November 2, 2022 at 8:27 p.m.
Highland Quilting now open in Sauk Centre
Sauk Centre area quilters now have the convenience of shopping for fabric and more at 331 Main Street, just south of the movie theatre. Sauk Centre native Courtney Loxtercamp has opened Highland Quilting there, which offers fabric and notions as well as homemade décor such as wall hangings, quilts and table runners. The business also offers long-arm quilting services using a digital machine for quilting together backs, batting and tops of large quilts (king-sized), which is difficult to do on a regular sewing machine. The store is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Loxtercamp, who also creates quilts on commission, saw a need for a quilting business in town and set out to fill that need.
“Anytime that my mom and I wanted to go buy fabric, we had to go to Alexandria or St. Cloud or New London,” she said. “Plus, each quilt shop kind of has a theme, and they aren’t my style necessarily. I ended up buying online, which isn’t convenient when I need a half a yard of something right now. I have to wait a week or two to get it.”
Loxtercamp and her mom, Marilyn Schroeder, are members of Pins and Needles Quilters, a group that meets once each month. Loxtercamp saw that others in the group were often scrambling to get the materials they needed. She decided it was time that Sauk Centre had its own quilting store. That store, Highland Quilting, is now a reality.
“Hopefully, we can get a little more inventory right here in town,” Loxtercamp said.
One line of fabric she has in stock is designed by Emma Thomas-McGinnis, who grew up in Sauk Centre and now creates designs for fabrics and other products out of Iowa. Thomas-McGinnis’s mom, Ginny Thomas, is in Loxtercamp’s quilting group. Previously, Minnesota customers had to go to Rush City to purchase Thomas-McGinnis’s fabric. Now her second line of fabrics is available at Highland Quilting.
“I felt it was really necessary to have her line in my store,” Loxtercamp said.
The name, Highland Quilting, is a nod to Loxtercamp’s stepson’s Highland cattle that live on the farm she shares with her husband, Jerry.
“I’ve always kind of embraced the cows,” she said. “They’re very unique, and I like the sound of their name.”
In the store is a picture of some of the Highlands grazing on their farm. Loxtercamp used the photo for the back of her business cards as well.
Although Loxtercamp didn’t make her first quilt until recent times, she was perhaps destined to be a quilter.
“My mom used to work at the Ms. Fabric Shop here in Sauk Centre,” she said. “When I was born, she only took a week off and then returned, bringing me along.”
Ms. Fabrics was located in the old Oak Street Mall in town. Loxtercamp lounged in a bassinet there as customers came and went, discussing and buying fabrics and notions.
“My mom always jokes that I was practically born in a quilt store,” she said.
Loxtercamp comes from a line of sewers on her mother’s side. In her shop she has two antique sewing machines. One belonged to her great-great-aunt Ella, the other to her great-great- grandmother Adelheid. She also has an antique upholstered chair that belonged to her great- grandmother Wihelmina.
While growing up, Loxtercamp completed small sewing projects with her mom, such as making Barbie clothes, and she later made quilted fleece blankets, but she did not make an actual quilt until the pandemic hit.
“It was during the pandemic that I busted out my sewing machine again and started making masks,” Loxtercamp said.
Slowly, she was inspired to create her first quilt, which now hangs above the door inside the shop. She had caught the quilting bug.
With a plan to grow her inventory at Highland Quilting each month, Loxtercamp is focusing on getting the business up and running, but she’s thinking of her phase two, which might include quilting classes. She has experienced firsthand the benefits quilting can bring.
“It gives me an artistic relief,” Loxtercamp said. “I like being creative, and I like learning new things. I was amazed when I made that first quilt, that it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Once you understand the breakdown, it’s just a lot of sewing together and cutting, almost like a puzzle.”
Plus, quilting is a more forgiving art than most might think.
“There’s a flaw in every quilt, but nobody notices it,” Loxtercamp said. “Sometimes you can fix it, but sometimes it just stays there.”
She and her fellow quilters make a game of it at times, asking each other if they can find the flaw in the other’s quilt.
“It might be in the quilting, or a block got upside down or some other thing got goofed up,” Loxtercamp said. “A lot of people will say, ‘I have a date with Jack,’ meaning Jack the Ripper…the seam ripper.”
Loxtercamp wishes quilting would catch on with her generation and even younger people, like the canning craze did a few years ago.
“I always joke that I bring the average age of our quilting group down to 62,” she said.
Meanwhile, she will be an advocate for quilting in her new store with her mother stepping in to help when needed.
As Loxtercamp grows her inventory with all kinds of fabric and other items, she will be sure to have her favorite fabrics there as well. Loxtercamp likes woodland creatures, celestial patterns and vibrant colors.
“In my store, I’m hoping to have more of the butterflies, mushrooms, that kind of stuff, but then other designs too, such as farm things,” she said.
With her new store, Loxtercamp is excited about supporting the art of quilting in her own community.