Quilting Escapes - At Home with Marianne Fons

Join Marianne Fons in the Heartland of Quilting!

September 13 – 15, 2018

Winterset, Iowa, the town where Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting was born, will be host to an unprecedented quilt retreat. And you’re invited!

In no time at all, you’ll fall under the spell of Winterset’s unique charms. And you’ll learn a new thing or two about quilting, too!

Spend your days piecing new projects in the company of friends, old and new. This exclusive quiltmaking experience with Marianne Fons and Love of Quilting alum, Diane Tomlinson, will be an unforgettable retreat you won’t want to miss.

During these three memorable days, you will enjoy:

• Two plus days of quiltmaking tips, tutorials, advice, and guidance from Marianne Fons & Diane Tomlinson
• Two exclusive kits to make during the retreat: Marianne’s full-size quilt and Diane’s dynamic table runner
• A ticket and VIP seating to a very special event: “Ask Me Anything”, where you will have the opportunity to ask Marianne Fons, Victoria Findlay Wolfe and Paula Nadelstern questions about the quilting life (refreshments included, of course!)
• A personal tour of the Iowa Quilt Museum
• Trunk Show with Linzee McCray, designer of the Moda fabric line that inspired Marianne’s retreat quilt
• A Trunk Show with Tony Jacobson, prolific, creative local designer and quiltmaker
• Local cuisine, including fresh farm-to-table meals, special treats, locally roasted coffee and local wine (really!)
• And much, much more!

Your retreat package includes Thursday, Friday and Saturday dinners, Friday and Saturday lunches, morning and afternoon breaks for treats and beverages all day at the Retreat Center, your ticket and priority seating at The Iowa (Thursday) and The Iowa Quilt Museum (Friday evening), two project kits, surprises, treats, valuable quilt lessons and much, much more.

Winterset, Iowa, is located about 40 minutes west of Des Moines International Airport.  We recommend renting a car to get to and around in Winterset.

Early Bird Offer! $1695
(Price after July 31st: $1795)


*Note – hotel room is not included in registration, however, a room block (including hot breakfast) has been reserved. Please see our “Where to Stay” tab for more information.

Quilting Company Escapes - At Home with Marianne Fons
Photo provided by Teddi Yaeger Photography

Personal Quilt Workshops with Marianne Fons & Diane Tomlinson

The retreat center for our workshops is in a wonderful building at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, right across the highway from The Cobblestone Inn & Suites.  Cathedral ceilings and windows on three sides make for a light and airy setting in which to stitch, press and cut as you make headway on your quilt and table runner.

You will be treated to two days of instruction and guidance, individual and group tutorials, and inspiration from two of quilting’s finest quiltmakers, designers, and educators.

Marianne offers advice about cutting, stitching accurate 1/4” seams, fast and easy half-square triangle construction, and more. Her quilt, Darling, incorporates a wonderful and unique curved border, as well, so there is much to learn, and nobody better to learn it from than Marianne Fons!

Diane’s table runner, Stars Aligned,  is taken from her Star Flower quilt design, and features Diane’s tried-and-true method for inset seams – a technique that you will use over and over, long after the retreat!  You’ll learn and have a chance to practice under Diane’s watchful eye, after she shares her no-fail, always-perfect technique for creating these seams perfectly.

Quilting Company Escapes - The Iowa Theater

Ask Me Anything

Come with your questions ready! We kick off our festivities at The Iowa, Winterset’s historic theater, purchased, restored, and re-opened last year by Marianne Fons and her daughter Rebecca.  Now operating as a non-profit, it’s the perfect stage upon which to hear from three extraordinary quilt designers, each with her own story to share. Marianne Fons, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, and Paula Nadelstern, each with one of her own quilts, ready for you to ask them…well…anything! Our moderator for the evening is Tony Jacobson, designer, prolific quiltmaker, and manager of Winterset’s Piece Works Quilt Shop.  Your ticket includes snacks and a beverage. While this event is open to the public, your ticket (and priority seating) is included with your retreat registration.

Quilting Escapes - The Iowa Quilt Museum Interior

Iowa Quilt Museum Tour

Enjoy dessert, wine, coffee and a special tour with Museum Director, Megan Barrett, of the exhibit, “Blue Ribbon Winners from The Iowa State Fair.”  You’ll have time to ponder all the amazing quilts, and learn about the museum itself – which started life as a J.C.  Penney’s store. After the tour, join Linzee Kull McCray, designer of Feed Sacks True Blue fabric line from Moda and author of Feed Sacks:  The Colourful History of a Frugal Fabric, as she shares the beauty of feed sacks, their importance in the social and economic history of the times in which they were made and used, and a collection of examples of the feed sacks and items made from them (even a quilt or two!).

Quilting Company Escapes - Covered Bridges Winery
Photo Courtesy of Tony Jacobson

Dinners at Local Eateries

Bring your appetite to the casual, local ambiance of The Northside Café, in the heart of Winterset’s Town Square, for dinner on Friday.  On Saturday evening, relax and unwind at the fabulous Covered Bridges Winery for food, fun and celebration – and a fond farewell to your retreat friends.

Have a question?  Call 800-699-6309 (F+W Events) to talk to a real person.

Quilting Escapes - At Home with Marianne Fons - Winterset Town Square

If you come early enough, you’ll find out how much there is to discover in Winterset.

Besides the iconic theater, The Iowa, and the Iowa Quilt Museum, you can head around town and discover other great places.

The Madison County Chamber of Commerce’s Welcome Center, has lots of information on local attractions (such as the infamous covered bridges) as well as maps, souvenirs, and locally-made goods.

If you need to boost your stash, you can start shopping before the retreat begins!  The local Ben Franklin is a full service variety store, featuring a large fabric and craft department along with other household items. You’ll definitely want to take time to visit the award-winning Piece Works Quilt Shop (recently named a Quilt Sampler Top Shop).  Apart from being the supplier of the quilt kits and sewing machines (if you don’t bring your own) for the retreat, Piece Works has a wonderfully curated collection – bolt upon bolt – of quilt fabric, supplies, and quilting products that will be sure to please!  Madison County Mercantile offers a wide range of products, including vintage quilts available for purchase.  If you are into fiber arts, don’t miss Heartland Fiber on 1st Avenue, where you can find a wide range of materials for crocheting, knitting and needlework. And not to be missed is the 1st Avenue Collective …where all sorts of hand-crafted pieces are waiting for you in what was once the Winterset jail.

If you are looking for more historical adventures, stop at the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum, or schedule a Covered Bridge Tour.  Or, drive a couple of miles out of town to the Madison County Historical Complex. This unique 18-acre complex is home to a two-story historical museum, the 1856 Victorian Bevington-Kaser House, and a dozen other authentic historical buildings (such as a three-hole privy, a blacksmith shop, a field mercantile store, a one-room country schoolhouse, a Zion Church and much, much more). In addition, Madison County is home to three wineries, a hard apple cidery, and more!

Have a question?  Call 800-699-6309 (F+W Events) to talk to a real person.

Quilting Escapes - At Home with Marianne Fons - Covered Bridge

If flying, you will want to fly into Des Moines and rent a car to get to Winterset and travel around the town.


Quilting Escapes Hotel Special

The Cobblestone Inn & Suites (1304 North 4th Ave, Winterset)
Opened in May 2015, this 39-room facility is just a few minutes from Winterset’s courthouse square and just across the highway from our Retreat Center at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. It offers deluxe linens in every guest room, along with a microwave, refrigerator, and high-speed internet.  There is a guest laundry, fitness facility and full bar, and the hot breakfast bar is included with your stay.

A room block has been reserved for retreat participants at $99/night, single or double occupancy. Special Rate Expires August 15, 2018

To Make a Reservation:

Call (515) 462-4889 and ask for Quilting Company Escapes Rate ($99/night, single/double)

Room rates valid Wednesday, September 12, 2018 through Saturday, September 15, 2018.


Covered Bridge Inn (1312 Cedar Bridge Road, Winterset)
Conveniently located off of Highway 92 and just a few minutes from Winterset’s courthouse square, the Covered Bridge Inn offers free coffee, a continental breakfast, free Wi-Fi and parking.  Choose from one of their 31 rooms or suites.  (515) 462-4888



Bed & Breakfast by JASS (715 John Wayne Drive, Winterset)
Located a few blocks from Winterset’s courthouse square, their rooms offer private living spaces with fully-furnished kitchenettes, a king-sized bed, bathroom and sitting room with fireplace.  Breakfast is served in the privacy of your room.  Each room has DIRECTV and Wi-Fi.  (515) 201-7720.

Heavenly Habitat Bed & Breakfast (218 S. 2nd Ave, Winterset)
Established in 2009, and built in an old church and fellowship hall, Heavenly Habitat offers two rooms with queen beds, each with a separate 3/4 bath, and a shared kitchen, dining room, great room, deck and full bath with a claw-foot tub.  Located just a couple of blocks from Winterset’s courthouse square.  (515) 689-2640

The Judge Lewis House (1145 W. Summit, Winterset)
Snuggled in a park-like setting, the 1867 Judge Lewis House offers 2 guest rooms with private ensuite bathrooms, farm-to-table breakfasts and the opportunity to venture about amongst the chickens, feed the horses or cats, or just relax by a blazing fire in the fire pit.  (515) 462-5141

The Ruby House Bed & Breakfast (316 S John Wayne Drive, Winterset)
Ruby House B&B is set in a fully-renovated historic home (which once served as a hospital), just a few blocks from the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum.  This B&B offers two rooms, each with a private bath and free Wi-Fi, plus a shared music room and library among other common spaces.  (641) 221-0359



Harriet’s House (1578 North River Trail, Winterset)
Explore the Iowa countryside with this ’70s ranch as your relaxing base camp. Situated on 10 acres of rolling hills in Madison County, this homestead has something for every kind of traveler. Hike the land, enjoy the symphonic sounds of the pond, venture across the county for a tour of the historic covered bridges, or hop 30 minutes northeast to Des Moines. Just 10 minutes north of Winterset.

Guest House at Cedar Lake (3623 Lakeview Lane, Winterset)
A cozy country home with beautiful views of Cedar Lake and lots of wildlife, this three bedroom house sleeps up to eight guests, has a full bath and kitchen, living room and dining room, BBQ grill and patio.  You have this home all to yourself.  Meals are not included.   (515) 462-5141

Have a question?  Call 800-699-6309 (F+W Events) to talk to a real person.

You will experience two very different, traditionally pieced quilt projects, both prepared for you as kits. You will have choices to make regarding your kits once you register for the retreat.

Marianne’s quilt kit includes all fabrics for the top and the binding, specialty ruler, thread and complete, illustrated directions. Diane’s table runner kit includes all fabrics for the top, binding, and backing. It also includes batting, specialty ruler, thread, and complete illustrated directions for the runner as well as the full-size quilt which inspired it.

Darling – Marianne Fons – Over 70” x 90”

Marianne brings us a wonderful, brand-new design, in a large, pieced quilt with curved borders. Darling measures greater than 70” x 90” finished, and features half square triangles, sashings and cornerstones. You will have fun as you learn easy HSTs, tricks for accurate cutting and piecing with strips and squares, and how to construct this quilt most efficiently. Darling, which looks great in any color scheme, would also be perfect as a Quilt of Valor, and will therefore be offered in red, white and blue for those who want to make a QOV at this retreat.

Stars Aligned Table Runner – Diane Tomlinson – 14.5″ x 43.5″

Diane’s Stars Aligned table runner, which finishes at 14.5” x 43.5” and was inspired by her quilt Star Flowers, is a tried and true winner, offering you an opportunity to master one of the basic but often tricky techniques you’ll use over and over in your quilting life – inset seams. Diane will share her no-fail, stress-free, tried and true method, endorsed by students everywhere, for constructing inset diamonds. Really! This table runner would make a perfect addition to your holiday table, should you choose that option. The kits will include directions for the full-size Star Flowers quilt, as well.

Have a question?  Call 800-699-6309 (F+W Events) to talk to a real person.

Thursday, September 13th

2:30 P.M. – Check-in at The Iowa Theater for a special welcome, meet and greet and orientation for the days ahead.

4:00 P.M. – 5:30 P.M. – Ask Me Anything Event (doors open to the public at 3:30)

6:30 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. – Dinner, time to set up your work space, and an introduction to the weekend’s projects from Marianne and Diane at the Retreat Center (at St. Joseph’s Parish Hall, 1026 N. 8th Avenue Winterset, IA 50273).

Friday, September 14th

8:30 A.M. – Retreat Center Opens

9:00 A.M. – 12:30 P.M. – Quilt Workshop with Marianne & Diane

12:30 P.M. – 1:30 P.M. – Lunch

1:30 P.M. – 5:00 P.M. – Quilt Workshop with Marianne & Diane

5:30 P.M. – 6:45 P.M. – Dinner at The Northside Café on the Winterset Town Square

7:00 P.M. – Tour of the Iowa Quilt Museum and Trunk Show with Linzee Kull McCray

Saturday, September 15th

8:30 A.M. – Retreat Center Opens

9:00 A.M. – 12:30 P.M. – Quilt Workshop with Marianne & Diane

12:30 P.M. – 1:30 P.M – Lunch

1:30 P.M. – 5:00 P.M. – Quilt Workshop with Marianne & Diane

5:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M. – Pack Up and Make Final Purchases

6:30 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. – Closing Banquet at the Covered Bridges Winery (2207 170th Trail, Winterset, IA  50273  www.CoveredBridgesWinery.com)

Have a question?  Call 800-699-6309 (F+W Events) to talk to a real person.

Photo provided by Tony Jacobsen

Piece Works Quilt Shop will provide Husqvarna Viking sewing machines for your use (and pleasure) during the retreat.  You may, however, choose to bring your own machine if you prefer.  There are advantages to both scenarios!

We will provide cutting mats, 6” x 24” rulers, 6” x 12” rulers, rotary cutters, irons and ironing surfaces and extra machine needles for the group’s use during the retreat, and plenty of chocolate to keep energy levels up!

Specialty rulers needed to make the two projects will be part of those kits, for you to take home.  Darling’s kit also includes thread for piecing, all fabrics needed for the quilt top and binding and complete directions; Stars Aligned table runner kit also includes thread for piecing, all fabrics for top, backing and binding, plus batting and complete directions for the runner.  You will also receive the pattern for the full-size Star Flower quilt which inspired the runner.

What you should bring:

Pins and pin cushion or magnetic holder, thread snips, fabric scissors, marking pencil, seam gauge, seam ripper and anything you can’t stitch without. You will want a small notebook or pad of paper and pen to take notes as well.

You may also want to bring your own rotary cutter (funny how we get attached to our own!), any favorite ruler(s) you use often, a hot and/or cold beverage holder with a tight-fitting lid (to protect our workspaces from spills), and anything else you think will make your stitching time more comfortable and fun (such as a seat cushion if you are short or simply like to use one).

Marianne Fons

We all know Marianne Fons as half of the team who founded and grew Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting into the largest quilt magazine in the world, with circulation of more than 300,000.  We know her very well from the PBS series Love of Quilting, and from her many, many wonderful quilts.

But what you might not know, is what Marianne has been up to recently, even as she continues to appear on Love of Quilting on your local PBS station, and create quilts for the magazines.  And what she has done is pretty interesting, as she has used her profile, earned in the quilt world, to do so much more.

Read all about it – in her own words, right here.

Photo by Joe Mazza

Diane Tomlinson

Diane comes from a creative quilting and sewing family background. Her love for fibers, wool and hands-on creativity has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember. She has made wedding dresses, taught quilt classes for guilds and adult ed, and judged 4-H projects. Teaching and encouraging students to learn new techniques is her passion, and she loves seeing the satisfaction and delight in her students when they have mastered a new skill. She also thinks learning is a lifelong skill, and takes classes whenever she can.

Well known for years in her role as an Associate Editor with Fons & Porter, Diane coordinated the magazine projects, working closely with the designers. She has also worked in the garment and art business, as well as with investments in the banking industry. She can often be found presenting trunk shows and leading workshops for quilt guilds.  Diane says that it is a privilege to be working not only in her favorite craft, but with such talented and special people in the industry.

Paula Nadelstern

Until I met quilts, I thought I was creative but not talented. To find something you love to do is a gift. To achieve recognition for it is a miracle. When I get overwhelmed by a longing for functional space, complete with an office and enough storage space so I don’t have to constantly reinvent the room, I try to remember this.

Over time, lives change shape. In 2003, the second bedroom of our apartment was transformed into a 10′ x 15′ studio, complete with a door I can close.

Paula’s quilts have achieved international recognition for the innovative and complex designs inspired by the bilateral symmetry of kaleidoscopic images. She has written 6 books and designs textile prints for Benartex, Inc.

Learn more at:   http://www.paulanadelstern.com/about.php

Victoria Findlay Wolfe

Victoria Findlay Wolfe is a New York City based International award-winn ing Quilt & Fiber Artist, teacher & lecturer on the creative process, Fabric & Product designer for Marcus Fabrics, Aurifil thread and Si zzix Die cutting. She is the author of several Quilting books:  15 Minutes of Play, Double Wedding Ring Quilts: Traditions Made Modern and an upcoming book, to be released in August, Modern Quilt Magic (C&T publishing). She also owns VFW Quilts, a specialty quilting Store in NYC, carrying all of her products, to provide inspiration to the Fiber maker, and sells her custom work to Museums, and collectors in the design world who appreciate finely made quilts: A true classic Art form.

Victoria sits on The International Quilt Study Center & Museum and the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Textiles advisory boards. Her quilts have traveled all over the globe, including Japan, Australia, and in Museums such as Connecticut Museum of American Art, International Quilt Study Center, San Jose & Iowa Quilt Museum, The Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts and the International Quilt Festival Houston. She is proud to be a quilter, a mother to Beatrice, and a wife to Michael Findlay, the true loves in Victoria’s life.

Victoria’s work balances between Art Quilts, Traditional & Modern Quilts and has a master flair bringing the fine art of quilting to the modern age.

For more:  https://vfwquilts.com/pages/victoria

Tony Jacobson

Tony Jacobson is a nationally-known quilt designer and teacher. He learned to piece quilts from his Grandmother, Harriett Wright, when he was 10 years old and has been creating quilts in one form or another ever since. Tony’s background as an Art Director serves him well when he is creating his own quilt designs.

Many of his quilt designs have appeared in Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting, Easy Quilts, and Quilting Quickly.

When not designing quilts—or these days running a quilt shop—Tony can be found teaching or giving guild presentations. He likes to teach his students how to let the fabric do most of the work, resulting in a finished quilt that looks more intricate than it was to create.  He’s constantly searching for techniques that will make the quilting process more accurate, as well as easier and faster.  You can find him most days at Piece Works Quilt Shop.

Tony Jacobseon with his quilt From the Atrium. Photos by the artist.

Linzee Kull McCray

Linzee Kull McCray is a freelance writer and author with a focus on textile-, craft-, and art-related topics. She writes profiles and features for magazines and blogs, including American Patchwork and Quilting, UPPERCASE, Modern Patchwork, and Moda Fabric’s Cutting Table blog, and is the  author of Art Quilts of the Midwest (University of Iowa Press, 2015) and Feed Sacks: The Colourful History of a Frugal Fabric (UPPERCASE, 2016). She designs feed-sack inspired fabrics for Moda—her first line, Feed Sacks: True Blue, debuted in stores in April, 2017—and designs quilts under the name Clark Street Quilts with her business partner Pam Ehrhardt. Linzee grew up in California and now resides in Iowa.

For more:  http://www.linzeekullmccray.com/about-me/

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