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My Story

Childhood memories of spending the night at my Granny’s house included sleeping in a drafty, chilly bedroom under many layers of old, beautiful handmade quilts. I loved them. They were lightweight yet warm and cuddly. I knew my Granny had made these quilts, and it was so comforting to wrap up in them and drift off to sleep.


As a young mom to six in the 1990s, I somehow found time to sew, craft, and scrapbook. I sewed Christmas gifts and dresses for my girls and even tried making a quilt without understanding the process. I got tired of the project and put it away. Life got busier and I had little time to work on craft projects. I gave away my sewing machine.


I had a precious Aunt who saved everything. She gifted me a big box of fabric that had belonged to her, my grandmother and great grandmother. She showed me a partially finished quilt top that all three generations had worked on, and I remember her telling me I would be the fourth. I appreciated the gift but had no sewing machine, interest, or time to work on the quilt. 


Years later, I found that tub of fabric from my Aunt. I went through the fabric and found my failed quilt top from the 1990s. I had a new sewing machine, interest and time to work on this quilt. I took much of it apart and redesigned it. I hired a longarmer to finish the quilt, and was stunned at how well it turned out. From that point, I was hooked. I finished the partial quilt top my Aunt, grandmother and great-grandmother worked on. I made more than 50 quilts within a year. 


I decided to purchase my own longarm machine; a HandiQuilter Simply 16. It is not computerized, so I have spent a great deal of time practicing creating beautiful quilts - I have completed hundreds of quilts! I recently invested in a second longarm machine, a HandiQuilter Forte. This computerized longarm offers more than 250 patterns. I successfully completed a Longarm Certification Course. I spend hours piecing, longarming and binding quilts. My studio is my happy place.

In early 2022, my husband and I purchased a home in Skiatook and created Osage Hills Retreat, a gorgeous retreat center for quilters, scrapbookers, and crafters alike. Visit for information about Oklahoma's premier Quilting, Scrapbooking, and Crafting Retreat Center. Osage Hills Retreat is located in the heart of Oklahoma just 37 miles from Pawhuska's Pioneer Woman Mercantile Restaurant.

Happy quilting!

~Melissa Struttmann

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