The Quilted Steeple, 12-21-23

Connie and I haven’t seen each other for months and today we met halfway and traveled north to the Quilted Steeple, a quaint country church that became a quilt shop and retreat center.

And what did I buy, you ask????

This square panel which I’ll quilt for a tablecloth.

I took the big print along and picked up the fat quarters to coordinate.

A couple patterns, fat quarters and yardage to go with the fabric Cyndy sent me yesterday.

If I weren’t writing this blog tonight I’d be trying to decide what I should sew first. Oh, such fun! I haven’t been in a quilt shop in a long time. If you live in North Iowa – Southern Minnesota, go visit. And if you live further away, make a day of it. Her retreat center is next door in what used to be the parsonage, I assume, and what a sweet deal. Shop at midnight when you’re up late sewing and need just another piece to make it right! I failed to pick up a brochure but you should go online and read about The Quilted Steeple.

This is Julie Dodd, the owner, holding a table runner kit called Rose Garden.

Sheryl and Dianne, the two worker bees, who guided us when we were too overwhelmed to find what was right in front of us.

Remember Sandy Gervais? She lives in Algona, just 5 miles south and this shop carries lots of her patterns and fabrics. And as I admired some beautiful machine quilting, it looked so familiar I just had to ask. Yup, my neighbor Sue U. quilted it.

There’s a longarm in the back room.

A bedroom off the quilting room:

Sheryl took our picture from the balcony!

The original church altar and just to the left (out of the picture) is the old pump organ!

Many quilts on display, tons of kits, plenty of mixers and top designers and it was an easy layout to shop in! I’ll be returning.

Look at this sweet pillow Connie made for me!

When I got home I bound this Christmas panel.

Yesterday my mailman brought a box full of fun from my friend who came after the kittens, Cyndy in California.

I used this today.
She knows I want a trailer out in my grove.

Today the mailman brought me these darling puppy cards from Pat in TX and I’ve gotten many cards from readers – thank you! I know how Jo, Norma, Maggie and Darlene must feel now.

What a fun day! Check out The Quilted Steeple! I’ll be back!

72 thoughts on “The Quilted Steeple, 12-21-23

  1. Marilyn Leerar

    that is a fun shop. Have you checked out the shop in Lone Rock? They have the biggest selection of 108″ I have ever seen. Make that the next meeting for you and Connie.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Marilyn – they told us about that shop but to be perfectly honest I am not interested in wide backs at all. I’ve never been fond of wide backs and we never carried them. I’m trying to use up fabric so I end up making nearly reversible quilts because it’s all pieced. They talked very highly of her shop but nope, it’s not for me. Now with that said I really should post her info here on the blog for my readers. Can you give me the shop name in Lone Rock? I’ll post it here.

  2. Jeanie S, Central IL

    How cool you and Connie could spend the day together and at a quilt shop no less! How fun is that!
    Thanks for all the great pictures. 🥰

  3. RS in IA

    Love the Steeple, too! The array of notions is so tempting, when I get any fabric, several other packages come home, too. They have things we didn’t even know we needed.
    Thanks, Mary, for your efforts with this blog. Really enjoyed seeing the quilts and trees this month. Also appreciate your musical talent; finally took time to watch the Zion cantata video and really liked the arrangements. The fresh take on some of the old songs is fun to listen for. Kudos to you all. Hope the gal who fainted is okay.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      RS – the gal who fainted is about 16 and was wearing 4” red heels – ON THE RISERS!!!! She’s fine – but it ought to be a rule to wear flat shoes on the risers.

  4. Marsha in Michigan

    The quilted steeple looks like a really fun shop! Our new local retreat center is in a refurbished church. I attended a retreat there but didn’t spend the nights as we still had our granddaughter at the time and she liked to snuggle Grandma to go to sleep. 😊

    Not sure if I’d stay anyway as the bedrooms are shared.

    Aa I was reading I remembered a shop not that far from me that I visited once & offers lessons. I may check to see if they’re still there because at the time I was working full-time plus so it wasn’t feasible to sign up for classes. Gotta go google!

    Or family is getting together for an early Christmas celebration at our married son’s house. Appetizers at one, gift opening, then dinner. I made a layered salad to take.

    1. Kris in WI

      Marsha, I had to giggle when you wrote, “Gotta go Google” this morning. Especially when I sat down at the computer to Google the weather (fog, fog, and more fog) and ended up at Mary’s blog (quilters, a trip to the quilt shop, and lots of quilts and comments) which is far more interesting. Happy Quilting to all! Kris

  5. Diane and the gang

    PS I just looked up Algona on the map. It is not too far from Sherburn, MN where my Nana grew up after moving there from Northern Ireland in 1905. Someday, I’d like to go back there. We visited when I was 10, but I’d like to see it now. Sounds like a road trip to Iowa and Minnesota!!

  6. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

    I’d love to visit that quilt shop. There are so many samples and wonderful things to look at:)
    You and Connie must have had a great time. I love to see samples and then buy the pattern and fabrics to
    make it. What a fun day!

  7. Betty Klosterman

    Patricia, please explain what you call a “10 minute table topper.” That sounds like something we could start and finish in a single sitting??
    And they even have stores that sell the counted threads cross stitch? They are so much fun to see the picture emerge and with “x’s” like we were a artist doing a painting! Paint by number, except the paint doesn’t have to dry.
    Supposed to have a cold front tomorrow night and maybe snow, or is it going south of us? Time will tell.
    Have a beautiful Christmas no matter where you are.
    Betty in Rapid City

    1. Martha W in WY

      Betty, I read your question to Patricia about the “10 Minute Table Topper.” I have visited “The Quilted Cow” quilt shop in West Branson, MO and I listen and watch their Facebook shows. The gal that owns it has a slew of in house designers. I know that they have a “10 Minute Table Runner” pattern. They probably have the table topper pattern also. They have a website also. They sell fabric, kits, patterns, and notions on the shows. I hope this information helps.

      1. Betty Klosterman

        Thank you for referring the Quilted Cow video. Mary, I think my age is showing. Was it 20 years ago when you were making them????? At least? About the same time you were making the red/white table runners for the church Valentine Day lunch? We need these very simple ideas, but Iit would probably be at least 1 hour for me now.

        I’ve been making very simple runners from 2 DIFFERENT pieces of fabric about 9-12″ wide x WOF plus a piece of batting the same measurements. Then I sew the front sides together plus the batting around the edges leaving an opening to turn right sides out. The finishing is top stitching around the edges about the width of the foot and it is done!!! Turn the side up that is matches the mood or the day (or doesn’t have a dirty spot) and the table is ready.

        My nieces and friends love them. I haven’t used them because there isn’t any empty space on my kitchen table!

        And now I have to go watch “The Preachers Wife.” I do love that movie!!
        Merry Christmas Betty in Rapid City

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Betty – I would guess it’s right around 20 years ago – oh, the stuff we made! And right now I’m using a red and white runner for Christmas.

    2. Mary Etherington Post author

      Betty – we made many of these in the shop and now I can’t remember how – did you Google it?

  8. Carol Garner

    Such a delight for you two to share your adventures, the quilt shop looks like a dream come true to us quilters. The beautiful floral panel you purchased reminded me of the material in one of the quilts you featured, it looks like an exploding nine patch. It is stunning. I so enjoy your posts and life in the Midwest. I’ve always wanted to visit Iowa and maybe one day I’ll venture that way, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Rick and all your critters.

  9. Beryl BC

    Thanks for sharing that shop. What fun for you and Connie! I’ll try to remember it for when we are traveling in that area.

  10. Jeanne from Co.

    Mary, what a special treat today to visit the Quilted Steeple quilt shop with you and Connie. I have a question though- did you play the pump organ while you were there? Also, what is the name of the panel you quilted with the horses, barn and the tree with cardinals in it? Is it still available or is this from your stash? It is beautiful. Please don’t tell us that it is to be hung outdoors in the weather. What a perfect way to end the year- with a trip to a wonderful quilt shop with a dear friend you hadn’t seen for a while. Can’t wait to see what you have planned for all your treasures that you bought. And what a wonderful diversion after the stress of practicing and playing for your church cantata. You deserved that special day with Connie.
    Have a blessed Christmas, everyone. Jeanne in Co.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jeanne – Julie actually apologized when she said she’s invited other customers to play the pump organ but it was piled high with precuts so she couldn’t make it available.
      The horse panel – I have two different ones that I’ll post tonight – is by Susan Winget and she seems to do one about every year. I don’t have them outside – just yet – haha!!! It was a fun day shopping with Connie – I tend to spend more because I haven’t been in a quilt shop for months and months and months – she has. I get to sew over Christmas!

  11. Cathie

    What a wonderful day you and Connie had. You both look so happy from the second floor! Love
    all the animal pictures and will be checking out the Quilted Steeple. It’s so much fun to get sundries
    from different places.
    Merry Christmas!!!!!

  12. Jeanine from Iowa

    What a fun trip to the quilt shop with you and Connie. You deserved a day out after your cantata and all that you have been doing. Working on my December blue quilt. We are so happy here today as we received .6″ of rain overnight and today……the most we have had at one time in months. We are so dry, and it was a gentle rain, so it is soaking in. I know the farmers are happy. Merry Christmas to you, Mary and Rick, and all your blog followers. We know it is the best blog anywhere! Thanks for all you do. Blessings in the New Year.

  13. Beth Laverty

    Wow, I would have loved to visit such a shop. That is major lot of “choices” to make!!

  14. Connie R. in Wis.

    Thanks for taking us along with you and Connie on your quilt shop visit. There are so few quilt shops around my area that, your tour was great. I vowed I wasn’t going to buy any more quilt supplies until I used up some of my stash but, that Rose Table Runner kit is beautiful. Might have to treat myself with a birthday gift in January.
    50 degrees predicted for Christmas Day here in Northern Wisconsin. Unheard of for this area. No white Christmas this year.
    Merry Christmas and God’s blessings in the new year!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Connie R – it’s one of the cutest runners I’ve seen in a long time.

  15. Launa Peters

    Wish I lived near the Quilted Steeple!!! Looked like my type of shop!
    Talked to granddaughter in CA this morning and she was @ her sister’s to help take the three little Great Grand’s to go have pictures with Santa. Sounded like it was creating big excitement to do that!
    Was 23o here in Idaho this morning….high fog n no new snow. Probably 2 feet old snow!
    Great pictures of your outing! Many thanks!

  16. Shirley Andersen Smith

    Looks like a beautiful quilt shop. If I ever get that way again, I will stop there and maybe come by the farm and have an “ice tea” with you.I am glad you and Connie got together and had a fun day.
    Merry Christmas Mary n Rick and alllll the animals.
    Shirley from Central Oregon

  17. Fran

    I have friends up that way that shop and retreat at the Quilted Steeple. Hoping to make it there one day. It looks like a great place to shop. I am running behind because of family visiting but it was brief. So catching up today. Always enjoy your blog and photos.

  18. Sue Bowers

    Thanks for the tip on the Quilted Steeple. I’ve often wondered where you shopped for fabric. Looks like a cute place. Road trip!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sue – I haven’t shopped for fabric much at all since we closed because I have so much left from the shop. I am really trying to use it up. Have you ever been to the shop in Kiester? I would recommend it!! Closer to you, too!

  19. Sandi Gordon

    I love the Steeple!! My parents farm is only a few miles away from the Steeple and when I go back home(I live in Oregon) I make a few trips there! Always fun to get new projects to take back that reminds me of home.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sandi – No kidding? Wow!! it’s nearly identical to the little country church I grew up in and right there in the middle of farmland. I’ll bet you miss that Iowa farmland, don’t you?

  20. Gail in Ohio

    What fun!!! What could be better than going to a fabulous quilt shop with a great friend!! I’m trying to get a shopping date with a special friend and we get interrupted… one of these days!
    Love the tour of the shop and the photos – I hope I can get there one day! (I’m itching to sew and my machine is in the shop… and just when I have some time… sigh…)

  21. Sally J. Mi.

    Thanks for taking us on your journey with Connie. What a fabulous Quilt shop. I would be in seventh heaven there!!
    Granddaughter Allison and I will be preparing for our Christmas party which is tomorrow. We will be busy cleaning some and cooking today.
    Happy Holidays to all.

  22. Mary H

    What a fun day. You 2 look great! Sweet snowman pillow. That looks like an interesting shop and retreat. Getting happy mail this time of year is the best, isn’t it.
    It’s great to see an old church building saved and use. We have a neat old building downtown that is half coffee shop/ half gift and antique shop. 2 different owners. The balcony is a 3rd business, a kitchen remodeled. They had piano music and fun food and 1/2 off on Christmas last night. The gift shop owner was going to close and everyone was feeling sad about this. Halfway through the evening the piano player said, I have an announcement. When the owner asked him to play for this evening, she mentioned she couldn’t continue the business. He said he and his wife thought about it and bought her business and inventory. Isn’t that a great solution?
    Merry Christmas!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Mary H – wow! Isn’t that great? Three businesses saved! What’s Ada getting for Christmas?

      1. Mary H

        She’s getting a tea set, a Barbie house, a Mickey Mouse dress, some crafts, etc. We Made a gingerbread house today!

  23. Patricia

    What a great trip with your former partner and friend. The quilt store looks fabulous. It looks like it would take 3 or4 rounds to see it all. I really liked the snowman pillow Connie gifted you. Yesterday I spent several hours with two quilting friends just catching up. One of them, Glenda ( her husband’s name is Glenn ) made me a table topper out of her scraps and one for Nancy made out of scraps she gave her. . They were both great. And my friend Nancy made each of us one of those 10 minute table toppers with a Christmas scene. Also wonderful. Will be looking forward to your creations with new fabric. I enjoyed the tour. Happy Christmas from Pat in Md.

  24. NancyTD

    You and Connie had a great day! Just looking at all the pictures got me inspired. Will have to visit the shop in person. Cute pillow Connie made you. Neat gifts too from your friends.
    Enjoying our nice warm weather and finding things to do outside. Rain today ( yes- not snow) 51 and rain for Christmas. That is unreal for SE Minnesota.
    Merry Christmas to everyone!

  25. Marie C

    Thanks for a great quilt shop your. I love that fabric you got the fat quarters for. I can’t wait to see what you do with that. What color thread do you use when you quilt the wallhangings that start with a panel. I have several panels I need to quilt.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Marie – I usually use a tan that blends in with everything – except a panel with snow like the horses – then a light nearly white thread

  26. Bernadette

    Mary, you and Connie did a great job of showing what is available at the quilt shop. Looks like a fun place to visit. I like everything you show, but I really like the horse picture you finished and hung outside. Really puts a person in the spirit of Christmas. Wishing you and Rick a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy New Year.

  27. Kelli

    What a delightful quilt shop! So glad you and Connie could connect and share a wonderful day shopping! I always love seeing what you buy – it so inspires Mr and I feel like I’m right there with you!

    The dog fabric and cards are so cute! Can’t wait to see what you do with the fabric.

  28. Kathy in western NY

    What a fun girlfriend trip to read about. Thanks for taking us along. Good way to spend the holiday together, and her pillow gift is so cute. I do like to see your color choices as that’s the fun of changing it up for variety and fresh ideas.
    Gosh I hadn’t thought of Nate King Cole’s voice in a long time after Jo mentioned playing his music. My grandmother had his record album and Andy Williams playing on her blonde phonograph player. Then an aunt would put on the Elvis Christmas album and the foot tapping would begin as we set up the egg nog table with her punch bowl. Aren’t our memories priceless when we use paper plates for easy clean up and some just turn on tv station for a fireplace ambiance with constant music. I enjoyed reading the comments from those who are doing cookies and crafts today. Joyful times.

  29. Amy Kollasch

    I went and visited the quilted steeple about 4 weeks ago for the first time! Absolutely loved it! Everyone is so helpful. I took a charm pack with me to find coordinating fabric with no pattern in mind. I left with a new quilt book and lots of fabric. Even picked up some of their discounted precut fabric because I just couldn’t leave them behind.

  30. Wendy T.

    Looks like you and Connie had an awesome day. Thanks for sharing all the quilty goodness with us.

  31. Linda in MI

    Beautiful quilt shop, looks like it’s loaded with a lot of variety. One of my favorite shops is in an old church in Pinconning Michigan called Bittersweet. The owner has bittersweet growing along the ramp going into the front door and she offers a fabulous selection including some wool for applique and a few antiques and decor items sprinkled around the shop. I always add to my stash or can find the perfect compliment to a planned project every time I visit Bittersweet.

    In another small town closer to me than Pinconning is a retreat center that started with one old small church and has expanded with a second church, an old lumber barens home and a former old restaurant/hotel. My girlfriend and I go with a bunch of friends twice a year and stay in the original old church. The first floor sanctuary is all open with two long rows of tables, sewing chairs, lighting and electrical outlets, plenty to accommodate the 24 women it holds to sew for four day retreats. The downstairs is bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen/dining. We love going and have made dear friends. The fall retreat was extra special because my sisters Nancy (late Augie’s mom) and Susan came up from Louisville and went to the retreat. It was extra fun and extra special. I’m hoping they come in the spring for the May retreat as well.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Linda – oh, how fun! I never get anything done at a retreat – I talk too much – you know, Windy!

  32. Carolyn Rector

    Wow, what a great visit with Connie. Love your tote. Have fun quilting with new fabric. Looks like a great place to visit.
    From Ohio

  33. Sharon Eshlaman

    Wow, awesome post…..I’m jealous as I sure wish I were shopping with you two at such an awesome shop!
    It doesn’t get better than this 1) in my chair, 5am 2) coffee in hand 3) huge smile on my face 4) inspiration galore! LOVE this blog about nothing❤️

  34. Lisa B

    I love the idea of using the floral panel for a table cloth. Donna Jordan of Jordan’s Fabrics latest video shows this panel as the center of a larger quilt which is also absolutely gorgeous. The fabric line is beautiful.

  35. Martha W in WY

    Oooooo.. . I’m in love ❤️ already! Thanks for the quilt shop “trip” today. IWe travel to MN several times a year to visit my almost 100 yr old mother. In the summer I go by myself. I will besure to take the long route through central Iowa. I want to visit Jo Kramer of Jo’s Country Junction and visit some of the quilt and cross-stitch shops she has mentioned in her blog. Now I’ll add The Steeple Quilt Shop to my itinerary. I enjoyed zooming in on your photos. All those beautiful samples had me drooling. Well, we just drove 10 hrs to ND to celebrate Christmas with our daughter’s family. It will be fun with three grands ages 3, 8, and 11. Lots of crafts and baking planned! Now, time for some shut eye.

  36. patti

    thank you for sharing the quilt shop trip with us. i’m sure you enjoyed spending time with connie also. always fun to go shopping with a close friend. i haven’t been in a true quilt store in a long while. the one i loved close to me closed as the couple retired and moved to tennessee. good for them. while they were still young enough and healthy enough to enjoy life. that quilt store looks awesome. i’m sure i could spend alot of time and $$ there. so much inspiration. the thing i miss most about not being able to visit quilt shops (the copd and oxygen really limit my movements). all the reader comments are wonderful. i enjoy them as much as i enjoy reading your blog. happy holidays to all of you. patti in florida

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Patti – and I enjoy the comments so much more than me doing all the talking! Many people read the blog but only a very few ever comment / thank you for yours!

  37. Sue in Oregon

    What Fun!! I haven’t been in a quilt store for a long time either. Thanks for taking me along. Can’t wait to see that quilted tablecloth.

  38. Jo in Wyoming

    Which was better…spending time with Connie or that fabulous store?
    I could spend days in that store. You found fun stuff too.
    We are forecasted to have snow this weekend. Yeah.
    Today I put bows on the duck decoys, even Cornelius, the big chicken outside, got a bow. My house looks a lot more festive. The kids told me I have to put the bows on.

    Tomorrow, I will put Nat King Cole Christmas music on. I love his voice. Then some Susan Boyle.
    I’m still getting wonderful cards. So many personal messages. Your families and stories brighten my day. Thanks to all of you.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jo – it was all fun but we haven’t shopped together in a loooong time. We both see different things. And now to sew with that new stuff – I think I’m actually going to start a log cabin – I’ve been meaning to do that anyway. So glad you feel the love!! My readers are the best!!!

  39. Sandy

    Hi Mary, a beautiful quilt shop, l would get overwhelmed with choice, good idea to take a project and get more fabric! Stella said we had to make something healthy today, so it was fruit sticks. Last minute food shopping tomorrow, then make pasta salad and Pavlov on Sunday, l don’t like too much stress at Christmas. Take care everyone, best wishes from Sandy

  40. Lynn Lahr

    The Quilted Steeple looks like a great shop. I’ve never been there, but some day. My cousin went to med school at the University of Iowa with the owner. The owner has the quilt shop/retreat center and works part time as a doctor. What an over achiever! My cousin goes there a couple times a year with friends for retreats. Some of them quilt and some do other crafts. I told her I’d be in for filling in an empty spot if they ever had openings. I’m trying to finish some Christmas stockings I cross stitched last summer. They are small and I should be able to finish them tomorrow. Today I made cut out cookies. Our daughter and her girls (ages 4 and 7) are coming for the weekend, and we will decorate the cookies and probably make some other kinds. We really do not need them, but it is tradition. I’m looking forward to the visit. My other daughter and her little boy were going to come too, but now they have Covid in their house. Cannot take the chance of them coming here Saturday even if they test negative as my husband is having back surgery on the 29th and he really is miserable and cannot take the chance of getting it. So, after we are done, we will drop off some cookies on their front steps and wave from a distance. Such a world we live in. Happy Holidays everyone. It will be a brown Christmas in Iowa.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Lynn – Julie was not at the shop when we arrived but Dianne just insisted on calling her to come in and when we met her she reminded us that she had come to the shop years ago before she opened. She was seeking advice and admittedly we had none to give her. Nobody opens a quilt shop like we did so what could we tell her? Yes, I do believe she is an overachiever!

  41. Cathy

    The rescue tote bag is by artist Mary lake Thompson in my town oroville ca she sells all over in gift shops every where but in our town is her discount shop of seconds I make many quilts and pillows from her dish towels I’ll send you some pictures love every thing in the blogs but miss the goat gazette and your store I enjoy your speak to being old

  42. Karen

    Love the blog about the Quilted Sterple Quilt shop. A great one for my bucket list someday. Thanks for taking us on your trip with Connie.

  43. Pat Smith

    What a fun trip! I would love to be in Iowa and go to that quilt store and retreat center. When. I looked them up on line there was a nice narration on the site about the creation of the shop. I have never heard of this shop before and loved hearing about them.

  44. Emily Pittenger

    My mom and I along with a friend attended a retreat weekend at the Quilted Steeple. The retreat part is in the church basement. Us 3 stayed in the church just off of the shop (in fact, the bed you posted was the one I slept in). The parsonage has room for lots of attendees. Julie has a wonderful caterer who brings fantastic meals! Definitely recommend a retreat!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Emily – oh, how fun ! I didn’t have time for a full tour so I’ll have to go back!

  45. DebMac

    I’ve been to the “Quilted Steeple” several times now and never leave empty handed! My college roommate lives near Algona and we have hopped our way around the NW corner of Iowa and Southern Minnesota and stop there every trip. It fits our style and we have different styles. We both love 30’s prints and fell in love with the big quilt on the wall behind the long arm when we were there in October. Highly recommend them. Yesterday was the start of cookie mania here. Our grandson was here overnight and helped decorate the sugar cookies. He has a new favorite; M&M cookie bars. A friend was coming this afternoon for a play date and he needed a plate of goodies for them to munch on ’cause boys get hungry for cookies!

  46. Sunflower from Michigan 🌻

    Oh, my! What a wonderful day at the quilt shop!!
    Love your Rescue dog bag! And that horse quilt, too. I have a similar panel but none of the fabric you used on the back which is darling!
    Love your gifts, too!

  47. Diane In Colorado

    I love when old buildings can be repurposed!! Sounds like a fun shop! And I love the sweet panel you bought of the horses in winter!

    We had 60s today for our Winter Solstice! I will be looking forward to a few more minutes of daylight each day!!!

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