Middlebury is in the heart of Indiana’s Amish Country. When you translate ‘Essenhaus’ from German, it is literally “eating house”, and Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury is indeed a restaurant. But Essenhaus is also an inn and conference center, a performance venue and concert hall, and a village featuring an assortment of quaint shops. And since Amish Country must also be Quilt Country, of course one of those shops simply has to be The Quilt Shop at Essenhaus.
The Quilt Shop shares a building in the Village with The Corn Crib, a fascinating gift shop well worth wandering. In fact, you’ll wander through The Corn Crib’s collection as you make your way to The Quilt Shop.
And when you walk through the door of The Quilt Shop at Essenhaus, you’ll see quilts. They hang from the rafters.
They cover the walls.
They crowd racks that take up half the shop.
And they are lovely. Remember, this is Amish country, so the quilts are generally handquilted with exquisite skill.
But chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’re a quilter yourself. And when you walk into a quilt shop, you’re looking for fabric, quilt patterns, notions, and ideas that you can incorporate into your next project. Fear not! There’s fabric at The Quilt Shop at Essenhaus.
And books and patterns enough to gladden the heart of any quilter.
And, of course, the walls of the shop are adorned with lovely sample quilts.
Presiding over this busy, happy shop is Rosilynn. Her cheerful enthusiasm infuses the entire shop with creative energy.
She gave me an impromptu lesson on how to construct an elegant table runner that was on display. It was very simple, really. Two long rectangles of unequal widths were seamed together, turned and pressed. When the edges were finished, the corners were turned back to form a point. . . .
And such lessons are not uncommon at The Quilt Shop at Essenhaus. In fact, you might say it’s one of the shop’s specialties.
Quilt Magic boards are another unique feature at The Quilt Shop at Essenhaus.
A quilt block pattern is laser-cut into a foam core base. Then, using a special tool to tuck the fabric of your choice into the resulting slots, you can create a lovely “quilted” wallhanging without sewing a single stitch!
The results can be spectacular. If you look up, you’ll see dozens of Quilt Magic examples mounted on the ceiling at The Quilt Shop at Essenhaus.
I loved the patriotic LeMoyne Star quilt displayed in the picture above, too.
Rosilynn told us that when she was a little girl, not only did her granny quilt, but she was an avid gardener who took Rosilynn around her yard to examine the perennial blooms. Granny’s garden tours became quilting inspiration for Rosilynn.
When you visit The Quilt Shop at Essenhaus, you’ll have the opportunity to experience another form of gardening inspiration, The Quilt Gardens Along the Heritage Trail. Each year, businesses and organizations around Elkhart County plant flower gardens in the shape of traditional quilt blocks.
When we were there in early June, the Dresden Plate at Essenhaus was not yet in full bloom, as you can see below.
Thanks to Sarah of the Speak Up Librarian blog who gave me permission to use her photos, I can give you a peek at the 2012 Quilt Gardens Along the Heritage Trail.
Here’s the Trip Around The World garden at Dutch Country Market.
And here’s the Miles Variation Garden at The Old Bag Factory
And, my favorite (and Sarah’s too), the Peace and Plenty block at Menno-Hof
They plant different quilt blocks every year, so there will always be new and beautiful inspiration.
The Quilt Shop at Essenhaus is also home to an amazing Double Wedding Ring barn quilt block.
Essenhaus sponsors an annual Quilt & Fiber Show each August. Here is one of the award winning quilts from this year’s show. (Photo courtesy of Essenhaus)
Fabric, impromptu quilting lessons, quilts, quilt gardens, barn quilts, quilting inspiration, and friendly quilters — you’ll find them all at The Quilt Shop at Essenhaus!
Things to Know About The Quilt Shop at Essenhaus and Middlebury IN
What to see and do in Middlebury: Of course, you’ll want to pick up a brochure and take a driving tour of the Quilt Gardens. Another fun stop is the Dutch Country Market (1140 1 County Road 16), where you’ll find an abundance of local produce, homemade noodles, and honey fresh from the Lehman family hives.
Where to eat lunch: Das DutchmanEssenhaus, of course! Saunter right across the parking lot from The Quilt Shop for a hearty homestyle lunch. Sample their daily buffet, order from their ample menu, or sit down to one of their substantial family-style meals.
Coming Soon: The next stop on The Cross Country Quilt Shop Quest — Homeward Bound is Thimbles in Lockport IL.
Thanks again to Sarah of Speak Up Librarian. Go on over and read her blog. You’ll be glad you did.