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Connie's Quilt Shop celebrates 25 years
by DJ Kauffman Correspondent · June 8th, 2017

Connie's Quilt Shop in Marion opened a quarter century ago, and recently celebrated the milestone with a 25th Anniversary Sale from May 25-27. Owner Connie Moyer said her customers come into her shop to look over the huge variety of fabrics and patterns available. And quilters travel long distances to visit her shop. "I pull in people from all over - Japan, The Netherlands, Australia," she said.

There is no one particular look, but the shop has everything including, flannel, baby, reproduction Civil War, boutique and floral designs, Star Wars, tractors, and all sports except wrestling. "Everyone has their own tastes, and we are busy trying to make up samples kits (fabric and pattern) for people," she said. A shopper can either choose a kit or pick out their own fabric and quilt design.

The shop does not make quilts for customers, but buyers make their own, Moyer said. She does, however, personally make quilts to help veterans and children. Her handiwork can be seen in the foyer of her shop, located at 785 8th Avenue, where a raffle quilt she has recently made hangs on display. She said the raffle has raised over $3,000 for veterans in the last three years.

The public can purchase one raffle ticket for $1 each, or 6 for $5. The proceeds will go to the Linn County Veterans Charity Fund. They will draw and announce the winning name at the Kernels Stadium in Cedar Rapids on July 4th after the game. The winner does not need to be present, Moyer said.

In addition to the raffle, her patrons will be giving veterans quilts at the Kernel's Stadium on the Fourth of July for the fourth year in a row. This year, 35 veterans who have been chosen by the Kernels to be honored on the field after the game will be given a quilt afterwards, Moyer said. And those who donated the quilts, can present them personally to the veterans if they choose to do so.

Her customers will receive a voucher to the game and one discount coupon to shop in the store for participating. Ten to 12 machine quilters have also volunteered their time each year, she said. They do long-arm machine quilting in their homes on some of the quilts.

Moyer also hosts a Quilts to Comfort Kids, one-day event each fall at the Marion Public Library. Over the past 17 years, up to 10 to 15 sewers have made around 400, 40" x 50" kid-size quilts for children. Moyer provides all fabric and batting in ready-made kits for quilters to sew. They iron, tie, and put binding on the edges at the very end. "I keep everyone busy," she said. Many times those helping will finish the quilts at home. Once the quilts for kids are complete, they are then given to the Marion Fire Department, which distributes them.

In addition, Moyer sponsors the QUILT BLOCK CHALLENGE at the Linn County Fair in Central City by supplying the materials for one quilt. Beginning in early spring, 9-inch quilt blocks for the quilt are sold for $5 each, to help support the fair.

Quilters then design their blocks to be hung up at the fair for judging. "People get to vote on their favorite quilt block," Moyer said. And a gift certificate is given to the winner. The prior year's completed quilt is also raffled. Attendance is not required to win (The Linn County Fair 2017, is scheduled from June 26 to July 3).

Moyer spoke to us about why she began Connie's Quilt Shop. She said it was not her first career choice, but it has always been her passion. She said she grew up in Alburnett and later attended Iowa State College, where she earned a degree in physical education. From there, she began working at Rockwell Collins as a secretary. She later became a finance analyst and moved about the country. She said she moved back to the area once she decided to open her own business.

At first, she had a small apartment in back of the store, but had to move out in 2003, because there was too much fabric, she said. Then, two years ago, she updated the house with new siding and a Lily Design Barn Quilt put on each end of the shop. A smaller one by the door was given to Moyer as a birthday present.

Connie's Quilt Shop currently has over 670 followers on Facebook. The store hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Contact the store for more information at 319.373.9455.

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