Threads of Tradition at Sauder Village is a destination quilt shop. It’s also a quilt shop in a destination. And it was also Frank’s favorite shop of all the shops we visited.
Erie J Sauder was a craftsman, an innovator, and an inventor. In 1934, he established a woodworking business in Archbold, making furniture, church pews, and cabinetry. During the course of his career, he also invented the first knock-down furniture which could be shipped in a flat box and easily assembled by the purchaser, a process which revolutionized the furniture industry. When he decided to retire from his successful companies in the mid ’70s, a love of history and the fine craftsmanship of his Mennonite heritage led him to found Sauder Village, a historical center dedicated to preserving and showcasing the craftsmanship of 19th century America and illustrating the progression of farming and industry into the early 20th century. Throughout the village, you will find costumed artisans demonstrating woodwork, blacksmithing, basketmaking, weaving, pottery, and every other craft necessary for a successful pioneer community. It’s a fascinating place, well worth spending a day among the authentic period cabins that comprise the village. We first stopped there years ago, and spent a delightful and informative afternoon wandering through the shops and chatting with the guides.
Frank is a committed woodworker and a history buff, too, but that was not why Threads of Tradition was Frank’s favorite stop.
And among its many attractions, Sauder Village also has Threads of Tradition, a truly marvelous quilt shop. The shop is located inside the Historic Village and shares a building with the Village Museum, but you don’t need to pay village admission to visit Threads of Tradition. Just ask for a shopping pass at the Admissions Desk in the Welcome Center.
The first person we met when we arrived at the Welcome Center was Imogene, a volunteer in the Historic Village who was waiting to meet her scheduled tour group. She has been volunteering at Sauder Village for “many years”. She told us that she particularly enjoys telling school children about how families worked and lived together in older times.
A short stroll across the grassy circle and along the path between the Cooper’s Shop and Anna’s Spinning Shop brought us to the Museum entrance.
Threads of Tradition is just inside the door and to the right.
You can’t miss it. The quilts spill out of the shop into the hall and draw you in.
And then you walk inside.
Much of the fabric is displayed in gorgeous wooden cabinets, just what you’d expect in a shop inspired by Erie J Sauder.
As you might expect from a quilt shop in a Historic Village, you’ll find lovely reproduction fabrics.
But there is an extensive array of brights and batiks, flannels and contemporary fabrics, too. In fact the theme of their 2014 Quilt Challenge is “Line Dance” and features a decidedly modern collection of stripes and dots from Michael Miller. It made me happy just to look at them.
The Challenge quilts will be displayed at the annual Sauder Village Quilt Show which will run from Tuesday, April 29 to Sunday, May 4, 2014. (More on the quilt show later.)
And, besides the visual carnival of fabric that fills Threads of Tradition, you’ll find a full complement of notions, patterns, threads, precut bundles, batting, and embellishments — anything and everything a quilter could possibly need or desire.
And, to pique your interest and fire your creativity, there are quilts everywhere you look. Like this amazing star quilt.
Or these modern interpretations of classic patterns.
And these colorful examples that hang above a long rack of patterns.
And these lovely more traditional designs.
And there is also an eye-catching assortment of smaller projects, too.
But none of this is why Threads of Tradition was Frank’s favorite shop.
Jeanette introduced us to Glorabelle, one of the managers of Threads of Tradition. Glorabelle has been working at Threads of Tradition since ’95. While she’d been introduced to quilting before and had made a few baby quilts for her children, the encouraging environment at Threads of Tradition inspired her to expand her quilting horizons. She told us about their successful Saturday Sampler Block of the Month program for beginning quilters.
Jeanette and Glorabelle both waxed eloquent about Sauder Village’s annual quilt show. It is a glorious week filled with beautiful quilts, lively workshops and fascinating lectures by a noted guest quilter. This year’s special guest was Kim Diehl. Next year’s show is scheduled for April 29 – May 4, 2014, and will feature Gyleen Fitzgerald. More information about the 2014 Quilt Show will be coming at the end of year along with workshop registration and forms for entering quilts in the show, so be sure to keep an eye on the Threads of Tradition website and mark your calendars. In the meanwhile, take a peek at a few of the quilts from this year’s show on display in Sauder Village’s Founder’s Hall.
And Glorabelle gave me a quick tour of Threads of Tradition. This is the juvenile and flannel fabrics nook.
And this is one of the cabinets bursting with tempting fat quarters and precuts.
As you wander through Threads of Tradition, you’ll eventually find your way to the classroom.
And there, almost every week day, you will find quilters gathered around a quilt frame. Meet LuAnn, Freida, Marguerite, and Donna.
These ladies have been sitting and quilting together for decades. Some of their quilts are raffled to support the educational programs at Sauder Village. Others are commissioned works by talented local quilters and are sold to the public. And, as they quilt, they talk about old friends, children and grandchildren, neighbors, quilts they’d made, recipes, the weather — discussing the things quilters have always conferred about as they stitched.
They are always happy to show visitors their work and the finer points of hand quilting.
Donna was working on a beautiful feathered border.
Marguerite stitched in the ditch along the boldly patterned sashing that framed the lovely traditional basket blocks.
When we joined the conversation, they asked about our trip. Frank mentioned that we were scheduled to visit 34 quilt shops, but he hadn’t found a single lumber yard. Then, LuAnn piped up, “My son-in-law’s family has a lumber business! And they’re only five miles from here!” She pulled out her cell phone and began to dial. In short order, we had added King Lumber in Wauseon OH to our day’s itinerary.
We left Threads of Tradition bearing friendly messages for LuAnn’s son-in-law’s mother Ruth who used to quilt with the ladies at Sauder Village and is sorely missed. After a delicious lunch at the Barn Restaurant at Sauder Village, we drove from Archbold to Wauseon and found King Lumber. Half an hour later, Frank came away with two gorgeous pieces of beautiful walnut and a grin of satisfaction to match.
And THAT, my friends, is why Threads of Tradition was Frank’s favorite quilt shop.
Things to Know about Threads of Tradition at Sauder Village in Archbold OH
Facebook: Sauder Village
Things to See and Do: Sauder Village offers a wonderful variety of things to keep you busy for a day or more. Explore an Indian wigwam and a fur trader’s cabin and learn about Native American life in 1803. Visit the Lauber Settlement to see how Mennonite-Amish settlers transformed the Great Black Swamp into prosperous farmland. Tour authentic farmsteads from the 1850s through the early 20th century and see how the growth of technology affected and improved the life of the people in northwestern Ohio. Along the way, you’ll be befriended by knowledgeable volunteers and fascinated by artisans and craftsmen who demonstrate their work in the various shops and historic sites. In addition, Sauder Village sponsors a full calendar of special events to interest the whole family. Be sure to check their schedule of Special Events and Classes for more information.
Where to Eat Lunch: The Barn Restaurant sets out a tempting buffet every day, as well as the homestyle offerings on their regular menu. Or for a quick bite, try the Village Cafe in the Welcome Center. Be sure to stop by the Doughbox Bakery for a dozen pecan rolls or apple fritters or sample a hand dipped cone from the Ice Cream Parlor.
Coming Soon: The Quilt Shop at Essenhaus in the heart of Indiana’s Amish country.