Blessed Are the Piece Makers

The playful atmosphere of this Colorado quilt shop draws people to crafts—and to Christ.

Tucked away in Estes Park, Colorado, just a mile from the main entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, High Country Amish Quilts is a handicraft-lover's paradise. Its walls display the quilting talents of Amish and Mennonite women from across the nation, while its shelves are stocked with one-of-a-kind table runners, wall hangings, and baskets. A unique selection of neo-vintage fabrics, quilting supplies, and cat-themed gifts round out the store's inventory and draw quilters from all over the world. "Quilters love cats for some reason," says store owner Sherie Strong, 46. "I think it's because cats love to sleep curled up in quilts."

Sherie, on the other hand, rarely has time for a catnap as she manages her bustling, eight-year-old business. Along with her local customer base, many of the approximately three million tourists who visit Estes Park each year also make a stop at HCAQ. Even though some visitors never realize it, others come to know this fact quite well: High Country Amish Quilts isn't just a business; it's a ministry.

Amish Roots Run Deep

Sherie is Mennonite, a Christian denomination with close ties to the Amish faith that shares its emphasis on community and simplicity. One set of her grandparents were Old Order Amish, and she grew up playing under a quilting frame. Now she sells quilts made on similar frames by more than 100 Amish women across the country. There's no delivery schedule; the women send the quilts to Sherie when they can, often between the births of their babies. "You'd think we'd either have too many or too few quilts at some point, but we never do," says Sherie.

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