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'It's just wonderful' — Perham quilt shop opens new Stitch Studio

The Bay Window Quilt Shop opened the doors of its newest addition, the Stitch Studio, on July 1. Since then, it's become a loved destination for local crafters.

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Sewing machines are available for use in the new Stitch Studio.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus
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PERHAM — The streets of Perham are ever-changing with new additions to well-known Main Street businesses. Recently, the Bay Window Quilt Shop, which has been a part of the community for about 30 years, officially opened the doors to its new Stitch Studio on July 1.

"We've been sending people out of town for years to get a sewing machine, and since that's what we do — we need a sewing machine to make a quilt — I knew that (the Stitch Studio) is what I wanted to add in," said Katie Hennagir, who's been the owner of the quilt shop since she bought it from her now-retired mother in 2020. "So we did a lot of work, a lot of remodeling … (We're) just creating another niche for people from far and wide to come to Perham for a reason."

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Katie Hennagir, the owner of the Bay Window Quilt Shop, smiles outside the new Stitch Studio addition.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

The Stitch Studio is the new home for different knitting, crocheting and quilting classes. Along with a new area to purchase and rent sewing machines, the studio space features chairs and tables for crafters and quilters to set up their machines and work. A separate room even features a table with a cutting board, giving creative people plenty of space to work.

The studio space isn't only for working, however. There's also a dining space and furniture for lounging and relaxing with friends and family. Surrounded by windows to bring in some natural light, there's also a kitchenette available with a fridge and even a coffee maker.

"You've gotta eat if you're here all day sewing," Hennagir said. "So they can bring in snacks and make a day of it."

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The new Stitch Studio is even available to rent for a day for a retreat or for a group of friends to just spend time together. In fact, the Bay Window Quilt Shop has a group of quilters who've been meeting at the store once a week for over 25 years. They used to meet in the basement, but with the brand new Stitch Studio, they now have a much more comfortable space for their meetings.

"We used to be the basement ladies because we were meeting downstairs," joked one member of this group, Lynn Cave. "Now we're the upper room ladies. We've really come up in the world, having this space. (It's) really just wonderful, to be able to come and meet up. It's just all kinds of wonderful. It's fun to see Katie's business grow. She's just thought of everything. It's more convenient than my sewing at home."

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Several quilters sit in the new Stitch Studio, working on their projects together.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

Though Hennagir has been the owner of the shop since 2020, she's been working there for much longer than that. A Perham local, her great grandfather actually constructed the building where Hennagir's shop is now located. Her mother, Sarah Hayden, opened the Bay Window Quilt Shop there in 1989. Since then, it's been growing and growing, and Hennagir has been a large part of that.

She started at the shop about 20 years ago when she first came home from college in 2002. In the early 2000s, having an online presence as a business was a brand-new concept. Always dedicated to growing the quilt shop, Hennagir created a website and e-commerce to grow the business.

She also designs quilt patterns as well as fabric for different companies.

"It's kind of a fun thing that sets us apart from other quilt shops because most aren't doing that," Hennagir said. "I never feel like I'm working, ever. That's about all you want to have in life. I can spend every hour here, and it doesn't feel like work."

Throughout the years, the square footage of the shop has grown and grown. When a new space opened up next door in the building a few months ago, Hennagir immediately knew she wanted to add the Stitch Studio.

"Everybody was looking for ways to get together again in a safe space (following the original COVID-19 outbreak)," she said. "And so, when I saw that big huge open space, I knew that would be the perfect spot for people to come in and bring their machines and stitch for a whole day. So, (I'm) kind of fulfilling a demand that was already there but then also definitely trying to create some demand with offering some fun and different classes for people."

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A quilter sits in the new Stitch Studio, working on her project.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

Now, when people go to the quilt shop for classes, they'll no longer have to carry their machines all the way down to the basement. They can even have some natural sunlight from the windows, which is quite different compared to their previous basement location. In the future, Hennagir hopes to offer more classes outside of the Stitch Studio and possibly even kids' birthday parties with fun crafts for creative children.

Though these extra options are for further ahead, the space is already being thoroughly enjoyed by community members.

"This place has become my second home," Lynn Cave said. "It's just wonderful."

For more information about the Bay Window Quilt Shop and its classes, visit its website at baywindowquiltshop.com . The business can also be reached at 218-346-7272 or info@baywindowquiltshop.com and found on social media at Bay Window Quilt Shop on Facebook and Katie Hennagir/BayWindowQuilts on Instagram .

"Just walking by (the Stitch Studio) and hearing people laugh in the classroom and having a great time — it's just rewarding for us at the end of the day," Hennagir said after a few months of locals utilizing the new space. "It's inspiring … So far, they've loved it."

Elizabeth (she/her), 23, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham-centered content.
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