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Tour Lisa Bongean's Home, Studio, and Warehouse

Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings brings a modern-day mind-set to primitives through her work with wool appliqué, miniature quilts, and fabric designing.

  • Meet Lisa

    Lisa has hand-dyed wool, created patterns and wool kits for wholesale and retail, taught wool appliqué and hand embroidery, designed fabrics, invented a tool for making tiny triangles, and written books. Today, all those things are done under the auspices of Primitive Gatherings, a retail store, a 12,000-square-foot warehouse, a studio, and a retreat house in Menasha, Wisconsin

    Visit Lisa's blog here.

  • Mini Beauties

    The smaller the pieces, the more Lisa loves them. These mini quilts are from Lisa’s Little Gatherings book. Although the tiny quilt looks difficult to make, it comes together simply using five 3⁄4-inch-wide strips sewn together. The resulting 1-1⁄4-inch-square Rail Fence units are joined to create 3-3⁄4-inch-square Nine-Patch blocks.  

  • Sun Room Display

    Garden Stitches (hanging) is from Lisa’s first 1999 book of the same title, featuring hand-stitched butterflies and garden inspirations. Lisa and shop staff made the mini quilts in the basket and folded quilts in the cupboard.

  • A Classic Grouping

    Lisa has grouped antique red and white quilts for special effect in the guest bedroom. See a detail of the bed quilt on the next page.

  • Bed Quilt Detail

    The Feathered Star variation on the guest room bed is hand-quilted.

  • A Happy Workplace

    Simply Sunflowers, Lisa’s first needleturn appliqué quilt (1999), overlooks her lower-level home studio. 

  • Playful Intent

    A big cutting table encourages Lisa to play. Colorful binders store notes and ideas for new fabrics and projects.

  • A Wool-Lover's Dream

    Primitive Gatherings, known for their hand-dyed wool, felts and cuts fabrics as bolts arrive from the mill.

  • Start of the Process

    After they arrive, the lengths of wool are soaked and stirred in a trough filled with water and liquid soap.

  • Worth the Wait

    Primitive Gatherings maintains more than 100 colors of wool, each length hand-dyed one yard at a time. Each yard of wool takes 1-1⁄2–2 hours, depending on the color.