Quilting Retreats on the Homestead

Crafters find friendship, food, fabric and fun at quilting retreats in a farm bed-and-breakfast.

Quilting Retreat

Quilting Retreat

The Quilting Retreat gathers for a group photo. Photography by Ken Klose.

Quilting Retreat

Quilting Retreat

Lorna shows off one of her quilting creations from the Quilting Retreat. Photography by Ken Klose.

Quilting Retreat

Quilting Retreat

Lorna’s Farm Quilt Haus. Photography by Ken Klose.

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By Lorna Wiens
Staples, Minnesota

Two of my favorite things in the world are quilting and company. So I guess it’s only natural I’d open a B&B featuring sewing bees on our homestead. I borrowed a corner of husband Mel’s pasture for my Farm Quilt Haus, named for our German heritage. At this cozy country cabin,  I host retreat days for quilters, as well as small family gatherings. Crafters say a stay here is like therapy, a chance to escape interruptions and focus on sewing and having fun.

Our son, an architect, originally designed the cabin just for me, so I could work undisturbed by TV and telephones. But our local quilt shop had recently closed, which left crafters with no convenient spot to gather.  Our year-round guest cabin evolved from there—it was a perfect fit!

The quilting retreats can accommodate eight people, with sleeping room for four. They bring their own sewing machines, and arrive carrying more fabric than luggage! The great room is equipped with large folding tables, ironing boards, cutting counters and rulers, and heavy-duty electrical circuits. If the guests want, I arrange a formal quilting class with local instructors or a speaker.

One woman books a weekend every year with her granddaughters, and she teaches them quilting techniques. Other groups prefer to meet for freestyle sewing. They bring whatever projects they have in progress, from purses to bedspreads.

Quilty Pleasures

Being creative makes people hungry, so I make sure there’s plenty to eat. Some guests bring their own potluck ingredients to prepare in the cabin kitchen. Or I can fix a meal, complete with produce from Mel’s organic garden.

For entertainment, we have poultry and purebred shorthorns to serenade us. And for those who want to take a break, I direct them to the best places for sightseeing, canoeing or fabric shopping. The ambiance is cozy, with seasonal quilts and folk art prints on the walls. We have two beds and a bathroom with a claw-foot tub for guests who spend the night after marathon quilting sessions.

But you don’t even need to sew to enjoy yourself at the cabin. Groups of families and friends have come here for wedding showers, parties, reunions, club meetings and sisters’ getaways. We’ve welcomed people from as far away as China, India and Madagascar. Mickey Rooney and his wife even stayed here when they were performing in a nearby area opera house.

Since quilting is my major relaxation (I once owned a quilt shop), I like to spend time at the cabin myself. A couple of days a month, I invite quilting friends over and we work on our own “UFOs”—those unfinished objects tucked away in our closets.

Editor’s Note: For more on the Farm Quilt Haus or to make a reservation, call Lorna at 218-894-2715 or e-mail her at lmwiens@cchoice.net.


Joanie Vander Pol 1 July 19, 2012 at 9:35 am

I found a gluten free cookbook in your Aug/Sept magazine, in the Almanac section. I would like to order this book for my mom-in-law. Can you help me? I tried to locate it by your site as well as the Country Store, without success.
Thank you,
Joanie Vander Pol


lori 2 July 19, 2012 at 10:10 am

Sure, Joanie! Just a heads-up: the books featured here are generally new releases that we think would interest readers, not necessarily books we publish. How to Cook Gluten-Free by Elizabeth Barbone is available in bookstores or online at sites like Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com — just enter the title and author in the search fields there.


Rose 3 January 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm

wondered if you have easy pattern for quilting quilts for an 86 year old lady who wants something to do – she wants to make a quilt for each of her children yet. she used to do this but forgot many things = do you have a simple pattern for her.


sharon 4 January 21, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Hi, Rose, I have a couple of suggestions regarding places to post your inquiry that may yield a bigger response. You can email your request to editors@lovethecountry.com, if you would like for us to consider it for the Readers to the Rescue section of our print magazine. We would need your email address or mailing address to publish the request however, as readers would need to know how to contact you. Other options:
You could post your request on our Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/CountryWomanMag; Or post your request on our website Forum page; http://community.tasteofhome.com/magazine_forums/f/203222.aspx; Or post on the Taste of Home Crafters forum http://community.tasteofhome.com/group_forums/crafters_chat/f/61.aspx


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