How did PNQS come to be? Did you always want to own a quilt store? Do you get to sew all day long? I get asked these questions all the time. I will tell you, it was something of a fluke, partly destiny, many other components added, fly-by-the-seat of your pants, blind ambition plus the coming together of a fine assembly of wonderful persons which are past and present staff members and customers, I proudly call my PNQS family, now and forever…
Let me begin at the beginning.
Sewing began for me at the age of 9 for 4-H. Quilting as a sophomore in high school when mom and grandma gave me some yardage of a sky blue fabric and the bag of scraps from various clothing projects. I began with a cardboard template, and ink pen to draw around the 4 inch square cut from the back of a cereal box, scissors in hand to cut the squares one by one. I sewed them together carefully in a 4 patches and we then tied the quilt top, batting and backing together with yarn on a big wooden frame. Over the years I made several more, I was hooked.
Husband Tom and I were owners/operators of our family dairy that expanded over the years. While I still did some quilting here and there and managed to attend a quilt retreat once a year, sewing and quilting was certainly on the back burner. We worked side by side for over 25 years, both our children joined the operation after high school and college; we survived the ups and downs of several expansions to get to 625 total Holstein cows/calves and milking 3 times a day. In 2005 we sold the dairy cows on two bright sunny February days, it was truly bittersweet for our family.
Tom, my husband, my rock, my business partner and best friend!
At that time I owned half interest in the long arm quilting machine at Pine Needles Quilt Shop in Cresco, Iowa. I worked part time at it and was able to quilt customer quilts in between the chores and milking. The shop owner came to me one day and announced as she had 2 stores, she was going to sell the Cresco location and that I should buy it. I quickly asked if she had fallen and hit her head. None the less, one thing led to another in by springtime my husband, daughter and I were owners of a quilt shop.
Cresco, Iowa, where it all began
Let me go back in time and tell you why it was a bit of destiny for me at least. There is a history of depression in my family; I thought I was exempt, alas, I was not. I share this because I know others too, struggle with depression. I want you to know you are not alone. I experienced the darkest time of my otherwise wonderful life in my mid 30’s; when asked at a counseling session, “What would be your dream job?” I answered owning a quilt store. That was a crazy answer for sure, at that time, I had two children at home and was working alongside husband with the dairy. I barely had time to even look at my sewing machine and certainly never even thought of owning a shop, I was not sure where that statement even came from and quickly tucked it away. Little did I know that 10 or so years down the road that would be exactly what would happen. Ah yes, destiny!
Daughter Suzie had worked with us at the dairy and joined in the running of the store right from the beginning. Husband Tom and son Justin continue to farm our land, minus the livestock. Suzie has been a huge part of PNQS every step of the way and took on the role of Certified Bernina Technician several years ago. She loves the challenge and seems to relish the ins and outs of the new highly technical, multi-facets sewing/embroidery machines of today.
It has indeed been a challenge, a kind of wild ride of ups and downs, learning and discovery. Through the years we have added a location, moved and sold a second location. We landed in Rochester in 2012 and are so very happy here. Great town, great staff, great customers, quilting and sewing is just an added benefit.
Tom and Justin
Suzie and Mom, side by side and still smiling!
And to answer the third question; I do not get to sew all day long.
I do, very, very much enjoy my time to sew… it hardly ever happens at the shop. Most of the time it is in the evenings, in my pj’s…at home.