One Stitch at a Time
Misty Meadows Country Store Co-Owner Creates Beautiful Handmade Quilts
Writer / Angela Cornell
Photographer / Jubilee Edgell
There’s an old saying that goes, “If you see someone without a smile, give him one of yours.” For Lois Ramer, co-owner of Misty Meadows Country Store, the smiles she gives comes in the form of handmade quilts.
For Ramer, quilting has always been a part of life.
“When we were growing up as Mennonites, we had to learn how to quilt,” she says. “We are housekeepers, homebodies. We sew a lot of our own clothes, of course, and we have a lot of fabric scraps and so forth. It’s like the old pioneer women did.”
But for Ramer, who sewed her first quilt at the age of 12, hand-quilting was more than a chore or beautiful zero-waste strategy. It was a legacy passed down from mother to daughter and gave local women and girls an opportunity to get together for quilting bees.
Quilting continued as a way of life even when she married the love of her life, Aaron Ramer. Together they ran a greenhouse and garden center and had four children. When the time came to retire, they wanted to do more than enjoy their children and grandchildren.
“I always like to have something going in my life,” Ramer says. “It’s the same with my husband.”
So in 2011, the Ramers opened a shop just north of Rochester that specialized in more than 500 fabrics, quilts, quilting supplies and unique gifts like Christian books, melody clocks and Donna Sharp purses.
“People like to come here just for the quiet atmosphere,” Ramer says.
Eventually, the business ballooned to include quilting customers’ quilt tops, whether by machine or by hand.
“We always discuss that when they come,” Ramer says. “If they really want to keep something like grandma used to have it, they want to hand-quilt it.”
Ramer’s business continued to grow until a computerized long arm quilting machine, programmed with more than 400 different designs, became well worth the investment. Her larger investment, however, is in the lives of those who walk through her door.
“I like to make people happy,” Ramer adds. “I really like to hear people say, ‘Well, this really makes my day,’ or ‘you did a wonderful job,’ ‘I’m happy to have this quilted.’”
To date, she has made quilts for people not only across the nation but also for customers as far away as Germany.
Often, the quilt means more to Ramer’s customers than simply a long-term project.
“Most of the people that do quilts are proud of their work,” she says. “It’s an accomplishment that they worked hard at or it’s something their grandma had and they want to have a keepsake from it. A quilt is not an everyday happening. It takes perseverance.”
But quilting is more than a business for Ramer. It’s also a labor of love, especially for her 25 grandchildren.
“I make a quilt for every grandchild,” she says. “Those patterns I create myself. And they’re all different.”
Of course, quilting remains a family tradition in the Ramer household, an art that each granddaughter gets to learn in her early teens, just like their Grandma Lois did.
Misty Meadows Country Store is located at 6120 N. Old U.S. 31 in Rochester, IN. They are open Tuesdays through Fridays from 9-5 and on Saturday from 9-3. They can be contacted at 574-223-6120.