband enjoyed the animals as we both were raised on farms! Have followed your blog for many years. Love both gifts, especially the pin cushion! Loved your shop & how neat to have it in a chicken coop!!
I found your blog when googling chicken scratch embroidery on gingham fabric and I recognized your name from your quilt books that I found in the library. I am a fan of quilting, but sadly don’t spend time quilting. I am more of a collector of fabric and books. Still working and doing less traveling as the years go by. I read your blog every dsy.
It was so long ago that I honestly can’t recall exactly when I discovered Country Threads! But, I used to get the Goat Gazette & I was almost in tears when you decided to stop publishing it. I loved seeing all the pics of your farm animals & pets. I first met you & Connie at the very first Quilt Show in Rosemont, IL. (I used to live 50 miles south of Rosemont.) We’d stop & talk to you guys every year until that show was no longer. Yours was always the first booth we’d visit! I have a gazillion of your patterns but my favorite was Bullseye from Quilts from Aunt Amy. I have just about all of your books too! But like you, my taste in quilt colorations has changed & I tend to lean more toward a bit brighter & clearer colors. I read your blog every single day even tho I may not comment every single day! Unfortunately I never did get to your shop, so I was super sad when you decided to close. Oh, & Happy Anniversary yesterday! 💐
I saw your ad in Mary Engelbreit Home Companion Magazine some time around 2000, I’m very sad that both your shop and the magazine are both gone. When I saw the ad and you were located in Garner which isn’t very far from my mother’s home town of Story City I knew we had to visit you when we were in SC. We visited the shop the year before you closed and I stocked up on punch needle kits but didn’t know you were closing. If I had known I’d have bought lots more. Also loved the Civil War fabrics. I discovered I have some of your books too. I too enjoyed the Goat Gazette and saved all that I got.
I have known about you for a couple of decades. I have many of your books…love the style of quilts you both produce. I am thrilled you are still writing your blog. Thank you for offering the fruits of your labors for this drawing.
I first learned of Country Threads when I bought a Chicken Scratch Quilt pattern, in 1989. I loved the pieced chickens. I then found out thru conversation with my Mom that I was related to Mary’s husband on by Dad’s side of family, third or fourth cousin I think. I visited the “Chicken Coop” in 1990 when I was visiting my Grandmother in Worthington, MN. I had flown in from Southern California and then I drove all the way to Gardner. Was a beautiful summer drive and time well spent. I met you Mary , but Connie wasn’t there when I stopped. I so enjoy your blog stories of the farm and all your adventures. Unfortunately I haven’t been back that way since.
I was a young wife back in the 70s in Dubuque, Iowa and subscribed to your Goat Gazzet. Looking at your photos and reading about all the farm activities spurred my interest in quilting. I moved to California and still had your newsletter sent to me. Many years and many quilts later I moved to Missouri and still followed you on your blog. I feel like I grew up with you and Connie. Now we are all retired and still I look forward to reading your blog every day. Even though I never made it to your shop, I feel like I have been there through your books and patterns that I have purchased through the years. Hard times and good times, it has been a wonderful journey!
I think it was Linda B or Jolyn O. who told me about the store and I nagged Bill to bring me. I have to say that I felt overwhelmed by all the displays and the amount of fabric. I also enjoy animals and I made sure to pet the kitties, I must say that I was afraid of the goats, but I managed to pet the a little.
I was there a few times and bought patterns and fabric, I also enjoyed the flowers, Mary, you have such a green thumb and I feel lucky to have you as a friend. Don’t let the wind blow you away.
I began following Country Threads over 30 years ago, when my 4 daughters were small. We lived on a farm and owned many pets and farm animals like you featured in your darling quilts and wall hangings.
I fell in love with your books and the patterns. Eventually I subscribed to the Goat Gazette and LOVED every story, picture and sketch. My girlfriend and I would take your most recently released book to quilt retreats we attended and sit and read about you and Connie and all of the animals in your lives and pick which quilts we were going to make.
I had hopes to visit your shop someday, after my girls were all grown, but by then you had closed. It was a sad day when I learned my visit would never happen. Ah well, such is life. I truly look forward to reading your blog and continue to be entertained by you and your pets. And, I am still inspired by the beautiful quilts you and Connie create as well as your lovely homes and gardens.
I learned about CT through the quilt shop series of books. I had to purchase yours as you were in my home state! But I never made it to the shop. At the larger shows I attended, my friend and I stopped and shopped your booth. I always picked up a Goat Gazette and read them many times and kept them. Now that I live in Texas (40 years) I have taught Dear Jane and two of my students went to your retreat every summer and were always talking about it. Those students were Janine H. And Karen G. They even went up and helped with your closing sale. Hearing Janine and Karen talk about your shop and retreats is why I sought out your blog. And I have enjoyed it ever since. In your part 2 of The Barn, I saw two other gals that come to my retreats. I just couldn’t believe it and emailed to make sure it was them. I do believe Country Threads and Mary and Connie are world famous in the quilting world. Your blog posts are so much a part of my week. I love keeping up with Iowa and the animals. Thanks for all you do!
Many years ago, your store was featured in a quilt magazine as a top ten store. I have visited most of your shops including yours. I went on a road trip there and from then on purchased patterns and made them for gifts. Love your blog.
Both the bag and pin cushion are so neat but I am into the patriotic colors so would pick the bag as a favorite, thanks for the blog, makes my day!
I first met you at the Houston show. You were demonstrating the rug from scraps. I signed up for the Goat Gazette and enjoyed it for several years. My husband and I came by your shop the summer before you closed. When we got there you were practicing piano. You took us on a tour of your porch, barn and the shop. We had a wonderful time and I had so much fun shopping! I also ordered some of your Pinterest kits. I was sorry to hear you were closing but was so glad to have been there! I so enjoy your blog and look forward to receiving it.
Shirley in Dallas, Texas
I took a Rugs from Rags class at a quilt shop in Phoenix around 1999. Bought the instructions and discovered it was from Country Threads in Garner, IA.
Every year when visiting my mom and dad in Albert Lea, MN, my husband and I would visit the shop. He would play with the cats and I would shop.
My Dad once said, “You would think it was the Statue of Liberty you go there so often.”
Mom and Dad are both gone now, Country Threads is closed, but I am still making rugs, and we have some great memories.
I was one of the lucky ones to get to visit your shop many times. It was a fun day outing for a group of my friends and myself. Enjoyed at least 2 camps in the barn.
I worked in a quilt shop in Texas and we carried your wonderful patterns. Met you in Houston at Quilt Festival when you came to vend (I’m due you remember me). Your quilt barn was alway on my bucket list of places to visit, but you closed before I was able. Met Connie on a quilt cruise and she gave us one of the wonderful little pin cushions.
I HAVE been to Country Threads, and I have fond memories!!! My friend Susan Henderson brought me to 2 quilt camps. Then we had a retreat in the chicken coop. I was so bummed that you closed just as I was getting to know you. Reading your blog and seeing the photos are a fun reminder of good times. I look forward to reading it every day.
Books and I did a block of the month with free online patterns. I have been following your blog ever since.
The Des Moines Register and/or American Patchwork&Quilting had one or more of your patterns/story one Sunday/month. If I didn’t order right then, I saved your contact information. And, the Goat Gazette was a wonderful read. I ordered from it, and I did visit twice.
I saw your patterns at my local quilt store and loved them. I also visited your shop while on a bus tour from our local shop.
I am new to your blog, and never had the opportunity to visit the barn.
I saw a lovely quilt on Pinecrest one day, as I followed it back to its source, I found your blog!
Now I enjoy reading your posts.
I bought one of your early patterns and saw that you were from Garner, which was only about 20 miles or so from my home town of Thompson. My mom had been to your store and when I came home to visit her she took me to Country Threads. I was hooked, and visited many times, bought your books, kits, patterns, went to the Brannock and Patek retreat and did your mysteries. My friend, Penny, came back to Iowa with me once and we went to Country Threads, of course, and she saw you working on the longarm and decided then and there to get one.
Kay Crandall – I think I remember Penny’s instant love of the quilting machine!
I found out about country threads after joining a local quilt guild. After one visit to your shop I was hooked. My only regret is not finding out about your location much earlier. I was very sad when you closed.
I heard about Country Threads from several of my friends here in the Phoenix, AZ area that are from Iowa.
Well, I feel bad that I never got to see CT or even go to the midwest. Went to Chicago once, in the 70s, but you weren’t there yet. I would have loved to have shopped in your wonderful country quilt store.
I found this blog on the internet. Can’t remember now exactly where, but I have been following you for several years now. You filled a need for me for a quilting and a farm blog. Perfect! I love your blog!
I would love to win the project bag. I need it. I have lots of unfinished projects. The fact that you made it makes it special.
I lived in a suburb of Minneapolis and you were well known in the quilting community! Many road trips to Country threads! I purchased a catnip toy for my cat and had to sit at a picnic table to wait for my friends. I had cats all over me! Bonus! Also attended a retreat in the barn. Wish you were still there!!!
We purchased a Winnebago in 2009 and, of course, had to visit the factory. I always have my quilt shop book with me so was delighted to see this one of a kind quilt shop so nearby. I visited in September that time, made an appointment with Winnebago for necessary work on the coach (their first appointment was late October). Went on to Maine and then came back again on the way home for our appointment. The weather had definitely turned by then. Still got to your farm again though! I remember two things (besides your great civil war room). I carried a cat around while I shopped and loved that. I was surprised that his food dish was on the cutting table. And, I asked the ladies who were working if you got much snow. They all agreed you for very little! Must have been natives.
I purchased the very first Quilt Sampler magazine with you and Connie on the cover! I wanted to visit so much but we were dairy farming, had a young family and no money! I did make it once when we were passing through and played fetch with a wonderful Lab.
Less than a year before you closed I came with a friend. We enjoyed shopping so much. Then my daughter moved to Des Moines and I thought I’d get to visit more, only to find you were closing! My friend subscribed to the Goat Gazette and we participated in some of the block lotteries. She won a big one and when she got the mail she said” I won the lottery!” Her husband thought it was the other one. He was not so excited.
My sister introduced me to Country Threads – she was a wonderful quilter and would have me pick up a Goat Gazette at Roy’s office and mail it to her in Oklahoma. Your shop was always on her go to list when she came up in the summers. She and my mom came out the year you were remodeling and gave away your plants – they went crazy and diug up at least two wagons full of plants – all are thriving at our farm. I would receive instructions at every sale what I was to go get and would send pictures after I purchased. I always went with her on her trips to Country Threads and enjoyed the animals while she shopped. The memories I have of the times my sister and I had at Country Threads are very dear to me – I lost her several years ago but those memories will last a life time I so appreciate this blog and read each and every word – and I know my sister is reading over my shoulder. Thank you Mary for all the hard work you put into it – it is appreciated🥰
Lived in Garner in the 80’s. Leaned of you through Goodnatures Fabric Store. One of my first quilts was one of your patterns. Miss your quilt shop !
I bought your patterns at quilt shops and shows.I have always loved your style of quilts.i have a lot of your books too! Wish I could have visited the barn.i sent your wedding pictures to my grandson because he’s getting married next year,I told him if he finds the barn I can decorate with the quilts!!
I don’t remember where I saw the information about your shop while visiting Clear Lake, Iowa. My sister-in-law & brother-in-law owned & operated Clear Lake Cottages for many years. We came to stay in the cottages the year after we were married in 2003 for a late honeymoon. We had planned to come in 2002, but my mother-in-law passed away, so we postponed our trip for a year. I have loved crafts and sewing for my entire life, so I just had to come out to your shop! I loved the visit to the farm so much that when returned to Clear Lake over the years we would come out to visit whenever we could. I loved seeing the animals, especially the beautiful chickens! You also taught me to do punch needle embroidery and it has become a favorite craft of mine! Of course it took two visits a couple of years apart for me to get the confidence to complete the projects! LOL I loved all my visits to your shop, looked forward to them and was sad that you had closed. We don’t come to the cottages anymore our family sold them a while back and retired.
I don’t know how to add photos on here or I would!
My aunt lived in Mason City and is a quilter, so she took me there the first time. I made a few stops there later if I was anywhere in the area. Went with a few friends one time, and one of them does not like animals (which I can’t even imagine!) so she didn’t care to go back, lol! But everyone else had a great time.
Went down from Minneapolis with a couple of co-workers on a road trip. One of the ladies had gone with her mother-in-law who lived in Cedar Rapids and raved. We left early and had dinner on the road on the way home. I actually still have one of the several kits I bought that hasn’t been done yet. Just found it in the bottom of a trunk.
I learned about you through the American patchwork and quilting magazine that I subscribed to for many years. I also have many of your books and love your country look and choices of fabric over the years!
I learned about Country Threads through the quilt shop series of books. I still have that book and several other Country Threads books and patterns. In 1997, I was able to visit your shop in the coop when my husband and I were headed to Pennsylvania from Minnesota. Loved the shop, and the farm, and animals! I still love the older patterns and hope to make some of them, like “Wear Warm Clothes”, and the one with the black cat in the pumpkins. Follow your blog too. It’s like visiting with an old friend.
Mary – I have to admit this one is all Marion. I think she liked your patterns and somehow found out about camp. I loved all my time at Country Threads.
Not sure you remember but we first started staying at a “hunting lodge” because it was out of season and there was really no close hotels. Marion would make me move the dresser in front of our door everynight ! We were in the middle of nowhere and the only ones in the house most of the time – but safety first !!
So many happy memories !
Christie – yes, I remember the hunting lodge – in north central Iowa, no less! Haha! Oh, Marion – how sweet!
I first visited your shop with the Heritage Quilt Guild of South Holland Illinois, (a suburb of Chicago). We enjoyed a buffet dinner in the loft of the barn and spent several hours at the shop.
My second trip was on the return trip home from visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota with two friends. Our husbands had been Elk hunting in Wyoming, and driven separately, leaving us girls to shop hop all the way back to Northwest Indiana. Miss the shop and it’s ambiance.
When did I first hear about you? My memory is so bad, but it is more like when didn’t I now about you!! I’ve got to get a couple of things copies and and an order sent to you. I do remember getting your Goat Gazette! Two patterns I have are from 1993 and 1996 — I am taking these to my grave. lol Never made either of them, but hey always make me smile and feel good. I know of no drug that always makes you smile and feel good like that. lov you guys!
Vickie Devore – I am very curious about which twoCountry Threads patterns you’re taking to your grave!
Vickie Devore, I was to embarrassed to say in my reply but since you said it . . . the four patterns I purchase at the Country Threads shop are my prized possessions and yes I’d take with me to the grave too.
I visited Country Threads whenever I went to Des Moines. I didn’t care if it was a bit “out of the way”…I loved your store. I think I have all of your books with several in process quilts. LOL maybe it’s time to join your Dirty Dozen. Thank you for keeping your blog as it is always fun to read.
I’m really not sure how I learned about Country Threads. I have some of the older patterns that I picked up here and there, and I’ve taken Country Threads books out of my guild library. I think I stumbled onto the blog when reading other quilt-related blogs. Not a very good answer, but that’s all I’ve got. Like many other readers, just wish I could have visited the shop when it was open.
I had never been to your shop and really can’t remember what led me to your blog possibly. Something on pintrest?! I have stayed because I do enjoy the quilting pictures and discussion but mostly I live your animals and your escapades with them. The adventures as well as empathy for your heartbreaks. Sorry I don’t often post comments but I read each posting & check ads when I see them. Often on my phone only one ad shows. Thank you for what you give to this blog.
Seems like I have known you forever, but let’s say the 80’s. Friends and I would take road trips to your shop and see you at shows. Friend Nancy and I were lucky enough to attend 3 of your camps. What fun! So many new projects and great food, good company. Once the quilt world started going to brights, you were one of the few shops to carry reproductions. Lots of great memories, you and Connie should be very proud of your accomplishments and all the joy you brought to many quilters. You have always had a color sense that I like. My sister had such fun when we trekked there once in awful weather. Remember all the reading chatter we had? Loved the barn and house pictures- how you have improved your acreage! Well, that is about all the one- handed typing I can muster. I miss sewing SO much, can’t wait to have my arm back.
Seriously- hats off to you 2, you have touched many lives.
A quilter friend from eastern Iowa had talked about your shop. And my husband is from Garner, so of course it became a regular stop for me as we went back to visit family. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED YOUR SHOP! And LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that you do this blog. It is so inspirational to see your projects. I am cleaning my sewing room and finding Country Treads patterns that I had purchased that I hope to do soon.
I am from Lincoln, Nebraska and I shopped at your Country Threads two or three times. My husband was patient because he watched cats and ducks and farm life. I didn’t follow your blog until you had eye surgery and showed us how you looked. I felt sorry for you. Thanks for the blog.
Mary I’m not sure how I found you.,I just know that I thoroughly enjoy all of your posts about your life with all your critters. You seem to be the energizer bunny with all the things you do on the land you have. All of your care with plants etc. I have a small garden compared to the one I had in southern Utah. Here in Mesa AZ I can garden almost yr round. The heat of our summer makes July n Aug. especially hard to grow much. So I’m pulling up carrots n using onions from the garden. I’ve have come to love to make quilts n so it’s fun to receive your blog.
I learned about your store from Jo Kramer, and I then subscribed to your Goat Gazette just before you quit writing it. I never visited the store because I was working and not traveling much at that time. I have enjoyed the blog and appreciate you taking the time to write about your interesting life.
I’m trying to remember – it has been that long. I think from your books? I got to go twice to your store and played with your kitty. I used to subscribe to your newsletter. It was the best one on the market. I saw you at quilt market in mpls and a couple of times at Mn Quilters show. I’ve made a number of your quilts. I called your store on my birthday one time and told you to send me a surprise package of fabric for my bday present.
I know you because I went to one of your camps every year for 17 years. I have such fond memories of your place…. you and Connie, the people I met from all over the United States, the patterns, the shop. I loved getting away to sew uninterrupted, learn and laugh. I sure miss the great times but now I go to retreats with friends which is fun but not the same.
Polly! I remember you from camp!
I believe I first learned about Country Threads was when I purchased your first book at a local quilt shop near me . At that time I lived in Indiana. I was hooked on the primitive style 🙂
I found you thru Jo’s Country Junction blog. I love your blog and hers. Thank you for all you do for us!! I have also bought some of your books!
My local quilt shop carries your books. I bought some of the early books. DH and I visited one summer on our way back east, driving across Iowa on mostly two-lane roads instead of I-90 on that trip. Mid- to late-1990s??? This was before bucket lists, but visiting the shop would have been on mine!
I probably found your address in one of the quilters road trip guide books of quilt shops popular at the time. I don’t remember if I signed up for the Goat Gazette before or during the visit, probably before.
Both you and Connie were there but I don’t think we spoke – you both were talking shop at the time.
I was just surfing the internet a few years ago and landed on this Blog site. I have followed it ever since. I already had most of your books and now have most of your patterns. The Easter Bunny was a big hit on the front door of my home in Florida. You picked up several new followers just from my quilting neighbors! Wait until they see Frank this Halloween!
I worked in a quilt shop in Massachusetts in the early 90s so became familiar with your books and patterns. I grew up on a farm about an hour from your shop so whenever I came home to visit, my Mom and I would make a day of it and visit your shop. I love your blog as it keeps me up on what the weather and crops are like at home. I guess the farm never leaves you. Blessings.
I live in central Missouri and visited your shop when my daughter and I went up to the Mall of America during her college freshman spring break. I really don’t remember how I first learned about your shop, but I really enjoyed shopping there.
I saw your name in a book of small quilts. Must have run across your blog sometime. When you were open for business, I was not a quilter. I had a cross stitch business where I reproduced antique samplers and also designed tiny samplers to be stitched on 40 count silk gauze.
I’ve made two cat memorial quilts for my deceased housemates –Do Not Disturb & Emmet. They share my sewing rooms with me–still. I bought The Whizz’s Do Not Disturb when I visited one time. My Emmet (Tabby Hunter, named for his coloration and feral habits which made his life shorter) was a distinctive personality too.
I cannot tell you when I first heard of your store but I have made many, many of your cute patterns. I visit the ones I did not give away each season when I redecorate for that season. I still love my chicken quilt from On Behalf of Chickens and always laugh when I hear “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without” because I love that book. I made four of the cat wall hangings with the flag for the Fourth of July. Some friends also hang theirs every year. I have the Civil war books you have recently put out and like them but they are not as much fun as a dog fishing in a boat. Thank you so much for all the enjoyment I have had and am sorry your shop closed before I could retire and have time to visit.
I visited your shop on a quilting bus trip many years ago. Enjoyed the scenery and totally liked the fabric style “civil war”. Since your closing I have been collecting your patterns. Wish your shop was still open but know everything has a season. Thank you
I was never fortunate enough to visit but, I think I was introduced to your quilt shop through the American Patchwork and Quilting – Quilt Sampler magazine when they featured Country Threads as one of the Top Ten shops. I ordered several patterns and kits from you through the years. The Goat Gazette was included for free in one of my orders and, I purchased a subscription from then on. I too, wish I had been able to visit your shop when it was open. So few quilt shops opens around my area. I do so love your blog!
Sadly, I never had the opportunity to visit your shop, but believe it or not my husband DID on my behalf while on a business trip to Iowa. Sweet guy that he is, he and his co-worker (another guy) drove to your shop and purchased one of your autographed books for me. The fabric selection was a bit overwhelming for him to choose one to bring back to Missouri. I’m a big fan and love your patterns, etc.! Love the project bag too! Glenda
Project Bag!! My husband’s sister-in-law had a copy of the “Goat Gazette” and after I read it for the first time I knew that I had to see your quilt shop in person. This was many years ago. My mother lived in Forest City at the time and I also have a brother living in Garner still. So, I would leave extra early for any trips to visit my mother or brother and take the “long” route so that I could stop in your shop. I live close to Story City. I always loved being able to do that. I made a special trip just to go to your closing sale. Brought two daughters along and was explaining about your shop.
By the way – my daughter’s anniversary is June 14 (6 years) and I have another brother married 45 years ago on June 14 – Flag Day!! A belated Happy Anniversary!!
I learned of your blog through my sister, Donna Jean. I just love reading it and seeing your pictures. Farm life is great!
Just from reading and very much enjoying your Blog, I know your Quilt Shop must have been wonderful!! I was not fortunate enough to visit–I don’t know how I found your blog, but can remember reading about you and your books and patterns many years ago. You are such an entertaining writer and I will continue to enjoy your writing! Thanks from North Central Nebraska–I think your pincushion is especially cute.
I think I bought a pattern at a 2nd hand store. Address on it. internet search. Tada I am here. Also i came with a friend to a doll/bear place,close to where you are, in forest City I think. My friend mentioned there was a quilt barn but I was not into quilts just dolls and bears at the time and she was driving so the choice was hers.
I have to say your blog is about the only one I still visit almost daily. Thanks Mary. j
I first discovered Country Threads in Quilt Sampler magazine in 1995. I’ve collected every Quilt Sampler magazine and read every word about every shop! Most are too far away for me to visit, but I have been to some, mainly in the west where I live. Don’t know where or when I came across your blog, but I check on you every day and enjoy all of the entertainment you provide … thanks!
I became acquainted with Country Threads when my avid quilter sister from NW Iowa brought me along with her on one of her many trips. Not sure how that even came about as I live in Wisconsin. I’m only a wanna be quilter fast running out of time but was never the less entranced. A few years later she told me I really had to read youR blog, it was just so good. She knew I would love it and I do. If only we could turn back time….
My sister-in-law, who is a quilter, came from a Brazil and she wanted to come see you. She was eventually headed to a big quilt show in a Houston. I’ve followed your blog ever since. You were so kind and showed us the shop and your wonderful home. Thank you.
Hi Mary & Connie- The way I became acquainted with Country Threads was finding your books and patterns at quilt shops i visited. I always loved them! Iowa is pretty far from where I am (Cape Cod – East of Boston) so I never really thought about visiting the shop but boy I wish I could have. Now with the blog I keep up with you gals that way. I love the bag and the pincushion both. Thanks for giving the story of your shop – I am enjoying seeing it from back in the day.
I was fortunate enough to come to your shop THREE times which is pretty amazing since I lived in Idaho. Not sure how I found out about Country Threads originally but my husband and I and our family used to go to the Midwest antiquing in the 90s so I stopped then and fell in love. Later my two sons went to University of Iowa for dental school so I tried to manage our routes so I could get to the shop. It only worked out a couple of times but how much fun it was to shop at Country Threads! My husband enjoyed staying outside and watching the parade of animals that came around. I also loved the Goat Gazette which I subscribed to after my first visit! So much info and funny stories! LOVED IT! I also LOVE your blog. It is like keeping Country Threads alive. A few years ago you showed us your angel food cake baked in a vintage square angel food pan. I BOUGHT ONE ON EBAY and have been making them ever since from the recipe you sent me. I also remember visiting with you at several quilt shows. Makes me feel like we are friends! Keep up with the blog, Mary. I look forward to it everyday!
Paula- well, we ARE friends, aren’t we?
I sure hope so! 😊
My best friend and I took a road trip for 3 days and traveled to your shop in 1986. It was two years after we both had our first baby. It was the first time we both left them with their dads. We had a great time. We traveled from south eastern Wisconsin. I remember stopping at at a tea shop too. We bought a lot of fabric and to this day we have a scrap or two left over from that trip. It seems like yesterday that we were there.
I learned about your blog in Jo’s Country Junction! Love your down home good friend way of writing your blog. I love animals also and so I’m hooked! Take care!
I knew of your patterns through my local quilt shop. The owner loved your style! I somehow heard of your blog … probably through someone mentioning you? I’m just not 100% sure about that. I enjoy your outlook on life and the life that you live. Your honesty and hometown appeal is refreshing.
From Jo Kramer’s blog.
Helllo Mary, I believe I first heard of you and Country Threads from Jo’s Country Junction a few years ago. So of course, never got to the shop but I know I would have loved it. Have ordered several patterns and have some quilts in progress. I really need to do your Dirty Dozen routine. Love your blog and clicking ads for you. Thanks so much for all the effort you put into posting pictures etc, Hope your Anniversary was a memorable one. Either of the projects would be great but I think the house pincushion is neat.
Mary, I have no idea other than the internet to hook me up to you. Ever since, I’ve joined your daily emails and love, love, love seeing all the goodies going on in your life. Keep it up. Thank you
Really? 266 comments!! You’ll never find me here at the end, Mary—lol😂😂. Answer—The project bag. I know that our cat, Socrates, was in the Goat Gazette and he died in 1989 so it must have been before that when I discovered Country Threads. I never visited because as teachers we just didn’t have the money to fly and we worked in the summers, then college for the kids, weddings, and finally retirement. I was ready to come visit around the time you retired! I have always been sorry I didn’t get there. But, I loved the Goat Gazette and love the blog😊😊. When did you start the Goat Gazette? I did visit you at Connie at the Country Living Fair in Columbus, OH. several times. It was sooo great meetin you both!!
I learned about Country Threads from my mother. Her family is all from Iowa and she had visited your shop on a trip to Spencer, Boyden & Hull, Iowa to visit family. I came to Iowa in 2011 to do a genealogy, cemetery and visiting family trip with my husband and parents. We stopped and visited your quilt shop then. You and Connie were not there that day because you were vending at a quilt show.
PS—You had your wedding quilt out last year on your anniversary so maybe you put it away with your flag items. Just a thought😊
I don’t remember a time I didn’t know about Country Threads. I went to Quilt Market in 1989 with Small Wonders, the Quilting Bee (Spokane) and Mumm’s the Word. I attended for several years and always took any of your workshops — remember Tall Moon when you told people to cut apart wool clothes from thrift shops to make the wool applique quilt? You were ahead of the curve! I faithfully read the Goat Gazette. And I did take your workshop when you visited the Buggy Barn in Reardan. It was on my bucket list to visit the shop but there wasn’t enough time between working and raising my children. Thanks for continuing to blog — it is nice to stay in touch. Happy Quilting!
Saw your country threads logo in an advertisement for your shop. Loved the logo and had to visit. At that time we lived in MN, was a 2 1/2 hrs drive. We would pack up the kids in the camper and visit your shop at least once if not twice a year for about 12 years!! Guessing our first visit was late 80’s. The kids loved running around outside checking out the farm animals and using the putting green! Was definitely a family outing they looked forward to. Our youngest son’s last visit to your farm was the summer after he graduated from college!!! He always said ” someday I’ll have a farm like this!” He currently works at Mayo Clinic Rochester owns a home there and is actively looking for his ” country threads farm!”
Your shop, hospitality and farm made a big impact on our kids lives!! (And my quilting adventures!!) Thank you!! You closed right before we retired to Florida to be closer to the grand kids, but still follow your blog and purchase from there!!
I didn’t find out about your shop until I started actively quilting. I was looking for a particular type of quilt on the internet and found your shop. Shortly afterward, you and Connie made the decision to close your shop. Unfortunately, we were in the process of moving out of state.
I would have loved to come to the Country Threads shop!
I met Country Threads at a Minnesota Quilters’ Show. I had a quilt top done and yours was the ONLY place which did machine quilting and would offer a definite price. You gave me a sheet with prices per square inch listed. So hubby and I and dog(s) made the trip to Garner. A trip which was repeated many times. Dogs loved to tag along as we’d stop at Hardee’s and they could go on walk around the nature trail.
We lived in Pa. for 12 years and I’d ship quilt tops to Country Threads as I was never unhappy with the machine quilting done there. We’re now back in Minnesota and I’m still a fan of your books and blog but do miss your shop.
Lots and lots of comments to read through and hear everyone’s experience with your place. It’s nice to have good memories of somewhere. I have had many of your patterns for years and found your blog through that. Not sure if you were at Country Living Fair the year I was there cause it was just soooo much walking and looking that I was overwhelmed. I never got to many quilt stores out of state cause in our area of NY we have had many within an hour drive east and west so lots of choices. I was always grateful for that to build my stash for when I did retire and by then you were closed had I wanted to travel the distance. Just so thankful you are still inspiring us with your quilts and farm life so we can be a part of your life too.
I learned about you from Jo Kramer at Jo’s Country Junction. I have loved reading about your barn transformation through the ages. Barns are my favorite. No two alike. Best wishes from Texas.
Your books & patterns were carried in our lqs when I worked there about 15 years ago. I started receiving a monthly (I believe) pattern and some fabric from your shop to make small quilts. Most of the patterns are now in several of your books! In 2009 my two sisters-in-law, another friend and I took a month long road trip from Oregon to the Paducah Quilt show and planned the route so we could stop at Country Threads. It was the highlight of the trip for me! Unfortunately, you and Connie were at the Chicago Quilt Festival in Rosemont so we didn’t get to meet you. I used to make quilts from your books & patterns as shop samples and got to keep most of them. Reading your blog just makes my day!
Tina W from Oregon – oh no! That’s too bad we were gone and if WE were gone, so were all the newest quilts and kits! I am sorry we missed you!
I visited your shop twice, and on the first trip I did walk up into the barn. I started quitting in 2004 so the two trips must of occurred not too long after that. I loved the shop, all the wonderful quilt samples and the small and cramped pattern room. I looked at every one of the patterns in there. There was so much to see and I felt a bit overwhelmed being a newbie. I did buy the Thimble Friends Novelty Quilt kit and four patterns between the two trips. How did I hear about Country Threads? I subscribed to several quilt magazines right after my first quilting class so I am assuming either there was a story or an advertisement for the shop. I wish there were more trips but my mother had health issues and my quilting focused on making bold/bright flower print quilts for her kitchen table. She had loved to garden so it was important to me to provide for steady stream of quilts to cheer her up. I had hoped to make it to your shop once I read that you and Connie were closing it. For me, 2014 was a lost summer/fall because we sold our home and bought another one, so sadly no trip to Iowa. I do check eBay and on-line quilt shops for your old patterns. I love all the Country Threads designs. I just wish there was a book that showed the cover photo from each of your quilt patterns. I could easily sit there for hours just looking at the quilts. I am really thankful you have this blog. Not only for the quilt-related stuff but about life in Iowa and on your farm.
Just curious, how many Country Threads patterns and books did you and Connie produce over the years?
Where did the zipper come from for the pouch? I have never seen one decorated. Paula in KY
I know Country Threads from your fantastic books. It seems like the first one I bought was soon after I began quilting so it must have been in the nineties. I’ve been buying them ever since and love them! Unfortunately never made it to your shop. Love reading your blog for the country life much different than my city surroundings. Thanks for the giveaway!
My local quilt store, the Quilt Rack, had a class on making your storm quilt! I loved making it in 1993, and have been a fan of yours ever since!
Mary, I learned of Country Threads from a local quilt shop in Vancouver, WA. They had some of your patterns and I bought some, and I was smitten from there on.
And then, after years of buying patterns and fabric from you, you and Connie came to Oregon for a Quilt Market and we met over breakfast at your hotel.
And, btw, I love that little pincushion. I made one a lot like it in Red, White and Blue, stuck a pin on the back of it and wear it!!
I learned about Country Threads when we had a quilt shop and I sold your pattern books. I made a lot of your quilts to display in our store. When my husband and I were driving to California one year, I told him I had to stop at your shop. We stayed in Clear Lake and fell in love with the town. When we came to your shop, you came out of your house and introduced yourself, of course, I knew exactly who you were. You had just had shoulder surgery, I believe, and I proceeded to hug you and you winced, but was so nice about it. Anyway, you showed us your barn and I thought you were the nicest person I’d ever met. I also loved your shop and bought a lot of fabric there!
I found out about your blog and quilt shop thru Jo Kramer’s blog and have followed you for several years now
I’m not quite sure how I got started going to Country Threads. Probably from my mom, Patricia Thompson who is now passed. I believe we probably purchased one of your patterns in a quilt shop and the rest was history! We made several treks to Country Threads since my mom was from Belmond and my dad, from Britt. So many times it was because we were visiting relatives. So much fun always coming to your shop! My car still wants to turn so badly into your shop when I go to Britt! I have many of your patterns and books–they are my favorites!!
My sister Nancy introduced me to your shop. She lives in Cedar Falls and attended your barn retreats with her good friend, Mary Hawk. I loved the Goat Gazette, Charm School, many books and patterns. When we flew back to Iowa to visit family, I always hoped there would be time to get to CT. I especially remember the time we got to go into the barn. Thanks again for sharing so much of your life with your readers. The blog is a gift to many.💙
My first intro to Country Threads was a class and visit you made years ago to NSQ in NW suburbs of Chicago. It was the first time I took a class and first intro to you. It made a big impression and because you were from Iowa my dream was always to come there. My hubby is from Iowa and when I subscribed to your newsletter, he read it too. You closed the year we would have been able to visit.
I learned about Country Threads in 2004 when I retired and moved from Seattle to rural eastern Washington state. I went with a friend on a quilt shop hop, one of the stops was at the Buggy Barn in Reardan, WA! (Oh, how I miss that store, too!) They had many of your patterns, which I just loved. I bought several of them and plenty of fabric. I had just retired, so I had plenty of time to renew my love of quilting which I had put on the back burner as I worked fulltime and raised a family. I can’t remember exactly when I started following your blog. At the different seasons of the year I display the quilts I made from your patterns! I still love them.
It must be buying your patterns at quilt shops close to me. By the timeI was
able to go you had closed. I can only imagine how wonderful the shop had to be. I have lots of your books and patterns and those are going to have to be my trip to your shop looking through them.
I think i started following along when was some posting somewhere about the Bullseye quilt and it lead me to your blog.
Oh, that’s easy . . . your books. I fell in love with so many ideas back when I was churning out quilts at an enormous rate. Lived just outside of Atlanta and taught in a minimum of 3 quilt shops while working a full time job. Then your fabric came out and it was so different, clever, and wonderful. On my bucket list was taking a class out in your barn. Dang, missed that one too. Ah well, I still love your books and patterns.
On a sadder note, if you’ve followed my blog at all, Dolly cross the rainbow bridge on June 4th. I still look for her when I’m at home and I’m still crying. We’ll all miss her.
San – I’m so sorry for your loss! Honestly it NEVER gets easier, does it!
I visited Country Threads at several quilt shows and it was always the busiest booth at the show. There were usually long lines of quilters waiting their turn to get in!
In the middle 90’s I walked into my LQS and saw their new patterns from Country Threads, from Garner, Iowa. I jumped up and down because I had family in Garner and had visited there all of my life. I stopped for many years on good times and sad. My last visit before you closed, I showed Mary and Connie my show and tell speeding ticket. My Mother made her last visit to a beloved cousin. Bitter Sweet!
I purchased your books On Behalf of Chickens, and Use it Up, Wear it Out when they were first published in the 1990s. Partly because my mother was an Iowa girl. I never got to your shop, though, because I lived in California. I still save the waxed paper bags from cereal boxes!
Dot – waxed paper story! Hilarious because I always save it now, too!
Hmm, I’ve thought about saving those cereal waxed paper bags…but can’t think of how to use them. I only found your blog from Jo Kramer’s Country Junction blog, so am a short time reader. After a year of reading I still don’t know which is Mary and which is Connie! I keep trying to tell myself that Connie has white hair and round glasses, but then something is published that shows Connie as having brown hair, and I’m lost all over again. I quilt occasionally and don’t need any more quilting stuff, so give the prizes to someone else if my name is drawn, please!
Look at all the friends you’ve made – new and old! I’ve been a loyal follower for a long time. Not sure of first time. Could have been a quilt shop hop that took me across a Iowa. A long visit to your shop became a regular Summer trip. Never made it for barn retreat. My brother who accompanied me always teased that it was our quilters’ Mecca. I was a Goat Gazette subscriber and between that publication and your fabric clubs I squealed with delight each time I found something from you in my mailbox. I did buy one of your quilts on one visit. When I asked you to sign a piece of fabric for a label you shrugged at why I would want your signature. At each quilt show in Rosemont Illinois you were always our first booth shopping on preview night. We bought so much you haul stored it so we wouldn’t have to carry it the rest of the show. We excitedly raced to see you and your team to see what was new and dive into your collection of homemade pincushions/bowl fillers. My favs to today. I’ve consider you a kindred spirit. I share your love for dogs and quilts and nature. Thanks for continuing to share your life with us.
I don’t remember how I heard about you but I visited your store one summer. I have come to Iowa almost every summer of my life. (I’m 63) I don’t even quilt but I LOVE your farm and always thought I could take a class sometime when I retired. ( I just retired last week. I couldn’t handle any more distance learning!) I bought a punch kit at your store but still haven’t tried it. (I needlepoint) But now that I will have more time hopefully I can learn how to do it. I love hearing about your farm and animals. You’re living my dream! PS. I live in Long Beach, CA
I visited your shop in the late ‘90’s or early 2000. I had purchased patterns before so I looked forward to visiting your shop! I wasn’t disappointed when I saw your shop in person. Your style is similar to my style!! Unfortunately I couldn’t return as I’m allergic to cats. So I’ve always visited from afar! And you know my daughter in laws parents who live in garner! I’m glad I can read your blog!
I’ve been a follower from the beginning back in the ‘80’s. I took many classes, even the overnight one. Many memories made with you two girls.
I loved your red quilt on the cover of a quilt magazine for their anniversary edition. So I follow you ever since. You are a blessing!
I found your shop when we came up for GNR Every year at the Winnebago rally I looked forward to your shop!
I wanted to learn to quilt but didn’t know any quilters. At a used book store I found one of your early books then started following your blog. I did the block a month quilt with you in about 2014 and straight line quilted. The rest is history. I now have friends that quilt and attend local quilt shows. I would have loved to have visited Country Threads when it was open but it is a long way from Seattle.
I am currently working on Forever Free from A Country’s Call.
Many years ago I bought a Country Threads pattern and then a book with the Noah’s Ark Iowa style quilt in it at a quilt shop. Through the mail I bought sheep wool from you for the Santa beard for an ornament. I have bought patterns/books from you through the mail and from quilt stores. About two years before you closed, on my way to Minneapolis, I saw an exit for Garner on the interstate and wondered if that was where you were located. A year after that I planned another trip to Minneapolis allowing time to stop at your shop. Your shop was wonderful!! I am from central Ohio.
I’ve been to Country Threads too many times to count! I lived in Owatonna, MN and a friend who grew up in Manly, IA took me to your shop for the first time in about 1986. It became a favorite destination, with friends, cousins, my sister, my daughter, and one time even my husband when he took me down for my birthday. Your special occasion days were always such a treat. I loved the fabrics, the animals and the kitties and dogs in the shop. Hope was such a good greeter! Even when I moved to the country and had lots of animals of my own, it was so fun to visit and I always got such great ideas! I was a customer right until the end. Thanks for all those years of fun and inspiration, and for sharing your life with us. It was such a pleasure!
I found out about Country Threads in 2005 at the Minnesota Quilt Show in Duluth. It was my first quilt show and I just loved your booth. I picked up a Goat Gazette and bought a starter kit for All Around Town. My 2 favorite patterns are log cabin and house blocks. I have been a fan ever since. I belonged to Civil War Club for several years. I did come to the store ones with 2 friends.
I was never in the shop but have been using your patterns for years! I would have loved to have come to one of your camps!
I had some patterns thru the years, but while we were working – many extra hours and weekends and also had kids in school, soccer, paper routes etc, I never had time to travel to quilt stores. I knew of a quilt store ‘out in the country’ in a chicken house, but I didn’t have an opportunity to visit until a couple of years before you closed. I met you when you came to retreats at Ironwood to bring your store and have classes. So fun!
Like many good things in my life, I just stumbled on your blog a couple of years ago while rummaging around the internet for anything quilty. As a matter of fact, just tonight I stumbled across your blog of 2015! You were visiting the Texas quilt museum and the photos, as usual, were terrific. Is it possible you had the shop and the blog going at the same time?? I really don’t know the chronology of your professional life. Not that I need to know, but one thing I do know – the blog sure is fun and interesting.
My sister in law lives in Iowa. However, I never was able to get to your shop. I can’t remember exactly how I heard about you, maybe facebook. Enjoy your blog so much. You are such a busy woman and I am thankful you take time to do your blog.
I don’t remember the year that was the first time we came to CT but we were sewing in the top of your garage trying out patterns you were going to publish. Then it was every quilt in the barn that we could make. What wonderful memories.
I found out about Country Threads through the first Quilt Sampler magazine. Connie and you were on the cover. I wrote to you for the pattern that was featured in the magazine. I still have that issue and the pattern. At the end of the article was your address and information on subscribing to the Goat Gazette. My friends and I always talked about coming to see the shop. I guess life and family got in the way. The Goat Gazette was just like being at the shop. I really enjoyed all those issues.
Back in the early 90’s Bob Pearson volunteered in my office. Bob knew I enjoyed sewing and told me about Country Threads. He and his wife Donna animal sat at the farm for you from time to time I believe. I went to Country Threads many times over the years! Such a relaxing setting and wonderful shop ❤ I met Mary and Connie and was thrilled to do so. Whenever we traveled north, my husband drove over on 18 so I could stop. My wish was to reincarnate as a cat and live in the shop. Whenever we have reason to drive on highway 18 today, we still honk and wave when we pass by. I love the blog and keeping in touch with the farm. Not many great quilt shops left in my area and I miss Country Threads terribly.
Cathy D – I recently sent a card to Bob and Donna but never heard back from them! Are they OK? I could not have traveled without their help and I so wish I could make contact with them again.
Is this post a record for comments? You have a lot to read through. My mother told me about Country Threads soon after it opened. Having been in neighboring school districts, I knew of you since high school days. With our many trips from Ohio to Britt, we almost always visited Country Threads. I think my daughter may have started her fat quarter collection from one of those visits; I got a pattern or some fabric; and all of us got to pet the cats. It was fun to see you at Country Living Fair in Columbus, and I also think you were at the International Quilt Festival the few years they were in Cincinnati. I still have some kits to work on from Country Threads and a mystery to finish that was a series in the Goat Gazette.
Beryl BC – YES! I think this IS a record number of comments and I have loved reading them!!!
I took a string piecing class with you in Victoria Texas in 1999. Subscribed to Chicken Scratch for a year. Finally finished that quilt in 2019! And looked you up on the internet at that time- been reading your blog since then.
I started quilting around 1979 just a year after I married my husband. I “grew up” in the quilting world reading your books, buying your patterns and books. Your life on a farm was idyllic compared to my fast paced urban and freeway driving lifestyle in California. I had three children in the span of 4 years and was so busy taking care of my children and managing a home that I had to fight to get time for quilting. My husband was self employed and due to his medical contract he has worked everyday for 25 years with the exception of Christmas. When children were still young I returned to work and later paid for all the children’s college education. Our family has not had a vacation in over 20 years, thus no trips to Iowa! I wish I could had the time and $ to visit but not in the cards for me. I know I would have loved it but I had your books and my imagination. What I love love love about your many patterns was that they were unique and there was no competition at the time of what designers lead the “creativity” race!! I feel myself fortunate to have read the Goat Gazette and to be reading your blog. So fun! PS: You patterns and books are still my favorite hands down!!!
My quilting friend Norma introduced me to your blog and she also showed me a wonderful book you made and sent here I really love that book and all the ephemera you have in it ,it is so neat.I love your blog and all your quilts and your barn story was so wonderful.
I learned about you from the Buggy Barn in Reardon, WA. If fact i took a class from you when you were here! I have several of your books and used to get the Gazette as well. I have made several of your quilts.
One of my favorites is the Garden Quilt. I made it years ago and it is still one of my favorites! I love what you do, but never made it to Iowa, although I am from Minn. and get there regularly… Mostly ‘up north’ now.
We met in Clear Lake while we each participated in transporting many rescue dogs. I got my first Goat Gazette in the Super 8 parking lot and I asked about Country Threads. The rest is history, I loved meeting all the goats, chickens, cats and dogs. The baby goat napping in the quilt shop, Janie peering through a hole in the floor ain’t loft at quilt camp just knowing there was something down there she could chase. It was such fun.
I don’t remember how I first heard of Country Threads. When a friend & I first talked about going in the All Iowa Shop Hop, Country Threads was at the top of our Must See list. We were lucky enough to make the trip multiple times.
I was the friend with Tina W from Oregon on that month long road
trip. Our itinerary was Country Threads shop for sure, and yes we were disappointed you & Connie were away. We enjoyed the shopping for sure.
Long before our trip I had some C T books. Also, have another friend here in Salem who had been to your shop and told how great it was.
I appreciate your blogs and pictures of your plants and animals.
I “met” you on Jo Kramer’s blog. Unfortunately I never saw your store, I’ve never even been to Iowa! I don’t comment often, but I really enjoy reading about your life.
I started getting into quilting about 2011 and started looking on the internet for information on how to make a quilt. It was at that time that I discovered quilting blogs and doing a few blog hops which added more blogs to my growing list. I found Jo’s country Junction on one of those hops and started following her which led me to your blog so I started following you. I am not sure how long before you closed your shop that I started following you but I am sure that if you were still in business I would have eventually made it to your shop since we are now both retired and our son moved last year to Kansas City, Mo. I just checked and it is a little under a 5 hour drive so I know that now that we are beginning to explore the middle of the country I would have made sure to visit your shop. I am really sorry that I was never able to make it there before you retired.
I can not remember how long I have known you and Connie. I felt we knew each other on a business and personal level. We carried your patterns in our shop. You both came and did a workshop, at our quilt shop. I was lucky to visit your shop several times when quilt market was in Minneapolis. My favorite visit was when we came and had lunch in your home. Miss seeing you and Connie, miss going to quilt market, but do not miss the worries of the quilt shop. It was a lot of hard work. Unless you’ve owned one you will never realize what goes into that “fun” job.
Laura Van Slyke – I couldn’t have said it better! It looked fun and it was to a certain degree but oh, the work and the worry! Connie and I will never forget your guest house in the woods! What a great teaching trip!!! I think of it with great fondness!
I learned of Country Threads back in the ’90s. Probably from a pattern I saw in a Kansas quilt shop. If I had known about your shop while we lived in Iowa in the ’80s I would have dragged my 3 kids halfway across the state just to visit you!
I owned a quilt shop. One of the reasons I didn’t get there. Loved your pattern and sold them. Read the gazette. Happy quilting. Terri
Oh Mary….I feel terrible for the people that never got to experience Country Threads as a shop. By far and forever, you and Connie will always be the gold standard on how a quilt shop should be run. It was always beautiful…always great service…always inspiring. I think I first learned about you all when you were the cover on the magazine that features quilt shops. I was hooked. I’ll always miss the shop but treasure that I still have a relationship with you and Connie. Sometime you should do an update on your old staff. I’d love to know what Mary Baker is up to!
I purchased a couple of your books at a quilt store — must have been in the late 80’s? in Montana. Wish I could have visited your store, and taken a class or gone on a retreat in that wonderful barn!! Sure enjoyed the story and pictures of that restortion! I have spent a lot of wonderful hours thumbing through those books!!
I heard you had a blog when you did a quilt show at quilters window in New Hampton. You were promoting your 2 newer books I’ve loved a previous book that you put out….and when I heard you had a quilt shop I was so sad I an a few years late for that. 🙁
I have a lot of family in Cerro Gordo, Mitchell and Floyd counties. My aunt , whom you met at a restaurant in Charles City (you shared a picture on your blog) taught me to quilt nearly 30 years ago, and when you were having some of your final sales we visited there together. I bought a kit for “Small things” which I made and cherish, as well as a lot of patterns. I sure wish you were still in business, but I do enjoy your blog!
I first knew about Country Threads when a friend & I owned a quilt shop (Indiana) & we carried your patterns.
I first saw a picture of your goat in front of the barn on Pinterest years ago. I checked the picture out, which led me to country threads and I have been a fan of the blog since.
I truly enjoyed seeing the pictures and reading about the barn history! Thank you.
I saw you at a quilt show. I was lucky enough to visit your shop several times!!
Mary, I’ve read through about 200 of the memories. I wrote before, but the one day at Country Threads really stands out in my mind and I didn’t read about it in anybody’s comments. It was 911! You were having a camp in the barn and the ladies were coming from the east coast. Their stories were so impressive on what they had to do to get to Garner from the east coast. As I remember one lady was on the plane taking off right before the one that crashed in the field. I still have the letter one wrote that you put in the Goat Gazette. The stories all the survivors told. Guess we really do rise to meet the occasion and do what we have to. We were coming from Rapid City on our way to Clarion. How emotional. Thank you for being there.
My husband and I traveled extensively in an RV and I looked up quilt shops as we traveled state to state. I can’t remember exactly where I found your shop mentioned but I made it a destination. I remember parking our 36 foot motor home and tow car alongside your property. I loved all your different chickens and took many pictures and you offered to let Puddy, our 4 legged traveling companion run around inside your fence. I absolutely loved your shop, especially the uniqueness Of the chicken coop. I still have the patterns I purchased there and would like to send you a picture of them but I need an email. So glad I recently found your blog and am enjoying the pictures and my memories of that visit.
Somehow I came across the Goat Gazette and started following because I’m a native Iowan and hoped I’d one day get to your shop. My family is from Eastern Iowa, though, and short visits back home never got me to Garner. I picked up several of your patterns at different shops / markets over the years and there are many more I’d like to have. I just looked and I’ve saved some of your emails from as far back as 2017 so I could refer back to them.
Small world that it is, living now in Yerington NV, about 60 miles from Reno, a fellow church member knows a family in Garner. I think George and the guy were in the military together. His mom and his family are there. I can’t remember the family name, though, – it’s an age thing(!) – and it was last fall when we discussed.
From the quilts, to the animals, to the kids and friends and even the weather that makes up the blogs, each day is a new adventure and I enjoy seeing the emails in my inbox and wondering what fun things I’ll be reading about next.
I’ve been a customer to Country Threads so many years ago. I would come visit my best friend Judy Fick. My husband volunteered on the Iowa High School Hockey league. So I got many inspirations and books and patterns and fabrics. Thank you for all your pleasant sales people who helped me.
On the cover of Quilt Sampler magazine with Wear Warm Clothes quilt. I have loved your patterns ever since.
I live in northwest Iowa so it was a real privilege to have such an amazing quilt shop so close (2 1/2 hours). My friend and I took a few of your classes.
My sister told me about your blog. After describing how much she enjoyed reading it, I asked to be on your mailing list. I’ve enjoyed it ever since and often wish I could have visited your shop. I would have enjoyed your animals too!
What is the name of your wedding quilt you hang for your anniversary? Do you still sell it? Thank you!
Wow! These comments are fun to read! As a new quilter, and still working, I learned quilting from books. Your books made me feel as if I was at your shop, and I hoped I could visit when I retired. Sadly, you retired before I did! Never saw the Goat Gazette, but would love to see a copy! By the way, there is a copy of On Behalf of Chickens on Amazon for $948.00. No, I didn’t buy it. Love your blog!
I was blessed to be introduced to Country Threads by my BFF Carol Brooks! She was teaching me how to quilt and asked if I would like to buy a chance to win a quilt that was being raffled by her favorite quilt store. ..you guessed it…Country Threads! They were raising funds for a local animal shelter and so, like all pet fans, I gladly accepted. And guess what? I WON! The wonderful log cabin lives in my bedroom to this day! I have enjoyed retreats, sewing get always and friendships with Mart and Connie that I treasure! Thank you for letting me come to know you! I am sooo grateful!
My mom and aunt visited and sewed with you . They came back with such fun stories that I told them I wanted to go the next time. I didn’t quilt but I told them I would pin and press for them! As it happened, my mom hit a deer on the way to my house. My aunt Brenda called about 9:00 that night and said we could still go as she had my grandma’s featherweight that I could use. W e took off and came to camp. I sewed my first quilt ” Hurray America” and my other Grandma hand quilted it. I will cherish that forever. Since then I have sewn many quilts. We made it a tradition to come to camp for many years. We always had such great times on our way, while we were there and on our way home. Such wonderful memories that will always be cherished! Now I read the blogg to connect to those memories and the farm.
Mary, my Mom lived in Forest City and told me about your store in the 90’s. I thought it was the most unique quilting store I had ever seen!
Years later after living in Colorado, I came by one fall and was looking at your rug book and cd. You went into your house and got the rug you were working on to show me it wasn’t hard to do. That sold me!
Wish you still had your shop but I understand retirement, it is busier than working some days, lol!
I live in Illinois but in 1992, I was on a quilter bus trip in Ohio. My sister Geri Goggin and I spotted your book in a shop. We immediately brought it to our leader Nora Anker and said “ this is where we want to go next bus trip! Country Threads!’ And we did! Not once but twice!
I’ve long been a fan of CT; back in the early 90s I taught at a local quilt shop and I believe that the shop owner had your first book, that’s what drew me in and I was hooked! After that we moved away, first to Puert RICO and then to Geneva, Switzerland. I subscribed to your newsletter and monthly fabric club (1/4 yd cuts) by mail while we lived overseas, that certainly helped this homesick-for-America girl enormously. We moved back to the states in the summer of 1999; our son was off the college that year, Purdue University. I remember telling my husband that we could run over to Country Threads after we dropped him off at school. After all, we were already in Indiana! 😂🤣 So, we kept heading west and visited the shop! I recall your longarmer working in the building beside the shop and watching her work. We spent the night in Clear Lake and began the long drive back to NC the next day. I proudly wore my souvenir CT apron with the flag on the front for years, until I completely wore out! I have great memories of your precious, warm and inviting shop!
Jo Kramer and I started following you when your shop was still open. I was so sad when you said you were closing and I would never get a chance to visit (I live in SoCal). Your shop looked amazing and just my style. I’m glad you are still connecting with us via your blog. All the best to you and Connie.
My opening sentence to the above comment is confusing!!! I heard about you from Jo Kramer’s blog and then I started following you when your shop was still open!!!!
I’mm 66; started sewing clothes when I was 11. I became interested in quilts when I was in high school…well, I should say interested in patchwork. Didn’t know diddly about the quilting part. Anyhow, I tried my hand at some patchwork…..made a large round floor pillow for my dorm room from Woman’s Day magazine…it was supposed to be 8 wedges, but they didn’t fit so mine was six! Then I acquired Ruby Short McKim’s 101 Patchwork Patterns book and tried my hand at a few of those for throw pillows…I made (tried to make) tumbling blocks out of corduroy scraps! Boy was that wonky! Kind of gave up on the idea of quilting…too hard.
Fast Forward to young adulthood and dabbled with patchwork again…made a few partial projects. This would have been late 70’s, no classes, few books or materials. Into the 80’s, renewed interest for me as quilting started becoming popular again…bought your first book because I loved everything in it! Didn’t have the skills to make the projects or the time or money to learn. Didn’t dream I could ever drive to Iowa to visit your shop. We’re “geezer parents”… I was 31 and Bill 38 when we got married and we went through 5 years of infertility treatments to have our kids, so we are now 66 and 73 with kids who are 26 and 29. So at an age when I WOULD have had he time and money to visit, I still didn’t. Now we’re retired and have time and money, alas, you’re no longer open. I still have most of your books and many of the patterns, though, and I love reading the blog.
My friend here in AZ had family in Britt and she visited your shop annually and shared the Goat Gazette with our group of friends. CT was a destination on my bucket list and when my husband and I took a 10,000 mile trip around the USA, visiting kids and relatives, I broached the trip to CT with a trade off for a museum he was interested in. It worked! Loved your shop and meeting you and, as a former country farm girl, enjoy the stories of animals, buildings, and all that goes with it. Thanks for your interesting blog.
I just discovered you a few weeks ago….maybe three to a month.
And for some reason I don’t remember where I saw this link.
I think I was on a blog and it referred to you through a quilt pattern someone posted.
I’m loving hearing about your farm and quilt business.
I like the travel project case. 😉
I came to know Country Threads through one of your patterns. My mom made the circular table topper pattern for her mom’s round diningroom table. Sorry, I don’t remember the name of the pattern. I’ve been collecting your patterns for a long time now. I suspect I have around 200 of them. I came to visit Country Threads once a year. We would attend the Bible camp located in Ventura, IA I was usually the camp nurse for the week. On Saturday, after camp was over, that ‘my time’. I drove to CT to visit and buy to my heart’s content. I loved the peacefulness of the farm and the landscape in northwest Iowa. (I live in SE Iowa on a farm). I enjoyed receiving the Goat Gazette in the mail Thanks for all you’ve done over the years. I like the pincushion.
I knew about Country Threads from your book on Rug Twining and your appearances in APQ magazine.
I learned about you from Jo’s Country Junction blog. Last year I ordered you Rugs From Rags Book and CD.
Would LOVE to win the flag pouch💕💕💕💕💕
I learned about your shop from the MNY times I shopped there, including purchasing many quilts at your closing sale!
I found you through Jo’s Country Junction. Hello!!