by TRACY ZOLLINGER TURNER
When Lisa Stantz decided to open Unraveled Quilt Store in Spencer, Indiana, in 2016, it felt like a gift to herself. So, she made her April birthday her first day of business. “It was something big for me,” she says. “It was my special day and I just wanted to share it with my store. It’s my baby.”
From the beginning, a sense of play and celebration were essential to Stantz’s ideas about how she wanted customers to feel when they came to Unraveled, bucking the perfectionism that can sometimes be part of quilting culture. “I wanted to create a space where people could come and get inspired and not feel judged,” she says. “I wanted the focus to be on what brings joy to your life. We always kid and say, ‘There are no quilting police.’ There is no right or wrong way.”
Stantz first began quilting in her sorority 30 years ago. A Spencer native, she has always loved creating—a trait she enthusiastically shares with her three kids, four grandkids, and the community. “My mom always made things, my grandma was a seamstress, and my other grandma was a quilter and project-maker,” she says. “I grew up around creative women.”
Through the pandemic, Stantz found ways to keep Unraveled growing. As it hit its five-year anniversary milestone this spring, it was included as a Top Shop in Better Homes & Gardens’ Quilt Sampler magazine, including a foundation paper piecing pattern [a popular quilting technique] called “Tumbling Prisms” designed by Stantz’s daughter and social media guru, Laura.
Stantz recently expanded her space and now displays more than 3,000 bolts of fabric, kits, patterns, and more. She also has a growing national audience on Facebook, where she broadcasts live on Wednesday nights with news about what’s in the store, craft challenges, and lots of warm humor.
Her Quilt Retreats at McCormick’s Creek State Park moved to a virtual format during the pandemic and now draws quilters from all over. This fall, Stantz is hoping for a hybrid retreat and a return to in-person classes at the store.
For more information, visit unraveledquiltstore.com.