White Bear Lake quilters and crafters indulge their creative sides at two local boutiques.
Quilting is one of those magical crafts: a perfect blend of practical—keeping your bed toasty during those long Minnesota winters—and beautiful. For many families, quilts are heirlooms, passed down from one generation to the next, cared for lovingly, with decades of memories in their patterns.
At two White Bear Lake boutiques, quilters gather to sew, learn, create and share their passion. We talked with the shop owners to find out what makes local sewers and crafters so crazy for quilting.
Are you looking for hand dyed wool, yarn or fabric for your latest project? You’ll find these necessities and more at Rosebud’s Cottage, Roseann Kermes’ White Bear craft shop. Although she’s an award-winning quilter, Kermes doesn’t let herself stay—ahem—hemmed in by one art form. “I guess I’d say that I’m more of a crafter than a quilter,” she acknowledges. “At home, growing up, we were allowed to do pretty much anything we liked to do as far as making stuff.”
But quilting is most definitely a family affair: Kermes’ mother was an avid sewer and one of the founding members of Minnesota Quilters, a Minneapolis-based guild for quilt enthusiasts. “Making stuff with fabric has always been part of my life,” Kermes explains. Even before she opened her brick-and-mortar shop in 1994, Kermes had her own pattern line and worked as a designer for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. “Education is a big deal to me,” she says, and she strives to make her students and customers aware of their own creativity.
Customers at Rosebud’s Cottage can expect to learn something new each time they visit. “It’s so important for people to create and get enjoyment from making something,” Kermes explains. “The biggest thing about my business is recognizing all the different skills that people have.” Rosebud’s Cottage hosts a series of ongoing crafting and quilting workshops, as well as tours and special events.
Even after many years in the business, Kermes continues to be impressed by her students’ creativity. “I think our customers are unbelievable,” she says with a smile.
Rosebud’s Cottage, 2222 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.1885.
Bear Patch Quilting Co.
Ingredients: Two friends, a shared love of sewing and an empty storefront. Mix well, and what do you get? Bear Patch Quilting Co., the brainchild of co-owners Debbie Engh and Laurel Riter. In the mid-1990s, the local fabric store where both women worked closed its doors, and the beginnings of Bear Patch started to fall into place. “We decided ‘Let’s open our own shop,’ ” Engh remembers. “We signed the lease in April of 1997 and opened in May.”
Ever since, Engh and Riter have fostered a close community of fellow quilters, who usually come for a class and stay for the friendship. “We’re a feel-good business,” Riter says. “There’s nothing in here that you have to have; we feel that what we have [created] over all these years is a sense of community.”
That sense of community is most apparent every year when Bear Patch opens registration for its upcoming classes; many fill within hours of posting. “People line up outside the shop at 4 or 5 in the morning” to get a spot, Riter says, a note of incredulity in her voice.
“I hope they feel that [the shop] is an extension of our family room,” Engh adds. “We love what we do.”
Beginners, don’t be intimidated—every quilter starts somewhere. “I want people to know that they don’t have to be experienced quilters,” Riter emphasizes. “I just want everybody to feel a sense of welcome when they’re here. We’re happy to have them in our shop.”
Unfortunately, since publication Bear Patch Quilting Co. has closed.