Terry Skrabanek says she’s tried every craft in the book, but it wasn’t until the mid-1980s, when she was into English smocking and her sons said “We’re not wearing that stuff,” that she learned to quilt. It wasn’t long after that she also learned to longarm and started “quilting for the public” as an aside to her job as a critical care nurse. Then, in 2005, she decided to open a shop, Lone Star Quiltworks.
The shop is located in Bryan, Texas, home to Texas A&M University, and Aggie-fever is strong. Lone Star Quiltworks carries fabrics in the school’s beloved maroon and white colors and they’ve done Aggie Block of the Month programs and feature an “Everything Aggie” section on their web site, with Aggie-appropriate fabrics and quilt kits.
For those not afflicted with Aggie-fever, there is plenty to enjoy. The spacious shop (6,000 square feet) contains 6,000 bolts of fabric, in styles that range from Civil War reproductions and patriotic fabrics to a children’s section, a range of solids and other fabrics popular with modern quilters. “We’re happy to have anyone in the door who wants to sew or quilt,” says Terry. Moda favorites include Deb Strain, Me and My Sister, Jen Kingwell, and Kansas Troubles fabrics, among others, and the shop carries lots of kits and regularly offers new BOMs.
Wool is popular at Lone Star Quilts. Customers enjoy the work of Wendy Williams and Sue Spargo and a rug-hooking group meets regularly. Classes range from quilting and garment making to embroidery and projects likes totes, placemats, and table runners. Terry brings in national speakers and groups who learned Judy Niemeyer’s techniques continue to meet and work on their projects. English paper piecing expert Sue Daley and Tricia Kribs of Turning Twenty have presented workshops and inspired customers. The shop also carries Baby Lock machines and Handi Quilter longarms and provides instruction. And Terry enjoys creating special events for her customers—tomorrow, for example, she is taking a group of 100 women to Quilt Festival—this is the ninth year she’s done so. Also in its ninth year are retreats in east Texas. Three times annually she hires a gourmet cook, who prepares meals while Terry’s customers sew the day away. “We’re barely finishing with one and people are signing up for the next,” she says.
Terry’s enjoyed her relationship with Moda through the years. Her first Moda rep was Jim Salinas, who she describes as “an icon in the company and the industry.” She enjoyed talking business with him and credits him with mentoring her along the way. “For the last two years my rep has been Rhonda LaBruso, and we have a good relationship,” says Terry. “Moda is always punctual with their shipping and the orders come complete, which I appreciate. I’ve enjoyed the people at Moda I’ve gotten to know.”
It’s not just the folks at Moda that Terry appreciates. Quilting has brought her many relationships, including those with her staff and customers. “I hate to fall back on a cliché, but we work hard to provide a warm and friendly atmosphere and the positive testimonials on our web site reflect that,” she says. “’Come in as a customer, leave as a friend’ is my motto. We provide a happy environment that people want to be a part of, and I’m pretty proud of that.”